|Books by Richard Whitten Barnes||
A current blog tour has posed a number of questions about writers who have a serial character starring in a work in progress . Here is my reply:
My current manuscript is a police crime novel about a series of murders on St. Joseph Island, Ontario. It’s my third novel (of seven) set on the Island.
1 What is the name of your main character? Is she fictional or a historic person?
Andrea (Andy) Blake is a 45 year old detective for the Ontario Provincial police in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She appeared two novels ago in Bad Medicine, and appears in my recently released novel Forgotten Roots.
I invented her almost as an exercise in writing from a woman’s point of view.
2. When and where is the story set?
St. Joseph Island is just north and east of the tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My family has vacationed in the area for years. I chose it as a venue because I admired the series set on Martha’s Vineyard by Philip R. Craig, and thought St. Joe was just as interesting a place. The novel, A Scent of Almond, is set in the present, but deals with a series of poisonings over many years.
3. What should we know about her?
Andy grew up on the Island, but left for university, and never returned before having a son in a bad marriage, and a police career in Toronto and Windsor, ON. She returned to recover from a work related injury only to fall in love with – not only the Island life, but her high school sweetheart. I had no intention of using her in a series, but grew fond of her and resisted saying goodbye. Andy is a bit of a jock, having won a University of Toronto scholarship to play ice hockey (where she met her jerk of a husband).
4. What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?
Wonderful question, because this is exactly what happens in A Scent of Almond. Her love interest (in the previous two novels) surprises her by doing something slightly shady in his business. She is shocked when he tries to rationalize his behavior. Simultaneously, a new suitor appears. Andy has her moments, to be sure.
Of course her big conflict is her inability to solve the apparent motiveless poisoning that has turned out to be only the latest in a series of undetected killings over a span of many years.
5. What is her personal goal?
Hmmm. Andy, after getting her advanced degree in criminal justice, rose rapidly in the Toronto and Windsor police systems. Ultimately, however, she eschewed administrative positions to get back in the streets, where she was ultimately wounded in the line of duty. Returning to Northern Ontario freed her from the hassle of the big city. For twenty years she had kept the flame for her high school love, Grant Stacey, alive. Her goal now is to see if she can balance their relationship with her desire for independence and a career on the force.
6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
“A Scent of Almond” seemed appropriate for a book dealing with poisoning by cyanide.
7. When can we expect the book to be published?
I am still in the “polishing” phase of self-editing the manuscript. You know how that goes: you find something to fix on every re-read. Right now I’m busy promoting my historical romantic novel, Forgotten Roots, so I'll probably submit the manuscript to Wings ePress in late summer.
Please look over the other pages on this site to see if there is something for you...and thanks!