KELLEY & HALL BOOK PUBLICITY
MY BOOK ADDICTION AND MORE PRESENTS…..
LESLIE HALL PINDER…..
Good morning, Leslie and welcome to My Book Addiction and More today….
MBA&M: Please tell our readers a little about Leslie Hall Pinder?
LESLIE: I grew up in Canada’s prairies. From an early age (about eleven) I started to write poems and short stories, and I found my passion. After my undergraduate degree, intending to pursue a writing career, I needed a job. I started working for the police department, thinking that I would be exposed to gritty and interesting material. That did happen, but what also occurred was I became fascinated with the legal process: the astonishingly dramatic dynamics of the courtroom, the way that the law seeks to establish the “truth”. I went to law school. In my first job at a large, prestigious firm I was told that because I was a woman, I had to enter the firm’s exclusive men’s club by way of the servants’ entrance. I went through the front door. My employment ended.
Eventually I set up my own firm with two other women and for over twenty-five years we worked for Canada’s indigenous peoples in their fight for recognition of their rights. When you come to know what happened to the native people, and the governments’ attempt to extinguish them, you want to make amends as soon as possible, using all the tools you have. But it was a difficult, and sometimes bloody struggle. We persevered case-by-case.
I was able to publish two novels while practising law. I am now writing full time. In retrospect, I realize that the law is a character in all of my books. Some protagonists in the novels seek the truth, others want to bury it. As one of them says, “The law will never be able to establish the truth but it is guaranteed to root out and expose the lies—guaranteed.”
LESLIE: I had been told by a native man about twin stone masks which were used in ritual performances in northern British Columbia, around the turn of the 20th century. One of the masks was “sighted” with eyes that would never close, and one was “blind” with eyes that would never open. I began researching these fascinating artifacts, and learned that the twins had been “collected” (ie. bought and sold) and had ended up in two different museums, the museum of civilization in Ottawa, Canada, and the Musee de l’homme in Paris. The masks were separated, and still are to this day.
I also knew knew about an expedition in 1957 which went to a remote island off the coast of Canada to remove the largest stand of totem poles in the world; they were barged about 540 miles to be housed in a museum.
After many literary adventures, I decided to write a novel about an anthropologist who, like the one who led the real expedition in 1957, cuts down the totems and brings the twin masks together. He commits suicide. I created a character, Alicia Purcell, who is obsessed with finding out why.
MBA&M: Why write suspense/inrtrigue/anthropologist?
In my legal career, anthropologists have functioned as the cultural translators between the indigenous world and the courtroom of the western world. They act as a kind of Hermes, moving between the past and the present, bringing the two together. They are the psychiatrists, not of individuals but of communities. My fascination with the work of anthropologists is summed up in Bring Me One of Everything: “To choose to enter another culture, you have to leave part of yourself behind. To do it in good faith, you end up with people’s souls.” I wanted to develop a character, Austin Hart, who took the ethical obligations of anthropology seriously — and he’s also someone who makes the esoteric and spiritual realms of indigenous peoples and their cultures understandable. Then Hart does something which sends him morally and physically “over the edge”.
Having an anthropologist at the center of the novel served an important theme. We all have a deep tendency to be collectors: of objects, memories, lost loves. The things we keep, also keep us. The collecting impulse is really a desire for the immutable—in effect, the longing for permanence and immortality.
In many ways, I’ve created Austin Hart as the standard bearer for our age: an age of acquisitiveness and greed.
MBA&M: What are the challenges in writing not only a suspense, thriller but also anthropologist?
LESLIE: Because Austin Hart killed himself many years before the main action of the novel, I needed to find a vehicle to make Austin Hart’s journey urgent, compelling (and understandable) to the reader. Rather than flashbacks, I used contemporaneous journals written by Hart. Alicia Purcell discovers Hart’s secret diaries and is led onto the same path as he, directly experiencing what he discovered about native spirituality as manifested in their art. I also use the mechanism of having other characters in the novel (who knew Austin Hart) teach Alicia the many things she needs to know about native customs.
MBA&M: How much research is required in writing a story with anthropologist?
A great deal. I read all the historical and anthropological evidence I could locate — some of it dating back to the 1850’s — to find out about these strange twin masks, and what had happened to them. I travelled to Ottawa and to Paris so that I could see these masks first hand. In Ottawa I was able to actually wear the unsighted mask for a few minutes.
I also spoke to native elders from many native nations about their communities’ experiences when the potlatch and the spirit dances were outlawed by the government.
Finally, I had one native man who became almost like a guide for me in writing the novel. His contribution was invaluable.
MBA&M: Can you tell our readers a few tidbits about you next project(s)?
LESLIE: I am working on another novel called Indulgence—Indulto—in which I go back to the courtroom in a case involving a well known actress who is charged with child abduction. The scaffolding of the novel is the bullfight as reflected in the arena of the court. For each character there is something which corresponds to the cape for the bull: distracting, the place they shouldn’t go, the thing they shouldn’t be enticed into, but they are. It delivers them into real danger.
The judge on the case is one of the main characters. He is very likable, and he gives us the access to the really difficult and troubling parts of the case. It’s quite like another mystery. It will be completed soon. After that, I’m going to join the throng of writers who are writing their memoirs—mine mainly centered on the legal work I did. The provisional title is Every Lawyer Should be Sued.
MBA&M: What does a day of writing involve for you?
LESLIE: I wake up fairly early. The day (or night) before I try not to have completed the implementation of an idea, so that in the morning I have some clue as to what I’m doing. Otherwise I face the dreaded blank screen. I have a habit of sitting at my desk and immediately getting up and going to lie down. My best ideas come when I’m prone on the couch.
I have tried every approach I can think of to the task of writing. In the first book, I had a single premise which kick-started the work. I began with the first sentence and a year later finished the last sentence. In the next one I worked from character, two of whom were massively antagonistic towards one another, and the plot unfolded from there. In the third I set out the plot on large charts, made pages and pages of notes on the characters and scene development—and scrapped it all. I haven’t a clue what works.
MBA&M: How do you decide who will be the hero/villian and who the heroine will be?
LESLIE: In this book, more than the others, I’ve learned that I must trust the process of writing—trust it blindly. If I don’t force it, the story I really want to tell will emerge. It requires a great deal of integrity (which I sometimes lack).
In every book I’ve written, I began with a firm conviction of who was the hero (heroine) and who was the bad guy. However, as the writing progressed, surprising things happen. In the first draft of Bring Me One of Everything Alicia’s mother wasn’t even mentioned in the work. A writer friend of mine read the draft and said she didn’t understand why Alicia did things. I thought: that’s easy to fix. The reader will meet her nasty mother. I wrote her in. Gradually she became one of the central characters who’s transformation in the novel is definitely from evil to good mother.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where “Bring Me One Of Everything” is available?
We’ve produced a trailer for the novel which (along with interviews and a reading from the novel) can be found at
I’m on Twitter (@lesliepinder) and Facebook.
BRING ME EVERYTHING
LESLIE HALL PINDER
Publisher:Grey Swan Press; 1st edition (February 6, 2012)
Book Description(from Amazon)
*Sponsored by the author*
We are offering 1 luck commenter a print copy of “BRING ME EVERYTHING” by Leslie Hall Pinder. Open globally. Giveaway to run from today March 5 until March 12,2012. *Please remember to leave your contact email*
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!
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