If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

An Interview witn Katherine Prairie by E. B. Davis

Explosive violence rocks Canada’s Slocan Valley after the shooting deaths of three teenagers in a bombing attempt at the Brilliant dam. A joint US-Canada military force locks down the area to protect dams critical to both countries but martial law incites more violence.

Geologist Alex Graham refuses to let politics stand in her way. She evades military patrols to slip into a restricted zone in her hunt for a silver mine to claim as her own. But her plans are derailed by an intentionally set fire that almost takes her life.

Someone wants her out of the Valley.

When Alex discovers a gunshot victim in an abandoned mine, she fears she could be next. But she’s never been one to wait for trouble to come to her and she tracks a suspicious man seen once too often in the lonely mountains.

All eyes are on the dams, but the true threat lies elsewhere.

When I read the description of Thirst by Katherine Prairie, I was unsure if I wanted to read a geopolitical thriller. But Katherine drew me into her story with rich characterization. By the end, I wanted to know what would happen next with main character, Alex Graham.

The story is presented in multiple POVs. The reader becomes acquainted with the reasoning and values of various characters. Each one is caught in their problematic roles within the larger context of Canadian-American forces protecting four dams in the Slocan Valley, an area fraught with political controversy.  

Please welcome Katherine Prairie to WWK.         E. B. Davis  

Your book is based upon fact. Explain the treaty between the US and Canada concerning the Columbia River. In the beginning of the book, I researched the treaty online. But after that, I wondered what was real and what was fiction. How much controversy occurred in Canada? Were military troops ever discharged to the area to safeguard dams?

The Columbia River Treaty is real and so are the security agreements signed by the United States and Canada that allow the military of either country to assist in civil support operations, which include hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and the effects of terrorist attacks. Each named agency, such as the Columbia River Treaty Inter-Tribal Commission or the Columbia Basin Trust, is also real. So too is current controversy over the terms in the renegotiated treaty, although to my knowledge, there have been no threats made against the dams.

What’s interesting to me is that most Canadians, myself included, have never heard about this treaty. For 50 years it has quietly existed, coming to the forefront only as the renegotiation date loomed.  Yet back in 1964 when the treaty was first signed, it was not without controversy, even though it sought to control death and economic losses from spring flooding.

It took almost twenty years and much political wrangling to negotiate this treaty, which required three dams be built in Canada. Canadians were concerned about a plan that looked like it benefited only the Americans even though Canada would financially benefit from the sale of hydroelectric power generated by the dams. But those same dams meant significant flooding along the upper reaches of the Columbia River, which destroyed farms, displaced residents and covered the ancient Sinixt villages and burial sites near Arrow Lakes, a tragic loss of important First Nation cultural artifacts.

Despite the controversy, both past and present, I can find no evidence of military troops sent in to safeguard the dams. For Thirst, I looked at the real-life situation of the Columbia River and simply asked: what if?   

What was the position of the native tribes?

Neither American Tribes nor Canadian First Nations were consulted when the Columbia River Treaty was originally negotiated, but they are pushing to be heard now. I don’t feel qualified to speak to all aspects of their position, but I can tell you that the Tribes and First Nations have long been vocal about the importance of careful environmental stewardship and they are particularly concerned about the impact of the dams, especially on salmon. 

Your setting is real, in British Columbia. Please describe the Slocan Valley, the town of Nelson, and their proximity to one another.

I added a map to Thirst because the novel relies heavily on location, but no map allows readers to truly experience a destination as beautiful as the Slocan Valley. It’s a little slice of paradise nestled in the Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia, a valley dotted with farms, small towns, rivers and lakes. It’s a popular destination for fishing, paddling, hiking and mountain climbing, but it was its fascinating history that intrigued me. There are hundreds of abandoned mines – even a ghost town – in this Valley which was at the heart of a silver rush back in the late 1800’s. It’s also long been considered a sanctuary of sorts, first for the Doukhobors and then for Vietnam draft dodgers. Add in a healthy marijuana growing culture – the Slocan is home to B.C. Bud – and you have an interesting mix!

Nelson lies barely outside the Valley, to the southeast, about 55 kilometers or 34 miles from the Canada-U.S. border. This city of about 10,000 people serves as an important economic and civic center for this remote region of British Columbia.

Alex, your main character, is a professional geologist. She is scouting locations of possible silver mines in a geopolitically sensitive area. She wants to keep her mission secret so as not to tip off other bidders. Because she has the first option to buy, would it have mattered if others knew her purpose?

Alex has the first option to buy a select group of silver claims, but this is by no means the only available land to be claimed in the Slocan Valley. There are thousands of acres of mineral claims waiting to be purchased and if even a hint of a good silver find surfaced, all available claims near the find would be snapped up quickly by other geologists and prospectors. Alex’s goal is to quietly lay claim to as much promising land as she can, accumulating enough silver for a successful mine.

As a professional geologist have you ever traveled to remote locations like Alex?

Absolutely. I spent a full summer in the Yukon, north of the 60th parallel as part of a small crew exploring for base metal deposits. We lived in tents and a helicopter ferried us into the mountains where we would hike for 10-20 kilometers a day carrying packs heavily loaded with rock samples, hammers and survival gear. It had a lasting impact on me, and I choose to make Alex Graham a mining geologist largely because I wanted to share some of that unique experience. But I’ve also been fortunate enough to travel to remote locations like Antarctica and the Arctic, and I hope to bring those experiences to my readers as well.

After losing a patient, when a second patient with the same symptoms walks into the hospital, ER doctor Eric becomes a medical sleuth. His experiences of going through mainstream procedures have frustrated him. From your research, do ER doctors often become medical sleuths?

I have a couple of good friends who are ER doctors and the one thing I know about them is how affected they are by a patient’s death. In most cases, they know they did everything they could, did everything right, but still I’ve seen them agonize over their decision, replaying their actions. I think it’s only natural – we all do it to one extent or another with decisions or actions that lead to less than successful results.

And I really believe that good doctors always advocate for their patients and they take on a fight against the system when they feel strongly that more lives might be at risk. But Eric goes a little above and beyond, in part because of events in his life that have shaped him, events that are yet to be revealed.

Alex’s office sends two junior geologists, whom she must mentor. What characteristics of Alex’s personality did you show in this relationship?

Alex is a fiercely independent risk-taker who is well-practiced at keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself. But when the two men arrive, she’s forced to rein in her actions and take fewer risks so they all come home safely. In addition, Alex is put in the uncomfortable position of having to reveal more than she’d like with these men and to depend on them for her own safety.

I was most sympathetic to Mountie Nathan Taylor, a cop in the middle of a family crisis, who must track a killer. His high school senior, Olivia, becomes involved in a radical group protesting the presence of American forces in the area and their actions, which resulted in a death of her friend. Kids get involved in political issues due to their sense of rightness, but their thinking is black and white. Is gray thinking a sign of maturity?

I think it’s more a sign of experience than maturity. There are people who go through life seeing the world as black and white, right and wrong. But the more you encounter situations that are less clear, situations with a spectrum of possible answers, all of which have something right/wrong about them, that you start to change the way you think.

Murder is wrong, but is it right to kill to protect yourself or your family? Would you slam your car into a wall killing yourself in order to avoid running down a child? This last question was posed in a recent survey and it’s surprising that 64% of people said they would kill the child rather than themselves.

The gray area is intriguing to me as an author and you’ll find Thirst peppered with situations that are less than clear-cut.

Why did you choose to write Thirst in multiple POVs?

I tried several different types of POVs when I first started the story, settling on this close-in third person from multiple perspectives because it felt right for Thirst. I want my reader to be there with me, walking in the shoes of my characters and feeling the story intensely. 

How did you find your publisher, Stonedrift Press?

I really wanted to be traditionally published. I pitched and queried agents for a few years and although I had many full manuscript requests, I didn’t get a contract. I hired a developmental editor to help polish my manuscript and with her unwavering support, I came to realize that I could publish Thirst myself. My husband and I set up our own small publishing company, Stonedrift Press and we hope to open to other authors in the future.

I liked the relationships you created. After Alex is injured, she becomes involved romantically with her ER doctor, Eric, a relationship that will continue after the book. Is Thirst the first in a series?

By the time I finished Thirst, I knew Alex Graham was coming back. There’s something about her character that fuels my imagination and I’m thrilled to be working on the second novel featuring this intrepid geologist. As for her relationship with Eric, you’ll have to wait for the next book to learn more!

For vacation, Katherine, beach or mountains?

I’m not one to laze on the beach, but I do love the ocean. So let’s say the mountains with a view of the ocean in the distance. Another one of those gray areas! 



KM Rockwood said...

This sounds fascinating!

I like to read novels with unusual settings and characters, especially where the author has the background to give us a good perspective of unusual things.

Another for my TBR pile.

Jim Jackson said...

To get EB to read something other than her favorite Cozies or Traditional Mysteries is a real feat. Best of luck with your series, Katherine.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

I have been on trip with geologists. They added very much to the understanding of the ground around us.

Katherine Prairie said...

I fell in love with geology from the first lecture because it answered so many questions about the world around me. I have to admit though, that my friends aren't so sure about hiking with me because I spend too much time looking at rocks!

Shari Randall said...

Like KM said, this sounds like one for the TBR.
Asking 'What if' is what writers do! Sounds like you have a real thriller here. The setting also sounds so rich and intriguing. I just googled Doukhobors - fascinating.
Best wishes for much success, Katherine!

Margaret Turkevich said...

I enjoy "hands on" thrillers in areas of the world I don't know much about. Looking forward to reading your book and learning more about silver mining and British Columbia.

Grace Topping said...

Congratulations, Katherine, on the publication of this book, which sounds intriguing. It sounds like an entertaining book that will teach me some new things. I love books where I learn something new.

Gloria Alden said...

Katherine, this definitely sounds like a book I would love. I like books with multiple POVs. I think they're more interesting. I also like books set in a beautiful area like you have placed yours. I took a course in geology along with a workshop, too, and I enjoyed it immensely. I didn't choose that for a career, but I'm still fascinated by stones, land formations, etc.
I've written your book down to order soon.

Katherine Prairie said...

I like stories that take me somewhere I've never been before, or introduce me to some interesting history too. I was hooked on the fascinating people and past of the Slocan Valley as soon as I started to research it, and it made the perfect setting for Thirst. I'm happy I can share this little known spot with all of you!

E. B. Davis said...

Despite what Jim says--I do read many genres and subgenres. A well-written book is the most important factor in what I assess for interviews--but of course--I mostly read traditional mystery because I love them. Thanks for the interview, Katherine, and good luck with your book!

Ellen Byron said...

Fascinating story, Katherine. And what a gorgeous area. I look forward to the book.

Michelle Willms said...

I always get annoyed when I read of situations where Tribal entities were left out of negotiations. I am really looking forward to reading your book. It sounds fascinating.