Interview with Author Angie Vancise

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we interviewed author Angie Vancise about her writing and her recently released book, Hidden in the Shadows, a dark, disturbing, and gripping crime thriller. (Read the review here.) Angie is a visual artist and a graduate of University of Toronto’s creative writing certificate program. She’s the winner of the Beverly Hills Book award for best cover in fiction and finalist in LGBTQ fiction.

Winner of the Beverly Hills Book award for best cover in fiction and finalist in LGBTQ fiction.

Angie Vancise, is a visual artist and a graduate of University of Toronto’s creative writing certificate program.

At a young age she saw herself writing a book. It was a dream she kept hidden from everyone until after her beloved older brother passed, then her dad, then her mom, all in the space of 3 years. All through these tragedies over the past 6 years the only thing that kept her sane was writing, and from there the semi-autobiographical novel Cry of an Osprey was born. She also painted the book’s cover.

Angie grew up in a small former shipbuilding town two hours north of Toronto, Canada, on Georgian Bay. In the early 1800s, six generations ago, the first Vancises emigrated from Holland and began farming in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment.

Angie lives there still, with her husband and daughter, five cats and two dogs. Animal Speaks, by Ted Andrews, rests next to her bed. Some of her brother’s ashes were released to fly free from Flowerpot Island, off the coast of Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, a place he had come to love.

She is now at work on two more books – one a mystery (which she has always seen herself writing) and the other a memoir.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It truly depends on the book and the subject matter, I find. My first book had very little research in the sense of content but this book, I spent hours and hours on the computer researching. Each subject I’d click on would have branches of information to follow.

How often you read?

As often as I can. I love to read. I love to be taken on a journey alongside the author.

What is your favorite childhood book?

It’s a toss-up between a book I want to call, The Diggingest Dog and Charlotte’s Web. In fact, the name of the cat in my story is called, Wilbur after, Wilbur the pig and who was a namesake of one of my cats. The Diggingest Dog,(I’m still not sure if that was the title) holds fond memories. My grandfather would read it to me when I’d spend time with him or have overnight stays. It was about a dog who loved to dig. He keeps digging despite getting into trouble all the time, until he finally digs himself into a huge hole that he can’t escape from. Don’t we all do that?

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’d say about six months but then the editing process drags that on quite a bit longer. I do have to admit that the editing process is one of my favorite parts though. As tedious and arduous as it can be, I love to see the story shape into a much better version.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Oh, without a doubt, take creative writing courses. I kept hidden that I wanted to be a writer from everyone I knew. But in hindsight, I would redo that decision, take the courses, and follow my passion. Not truly caring what my family or others might think. They ended up being extremely supportive. I wasted so much time from fear.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Believing that I am one. I remember one of the first courses that I took, the instructor said, “In order to be a writer, you must first believe that you are one. When you get up every morning, say to yourself, I am a writer until you actually believe it.”

Are you a feeler or a thinker?

I would say, 80 percent feeler, 20 percent thinker. I believe you must have the ability to think when writing a novel in order to piece it all together but feeling brings a whole other element into a story. You must take the reader on a journey, and I believe part of that journey or maybe most of it is emotional.

What inspired the premise of your book?

A photograph of a woman standing next to a tiny wooden box. That box, years later I recognized to be a small coffin.

Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma, or something else?

The photograph, mentioned in the previous question, was in my grandfather’s shoe box of family photos and when I asked him about it, just as in, Hidden In The Shadows, he didn’t want to talk about it. I never knew what happened, who the woman was or how the baby died. My grandfather was a police officer, and it was his first case. That’s the only information that I had. The photo haunted me for years and I just knew that I had to write about it. To solve the mystery behind it, even if it wasn’t what truly happened. It and the characters of the novel took me on quite the ride. Thanks, Papa, for never wanting to talk about it.


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