Q&A with HS Burney

Today I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for The Lake Templeton Murders. I’m sharing my Q&A with the author with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the tour and to HS Burney for answering my questions!

Have you always wanted to write?

Ever since I was a little girl! I was a voracious reader, devouring books when other kids were playing outside. Eventually, this translated into a deep desire to write my own stories. Of course, life got in the way. I started building a corporate career which derailed my writing ambitions. It’s been a joy to come back to it at this stage of life. 

What were your previous jobs? Have they helped you with your writing process?

I’ve always worked in banking. I wouldn’t say it’s directly helped with my writing process but it has exposed me to many, many people. Entrepreneurs, business people, political people, community leaders, and much more. The people I meet and the interesting situations I’ve been in all feed into the characters and stories I create.

How do you construct your characters? Do they have traits of people you know?

Absolutely! They’re an amalgamation of people I’ve met, read about, or heard about. I think all writers are influenced by their daily lives. One of the things I’ve learned is that people are complicated and multi-layered and sometimes have conflicting intentions. I try to incorporate this complexity into my characters. A one-dimensional character isn’t one I want to read about – or write about!

What does your writing process look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

When I first started writing The Lake Templeton Murders, I definitely considered myself a plotter. Being a corporate person, I like things to follow a process and system. I like having a path and a roadmap before I take off on the journey. I spent quite a bit of time in the plotting process. But one thing I quickly realized is that the story eventually takes on a life of its own. New ideas spark that you cannot ignore. If you try to steer the story back too firmly to where you expected it to be, it becomes forced and stilted. So through the writing process, I realized that you have to be comfortable with pantsing it once in a while – for the sake of the story.

Who are your favourite writers? Are you influenced by them?

I enjoy mysteries by Harlan Coben. I am also a big fan of reading psychological thrillers and horror. I really like discovering fresh new voices outside of established authors. Growing up, one of my favourite authors was Sidney Sheldon. I’ve read each of his books multiple times. I always wanted to write books that kept my reader turning the pages, desperate to find out what happens next. Sidney Sheldon also inspired me to keep my language simple and accessible. I don’t use words that would have my readers running to find a dictionary. But what he does really well is pacing. He knows exactly where to paint a vivid picture and when to ‘tell’ in the interest of moving the story along.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be and why?

Sidney Sheldon – He’s the author that shaped my early years and made me love the process of writing. His books are multi-layered, fast-paced and un-put-down-able! I will have to pick his brain – where do these stories come from? How can I become a better writer?

Queen Elizabeth – I have a huge soft spot for the queen as a female leader that has shaped world history for the past 70 years. She has seen so much and throughout it, she has remained steadfast and composed. I’m sure she has so many stories to tell – if only I could get her to open up and talk.

Freddie Mercury – I mean, he was an incredibly colourful and completely unapologetic character. I would ask him – tell him how I can be as fearless as you. 

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

I hate being stuck in lifts – it’s happened to me before! – and I would get terribly claustrophobic. So, I have to say a good book that would make me forget where I am.

Who would play the main character/s in a film version of Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi?

I’ve actually given this some thought already! My top choice is Frieda Pinto – she’s from India but she spent a vast chunk of her life in North America and so she perfectly mirrors my main character, who was born in Canada to Pakistani immigrant parents. Fati understands South Asian culture but doesn’t want to be a part of it. I also like Frieda because she takes on interesting roles. She doesn’t shill for the blockbuster parts. She’s a solid actress but she mostly flies under the radar. And she’s the right age! 

What do you like to do in your spare time?


Most of my spare time is actually taken up by writing! Having said that, I suffer from procrastination and episodes of binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime just like anyone else! In the summer, I like to explore the beautiful outdoors of British Columbia via hiking. 

What is next for you?

I am working on my next book involving Private Investigator Fati Rizvi. It’s another twisty mystery that takes Fati to a seemingly perfect but internally dysfunctional family in West Vancouver, one of the wealthiest zip codes in Canada.

Favourites:

Book? Master of the Game – Sidney Sheldon. Christine – Stephen King

Film? The Shining

Band/Singer? Queen

TV show? Dexter

Colour? Red

Place? The mountains

Biscuit? Not a big fan of biscuits! 

***

The Lake Templeton Murders is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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