Author Interview - Vanessa Westermann
Author I draw inspiration from: Ngaio Marsh. I discovered Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn Mysteries while writing the first draft of An Excuse For Murder. Her prose is elegant and imbued with the subtle humor you might find in a comedy of manners. I love the wit and banter that’s found in Golden Age detective fiction.
Favorite place to read a book: In a Muskoka chair by the lake.
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: Thursday Next from Jasper Fforde’s Eyre Affair. I think she’d have brilliant stories to tell about her adventures as a literary detective.
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: I’ve always loved the magic of stories - escaping into another world between the pages of a book. When I was eleven, I told my mom as we were browsing a bookstore that one day my book would be on the shelves.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: This is a tricky one. A hardback is wonderful, but there’s nothing better than a tattered and well-read paperback. I use my Kindle on the go, to read galleys for review. And BBC Radio 4 classic crime audiobooks are such fun.
The last book I read: Paper Son by S.J. Rozan. In this latest addition to the series, Lydia and Bill investigate a murder in the Chinese community in the Mississippi Delta. Rozan explores the long-reaching effects of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act that led to the rise in “paper sons”. Fascinating!
Pen & paper or computer: A Parker fountain pen for notes during the planning process. A computer for writing and editing.
Book character I think I’d be best friends with: All of the characters in Sarah Caudwell’s Hilary Tamar series. In fact, I was once quite convinced that one of the anecdotes in the book was something a friend had told me in an email, rather than something I had read. It’s probably because the series is written entirely through letters. It has nothing to do with an over-active imagination - that’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
If I wasn’t an author, I’d be a: Teacher. At least that way, I’d still get to talk about books all day!
Favorite decade in fashion history: My mom, Robin Westermann, is a bespoke milliner, who specialises in using antique blocks to give a vintage twist to modern-day hats. I would have to say my favorite decade in fashion history is the 1940s, because her collection of hat blocks from that time period is wonderful. The hat in the photo is a blue velour 1940s beret by Robin Westermann Bespoke Millinery.
Place I’d most like to travel: Ireland.
My signature drink: Tea.
Favorite artist: Peter Lindbergh. I visited the From Fashion To Reality exhibition in the Kunsthalle Munich, while living in Germany, and was captivated by the way he used fashion photography as a medium for storytelling.
Number one on my bucket list: Published crime writer. So I guess I can check that one off my list…
Find more from Vanessa Westermann:
Vanessa Westermann is the author of An Excuse For Murder. Vanessa is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, and has given a talk on the evolution of women’s crime writing, at the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime.