Friday, August 18, 2017

Q & A with Sheena Kamal

Sheena Kamal is a fast-rising star with her excellent debut The Lost Ones featuring Nora Watts. This Canadian researcher for crime investigation reporting will be picking up all the awards this year. So I was happy to interview her...

How did you come up with the character?
I was working as a researcher for a television crime drama series and was compelled by stories of gender violence in Canada. An idea came to me, of a complicated woman with a dark past. Her voice was present almost immediately, and it's through this voice that the rest of the story fell into place. 

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
However a reader connects with a book is fine by me. I read both ebooks and physical editions, so it's really about how books fit into the reader's lifestyle. As long as people are reading and finding books that excite them, I'm happy. 

Q: What’s next for you and your characters?
I'm working on the sequel, and planning the third instalment of Nora's story. For the time being, I'm completely immersed in her world, so to keep things fresh I use different settings to create new challenges for Nora to work against. It's research-intensive, which I enjoy immensely. 

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
I've taken to running in the woods. I'm not happy about it and I don't know exactly why I'm compelled to do it all of a sudden, but this is what I do when I'm not writing these days.

Q: How do you promote your work?
Badly, and after much self-recrimination. I wish I was better at it, but I do try my best. I have a website. 

Q: What other genres beside crime do you like?
I read just about everything and what I choose depends largely on my mood. These days, however, I'm all about shameless escapism and books that will give me a laugh. The news cycle these days is brutal-- and what I write is quite dark, as well, so I'm getting my fun in my fiction. 

Q: In the last century we’ve seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
Hmm, good question. I'm not sure. I personally hope that genre boundaries are being erased and that there is so much crossover that you never know who the influencers may be. There's something exciting about that.

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
I think a story presented itself to me this way and I was pulled more by this particular character and her journey, rather than deciding to write crime fiction and then figuring out how to do it. Dark suspense is how The Lost Ones took shape-- and I followed where it led rather than allowing the genre to lead me. It felt organic and that feeling is something that now I work hard to hold onto. 

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