Friday, August 15, 2014

9mm interview with Canadian author Giles Blunt

Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback on the 9mm series, which is really getting rolling again after an extended hiatus. One of the names that came up when I asked which authors you'd like to see added to the series was Ontario mystery writer Giles Blunt. I have a particular fondness for Canadian crime writing, possibly due to Canada's many similarities with New Zealand. And the fact that my own crime fiction journey (beyond reading) really kickstarted with some things that happened during my visit there in 2008.

Blunt's books aren't that easy to find in New Zealand, unfortunately, however I did manage to get my hands on a secondhand copy of FORTY WORD FOR SORROW a couple of years ago. This book, published in 2000, was the first in Blunt's acclaimed John Cardinal series. Critics compared it to Silence of the Lambs, fellow crime writers said it was a book they wished they'd written, and the National Post called it the finest Canadian crime thriller ever written. It went on to win the CWA Silver Dagger, and Blunt has since added two Arthur Ellis Awards for later books in the series, including the 2013 award for UNTIL THE NIGHT. So I can see why readers were keen for me to feature Blunt. He's definitely a fantastic author who I want to read a lot more of in future.

But for now, Giles Blunt is the 78th author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Giles Blunt

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective? Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko, in books. Otherwise Columbo.

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
The Castle of Adventure by Enid Blyton. The characters just seemed so real to me. There were many other books before then that I loved but I can't remember which I read and which were read TO me.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles? 
My first novel was a psychological thriller called Cold Eye. Before that I had written an unpublished literary novel, many poems,  half a dozen unproduced spec screenplays, and a few episodes of TV.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
Play my guitar and keyboard, and sing. I have a group of guys I play with regularly. We do classic rock/pop/British Invasion stuff.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider? 
North Bay? They should definitely get the tourist brochures.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you? 
Wallace Shawn.

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why? 
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, fourth in the Cardinal series, because it probably has the most emotional power. And UNTIL THE NIGHT, number six, because it is the most adventurous technically. About a quarter of the book is narrated by an Arctic scientist, and I kind of fell in love with his voice.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
I don't remember the particular things you mention, but I remember when my agent told me several publishers were bidding for the rights to FORTY WORDS FOR SORROW. My wife and I were in Paris at the time and we went out for dinner and champagne at Le Grand Colbert. Fabulous.

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
I was at Word on the Street here in Toronto, and after the reading a woman came up to me and told me that her mother had been in hospital with terminal cancer and really wanted a good series to take her mind off things. Her daughters gave her my books and she read them all and loved them. They were so touched by her enthusiasm for them that they came to Toronto to the festival to tell me. That was pretty amazing.

Thank you Giles. We appreciate you taking the time to chat with Crime Watch.


You can read more about Giles Blunt and his books here:


Have you read the John Cardinal series, or any of Blunt's other books? What are your thoughts on his writing? Are you a fan of Canadian crime fiction? Comments welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Just a note to thank you for featuring one of my favourite Canadian authors. I wrote about him on my blog Murder in Common as his books were responsible for opening my eyes to Canadian fiction and then outwards to the UK and beyond. I've written about AU author Vicki Tyley and will have to get my act together for NZ authors. I'm sure you'd have some recommendations for me.