Welcome to the tenth edition of The Write Spot, a bi-weekly author series spotlighting the many and varied places where writers write. My guest this week is Canadian author Susan McNicoll. Susan's love of words and history has been the main
focus of her writing career, which began as a reporter for the Ottawa Journal in the 1970s. I've asked Susan to tell us, in her own words, how her writing journey began.
"Out of university, I was directionless (and
certainly not a writer in any form) so I decided to work for a year and then
spend four months travelling through Europe with the belief that somehow by my
return I would have the answer. I have always been psychic and one night in the
top bunk of a youth hostel bed I woke up startled at 3:00 am with a burning
fever, drenched in sweat, and the knowledge I was a writer – was a writer, not going to become one.
Within a month of my return to Canada I was a reporter at a major newspaper."
Above all else, Susan considers herself a storyteller, whether in non-fiction, fiction or a mix of both. She is the author of The Opening Act – Canadian Theatre History
1945-1953, Jack the Ripper, British Columbia Murders, Ontario Murders, Toronto
Murders and the recent Gangster Women
and Sam Giancana. Susan currently lives in
Vancouver, Canada with her gorgeous cat Jay, named for her beloved Toronto
Susan McNicoll's Write Spot
Very pretty! (Both your muse, and your fireplace view.) What makes this the perfect "Write Spot" for you?
hard to put into words. I don't like to feel constrained or boxed in. My desk
is part of a large open living room/hallway and kitchen area with lots of
windows. This allows me to breathe emotionally which seems to inspire
creativity. In addition, both the fireplace and blue lights bring
a sense of peace.
than your computer or laptop, what's the one thing you couldn't be without in
your 'Write Spot'?
cat and my muse. (He's just nine weeks old in the photo to the left.) Without Jay, my Write Spot feels empty. He looks after me and
seems to know when I should take a break (of course this could also be because
he wants attention!). He sits tall on the table, reaches over and pats me on
the shoulder or arm, repeatedly, with increasing intensity, until I get up.
Other than Jay, a cup of tea is essential, made only with tea leaves, not bags
Jay was such an adorable kitten, and he's matured into a fine, handsome cat. I can see why you love having him around.
What are you working on now?
Publishing Ltd. in the United Kingdom has recently published two eBooks (also
to be published as paperbacks in the spring of 2016). The first, Gangster Women, tells the stories of the women who rode alongside the gangsters of
the early 1930s. You can read an excerpt here: Gangster Women. The second, Sam Giancana, is about the Sicilian-American
mobster who ruled the roost in Chicago through the 1940’s-60’s. Read an excerpt here: Sam Giancana.
Fascinating windows into criminal history, Susan! Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
come and visit me at www.susanmcnicoll.com. You can read excerpts from all
of my books. There are also my blogs on various subjects such as Chronic Pain
and Depression plus stories from my past. For lighter fare, my cat Jay also has
his own blog, Jay's Stories!
When I first became interested in the women who chose
to ride alongside the gangsters of the early 1930s, I was hoping to find one
underlying psychological reason for their choices. It turned out to be more
complicated than that. Gangster molls often greatly loved, had children with
and sometimes married their men. Some also died with them. They were a product
of the desperation rising from the Great Depression. As the exploits of gangsters
were chronicled, attention was also focused on their women as the press described
them in detail, from clothes to hair style. The public couldn't get enough.
Susan's books are available now from most eBook retailers, including:
I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's backstage photos from my favourite play, a peek into the kitchen where a chef is working her culinary magic, or simply a glimpse through an uncurtained window into a stranger's private world, there's an undeniable thrill of discovery, a sense of secrets shared. It's no surprise, then, that I'm immensely curious about where other writers do their work. I've blogged about it before in this post about my own 'write spot' and so enjoyed the comments, I was inspired to launch a regular feature here at stillpoint. Watch for The Write Spot every other Wednesday and join me as I discover the many and varied places where writers write.
stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington
Labels: author, authors, author spotlight, Canadian author, cats, Cheryl Cooke Harrington, crime, gangsters, history, nonfiction, pets, reading, research, Susan McNicoll, The Write Spot, writers, writing