Interview with John Moss, author of Blood Wine

Interview with John Moss, author of Blood Wine thumbnail

Interview with John Moss, author of Blood Wine

Posted on August 6 by John Moss
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Today we interview John Moss, author of the new release Blood Wine, the fourth book in the Quin and Morgan Mystery series. He tells us about this new book, his creative process and what he's currently reading.

How did you come up with the idea for this work?

Blood Wine, my newest novel from Dundurn Press, grew directly out of my affection for Miranda Quin and her partner, David Morgan, and my frustration with them for remaining elusive in their private pains and personal quirks after four previous books in which they resolve murder mysteries, often at their own peril. I wanted to dig deeper into the dark corners of their lives, illuminating them in flashes of intense action and chilling suspense.  

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

In a curious way, I write more with a knowledge of who won’t be my readers than who will. Whether writing a murder mystery or a metaphysical thriller, I try to achieve a fine balance between thought and feeling, engagement and distraction. I love the notion of playing amidst language with readers who are willing to engage in challenging ideas, puzzles, emotions, and moral dilemmas, readers who don’t merely want to consume a commodity to kill time,  who are informed and inquisitive and want to be actively involved. If I use the word Nietzsche and the context isn’t clear, I hope my reader will suppress her irritation and check out the reference.

What was the creative process like for you?

I’ve often been asked, “how do you write a book?” A common variation is, “I have a book inside me, how do I get published?” The answer is, “start writing.” A book is a series of words made into sentences made into paragraphs made into essays or chapters. The hardest part of writing a book is the first sentence. In the end, you may dump it. It doesn’t matter. It’s a key to unlock the door, the key of a different sort to a map of the journey on the other side of the door. Once the door is open, remember this, every sentence is a question (including that one?). What is your first sentence asking? Answer it, follow it. The rest is persistence. Persistence writes books.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading Mary Ann Evans’ Middlemarch (or George Eliot, as she was known). I have a background in literature (I taught university for forty years) but there are certain classics I assimilated a long time ago which I either skimmed for exams or read about and around or saw the mini-series, and don’t really know at all. So, I regularly read Eliot or Melville, Dostoevsky or Flaubert. Not in penance. Rather, for their radically different pacing, their delight in language, their power. I also read Louise Penny and Giles Blunt and other popular writers of the moment. In all cases, I read for excitement, although the excitement can be little more than a diversion from my own sense of mortality or it can be profoundly illuminating (Middlemarch is both!).

What is your new project?

I have just completed a trilogy that follows on my Quin and Morgan series, published with Dundurn. These novels have an over-arching story that holds them together (unlike Q & M, they will need to be read in sequence), but each takes the main character to a different part of the world, while based in his high-rise overlooking Toronto Harbour. Miranda and Morgan make guest appearances. Stockholm, Vienna, Tahiti and London, are characters almost as much as Harry Lindstrom, the troubled protagonist, who was a philosophy professor turned by tragedy to being a private detective interested only in murder. I am also in the midst of what I describe as a “metaphysical thriller” trilogy set in an ominously possible post-literate Toronto.

John Moss

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
John Moss photo

John Moss

John Moss is the author of two dozen books, including Invisible Among the Ruins and Being Fiction, a collection short stories. His Quin and Morgan mysteries explore the breadth of a full life and its inevitably awkward end. Moss is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario.