HOK #122: Meet Brenda Chapman 

Photo courtesy of Brenda Chapman.

“I grew up in northwestern Ontario near Thunder Bay, came down to Queen’s for teacher’s college. I ended up in Ottawa for what I thought would only be the summer, but I met my husband, who owned a house in Westboro, where we have lived ever since and raised our two daughters. I was a special education teacher for quite a few years, and then went to the government in mainly communications roles through the Department of Justice and Health Canada. 

I like the neighbourhood feel of Westboro. We know our neighbours, and we have a street evening walking group. I love going to the shops around Richmond Road and Hampton Park around the river. It’s a very walkable neighbourhood. 

We are a family of curlers who curl at the Granite Curling Club on Scott Street, and my daughter is heading off to the Olympics with team Jennifer Jones, this time around Lisa Weagle. 

The pandemic has given me a lot of time to be at home in front of the computer and using my imagination. I’ve been reading a lot and I really enjoy crime fiction—police procedural most of all. I always enjoy supporting and reading local and Canadian authors. Some of them are my friends, so it’s hard to pick favourite authors. 

I am an author, a career which started with a middle-grade mystery novel I wrote called Running Scared. I wrote it when my daughters were young, got a publisher in Toronto, and that turned into a four-book series. I started getting into the adult mystery genre and recently had the Stonechild and Rouleau series which was set in Kingston. It has done quite well with seven books total. I’m just starting a new series set in Ottawa; the first book is called Blind Date: A Hunter and Tate Mystery, which will be out March 1st. I’ll be turning that into a series as well. 

In December, I learned that my Cold Mourning audiobook had come second behind Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for most borrowed audiobook in the UK library system for 2021. Cold Mourning also placed number one in Australia and New Zealand during the same time period. In addition, my second audiobook Butterfly Kills came in seventh and eighth in Australia and the UK. Publishers Weekly later reported that the Cold Mourning audiobook placed third overall in 76,000 libraries and schools in 94 countries worldwide that use OverDrive apps and services.”

It really was thrilling to realize that so many people had listened to my book around the world. It’s almost unbelievable to think that, but it’s a real lift. Authors often struggle with thinking if their work is good enough, so getting a boost like that is really heartwarming.”

Story collected by Charlie Senack.

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