Interview with Craig Stephen Copland, Author of The Adventure of the Devilish Footnote
10 Nov 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, The Adventure of the Devilish Footnote?
This mystery is the 43rd in the series of New Sherlock Holmes Mysteries written by Craig Stephen Copland. Like all the earlier mystery stories this one is set in the time and place of the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle and make use of the same famous characters of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and has them solving mysteries in Late-Victorian and Edwardian London.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I am greatly indebted to my high school English teachers who were not only inspiring but also encouraged me as a reader and writer. As a result, I became an English major at the University of Toronto (class of ’72). I only began writing fiction in 2014 and did so as a result of a contest held by the Sherlock Holmes Society of Canada. The object of the contest was the writing of a new Sherlock Holmes stories. I entered, and won. In doing so, I discovered a wonderful occupation to pursue during my years of retirement.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
The Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, Don Quixote, Lost Horizon (James Hilton) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemingway)
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Shirley Hazzard, author of The Great Fire. Her skill in crafting words, sentences, and paragraphs is stunning. I would ask her about how she goes about selecting her words, images, and figures of speech as she writes and re-writes.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Learning. Not only do I have to do significant research before starting a new book, I also try to keep learning more and more about being a better writer.
What is a typical day like for you?
6:00 – 7:00 gym. I do not go to the gym daily because I like it or want to. I go because I am too vain to allow myself to get fat, and, now that I am 70, really wanting to keep my body healthy and vigorous for as long as I can.
Mornings: emails, scanning news, social media, reading background material for research on current novel, goofing off.
Afternoons: I am an afternoon and evening writer. So after lunch, I either work on novel, chapter, or scene outlines or I write.
Supper hour: I make supper and my wife does the clean up. It’s been working that way for a long time. Guess we’ll keep doing it.
Evening: either more writing, or reading, or Netflix
10:15 Nightcap with my wife and bedtime.
What scene from The Adventure of the Devilish Footnote was your favorite to write?
The most fun to write was the one in which Dr. Watson – having been widowed for several years, — was meeting a falling in love with a beautiful, brilliant, literary woman.
The most fulfilling was the second to last chapter, in which the profound care, respect and friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is tested and triumphs.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
If I have any, it the motto of my ancestral family. Benigno Numine. A rough translation might be ‘Under the blessing of Heaven.’ I consider myself to be one of the luckiest men alive and blessed beyond all I could ask or imagine. I have had and continue to have a wonderfully adventurous life, am happily married, am father to three fabulous daughters and three exceptional grandchildren. Life is good.
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