Vancouver novelist Alisa Smith earlier this year found herself looking out at a scene from her newly released gangster-inspired book Speakeasy. But she had never been there before.
“Doing my reading in Nanaimo was my most exciting moment. It was in the historic downtown and it turned out that the venue for the reading was right across the street from the site of a bank that was robbed and is in the book. That was so cool. There’s still a Royal Bank on the site.”
Until she wrote Speakeasy, Smith had never heard of the Nanaimo robbery before.
“It was the biggest one in Western Canada, up to that point. It was a piece of B.C. history that had been totally forgotten,” Smith says. “I wanted to write it and make it come alive.”
Asked if she likes to dig through old newspaper and magazines, Smith laughs.
So how did she find her novel’s