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Author builds own writing career

Lloyd Tosoff and his new book, written under his pen name of Liam Muir.  - Gary Nylander
Lloyd Tosoff and his new book, written under his pen name of Liam Muir.
— image credit: Gary Nylander

He’s an accountant caught up in a murder conspiracy orchestrated by the mafia in Scotland. It’s a classic case of wrong place, wrong time for Ian MacLeod—the central character of Lloyd Tosoff’s first novel.

Tosoff, who grew up in Richmond and raised his family here, recently published The Consultant under his pen name Liam Muir.

He spent four decades as a leader and executive, retiring in 2009—when he pushed himself to pursue his passion of writing.

His father Ted Tosoff was a contractor who built many schools in Richmond in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and was one of two builders to introduce the split level here, according to the younger Tosoff, who followed him into the field.

As head of Crestwood Construction, he was responsible for building Minoru Aquatic Centre’s cover in 1983 (the city now plans to demolish it once a new pool is built) and the Richmond School Board headquarters at the same time. Tosoff later took the helm of ITC Construction Group.

Now a resident of Kelowna, his first novel is self-published, available in paperback and e-book through Amazon and his own website. A sequel, Highland Imperative, is soon to be released.

His pen name, Liam Muir, is a tip of the hat to his love of all things Scottish. He also needed another name to keep his fiction separate from non-fiction. His first publication was a non-fiction title on organizational change: Oceans Beyond: In Search of the Enlightened Organization.

1. Most memorable project of your career? “The Minoru Aquatic Centre because of the unique approach to erecting a structure of its kind. As a matter of fact we earned a feature story in the Journal of Commerce as nearly the entire structure was built on the ground and erected with cranes including the wood decking. I am sad to hear that it is being torn down.”

2. What do you miss about Richmond? “Bike riding on the dike.”

3. High school memory? “Couldn’t wait to graduate.”

4. Why does organizational health interest you? “Because organizations are a metaphor for individual health on a collective scale and are often deficient in effective leadership that focuses on their only real asset which is people.”

5. Best time of the day to write? “Six a.m. to noon.”

6. Something you can’t write without? “My incessantly active imagination.”

7. Does the Ogopogo exist? “Maybe, but more likely it is an ancient mystical and mythical metaphor likely derived from indigenous peoples who were taken by the lake during crossings when squalls whipped the water into monstrous manifestations that over time turned into tales of a lake serpent.”

8. If you weren’t living in Kelowna where would you be? “Vancouver with visitation rights to an old croft in the heather clad Highlands or the Orkneys where they make the finest single malt in Scotland—Highland Park.”

9. Why pick Scotland for setting of your first novel? “Short answer: I love all things Scottish.”

10. Your book is a crime thriller. Was the construction industry as thrilling? “Actually it is an action adventure with a crime thriller and romance twist. At times the construction industry was indeed thrilling but that’s a whole other story.”

11. Is Ian MacLeod a reflection of your own personality? “Yes and no. Authors can only successfully write about what they know. I know myself, my life experience and the many forms of trouble people can get into and Ian MacLeod does not disappoint. That’s a personal guarantee.”

12. How long has writing been an interest? “Since I badly broke my shoulder in 2007. After that I began writing seriously and within a couple of years my CEO trajectory began to peak, overtaken by the writing bug.”

13. Something few people know about you? “That I am both a novelist and writer of organizational change based in the latest research in neuroscience.”

14. Your first job? “Cleaning up after dogs at a dog show. Yuk!”

15. How did you land in the construction field? “I followed in my father’s footsteps.”

16. Kindle or book? “I still like books as you get to put them in a library. However, I also have a Kindle white.”

17. A personal goal? “To sell enough books to call myself a best selling author.”

18. Biggest challenge of writing? “To not ruin my neck with bad posture.”

19. Favourite snack? “Brazil nuts.”

20. Your idea of relaxation? “Sharing a glass of chardonnay at the end of the day with my wife and Portuguese water dog.”

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