Monday, January 14, 2013

Cin Eric, Baker Street Inquisitor

AUTHOR: Cin Eric
BOOK TITLE: Baker Street Inquisitor

Please tell us about yourself?
I’m sort of a “renaissance woman”, I suppose. I have a degree in visual art and now I’m studying science. I’m also learning to play piano by ear instead of just being a note-reader … Where writing is concerned, I love a good antihero, but I’m sick of all the first-person point-of-view stuff. I prefer what is today termed “cinematic writing”. They tell beginners to write in first-person in order to bring the reader closer to the main character, but a good writer can make a reader have a personal experience with a minor character, and no matter the point-of-view. Writers should be unboxed and given as many tools as possible for their imaginations to play with, and point-of-view is just another tool in the box. I’ve written two books. Inquisitor Blues and the sequel Baker Street Inquisitor, though both can be read as stand-alones. They are alternative history urban fantasy noir love stories (I think).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first book, Inquisitor Blues, was published.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Back when Borders still existed, and I used to haunt its alleys of dusty shelves (oh, nostalgia!), it got to the point where I could no longer find a single book I felt like reading—so I decided to write my own. Oh, and a friend of mine put the idea in my head after reading some of my other stuff.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. It lurks between the lines, but I’d prefer they grasp it themselves and in their own way.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Hmm … Many. Too many.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Raymond Chandler. His notebooks are insightful, enlightening, entertaining … And he fought his way out of the box.

What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I am reading many textbooks, and not exactly liking that I have to read them.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I love the fact that you can string words together and move people, put pictures in their heads, make all their senses hum and blaze and ache.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have too many favourite authors to list, but one I’d like to draw attention to is Will Elliott. When I read The Pilo Family Circus, I found it a) original b) couldn’t believe he got away with some of the things he got away with c) very funny.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
With each new story, I’m a better stringer.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
MuseItUp Publishing. When I first started hunting down a publisher for Inquisitor Blues a couple of years ago, I spoke to an agent in Sydney who told me that “most agents and publishers in Australia are dinosaurs, fossils” and that “Australians don’t read, they watch sport, and if they do read they buy overseas authors”, and that I should “find an overseas publisher because fantasy is dead here”. I disagree with the whole watching sport thing—I mean, I’m Australian—but I took her advice, found an overseas publisher, and followed the instructions on their site.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.


Cin Eric is an Australian urban fantasy noir writer. Her debut novel Inquisitor Blues was published by MuseItUp in 2011, and the sequel Baker Street Inquisitor was unleashed in August 2012.
Cin enjoys antiheroes (though not in a funny way), and reads poetry, urban fantasy, noir, horror, sci-fi and alternative histories. Oh, and textbooks. Many, many trying textbooks.


 “See you tomorrow,” Michael told the bus driver.

“That you will, scallywag, that you will.”

The boy stepped off the bus, shouldered his schoolbag, and took a sip from his bottle of ginger beer while the bus turned away from the kerb. A trail of rust-coloured dust wagged behind it like a tail as it rumbled off down the long empty road cutting through the bush, the fields, and meadows. It was a cold, sunny day. Michael took a dark-blue knitted beanie out of his bag, which Sonya had bought for him in Catacomba, and pulled it over his head and ears. Then, following in the bus’s direction, he set off on the fifteen-minute walk home. Five minutes later he paused in his ambling to pick up a stick and whip the weeds fringing the footpath. He sipped his ginger beer. The brown glass bottle glinted in the afternoon sun. He was thinking about the bottle, about how he was going to add it to his growing collection when he got home, so he didn’t notice the brown Datsun Bluebird sedan nosing out between the scrub and a couple of gum trees across the road until the car slowed to a creep beside him. 

Michael looked askance at the car, and kept walking.

A man in the passenger seat wound down the squeaky window, stuck a street directory out, and opened it with hairy hands and long fingernails to a pair of pages marked with a frayed red ribbon. Michael knew, from the stories Conway told him when Sonya was out of earshot, and from leafing through books in the school library, that the man was a lycanthrope and his fingernails were like a lady’s because he hadn’t clipped them after the last full moon.

The lycanthrope said, “Hello there, youngster. Can you help me and my girlfriend here find Cave Inn Lane?”

Sonya had drilled Michael on stranger danger. He shook his head at the man, thwacked a clump of dandelions with his stick, and quickened his pace to a speed-walk.

The Datsun kept up.

“Hasn’t your mother taught you any manners? Be a good boy and help a bloke out.” The lycanthrope’s hooked fingernail stabbed at something on the map, the car all the time creeping alongside the boy, tyres crackling the grit of the road. “You live in these parts don’t you? We’re not from around here.”

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Michael mumbled, scowling at his own skinny shadow sliding over the ground ahead of him. “Don’t know where that lane is anyway. Told you so.”

“My name’s Rea,” the driver called out. “Lucy Rea—and my mate here’s Wally. Tell us yours and we won’t be strangers anymore, eh?”

Michael pretended not to hear her. He didn’t like her pretend-cheerful voice.

“Youngster, hey, youngster,” said Wally. “You look mighty familiar to me. I reckon I’m a mate of your dad’s. He wouldn’t happen to be the Grand Inquisitor down in Sydney, now, would he?”
Michael stopped and turned his face to the car, squinting at it in the harsh cold sun. “You’re a werewolf,” he said, deliberately using his father’s word over the preferred “lycanthrope.”


“So you can’t be a mate of my dad’s.”

Wally closed the street directory, pulled it back into the shadowy Datsun, and replaced it with a snub-nosed revolver that he pointed at him. “Yeah, thought I sniffed a resemblance.” His thumb cocked the hammer. “You look a lot like His esteemed Eminence Conway Cave.” In the lycanthrope’s hairy fist the revolver twitched toward the car’s back door. “Get in, and don’t try anything clever, buggerlugs, or I’ll blow your brains out.”

Michael’s stick and ginger beer fell out of his hands. The bottle thudded against the footpath, leaking frothing liquid into the dirt around his school shoes. His teeth began to chatter, and his hands, hanging numb and limp at his sides, shook uncontrollably as he stared down the stubby barrel of the gun.

In,” the werewolf barked.

Michael couldn’t make himself move, even though his brain was screaming at him to run, to fall back into the scrub and cut through the bush to his property—never mind the killer snakes and spiders.

“Get him,” said Rea. “Little bastard’s wetting himself.”

Chapter Three
Sonya Romney rushed between the two gargoyle guards into the coldly ultraviolet lobby of the Holy Office, tried to take the lift straight up to the Grand Inquisitor’s penthouse, but was thwarted by a young apprentice inquisitor.

“Madam, ah, madam.” The bulletproof glass door snapped against the wall when the apprentice bolted out of his cubicle, skidding across the marble floor toward her, the snow-white hood of his black robe billowing from his shoulders. “You can’t just go where you please around here. You’ll have to come with me to reception and sign the visitors’ book first, explain the nature of your visit.”

“I need to see Conway Cave immediately.”

The apprentice’s sparse blond eyebrows sprang up to his hairline before plunging into a scowl. “Well, His Eminence doesn’t allow walk-ins. You need to make an appointment.”

“I don’t need an appointment. Just tell him Sonya Romney is here.”


  1. 'make all their senses hum, blaze and ache' I love it:)

    Hi Cin,

    Great interview and intriguing excerpt. Fresh and different! I find it interesting that fantasy is dead in Australia. Why I wonder? Seems like a good story is loved inherently by most people, no matter where they live. But I'm glad you found Muse It Up, because there are good writers all over the world, after all.

    Cheers, Sara

    1. Cin is having trouble posting. This is what she replied:

      Hi Sara, the internet ate my first reply, so here goes again. I don't think fantasy is dead in Australia--that was just one agent's opinion, but she's pretty well know so I decided to listen. Though it isn't as well-known everywhere else as it should be.

      > Seems like a good story is loved inherently by most people, no matter where they live.

      Yes, I sometimes wonder about all the great stories I'm missing out on because they haven't been translated. For example, I feel lucky to have experienced Murakami.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, and especially the excerpt.