Today Sigrid Macdonald author of the mystery novel, Finding Lisa, is joining us at Ascroft, eh? to talk about the Canadian setting for the book.
Welcome Sigrid. I’ll turn the floor over to you:
Thank you for having me on your blog, Dianne. Much appreciated.
I understand that you are a Canadian writer living in the UK. My novel, Finding Lisa, takes place in Ottawa, Ontario. I chose Ottawa for many reasons. First, I lived in Ottawa for almost 30 years. Second, I grew up in New Jersey and am currently residing in Florida. It is mind-boggling to me how many times I tell Americans that I lived in Ottawa, and they have never heard of it. They can’t spell it, they don’t know what province it’s in, and they have no clue that Ottawa is the capital of Canada.
This is shocking. Ottawa is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. It is large enough so that you can partake of any kind of culture from jazz concerts to musicals to university lectures to trivia nights at the pub, but unlike Toronto or Manhattan, it is small enough to be affordable; have much greenery preserved by the government in the middle of the city; as well as beautiful monuments; and a beautiful canal, which in winter, becomes the world’s largest and second-longest skating rink and was initially built on the backs of Irish labor.
Ah, but can there be any crime or mystery in such a delightful city? Of course, because cities are populated by people, some of whom do bad things. Finding Lisa is the story of two best friends. It opens in downtown Ottawa where the women are at the ByTowne Theatre seeing a documentary about a prominent architect. They go across the street to Nate’s Deli, which has photos on the wall of famous Canadians who have eaten there, such as Keifer Sutherland from the hit TV shows 24 and Designated Survivor. Sutherland actually dropped out of a Catholic boarding school in Ottawa at the age of fifteen. He was born in England to Canadian parents and was part of what we Canadians like to call the brain drain – talented people who leave Canada in pursuit of fame and move to the US.
In Finding Lisa, one of the women disappears after the night out at the movies, and the other launches a search party to find her in conjunction with the police. I made several visits to the police station to discover the proper procedure in such circumstances, just as I visited a pool hall on a number of occasions because I have a scene where my protagonist is shooting pool with a young guy she has a crush on, and she is ridiculously bad at the game. While they are playing pool and my character is losing, crowds are crouching around screens at the bar, drinking Labatt Blue and eagerly watching the hockey playoffs. What could be more Canadian?
I hope that in addition to enjoying the mystery aspect of my story, readers will also learn about Ottawa and want to visit there one day. It is truly a spectacular city, especially if you are not are not kidnapped or have not gone missing!
Thanks for telling us about your novel and Ottawa, Sigrid. I’m originally from Toronto though I’ve now lived in Northern Ireland for 30 years. I’ve visited Ottawa several times and I have fond memories from my childhood of skating on the canal in Ottawa. I look forward to reading Finding Lisa.
Sigrid Macdonald will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. To enter the draw click here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3226
You can find a list of the rest of Sigrid’s tour stops here:
Why not drop by some of the stops? You’ll have a chance to enter the draw again at each stop.
Finding Lisa is available online at the following retailers:
About Sigrid Macdonald: Originally from New Jersey, Sigrid Macdonald lived for almost thirty years in Ottawa, Ontario, and currently resides in Weston, Florida. She has been a freelance writer for years. Her works have appeared in The Globe and Mail newspaper; the Women’s Freedom Network Newsletter; the American magazine Justice Denied; The Toastmaster; and the Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario Newsletter. Her first book, Getting Hip: Recovery from a Total Hip Replacement, was published in 2004. Her second book, Be Your Own Editor, followed in 2010. Although Finding Lisa is written in first person, Macdonald only resembles her character in the sense that she once had a neurotic fixation on her hair, and she has always been called by the wrong name; instead of being called Sigrid, people have called her Susan, Sharon, Astrid, Ingrid and, her personal favorite, Siri.
Macdonald is a social activist who has spent decades working on the seemingly disparate issues of women’s rights and wrongful convictions; she has worked at the Women’s Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and was a member of AIDWYC, The Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted. She owns an editing company called Book Magic. Sigrid is a public speaker and a member of Mothers against Drunk Driving, Ottawa Independent Writers, the American Association of University Women, and the Editors’ Association of Canada.