Monday, September 15, 2008

An Author’s Wilderness Adventures

As promised last week, we present to you this post from Jeffrey Round author of The P-Town Murders, writing about his recent visit to the idyllic community of Turkey Point, Ontario.

Turkey Point Beach

By Jeffrey Round

I’ve been to Hollywood, I’ve been to Redwood, and now I’ve been to Turkey Point. Where, you may well ask, is that? And better yet, what was I doing there?

I’ll tell you.

Turkey Point lies 24 km south west of Port Dover on the north shore of Lake Erie. The Point is home to Ontario’s only national park with a nine-hole golf course, and an elite campground for gay men. I went to the latter. Not your everyday camping experience, it’s a set designer’s dream of fabulously decorated trailers, cabins and tents, where a tame ocelot or a pair of peacocks tut-tutting through the gardens would not be out of place.

The last weekend in August I arrived at the Point to participate in an afternoon of author readings with my recently published Cormorant novel, The P-Town Murders.

When my first novel, A Cage of Bones, was published ten years ago with an English publisher, I expected to receive invitations to read all over Canada. I didn’t get one. So when my second novel came out, I was ready. I made sure I was invited all over the map: Hollywood, Palm Springs, New Orleans, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York, among others. Every chance I got, I asked: would you like me to read?

Admittedly, I hit a few heights. So when a friend asked recently if I’d been to Turkey Point, one of my first questions was: do they host literary readings?

He didn’t know, but it was relatively easy to find out. Being a haut couture campground, there is a Turkey Point Events Committee. And yes, as it turns out, they do host readings and were happy to have me as a guest. Gay men love their sexy mysteries, culture and humour. The P-Town Murders has plenty of all three.

Among its other amenities, Turkey Point boasts a newly designed Garden of Memories, dedicated to the campground’s late-owner. With an elegant arbour and mini-Stonehenge of circular benches set beside a pond, it makes for a perfect auditorium in the wild.

Come the day, Mother Nature was at her most spectacular, end-of-summer finest. Two authors read before me, leaving me for the main event. A sizeable number of listeners turned up to hear us read. I’m thrilled to report I sold more than enough books to pay for my trip. Not only that, I’ve been invited back to read from the sequel, Death In Key West, in 2009.

While I was there soaking up local colour, I couldn’t help wondering whether anyone had ever set a mystery at Turkey Point. Apparently not. Don’t be surprised when Murder at the Point turns up at your local bookseller.

Jeffrey Round is author of The P-Town Murders: A Bradford Fairfax Murder Mystery (Cormorant Books) and A Cage of Bones. Forthcoming books include Death In Key West and The Honey Locust (2009). He was artistic director of Best Boys Productions, an independent queer theatre company, and the founding editor of The Church-Wellesley Review, Canada’s first annual journal of LGBT creative writing. His short film, My Heart Belongs To Daddy, won awards for Best Director and Best Use of Music. He has traveled the world, but currently lives in Toronto.

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