Former College of the Rockies student Dave Butler will soon be travelling to Toronto for a very exciting event. He will be attending the Arthur Ellis Gala at the Arts and Letters Club to find out if his first novel, Full Curl, is the winner of a prestigious Crime Writers of Canada award.
The Crime Writers of Canada is a national professional organization for mystery and crime writers. They have sponsored the Arthur Ellis Awards for Crime and Mystery Writing since 1984. Butler has been shortlisted for the ‘Unhanged Arthur for First Unpublished Crime Novel’.
Butler is looking forward to the opportunities his attendance at the event may bring. “The gala will be attended not only by crime writers but also by publishers and agents. It is a great connection to the publishing world,” he said.
Once a warden in Banff National Park, Full Curl is loosely based on events that took place during his employment there. In a departure from most crime stories, the victims in Butler’s murder mystery are trophy animals in the National Parks. The novel is set in Banff, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Spokane.
“I love the area and love the mountains and I wanted to tell a story about places I know well,” Butler said. “To be able to add an international slant on it was fun too.”
Having taken a previous Creative Writing course at College of the Rockies, Butler enrolled in a ‘Special Projects’ creative writing course offered by the College. Under the supervision of his instructor, Butler was given the structure and constructive criticism he needed to make his book a reality.
“I had this book idea in the back of my head for a few years,” he said. “The course I took at the College was the push I needed to get it down on paper. The feedback I received along the way was both frank and encouraging.”
Butler, whose day job is as the Director of Sustainability for Canadian Mountain Holidays LP, is hopeful the recognition his novel is receiving from the Crime Writers of Canada will be the push needed to get it published. He is building upon the experience he gained with Full Curl while working on his second novel, which is also crime fiction.
“I see Full Curl’s shortlisting for the Unhanged Arthur as validation that my work has some value and that it is of interest to other people,” Butler said. “I hope to use this experience, and what I learned from my instructor at the College, while working on my next novel. I now have confidence that the story will come.”
Learn more about Creative Writing courses at College of the Rockies at: cotr.ca/university