musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Write Spot: Brenda Chapman

Welcome to The Write Spot, a bi-weekly author series spotlighting the many and varied places where writers write.My guest for this sixteenth edition is Canadian author, Brenda Chapman.

Brenda has had an eclectic writing career, writing for young adults, teens, and adults, mainly in the  mystery genre.

Her first published series was the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for young adults. the Canadian Library Association shortlisted Hiding in Hawk's Creek, the second in the series, for the 2006 Book of the Year for Children award.

Her first mystery for adults called In Winter's Grip was released in 2010. The Globe and Mail called it "a fine debut for a talented writer."

Brenda currently has two adult series in the works:

The Anna Sweet novellas for adult literacy are published by Grass Roots Press in Edmonton. Three of the four books in the series were nominated for major awards, including an Arthur Ellis.

Cold Mourning, shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis award for crime novel of the year in 2014, is the first in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals series. Butterfly Kills was released last year to critical acclaim and Tumbled Graves is hot off the press this month. All are published by Dundurn Press.

A former teacher, Brenda lives in Ottawa where she now works as a senior communications advisor with the federal government.

Brenda Chapman's Write Spot

Welcome, Brenda! Tell us what makes this 'The Write Spot' for you.

Years ago, when I first began writing short stories and a mystery series for young adults, I didn't have a space of my own. I wrote at a desk in the living room where my kids also hung out watching television. In some ways, this was a good training ground for keeping me focused even with noise and interruptions. A few years later, we decided to put an addition on the house and my husband Ted suggested that we include an office for me. 

Our carpenter friend made the desk where I work and Ted built bookcases on either side of the gas fireplace. Ted also built the table that sits between the two leather chairs that I bought when I sold my first book. These chairs are where Ted and I sit at the end of our workdays to catch up and where I've spent many hours reading crime fiction or editing manuscripts. I love the view of our pine trees in the front yard that I see when I'm writing at my computer. I also like the door into the backyard where I take my laptop to write on hot summer days.

Other than your computer or laptop, what's the one thing you couldn't be without in your Write Spot?

I have a radio in my writing space that I would sorely miss. I like to listen to music while I write, finding this relaxing or motivating as the case may be. I particularly enjoy writing late into the evening on Saturday while listening to music programs on CBC.

What are you working on now?

I've been writing two mystery series for the past few years. Grass Roots Press, which is an adult literacy publisher out of Edmonton, asked me to write a series of novellas and I recently submitted the fifth. I'm awaiting the editor's changes, which should arrive any day. The second series is the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals set in Kingston, Ontario with forays into surrounding towns and cities. I've submitted the fourth manuscript to Dundurn and while I wait for the editing process to begin on this one, I've recently started work on book five. I should add that Tumbled Graves, the third in the series, was released at the end of February 2016, resulting in more publicity and marketing work in addition to the writing projects.

Just got my copy of Tumbled Graves and can't wait to dive in! Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

My books are available from most bookstores and major booksellers or directly from the publishers.

Brenda's Website:

Brenda's Blog:

Social:  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Tumbled Graves by Brenda Chapman is available now from your favourite bookseller. Publisher's Weekly says: "Richly drawn characters enhance this well-constructed, thoroughly enjoyable whodunit that will leave readers eager for the next installment."

A missing child. A dead mother. Kala Stonechild is about to discover what one betrayal can lead to.

When Adele Delaney and her daughter, Violet, go missing, Jacques Rouleau is called upon to investigate. However, struggling with the impending death of his ill ex-wife, he sends Kala Stonechild and Paul Gundersund instead. Stonechild has been trying to adapt to life as her young cousin Dawn’s guardian, and even though Gundersund has offered support, Stonechild is at risk of losing custody.

On the second day of the investigation, Adele’s body turns up, dumped on the shoulder of the highway with no sign of her daughter. Her husband, Ivo, denies any involvement with either his wife’s death or their child’s disappearance, but not everyone is convinced. As the investigation unfolds, Stonechild learns that Adele was once entangled with a Montreal biker gang and heads to Quebec to investigate further.

As Stonechild and Gundersund juggle personal troubles and a complicated, dangerous case, they find themselves piecing together a chain of disasters leading back to a single betrayal.

About The Write Spot:
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


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At 4:17 pm, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Brenda, Love the backstory behind your writing space. Best of luck with Tumbled Graves :)

At 6:50 pm, Blogger Sheila Seabrook said...

I love the fireplace in your writing space, Brenda, so delicious for those cold winter days. And the deck off your writing peaceful. Thank you for sharing!

At 6:02 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you Joanne - I'm happy you are enjoying the series.

At 6:05 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Sheila - I have some very cozy work spaces and they are peaceful spots to work. Helps with the creative process.

At 12:21 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Thanks again for visiting The Write Spot, Brenda. Your writing room is beautiful - and I have to confess, I covet your elephant lamp!

At 12:32 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

Brenda - love your writing space(s), especially the desk built just for you. One thing I love about The Write Spot is that I get to learn about new(to me!) authors. I have added a couple of your books to my "must read" list, especially as I am originally from Ottawa. Continuing good luck with your writing.

At 9:24 pm, Blogger Francoise said...

I've read several of Brenda's adult books and they are all quite good. Cold Mourning is a masterpiece and her character Kala Stonechild is positively haunting. Good luck on your writing career, Brenda! -- Francoise


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