Author Interview: Joan Havelange

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

I have many favourite authors in different genres. But the ideas for my mysteries stem from watching an old Agatha Christie movie on TV. I thought, what if my protagonist wasn’t as genteel or smart as Miss Marple? At that moment, the idea for my first mystery, ‘Wayward Shot,’ was born.

What part of the book was the most fun to write?

I like devising the puzzle; I like humour. And I enjoy writing the villains as much as I like writing the heroes. And I like getting the ladies in a tight spot and then figuring a way to get them out; that is plausible.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have written five whodunits. Wayward Shot, Death and Denial, The Trouble with Funerals, The Suspects. And my latest Murder Exit Stage Right. My mysteries are a series. The first one, ‘Wayward Shot,’ was the easiest to write. The ladies were learning how to investigate a murder. And they ran into many hurdles, some of their own making. But my ladies could not remain naïve. They had to grow without losing who they were. I then took my ladies to Egypt, a country I have visited. ‘Death and Denial.’ The hard part was imparting the sights and feel of Egypt for the reader and keeping the mystery foremost.

Have you ever traveled as research for your book?

Yes, I use my travels when writing a book. I’ve been very lucky to have visited many countries. To describe a place you’ve been as in ‘Death and Denial.’ I think the sights and the feel of the country rings more true if you’ve travelled to them. The Suspects’ is a bus tour murder mystery. It takes the reader through the Scandian countries and ends in Moscow.

How do you use social media as an author?

Yes, I do. You can write a great book, but if readers don’t know you are out there, you might as well leave the book in a desk drawer. My links are:

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do hear from readers, and all the comments have been very positive, which makes my day. They text sometimes and leave a message on Facebook. A writer writes their book and sends it out into the big wide world. And wonder, is anyone reading it? It’s like putting a message in a bottle, tossing it into the ocean and wondering if anyone has received the message. And it is wonderful for an author when a reader leaves a review on a book platform such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

How much research did you need to do for your book?

I’m an avid golfer, notice I said avid, not good. Anyway, ‘Wayward Shot’ is a golf-related murder. The premise is golfers don’t kill golfers. Or do they? And, of course, travel helped me with Death and Denial and The Suspects. The Trouble with Funerals is set in a small town, which I know well. And my newest mystery, Murder Exit Stage Right, released on September 1st, takes place at a drama festival. I directed little theatre for many years, which was the groundwork for this mystery. I am scheduled to write a Historical Mystery. ‘The Séance Murders.’ Set in Canada in the 1900s, this will take a lot of research. But I’m looking forward to it.

What are your favorite series or series authors?

Linwood Barclay spins a great mystery. Rhys Bowen, a cozy mystery author, also has a great series. I have many favourites. But I also like trying new authors. I’m rarely disappointed.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Never give up; watch out for vanity press, and don’t pay to be published. And edit, edit and edit again.

How do books get published?

My mysteries are published by: BWL Publishing Inc.

My link for this is:

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