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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Author Peter Kingsmill
The Frank Anderson Novels in the Awan Lake Series
Sunset at 20:47  and  Nobody Drowned

 

Your biography says you were a riverboat captain. Where was that?

Operating a tour boat business in Saskatoon, including on The Prairie Lily riverboat for which I served a year as the Senior Captain.

You received a Canadian Governor General’s Award... was that for your writing or for something else?

I received the Governor General’s Award for conservation in 1991, for work I did to develop an ecotourism approach to economic development – instead of resort-based development – at Redberry Lake in Saskatchewan. Ten years later that resulted in the designation by UNESCO of the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve. There is still no resort... some people may still hate me for that.

A Google search doesn’t yield anything about a place named “Awan Lake” anywhere in Canada. Where is it?

Awan Lake exists only for the protagonist and the other characters in my novels. However, readers tell me it now exists for them as well. True, if it could be found on a map, the map would be set within lake country in Ontario.

Who is Frank Anderson? Is he real, or is he your alter ego?

Neither. Frank Anderson has become one of my best friends.  He loves good coffee, beer, burgers, and boats. He admires women and is not fond of idiots of any gender. He’s certainly a much better man than I am, but I am proud to call him my friend, except that he makes me drink a lot of coffee while I write about him.

What made you decide you could – or even should – write a novel?

I have written stuff since high school and college where I was interested in poetry and film. My first job out of school was as a reporter (and soon editor) for a weekly community tabloid. Decades later I even started and ran a community weekly in Saskatchewan, which I later sold. I even wrote and recorded country and western songs for a few years. I still write for money: I serve as editor for a professional regulatory organization in Alberta.

Okay, but why a mystery novel?

I have a lot of life experience. I didn’t have to work at that – it’s something that just happens as you get older. I have a passion for smaller communities and the larger-than-life people who live in them. Travelogues and biographies aren’t particularly exciting to read as stories, so I write stories within mysteries.

Who are your favourite writers?

When I was supposed to be in the first couple of years of elementary school, I was apparently a sickly kind of a kid (asthma) and was kept out of class and home-schooled. So I learned to read and I read everything I could get my hands on – all the classics, of course, and anything about mountains, the sea and Antarctica. My library card was my most prized possession. In my early teens I read things like the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell, but I then spent a great many years reading almost nothing. More recently, my sister, my wife and my youngest daughter have supplied me with wonderful 500-page Christmas presents which I finish by late Boxing Day; some authors I particularly admire are Corban Addison, John Grisham, and Lee Childs. In limited doses, Margaret Atwood can be interesting.

The Crime Writers of Canada website shows that you are launching your second novel – Nobody Drowned – on a riverboat instead of in a bookstore. Why?

I have spent every spring over the last 20 years launching commercial boats and ships into both the South Saskatchewan River and Redberry, my home lake. Those launches have included the riverboat in Saskatoon where I have served as Captain, so why would this event be any different? I'm an "Indie" author with no ties to a bricks-and-mortar book distributor, so I'm inviting people to join me on a lovely little ship on a magnificent river!

So are these novels about boats?

No. If my protagonist Frank Anderson was a carpenter, it is likely a hammer would be in the story. If he were a trucker, a semi would feature somehow. Anderson has a boat that he uses in his business, so there is always at least one boat in the stories. I have driven semis, and I have assembled two-by-fours, but I do boats better, so I always have a way to connect with Frank and understand where he is coming from. (Along with the beer, of course!)

“Nobody Drowned” is sort of a weird title. Can you explain a bit about that?

The book never does explain that. It doesn’t have to.