Summer Shorts - Catherine Astolfo


Ali and I

Alison was a voice. Just a voice (even before the TV show, The Voice). We’d never met in person. We were both on the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, which meets via Skype, since our members are spread all over the country. How on earth, I asked myself, could I be immediately drawn to a voice?

Yet I was. Something about the earthy, witty, honest tones made me think Ali and I could be friends. I loved that she was irreverent, unafraid to speak her mind, and really smart. Plus she could drink coffee all day long and still sleep at nights. My hero.

Suffice it to say, that when we finally met in person, we were already on the road to friendship. Social media does that these days. Recently I read that there are two schools of thought on the effects of online connections. They were talking mostly about Facebook, but I assume the results would be similar for other Internet sites. One opinion is that people become depressed, isolated and ashamed when they indulge in online socializing. On the other hand, some believe that social media is good for us, bringing together people who would not otherwise be connected, and allowing outlets for introverted folks.

For me, online socializing or meeting has so far been a good thing. Alison is a great example of someone I began to like simply by hearing her voice. Once I got to read her writing, and connect on other social media, I liked her even more. We still don’t get to see one another in person too often, but I enjoy her company immensely. I don’t have to miss her, since I can connect online.

What turned out to be even better was that I liked Alison’s writing and she liked mine. It can be awkward when that doesn’t happen, but when it does, it’s magical. Sharing the joy and the disappointment or success of the writer’s life brought us even closer, in a relatively short period of time.

Having friends in authorship is extremely rewarding. Even though our writing is quite different, it’s still like working for the same company. The rewards, the work, and the angst are very similar. Sitting in a Tim Horton’s telling Alison my writer troubles restarts my muse immediately. In my latest book, Sweet Karoline, I even have a character named Alison.

Sweet Karoline’s birth was a long and hard labour. Sometimes it’s like that. You certainly don’t end up liking your baby any less. In fact, you often like them best (just don’t tell her siblings). After four Emily Taylor mysteries, I went to a standalone. It was much more difficult than I thought, but Anne, the main character in Karoline, refused to be part of a series.  She’s quite headstrong. Fortunately I have friends like Alison who understand that kind of blockage and that sort of willful character without thinking you’ve gone insane.

Now back to getting ready for Sweet Karoline’s coming-out party. Online primarily, of course. And guess who will be there?

For all the news about and links to Catherine, visit her website: She’d love to online socialize with you, too!

Catherine Astolfo is one of my heroes too. She's not only a wonderful writer, but she's an indomitable spirit and wonderful friend... which is why I know she won't mind when I stick a promotional banner below her post. ;)