Sunday, March 27, 2022

Winona Kent introduces her tenth book Ticket to Ride, a mystery that follows Figgis Green’s 50th Anniversary Tour of England!


 Popular Canadian mystery writer Winona Kent introduces her tenth book with the publication of Ticket to Ride, a mystery that follows folky-pop band Figgis Green’s 50th Anniversary Tour of England.

About Winona:

Winona Kent was born in London, England but grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and a Diploma in Writing for Film and TV from Vancouver Film School. She’s the current BC/YT/NWT Representative for the Crime Writers of Canada, and is also an active member of Sisters in Crime. She lives in New Westminster, BC. 

Tell us about your life outside of writing.

I've been writing since the mid-1970s and back in those days, it was virtually impossible to make a living in Canada as a writer unless you were Leonard Cohen or Margaret Atwood. So I decided a very long time ago that if I had to work full-time, I would never have a job that actually involved creative writing. I wanted to save my imagination for my own fiction. So I was a temporary secretary and a travel agent. I took a little break for three years while I got my MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, and then after that I went to work for Telus for about 18 years--I was in Word Processing, and then in their Learning Services area. Roundabout 2003 Telus decided to downsize and they offered me a massive amount of money to leave--so I took them up on their offer and went to Vancouver Film School so I could learn how to write screenplays. Then I went back to work--this time at my old alma mater, UBC--and I landed a job in their Department of Health Care and Epidemiology (later the School of Population and Public Health)-- where I was a program assistant looking after MSc and PhD students. I stayed there until October 2019, when I officially retired--and now I'm actually (and finally) a full time writer!

Along the way I've also indulged in some of my more imaginative passions. In 1995 I started a semi-official website for the British actor Sean Bean. It was active until 2012, when I archived it. But one of my legacies was the creation of the original "Death by Cow" list--which detailed all of the films that Sean died in. The title came from the movie The Field, where Sean's run over the edge of a cliff by a herd of cows. I was also granted a ground-breaking interview with Sean when he was in Toronto filming Don't Say a Word.

I have a few interesting hobbies. One of them is family tree research. I have a very mysterious great-grandfather whose birth record I can't find and whose parentage is quite murky. I've done the DNA test and plunged into genealogy head-first. The hero of my amateur sleuth novels, Jason Davey, shares that interest with me. My other passionate interest is the London Underground--and more specifically, abandoned Underground stations. A few of my novels and short stories have included current and abandoned stations in their plots.

Do you have a work in progress?

I’m just starting to research and outline my next Jason Davey mystery, Bad Boy It has a rather startling opening, involving The Shard in London. In fact, I’ve just got back from England. The original purpose of the trip was to scatter my mum’s ashes in her birthplace (she died in May 2021) but while I was there I took the opportunity to conduct a lot of first-hand research—which included going up The Shard and taking part in a 4 ½ hour walking tour of Soho’s Musical Venues—Soho being where Jason works, in the Blue Devil jazz club. I got some amazing ideas for the book, which will feature the return of one of my favourite all-time baddies, Arthur Braskey (from Notes on a Missing G-String).

What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?

Hands down, Ticket to Ride, my current book. It battled me every step of the way, from the outline through all six drafts. All the time I was working on the story, my mum (aged 95) was encountering health problems, which were actually to be expected in such a very ancient lady. She lived with my sister, but I was sharing care-giver duties, and twice a week I would drive from New Westminster (where I live) to North Vancouver (where they lived) to help out, to take mum for a ride in the car, to basically spend the day with her. Without wanting to sound selfish, all those journeys did have an impact on my concentration and my ability to maintain some kind of continuity with the story. As my mum’s health declined, the problem only got worse. I resorted to all kinds of outlining software to try and keep the story straight in my mind (I’m definitely a plotter, not a pantser), until, in the end, my lovely mother had to go to the hospital and, ultimately a hospice, where she died, peacefully and with nothing left unsaid. Following that, I had to help my sister with her grief, and go through a process of sorting through mum’s belongings and papers and photos, and help my sister find somewhere new to live…so it wasn’t surprising that Ticket to Ride ended up having to be put on temporary hiatus. Finally, with mum’s affairs settled and my sister in her new flat, I found I had time for myself again. It was as if a curtain had opened. The way became clear, and I was able to finish the book. I hadn’t been aware of all the things I was dealing with at the time, but my publisher, Brian Richmond (from Blue Devil Books) very kindly pointed out that my attention had been very much distracted over the previous year and a half, so it was all completely understandable.

What sort of research do you do for your work?

I'm extremely meticulous when it comes to research. I always base my stories and novels on kernels of things that I've experienced myself, but that's usually just the starting point. I love to let my imagination run wild but, because I may not have first-hand experience with what comes next, I have to resort to research. I love doing research and I am so grateful for the existence of the internet. I remember the bad old days when I'd spend days, weeks, months, in different libraries, hunting through card catalogues and microfiche and dusty old stacks of books, writing letters, making phonecalls...the internet opened up the world for me and what used to take three months now takes about 10 minutes. But I'm always conscious that there might be a reader out there who’s an expert and they’ll take issue with what I've written and say, "No! That's not right at all!" So, as a result, I will research something until there is no room for error. One of the greatest accolades I've received recently came from a couple of my writing colleagues who were both absolutely convinced, on the basis of my Jason Davey Mysteries, that I have a background in music, and that I'd either managed a rock band or toured with one. I did take formal piano lessons and music theory for four years... but as for the rest...

Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author who inspires you?

My favourite authors are Monica Dickens (who was Charles Dickens' great-grand-daughter), John Galsworthy (who wrote The Forsyte Saga) and John Le Carre (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and every other spy novel he's ever written). More recently I've been spending time with English singer Tommy Steele's autobiography, all three Call the Midwife books by Jennifer Worth (upon which the British tv series was based), Roadie: My Life On The Road With Coldplay by Matt McGinn (fascinating and extremely informative) and, believe it or not, The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit. I've seen the film a few times--it's one of my all-time favourites--but I don't remember ever reading the book, which was written for children. It's absolutely charming.

I'd have to say that Monica Dickens is the author who inspired me from a very early age. She was like me--she worked for a living, but she managed to create fiction from all of her work-life experiences. The novel that made the biggest impression on me was The Listeners, which was about the early days of The Samaritans, the original telephone help line for people in emotional distress.

Was there a person who encouraged you to write?

There were a few, actually. One was a high school Lit teacher, Sam Robinson. He recognized that I wanted to be a writer when I was 14 or 15 and actively encouraged me. This was back in the days when writers tended to succeed in spite of what we were taught in school, rather than because of it. There was very little creative in the curriculum back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was lucky that I went to a very progressive high school. Another was my Grade 12 Lit teacher, Mr. Williamson--I never did know his first name!--who actually let me write a novel for my major class project--and gave me an A+ for it when I handed it in.

Later on, when I was at university working on my BA in English, one of my instructors was Canadian writer Ken Mitchell. He taught me the basics of fiction and I'm still using a lot of his early wisdom. I also remember his favourite pet peeve: "There is no such word as gotten!"



Figgis Green is on tour! But when a fortune-teller warns of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps. After Jason is nearly killed in Cambridge and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy's hotel room, it becomes clear they're being targeted by someone with a serious grudge. And when they play a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known. Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram "guardian angel," and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.

Visit the Figgis Green website to read more about Jason and the band as they tour England.


Book 1 in the prolific author’s Jason Davey Mystery series was the novella Disturbing the Peace, in which Jason’s extracurricular activities found him tracking down a missing musician in northern Alberta.

Then, in Book 2, Notes on a Missing G-String, Jason was asked by an old friend to help investigate the theft of £10,000 from a dancer’s locker at a gentlemen’s club in London’s Soho.

And in Book 3, Lost Time, while Jason rehearsed for Figgis Green’s upcoming tour, he was asked to investigate the disappearance of a teenager from 1974.

Now, in Book 4 of the series, Ticket to Ride, Figgis Green is on the road. But when a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns them of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly unrelated mishaps. After Jason is attacked and nearly killed in Cambridge, and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy's hotel room, it becomes clear they're being targeted by someone with a serious grudge. And when Figgis Green plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known. Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram "guardian angel," and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.


“If you haven’t discovered Jason Davey yet, you’re in for a treat. Rock star, private eye, and the target of a deadly and malevolent force seemingly attached to his band’s anniversary tour like a demonic limpet. Delightful and compulsive reading!” ~ Iona Whishaw, award-winning author of the Globe and Mail bestselling Lane Winslow Mystery series.

“Ticket to Ride is a captivating and original mystery with a cast of quirky characters and a likable protagonist who entertains a belief in ghosts and guardian angels. Jason Davey proves a clever sleuth with a wicked sense of humour and a tenacity that never wavers even when confronted with increasingly life-threatening situations. Winona Kent writes with a deft hand, melding suspense and comedy in a thoroughly entertaining mix that will keep readers entranced until the very last page.” ~ Brenda Chapman, author of the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, the Anna Sweet mystery novellas, and the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for middle grade.

“It’s time to tune up the band as guitarist and amateur sleuth Jason Davey returns for another deadly ballad! Fans of music and mysteries won’t want to miss out.” A.J. Devlin, author of the award-winning “Hammerhead” Jed ex-pro wrestler turned PI mystery-comedy series.

“What a perfect character: popular jazz musician/private eye…everybody’s perfect job, right? Well, yes! Until someone with a big grudge tries to kill you! That’s when this whodunnit gets very interesting... WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?? Perfect for a tv series, because Winona Kent does what a good crime writer must do; she puts you in the room next to the characters! Write on Ms. Kent !!!” ~ Willy Ward, songwriter, vocalist and broadcaster.

“Ticket to Ride crackles and sparkles, pulling the reader along with a heady mix of mystery, mysticism, murder and music.” M.N.Grenside, author of thriller Fall Out and award-winning TV producer

Ticket to Ride is published by Winona Kent and Blue Devil Books. It’s available in e-book and paperback formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo.

Release date: March 26, 2022

For a review copy, a high-resolution image of the cover, interviews or further information, please contact Winona Kent.

Winona Kent Website:

Blue Devil Books Website:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me today, Diane! Very much appreciated.


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