The Five

Helga Bolleter

I grew up in Vienna, where I started writing at the age of eight. An illustrated detective story based on my favorite character, Pippi Longstocking. But it would take many decades until I could call myself a serious writer. It involved moving to another continent, learning a new language, graduating from university, raising a family of two boys, and a long career in labour relations and treaty negotiation. Former favorite character Pippi has been replaced by Stefan Bartok, a Hungarian rogue who works both sides of the iron curtain. Of course it takes place in Vienna, and naturally he is madly in love with a charming young Viennese woman. Like the work of my 5 writers colleagues, the manuscript is still being shopped. Ditto for my culinary mystery novel co-written with writer friend Paula.

As with many passions in life, writing too ebbs and flows. Our group of five realized we needed a tool to rekindle our former dedication. And the gauntlet was thrown: a challenge to write a novel in five months. Other brave writers have joined us in this quest and we welcome all. Brilliant or insane? Maybe a bit of both.

Joe CummingJoe Cummings

My thriller novel, Desert Rains, is still being shopped. So It’s on to a new project. A historical thriller/mystery set in 1940’s Holland. Lots of research to do on this puppy, but it could be an incredible story with a war looming, a deeply troubled detective on the verge of a breakdown, and a deeply disturbed killer determined to stop him, it could be the best story I’ve ever written.

In addition, I’m working on being the best new parent at an older age that I can be. It’s a totally new life for me. 6am Hockey practices, homework that need supervision, hanging christmas lights…

It’s an amazing time for me. So, of course, I blog about it.  Justjoe

In the meantime, here is something I must put above my computer.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Robert J. Sawyer’s addition:

 6. Start working on something else.

And hey, if you want to check out my travel blogs, cuz, you know, I write about pretty much everything and anything, look at the links below. 🙂

Travels with Mojo- Greece 

Travels with Mojo – Europe

Karalee GreerKaralee Greer

How did I go from being the owner of a large physiotherapy clinic in Vancouver to writing about murder and mayhem? Marriage, two businesses in the family and three children were the magical mix. For a few years caring for my family took precedence and we took time out to home school  our children on a sailboat in the Mediterranean for a couple of years. Then, with the enlightenment of attending the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, I became more serious about learning the craft of writing and following my passion. I met Helga and Paula there and was fortunate to be included in their writing group. As a (retired) Physiotherapist I have a good understanding of human nature, medical conditions and body parts which have helped in completing my first two “practice” novels. Now, the challenge of 5 Writers 5 novels 5 months begins!

Silk QuestoSilk Questo

I’m a second-career novelist. A late-bloomer when it comes to writing fiction. If I’d heard the oft-recounted tale of Margaret Atwood and the brain surgeon before I jumped into this, I might have paused.

That’s the story where Atwood is chatting with a brain surgeon at a cocktail party. Upon learning that she’s a writer, he confides that he’s always wanted to write and might take it up when he retires from brain surgery. Her rejoinder is to the effect that – what a coincidence! – she herself is contemplating taking up brain surgery when she retires from writing. Touché.

All to say that, although I had been writing professionally for 35 years – one of the many hats I wore as president of my graphic design and advertising agency, Malahat Group – I now know that writing fiction is an absolutely unique learning curve. It’s the work of a lifetime – as challenging as anything I’ve ever done. Truth is, my background didn’t give me as much of a head start as I’d hoped. My first career was successful and satisfying, but it didn’t leave much time for anything else. Fortunately, it didn’t completely drown out that little voice inside that kept telling me I was really supposed to have been a novelist. So … better late than never.

The good news is that I’ve also learned that writing success is measured in many ways, some personal and some public. I aim to publish, but in the process of becoming a better writer, I’m also finding my true self. Plus, I get to hang out with other wonderful writers. There’s no way to lose at this.

I live on a small farm on idyllic Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with a dozen sheep, a couple of cats and a patient husband. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m usually sailing or travelling.

Paula ThirdPaula Third

I can’t believe I’m the one who suggested this crazy caper in the first place! Why did anyone ever agree?  And now we’re doing it all over again. I must be bloomin’ certifiable. My husband says I should write a novel called A.D.D. Jones (as in Attention Deficit Disorder). A story about a woman who collects professional licenses, diplomas and certificates like a Girl Scout collects merit badges. That’s me. I’m a licensed lawyer (retired crown prosecutor) and a licensed realtor. I have the world’s most patient husband, three fantastic married step-kids, who live in three different cities, none of which we live in (though we live in two different cities). Add into the mix five grand kids under the age of five, and two poodles and you’ve got a non-stop travel schedule that sees us on the West Coast of Canada in Summer, the Palm Springs Area in Winter and all points in between and beyond most of the rest of the time. If you read my posts, you’ll see I do much of my best writing from airports.  My biggest goal in life (after getting published) is to make it to the USTA Ladies 6.0 Over 55 Doubles National Championship. A goal that will be realized in late October of this year, at which point it will be time to set some new goals, some new challenges. In the meantime, we hope you’ll consider taking up our ‘5months’ challenge, too.

7 thoughts on “The Five

  1. If Iknow you Paula, you’re the person to get this project completed. Sheer determination –that’s
    your middle name! Good luck sweet stuff. Marcia

    p.s. Should you want to change your profession, I give gardening lessons cheap.

  2. Congratulations to all 5 writers on taking this risky challenge. Your blog is entertaining and inspirational. I feel privileged to have been invited. Thank you Karalee. I am looking forward to your adventure…without any of the pressure of your 5 months! Happy writing.

  3. HI folks. I’m tagging all of you for the Look Challenge. Check out the rules at my blog Keeping it Real in West Van. ( ) Hope you all play!

  4. Helga, thanks for visiting my blog, and for following. I feel quite honoured. Well I’m always a little surprised people actually want to read what I write about, so it makes me happy to find out they do. I take it to mean I’m doing something right 🙂

    • I just now saw your comment, Alison. Thank you. I am a scatterbrained when it comes to follow up on someone’s comments, but I very much appreciate being followed. And I do enjoy following your blog. You are so generous sharing yourself with your readers. Your writing is inspirational and I learn from every one of your posts.

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