Mysteries author visits Diamond Willow

Having penned more than 22 books, writer Eric Wilson has a wealth of knowledge for would-be authors.

Author Eric Wilson speaks with students at Diamond Willow Middle School March 4 on being a writer.

Author Eric Wilson speaks with students at Diamond Willow Middle School March 4 on being a writer.

Having penned more than 22 books, writer Eric Wilson has a wealth of knowledge for would-be authors.

He gave students at Diamond Willow Middle School some handy tips for a well-written story. Wilson writes mystery books for young readers not unlike the Hardy Boys mysteries. As a young boy, Wilson enjoyed reading the books. “I loved those stories so much, I set up a detective agency in my house.”

But when Hardy Boys books came to Canada there were inaccuracies such as describing Vancouver as a sleepy fishing village. Wilson wanted to portray Canada and the many different areas of the country. For that reason he stays in a place sometimes for two months to get a taste for that area.

“It usually takes me eight months to write my books,” he stated.

Stories are more realistic when using actual places and life experiences but the characters usually come from his imagination. “Think about things that have happened in your own life.”

There are times people inspire him enough to become a character in his mysteries. Wilson writes ideas down to use in future stories. “Everywhere I go I carry a notebook with me.”

The key to a successful story comes with planning. Wilson sent five books over a five-year period to a publisher before anything was published. He was used to reading rejection letters that said, “Mr. Wilson, we don’t like your story. We don’t want to publish it. Goodbye.”

“I was so anxious to get a book published, I didn’t bother with planning it,” said Wilson.

That was until a publisher praised his storytelling but critiqued his overall mystery story. He took the advice to heart and set out on a train trip and put together a story before writing it.

“It was like a miracle, it actually worked,” stated Wilson.

Murder on the Canadian was his first published story, now translated into other languages such as Spanish and Japanese. Wilson’s books have also been translated into Norwegian, Portuguese, French and Italian.

Students should work closely with their teachers to develop their writing skills before they send books to a publisher, advised Wilson.

The 72-year-old author has been writing for the last 43 years and is about to publish a story called Santa Beiber, a fictional story of a teen who has a chance encounter with pop singer Justin Beiber.

Since the book is a work of fiction and says so at the beginning it is legal to write the story, explained Wilson.

Throughout his presentation Wilson asked the students questions about his talk and passed out autographed postcards for those who got the questions right.

Wilson lives in Victoria, B.C. and enjoys his experiences in Canadian communities including Nunavut, NWT.