Today I welcome Cynthia St. Pierre. Cynthia co-wroteA Purse to Die For (Imajin Books) with Melodie Campbell. Love this addition to the Partners in Crime series here on Mystery Fanfare.
Cynthia St-Pierre wrote promotional, packaging and communications
materials; penned articles for business periodicals; and a chapter of
How to Successfully Do Business in Canada. Currently a member of Crime
Writers of Canada, she has one award for fiction and has been a writing
contest judge. Cynthia has received a
York Regional Police Citizens Awareness Program certificate, presented
and signed by Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario
Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications, including 30 short stories and 100 humor columns. Her first novel, Rowena Through the Wall went No. 2 on Amazon.ca fantasy, futuristic in August 2011. A Purse to Die for is her second novel. Her third novel, The Godddaughter is published by Orca books. Melodie was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer Award and Arthur Ellis Awards and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada.
CYNTHIA ST-PIERRE: How I Met My Partner in Crime
It started out innocently. At Bloody Words, Canada’s national mystery conference, Toronto, 2006.
I had just come out of a 15 min. interview with an agent so I was feeling a little shaky from the adrenalin. The lobby of the conference floor of the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel was practically empty. Most attendees, fondly dubbed The Usual Suspects, were behind the closed doors of the various conference rooms learning about predators and violent crime from a forensic psychiatrist, or attending other sessions with titles like “Whistling Past the Graveyard”.
But in the shadows of an escalator stood one woman. She looked just about as antsy as me. I walked over and introduced myself. “Hi. My name’s Cynthia.” I wondered if she’d just come out of an interview or was just going in.
Melodie had an appointment in about 10 min. Agents aren’t scary. Really.
I wished my new friend good luck. We chatted a little more—all about calming our nerves—then arranged to meet at the Saturday night banquet.
As it turns out, after dessert was served that night, Melodie was awarded 3rd prize in the Bony Pete Short Story Contest for "School for Burglars". A feat which required not luck but skill. Everyone at the table, including me, was thrilled for her. We eagerly exchanged e-mails. We had to read that winning story!
“School for Burglars” is a fabulous tale of course. Over the years, Melodie and I exchanged more stories. We offered each other writer support and input. Then we met again at Bloody Words 2008. The year my story “A Terror in Judgement” won 2nd prize. Melodie was sweet when I cried.
Melodie and I were on to something here. Not only do we enjoy each other’s company, each other’s writing, we have similar styles. Why not write a mystery novel together, I wondered? Novel writing is an arduous task, I kid you not. Not so arduous à deux.
A Purse to Die For was born!
So how do two writers succeed in writing a book together?
Melodie has said, “It’s really so simple: we set out to have some fun writing.” She adds, “We set out to surprise each other. I’d write a scene and then Cindy would take over and write the next scene. I wouldn’t necessarily know where she was going with it, so it was always a delight to get the next chapter.”
I say it was like reading and writing at the same time. It couldn’t have been more exciting!
Many authors claim they wouldn’t be able to write a mystery with another writer. Real murder might ensue. I admit I wasn’t a fan of group projects in school. Back then, it always seemed hard to reach a meeting of the minds, let alone divide the task evenly between an arbitrary group of students. But as I’ve described, Melodie and I became friends before attempting a collaboration. Plus we’re much older and wiser now. Ahem.
One day for fun, you’ll have to ask Mel her version of this story of how we became writing partners. No two witnesses have the exact same account of a crime.