Web content manager by day. Crime fiction writer by night.
Many of us working in the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts know Marcie Whitecotton-Carroll as the Faculty’s Web Content Manager. In her spare time, Marcie writes a crime fiction series set in the U.K.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been writing fiction since I was 10. I always had a short story that I was working on, usually a mystery or a ghost story. You know what teenage girls are like.
I’ve been writing crime fiction for seven or eight years. I’ve always had an affection for the genre; when I have time to sit down and read a book, it’s usually crime fiction. There are lots of U.K. authors that I really like: Mark Billingham, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Nick Quantrill, to name a few.
When I was taking WRITE 295 with [English and creative writing professor] Tom Wharton, I had this idea for a crime fiction story. I thought “Should I do it? Should I do it? Oh, what the heck.” So I wrote a story about this one character, and they loved it.
Q: Tell me about the main character of your stories.
A: His name is Alf, and he’s a killer for hire – so he’s not a detective and he’s not a good guy. His motto is that a job’s a job, so you give him the cash and the person you want dead, and you know it’s going to be done.
In my first Alf story, he wasn’t the main character – he was just the guy hired to do the job. But then suddenly it made more sense to keep going with Alf.
Q: How many stories have you written in the “Alf Chronicles”?
A: I’ve written about 12 stories about Alf. I’ve got two self-published chapbooks and a third on the go.
The stories are all set in and around Newcastle, in the U.K. There are other characters that are consistent throughout . He’s got a sidekick, Michael, who’s kind of useless; he’s got a cat and a girlfriend and a grandmother.
All the stories have a bit of humour in them too, so they’re not completely black and depressing.
Q: Do you have a long-term plan for Alf?
Oh yeah, for sure.
In the story I’m working on right now, Alf has been arrested – not for a crime he committed, but his alibi would put him in the frame for a different crime he did commit. So how is Alf going to get out of that one, I ask you?
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