Friday, June 3, 2022

Mystery Writers Unite! A peek into the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference by Diane Bator


The week of May 24 to May 28, I had the honor and priviledge to be a part of the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference! I'm happy to say it was all online because we had mystery writers not only from all over Canada, but from around the world! Panels that discussed True Crime, Cozy Mystery, Comedy in Mystery, Romance in Mystery, Thrillers, Short Mystery Stories... Sixteen sessions in all! WHEW!

AND everyone who registered got a great Murder She Tote bag. How cute is that?

We got to hear one on one interviews with accomplished mystery writers Maureen Jennings, Ian Rankin, Rick Mofina, Iona Whishaw, and Vicki Delaney. We were also introduced to new novels by Mike Martin (one of the organizers) as well as Mary Jane Maffini. Each had excerpts read by friends of theirs Robert Way and Terri Tomchyshyn.

Here is the link from this past conference should you want to take a peek!

Backstage at the book launch! Erik and Gavin were the amazing tech guys for the week!

I was a part of the Cozy Corner Panel and found it interesting when our moderator, Lynn McPherson, read a definition of mysteries condensed from the Bookends Literary Agency blog :

Cozy mysteries can be defined by the word used to describe them. They are cozy and everything that word conjures in your mind. Think of warm tea, comfy chairs, cuddly pets, a soft newly knitted blanket and warm, freshly baked pasteries. That's a cozy. When you read one, you feel like you're being embraced by a world you want to be in. A cozy is almost always and amateur sleuth, but an amateur sleuth isn't always cozy.

In an Amateur sleuth, a regular citizen (non-professional detective) decides to find the real killer (the hallmark of any good amateur sleuth.)

Traditional mysteries probably have the broadest definition. They can be amateur sleuths or official investigators, they can be a little darker or light and funny. What they aren't is suspense or cozy. They tend to fall somewhere in between. Typically and amateur sleuth who is not cozy will fall into the area of traditional mystery. In traditional mystery, you'll also see a faster pace and maybe a little more blood and guts, but nothing that would compare to what a suspense might offer.

By definition, my Wild Blue Mysteries walk the line between cozies and more traditional mystery. While there are detectives involved, it's usually the amateur detectives (Katie and Lucy) who dig in to help solve the mysteries.

Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) also announced the winners for the 2022 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing. Started in 1984, the annual Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence, then known as the Arthur Ellis Awards, recognizes the best in mystery, crime, and suspense fiction, and crime nonfiction by Canadian authors. The presentation of the winners can be viewed on YouTube:

One of the great questions I was asked was "is it hard to keep your books light when the theme is dark?" To answer that, I borrowed a great line from Mary Jane Maffini:  "Cozies are about people like us." In my experiende, life isn't all light or all dark. It's always in those darkest times we reach for a laugh to let in a little light. No matter which session we were in during the week, there was always laughter and smiles.

I loved listening to Vicki Delany being interviewed by Mary Jane Maffini on Saturday afternoon. Probably one of my favorite discussions of the entire week! It's always nice to hear that someone who is a world reknowned best seller writes much the way I do! She writes her first three chapters before she even thinks about some form of outline. She also writes standing up, which I have done, but I'm not as skilled with a keyboard yet to be able to do that! Training, I guess! 

When the conference was over... I have to admit, I was having withdrawals! No more videos to watch. No more writers to hang out with all afternoon...

One great perk that came out of it though, was being able to reach out to some incredible authors and say, "I saw you at the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference and..."

That's what happens when people love what they do!

Diane Bator


  1. Glad you had a great experience. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That sounds like a great conference to attend. Love the tote :)


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