Saturday, June 6, 2009

Louise Penny

Jeri Westerson interviewed Louise Penny, the Macavity Award-winning author of A Rule Against Murder and three previous novels in the Three Pines mystery series.

Part of their dialogue:

Your first book Still Life began your Three Pines series and won the first of your many awards. When I interviewed Julia Spencer-Fleming, we discussed a certain amount of “world-building” that goes into creating a small, closed community. Even though we might be well-acquainted with small towns and it might be inspired by someplace close, there is still a lot of invention that goes into it, not just geography but people. Tell us about Three Pines and its inhabitants.

Three Pines is a tiny, bucolic village in Quebec, close to the border with Vermont. It's part French and part English, as is Quebec. And when I came to create it all my decisions were selfish. I knew it would take about a year, and the chances of getting published were tiny so the writing of the book needed to be fulfilling enough on its own. So I decided to create a community I would choose to live in, with people I would choose as friends. Since I was going to spend so much time there, I wanted to enjoy it. More than that - I wanted to love it. Wanted it to become a sort of 'safe place' - a venerable old village with stone homes and a village green, that had survived disasters, and wars, loss and sorrow, and still turned its face to the sun.

The first thing I created was the new and used bookstore, and its owner Myrna. Then the bistro, with it's open fireplaces and mullioned windows and gay owners. Sarah's bakery and Monsieur Beliveau's General Store. And the B&B. None of the stores, none of the people, were created for dramatic purposes or with the thought they'd have to be able to carry a series. It was just dumb luck. Writing under the influence of gummi bears helps too. Mind altering. Just don't try to snort them. Trust me.

How heroic does a hero need to be? And how do you define “heroic” when it comes to Inspector Gamache?

He's a man with a moral centre. A man who, while flawed, will always try to do the right thing, not the easy thing. As we know, it's...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Still Life.

My Book, The Movie: A Fatal Grace.

The Page 99 Test: The Cruelest Month.

The Page 99 Test: A Rule Against Murder.

--Marshal Zeringue