Interview with Vicki Delany

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Interview with Vicki Delany

Posted on January 2 by Vicki Delany
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To start off the new year I interviewed Vicki Delany author of the famous Klondike Mystery series. Vicki tells me about the latest book in the series Gold Web, the research that went into writing it, and what she's starting 2014 off reading!

Caitlyn: Tell us about your book.

Vicki: Gold Web is the fourth in the Klondike Mystery Series set in Dawson City in July 1898, the height of the great Klondike Gold Rush. Like the three previous books in the series, Gold Digger, Gold Fever, and Gold Mountain, Gold Web follows the adventures of Fiona McGillivray, owner of the Savoy Saloon and Dance Hall, a woman with a mysterious past, her twelve year old son Angus, Corporal Richard Sterling of the NWMP and a wild assortment of dancers and musicians, croupiers and bartenders, prostitutes and madams without hearts of gold, miners and shopkeepers, gentleman and layabouts, and businessmen both respectable and shady.

In this book international intrigue abounds: American spies, delusional Russian aristocrats, Canadian undercover agents, English adventurers, Scottish Jacobites, and Irish Fenien remnants, all jostling for control of this wild new Territory.

Caitlyn: How did you come up with the title?

Vicki: As in all the rest of the series, the first word of the title is Gold.  I might have boxed myself into a bit of a corner when I decided to use the word gold in every title, but so far I haven’t run out of ideas.  It wasn’t intentional, but when I realized that the first letter of the second word in the previous books are in alphabetical order: Digger, Fever, Mountain, then I decided this one had to follow the pattern. The plot attempts to unravel a web of deception as everyone tries to convince everyone else they’re something they are not, so Gold Web was a natural.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?

Vicki: For a historical novel there are two types of research:  What’s there now, and what was there then.

For the first part, I went this spring to Whitehorse and Dawson City with my friend and fellow author Barbara Fradkin on a book tour. Of course the place is nothing at all like it was then. Dawson City is a small town of 8,000 residents, full of tour buses, not the teeming city of 30,000 people and two public privies it was back in 1898. But the mountains are the same, and the light at midnight, and the Yukon and Klondike Rivers still meet at Dawson City.  That feeling of place, particularly for a town that’s still pretty much on its own in the centre of the wilderness, is important for creating a realistic setting for the books.

As for the history, The Klondike Gold Rush is very easy to research.  There’s such a wealth of information available, and what’s really nice for a historical period – photographs, lots and lots of photographs.  I want to have the history as accurate as possible, so I do a fair amount of reading on the subject.  The definitive book is probably Pierre Berton’s Klondike, the Last Great Gold Rush, and the accompanying book, The Klondike Quest, A Photographic
Essay.  Plus many, many others.  I have included a bibliography in the back of Gold
Web listing other books for those interested in reading more.

Not wanting to waste good research, I blog regularly about interesting things I’ve learned, along with wonderful pictures, at my personal blog, One Woman Crime Wave.

Caitlyn: Describe your ideal writing environment.

Vicki: In my house, I have a separate room devoted to my office, with a big laptop computer.  I don’t write there.  I’ve made myself a small stand-up working area.  I write on a netbook, not my main computer, every morning on the half-wall between my kitchen and dining room. And I love it. I find that not only is the 3.5 – 4 hours of standing good for my health and my legs and back, but that it’s good for the creativity as well.

When I lift my head to think, instead of shifting in my chair and then hitting the Facebook or e-mail key, I take a few steps, swung my arms around and come back to it.

I’m lucky that the half-wall is at exactly the right height. I’d advise anyone to take care as to the position of the computer to try this. Too low and your back will feel it. Too high and you’ll strain your shoulder. You probably also want to be sure you don’t have your computer wobbling on the top of an impromptu stack of books.

In the summer though, I am more likely to be found outside, sitting at the table on the deck by the pool.

Caitlyn: What are you reading right now?

Vicki: I have just finished 47 Sorrows by Janet Kellough. The book is set in 1847 in Toronto, Kingston and  Prince Edward County (incidentally where I live) and deals with the tragedy of the tens of thousands of immigrants – most of them sick and starving – who arrived in those ports that summer. I am reminded of how much of our Canadian history is glossed over, not only in school but also in our rush to commemorate wars and battles. Right now, I’m beginning Strange Shores by Arnaldur Indridason. It’s themes of survival in the harsh Icelandic winter environment are something many Canadians can relate to.

Vicki Delany

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Vicki Delany photo

Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is a prolific and varied crime writer whose work includes standalone novels of gothic suspense, the Smith & Winters series, and the light-hearted Klondike Mysteries: Gold Mountain, Gold Digger, Gold Fever, and Gold Web. She lives in Picton, Ontario.