Monday, April 11, 2022


Winona Kent is an award-winning author who was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where she completed her BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

Winona’s writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power.

Her spy novel Skywatcher was a finalist in the Seal Books First Novel Competition and was published in 1989. This was followed by a sequel, The Cilla Rose Affair, and her first mystery, Cold Play, set aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.

After three time-travel romances (Persistence of MemoryIn Loving Memory and Marianne’s Memory), Winona returned to mysteries with Disturbing the Peace, a novella, in 2017 and the novel Notes on a Missing G-String in 2019, both featuring the character she first introduced in Cold Play, professional jazz musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey.

The third book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mystery series, Lost Time, was published in 2020.

Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mysteries.

Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent, a screenwriter and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. She’s currently the BC/YK/NWT rep for the Crime Writers of Canada and is also an active member of Sisters n Crime – Canada West. She recently retired from her full-time admin job at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and is now happily embracing life as a full-time author.

You can visit her website at and connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.

Can you tell us what your new book is about?

My favorite professional musician/amateur sleuth Jason Davey is on the road, standing in for his late father and touring England with his mother’s folky-pop band, Figgis Green. But when a psychic warns Jason and Mandy, his mother, they're in danger from something "dropping”, the band is plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps -- including a falling gargoyle. After Jason is attacked in Cambridge and nearly drowns while he's punting on the river, and a fire alarm in their hotel results in a theft from Mandy's room, it becomes very clear they're being targeted by someone with a serious grudge. And when the band plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that someone finally makes themselves - and their deadly intentions - known. Jason must rely on his instincts, a mysterious Instagram follower who calls herself his "guardian angel," and the ghost of a Battle of Britain airman, who may or may not share his DNA, to survive.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Jason Figgis (professional name Jason Davey) is a 50-something jazz musician with an ongoing gig at the Blue Devil Club in London’s Soho. He’s also discovered that he has quite a knack for solving mysteries—usually to do with missing people or missing items. In Ticket to Ride, he’s taken leave of absence from the Blue Devil Club in order to go on the road with Figgis Green.

Mandy Green is Jason’s mother. She’s in her mid-70s, and is one of the founding members of the folky-pop band Figgis Green, which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The other founding member was Tony Figgis, Jason’s father, who died in 1995 after being struck by lightning on a golf course. Mandy is feisty and funny and, as this is the band’s farewell tour, she’s making the most of her time on the road.

The other people in the entourage include band members Mitch Green (bass guitar), Rolly Black (drums), Beth Homewood (fiddle) and Bob Chaplin (rhythm guitar), and road crew members Beaky Johns (bus driver), Neil Sparks (lighting), Tejo (sound), Freddie (tour manager), Kato (equipment manager) and Mary and Janice from Roadworks Catering.

There is, of course, a baddie. Several baddies, in fact (spoiler alert). But I can’t tell you who they are without giving away the very unexpected ending.

Brian Richardson (my publisher) and I have created a rather clever Figgis Green website which gives you the look and feel of a real touring band. Please do drop by and visit:

Your book is set in various locations all around England  Can you tell us why you chose these locations in particular?

I needed to have the band touring England, and I needed them to be at an approximate mid-point in the actual tour. So, first of all, I created an itinerary that I thought would reflect the actual stops and venues on that kind of road trip. And then I researched hotels and venues in those locations and used that information to create fictitious places where I could have some freedom to allow weird and bad things to happen. It was essential to have the band constantly on the road so you get a feeling of disconnection and disorientation—having to get used to a new hotel room and a new performance venue every second day, travelling on a bus, never knowing what will happen next.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Usually it only takes me about a year to write a novel, but this one took a lot longer—a year and a half. I was involved in helping to care for my elderly mother when I started writing Ticket to Ride, and partway through, she passed away (aged 95). The expected and unexpected repercussions of that had an effect on my ability to concentrate on the story. But, in the end, after six drafts, I managed to get it all done.

What has been the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I think, probably, it was when I was able to retire from my full-time job (completely unrelated to writing) at the end of 2019. For decades I’d been cramming my writing into my spare time, vacations, evenings and weekends. And then, suddenly, in October 2019, I was free—and I became a full-time writer. It was what I’d yearned for, for years. It was definitely a turning point for me.

What kind of advice would you give other mystery authors?

I’ve come relatively late to the mystery genre. My previous books were spy novels, and accidental time-travel romances. Of all the genres I’ve encountered, I have to say that mystery writers are the friendliest and most accommodating and accepting people out there. Considering what we write about – murder and mayhem and some very dark themes – everyone is remarkably well-grounded. Because I still consider myself a newcomer, my only advice can be to others who may be just starting out. Work with good editors, if you can. Always be open to suggestions that will make your writing better—it’s not a criticism of you, it’s meant to help improve your story in the eyes of your readers. Keep your mind open, and always take the opportunity to learn something new. And don’t be afraid to use your imagination and the tools you have at hand. I’ve never been to most of the tour stops in Ticket to Ride. Google Maps and Google Street View are my very best friends.

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