I am writing this as an excellent conference draws to a close. Left Coast Crime was in Monterey, California, at the end of a brutal Ottawa winter, it was a double plus. However, the wonderful location let to a certain amount of tiptoeing out of the hotel to explore the area. See why?
This is the town that John Steinbeck immortalized in his books, Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat. As a young reader, I loved these books. They took me to a world far removed from my small industrial city on the East Coast of Canada. From the inhabitants of the brothels to Doc, the marine biologist, the landscape and the creatures of the sea as well, everything about them was a sensory experience. I believe he changed the way I look at the world.
I was thrilled to come across a wonderful statue of John Steinbeck. It reminded me of the impact a writer can have. How wonderful to have a memorial to a man who made a difference. I enjoyed sitting at his feet. What a role model. I made a note to reread the books set in Monterey and hope to also relive the emotions they triggered in my younger reader self.
Here's my old friend John Steinbeck with my longtime friend Erika Chase!
So it was extra special, and appropriate, to find so much of contemporary Monterey paying homage to Steinbeck. Of course, the canneries have been closed and the town is clean, elegant and respectable, a haven for tourists like me. I am soaking it all up at the base of this wonderful set of sculptures set into a massive stone.
So many writers have made a difference to my world. I am grateful to them all. It's lovely to celebrate one of them here.
As Victoria Abbott, my daughter and I write the book collector mystery series. They are based on the books of the Golden Age of Detection and the writers who influenced us then.
What about you? Are there writers who made a huge difference to your younger self? Someone who changed the way you look at the world? I’d love to hear who they are! And feel free to correct anything I got wrong here.
So, over to you, my friends …