Monday, May 14, 2012


Author Alison Bruce
Please welcome today’s guest, Alison Bruce. Her latest novel, Deadly Legacy, is a fast-moving detective novel set in the near future. Today, Alison gives us an inside view of her research process for Deadly Legacy, along with a taste of the future she created for its characters.

FAST FIVE: Rather than the 140 characters we’ve grown accustomed to on Twitter, can you share with us a more detailed account of the novel and your research for Deadly Legacy?

ALISON BRUCE: The main characters came to me in a dream. Police detective turned private investigator Kate Garrett, soldier turned PI Jake Carmedy and Chief of Detectives Igor Thorsen played out a scene that I may still use in a future book. I wrote several story fragments developing their characters and adding several others, but mostly Carmedy and Garrett stayed on the back burner.

In 1995, I published, with two other partners, Women's Work: A Dayplanner and Resource for Guelph Women. I interviewed twelve women who had achieved success on their own terms. Our then police chief, Lenna Bradburn, was one of those women. We discussed the future of policing and it gave me ideas. Previously, my interest in the future was a couple of centuries ahead, specifically the 23rd Century of the Star Trek universe. Now I looked at real life projections for the next few decades and I started building the world where Carmedy and Garrett lived.

Life pushed Carmedy and Garrett onto the back burner again. My daughter was born. Even though we were a one-publication publishing company, Women's Work was never done. By the time one edition was complete, it was time to start the next. My mother, sister and father were all diagnosed with various forms of cancer within a month. My mother died within the year. My sister needed care on and off until she died in 2003. My father recovered from the cancer but had a stroke and multiple heart attacks. Then I was in a car accident.

I was strapped to a backboard (which turned out to be unnecessary thank heavens) giving my report to a pleasant looking OPP officer. After he had asked me all his questions, he inquired if there was anything I wanted to know. "Yes," I said. "Can you put me in contact with someone I could interview about police work for a book I'm writing?"

He gave me a contact -- who was amazing. He not only filled in a lot of gaps, he questioned some basic assumptions I had made about Carmedy and Garrett. In my future, private investigators can acquire further licensing to work with the police as consulting detectives. He couldn't see that happening, or if it did, most cops would hate it. I hadn't considered that aspect of police culture.

A retired police detective who does consult for police services, gave me a way to reconcile the problem. Setting my story in the future, albeit the near future, also helped. Like any SF author, I'm not saying my projection of the future WILL come to pass, but if it did, this is how it would look.

FAST FIVE: Alison, in describing your research process, you illustrate the important role that writing plays in your life. For your protagonist, is “the job” the most important part of her life?

ALISON BRUCE: Kate Garrett was brought up to be a detective. Her family tree is littered with police officers. Her father, Joe Garrett, was a great cop who became a respected private investigator and consulting detective. He gave her crime puzzles to solve and made her a financial partner in his business. Kate followed in her father's footsteps and has just made detective when her father dies. She feels that she is obligated to take her father's place in his business. Joe's legacy is Kate's burden.

FAST FIVE: The Mystery/Suspense genre is the focus of Fast Five interviews, but what unique twist makes your novel stand out?

ALISON BRUCE: The near-future setting is one of the unique aspects of Deadly Legacy. It's the Dirty Thirties projected forward. The City is surrounded by shantytowns built out of the refuse of our disposable economy. CSI-like forensic labs are a reality. Swing-era styles are the latest retro-chic and abayas and veils are commonly worn on the streets, regardless of religion, as protection from UV radiation.

FAST FIVE: How does your main character’s profession draw her into suspenseful situations, (murder, for instance?)

ALISON BRUCE: Kate is a violent crimes detective at the opening of the book. The apparently accidental death of her father pulls her into a second - then third - case of murder.

Jake was investigating an arson case for the first murder victim. He is brought into the police case as a consultant. Because Igor Thorsen and Joe Garrett were best friends, Garrett Investigations has a good relationship with the police.

FAST FIVE: Is this book part of a series, and are you working on a sequel?

ALISON BRUCE: The second book in the series in underway and a third is plotted out. Although the murders are solved at the end of Deadly Legacy, Kate still has major decisions to make about her career and her new business partner, Jake Carmedy.

FAST FIVE: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit today, Alison. This last isn't a Fast Five question, more an “if/then” scenario: If Paris is not an option, then where would you most like to spend your time writing and why.

ALISON BRUCE: Give me a laptop, a cafe table near an electrical outlet, and a caffeinated beverage and I'm happy. Put that table under an umbrella on a patio overlooking a large body of water, and I'm in heaven.

For more information about Deadly Legacy and Alison Bruce, please visit these links:

Amazon Kindle edition of Deadly Legacy:

Twitter: @alisonebruce
Under A Texas Star is available at


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi Gail! Thanks for having me on your blog. Just got the news. Deadly Legacy is now available in paperback on

  3. Great news Alison! Sometimes I forget that not everyone likes reading from an ereader!

  4. So true, Alison. I am one that likes a book-book. Enjoyed reading this post. Always fascinated by where writers get their ideas.


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