Montreal-based author pens crime novel starring Cranbrook protagonist

Montreal-based, Kimberley-born writer Del Chatterson has published his first fiction novel, and though he’s been away from the Kootenays for some time, the protagonist in his book, entitled No Easy Money, comes from the Key City.

“It’s a little bit my life story,” Chatterson explained. “So the hero, I changed the name from Dell to Dale and Hunter instead of Chatterson and he’s similar from the point of view that he comes from Cranbrook not Kimberley, we went to UBC, he’s got an MBA at McGill, was in the computer business in Montreal in the 1980s and most of the rest is fiction, drama, suspense, crime, dirty dealings and of course is all imaginary.”

Chatterson grew up in Kimberley and left in 1963 for UBC, before settling in Montreal in 1970 and between there and some work in Toronto, has lived in Eastern Canada for the past 40 years. He began in engineering and then moved into business. He started doing a great deal of business writing, and over the past 20 years has been doing business writing, which has been accompanied by more writing projects.

“I’ve written lots of blogs and articles on business issues and advice for entrepreneurs so it was kind of my career professionally and I wrote two books.”

The first of his two business books was entitled The Do it Yourself Guide to Business Plans and the second was Don’t do it the Hard Way. The latter is a collection of stories exchanged between a “breakfast club” of entrepreneurs, that meet with Uncle Ralph, a pen name Chatterson created for himself within his business writing.

Eventually, Chatterson knew he wanted to make the transition into writing fiction.

“I’ve always used storytelling as a communications strategy so it was fairly easy to just continue that,” he explained, “and I thought that it would be easy to just make the stories a little bit more elaborate, add some crime, drama and suspense to make it an interesting read for fiction for a wider audience, not just necessarily entrepreneurs.”

He started by writing some short stories to test his ability to write fiction. He now has about 12 to 15 of them, and once the collection reaches 20 to 25, he will look to get it published. Chatterson said it was a challenging test at first. He attended numerous writing workshops and did lots of reading, “everything from Ernest Hemingway to Stephen King.” He also had a good editor help him work on and finish the first drafts of the novel.

No Easy Money is the story of Dale Hunter and is the first in a series of five crime novels about an entrepreneur in the computer business who gets challenged by criminal elements.

“So that’s the theme and the hidden agenda is to teach entrepreneurs a little bit,” Chatterson explained. “Some ideas and maybe some inspiration for entrepreneurs, but also to help other people understand what entrepreneurs are up against, and how they have to try not to bend the rules or break the law, but sometimes they have to fight dirty to survive.”

While the criminal element, which in this first instalment includes the Montreal Mafia, isn’t drawn from Chatterson’s real—life experience, much of the character is, from visiting suppliers in Korea and Taiwan, attending tech shows in Las Vegas and being on the cusp of the technological revolution of the 1980s.

Chatterson is also a “recovering politician.” He ran for MP in Cranbrook in 2000 for the Liberal Party.

“In the book, I can’t resist a little bit of political commentary, whether it’s the narrator or the hero or one of the other characters. It’s about the 1980s so there’s a little bit of political controversy in Montreal at that time.”

Chatterson said that in each of his novels he tries to give a little historical background and technological background, and he endeavoured to do enough research to ensure everything is accurate.

“It’s not meant to be a political message or a rant about whether it’s anti-separatist or whatever, but of course the character can’t resist commenting whether he’s complaining about the taxes or the Prime Minister or something.”

No Easy Money is available on Amazon and Indigo Online, and Lotus Books in Cranbrook has a copy available. Chatterson is also currently working with Indigo/Chapters, so our Coles bookstore may get copies soon. The follow up Simply the Best will be released in February, with the third instalment Merger Maniac arriving in June.

Chatterson also plans to finish and publish his collection of short stories and issue second editions of his two business books.

“I’ve got lots of ideas in my head it takes a while to get them all onto paper,” he said.

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