Interview with Tabi Slick, Author of The Detective’s Nightmare

18 Aug 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Detective’s Nightmare?

The Detective’s Nightmare is the sequel in my Beaumont Bros. Circus Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone. The first book was also a standalone, but I received so many messages from my readers wanting to continue the adventure that I had to oblige.

It’s about a private detective who desires order and prides himself in seeing what others cannot. But when he’s put on the case of solving a mysterious murder involving the Beaumont Bros Circus, a family of magical misfits, his whole world is turned upside down.

For this book, I drew inspiration from real-life ghost stories that people in Halifax, Nova Scotia still tell today! One such example is about Deadman’s Island, a little peninsula just outside the main city. It’s where I have the circus camp when they first arrive in Halifax. It’s said to be haunted by the soldiers who died as prisoners and buried there from the War of 1812.

Mysteriously enough, developers continued to run into roadblocks trying to build on this particular plot of land until eventually a memorial was built instead. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it was just one of the many bits of history and folklore that helped shape this story.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I remember when I was very young just being amazed once I learned how to read. I remember the feeling when I realized I could look at something written in English and just know what it said. I was flabbergasted. It felt like a superpower and I began just devouring books.

One of the earliest books series I remember reading were the Magic Attic Club books and as I got older I started delving more into darker supernatural tales and I just fell in love with it all. My love of reading is definitely what helped inspire me to become an author of my own because there were so many more adventures I wanted to go on.

Though the genres and series I read now have changed a bit, my affection towards the written word has only grown stronger.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum would definitely be number one. Ludlum wrote some of the most amazing Thrillers and how he would travel the streets before he wrote the books definitely continues to inspire me to this day.

The next book would then have to be Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the 6th in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’m a huge fan of antiheroes so I really appreciated getting to know more about Severus Snape and how he was more multidimensional than how most of the antagonists were portrayed.

This is followed by Dust and Shadow, a Sherlock Holmes retelling by Lyndsay Faye, The Guinevere Deception by Kirsten White, and last, but not least, I also have to put in the graphic novel Deadly Class written by Rick Remender. When you mostly read novels and have read a graphic novel in awhile, it becomes hard to get immersed in the story. Deadly Class is one of those where the artwork and the writing equally enhance the reading experience.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

If time travel was a possibility Robert Ludlum would be my first guest. I would want to know what it was like seeing his manuscript come to life. What he liked best and what he liked least about the whole process.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love coming up with new characters. When I start writing it always begins on the who, followed by the what, when, where, and why. But the who is most important. What are their likes? Dislikes? How do they view the world and how does this impact their decisions? How does the world view them? Discovering what their personal journey is outside of the main story is the most important thing you could possibly know. It gives a sense of intimacy with the characters which allows me to honor the character within the story.

What is a typical day like for you?

It depends on where I’m at in the writing process. If I’m in the pre-writing phase, then three days a week I start plotting in the morning followed by chores and other to-do’s with the other two business days studying and coordinating a marketing plan for the book.

If I’m finished with my writing project then I take a much needed break and split my time between my home life and marketing.

But if I’m in the writing phase then after my usual cup of coffee I’m writing eight hours a day four days a week with everything else squeezed into that one business day. Needless to say, there are some weekends where I can’t escape my work.

After work, I fix dinner for my spouse and I followed by a walk (if it’s not too hot) with our German Shepherd and Rhodesian Ridgeback baby. It’s a busy life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What scene from The Detective’s Nightmare was your favorite to write?

While there were several scenes in The Detective’s Nightmare that were a lot of fun to write, my favorite would have to be the first scene in Part I: Only on Brunswick Street. It begins at night with Barnaby Grey who’s racing down the cobbled street like he’s seen a ghost after hearing a tin flute playing in the wind, warning him that death is coming.

A fun fact about this scene is that there is an old myth in Halifax that Brunswick Street, also known as “Knock-’Em-Down street” for its rowdy bar scene, is haunted by the ghost of a young orphan who used to play the flute for change. He’s known as the Brunswick Street flutist

I always enjoy a good opening scene. It’s what sets the tone for the rest of the story and really has to draw you in. I wrote this chapter in one sitting and I remember feeling my heart racing as the words flowed onto the page. It’s an incredible feeling when that happens.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

There are several that come to mind, but if I had to choose it would have to be the quote I chose to highlight in the final book in one of my other series. It’s a quote from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, the part where she writes “Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it. It is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.”

I believe we’re all given obstacles and missions in life. Though we might try to avoid the unpleasant ones, we are doing ourselves a disservice because it’s these moments which strengthen us and pushes us to be the person we’re meant to become.

Tabi Slick is the author of the new book The Detective’s Nightmare.

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