Russell, MB. author Joan Havelange has a new mystery for her fans.
“About three years ago, I took a trip to Egypt,” she explained. “And as I toured the ancient temples and viewed the fascinating artifacts from Egypt’s past, I knew there had to be a mystery for my protagonist.”
The new book; Death and Denial is a follow up to Wayward Shot (featured in Yorkton This Week in April 2019), although both books can stand alone.
“In Wayward Shot Mabel and Violet, my two protagonists were hot on the trail of a murderer. In Death and Denial, Mabel is trying to prevent one,” offered Havelange.
The author said the germ of an idea for the story came down to the simplest question a writer can ask themselves; what if?
“What if Mabel hears a murder plot and no one believes her?” asked Havelange.“Then a murder is committed, but still, no one believes her.
“Nowthe adventure begins, she has to cope with the language and culture barrier.”
Havelange said when it comes to penning her books she finds the process quite enjoyable, at least mostly enjoyable.
“Writing is the fun part. Editing is not,” she said.
“Writing is a job, the best job ever, but a job. And you have to keep to a writing schedule as much as you can. I block out chapters, of what will happen, and when. Although sometimes my characters seem to take off in a direction I had not planned.
“And I have to write to catch up. I have a bio of each character, so I don’t get confused. Trust me; you won’t remember if they have grey hair and blue eyes and hate country music.”
Interestingly, the writing process does not get easier.
“Death and Denial was harder to write; Wayward Shot was set in a small town which most people could relate to,” said Havelange.
“And the ladies were new to solving mysteries. So there was a lot of easy humour. I still wanted the humour, but the ladies had to evolve and still retain their eccentricities.”
There was also the foreign locale to work with in the new novel.
“I wanted to give the flavour of Egypt, but keep the story moving,” said Havelange. “I needed to describe the ancient wonders of Egypt without making it a travel-log.
“Mystery, humour and adventure was my main goal.”
That said there were pitfalls to avoid.
“I didn’t want the characters who were Egyptian to be stereotype,” said Havelange. “The Egyptians they met on their trip, all have different educational levels, so they speak differently. They all speak in English, of course, but each has a different way of phrasing words.”
But, Havelange said it comes back to her core characters when she thinks about the best aspect of the latest offering; “two little ladies from Saskatchewan, in a foreign land, outmaneuvering the Egyptian police, and a devious killer.”
And, in the end Havelange is happy with her new tale.
“Yes, I am happy with Death and Denial. There is a cast of tourists mixed with Arabs, unexpected twists and set against the background of the Great Pyramids, on the Giza Plateau, the Great Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings; not to forget the deadly cruise down the Nile,” she said.
Havelange said she hopes the book appeals to “those who love travel, adventure, humour and mystery.”
And a third book is in the writing stage with ‘The Trouble with Funerals’ expected to be released in December.