Readers, I'm happy to introduce mystery author Denise M. Hartman to you today. She's sharing a bit about her writing, her new novel, Killed in Kruger, and more.
Denise's background in journalism and television production has influenced her writing style and habits, while living overseas for several years, currently in Madrid, Spain, gives Denise's imagination new sites and sounds for her mysteries on a day in and out basis. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, including having been the president of her hometown Kansas City Partners in Crime chapter. Denise has a passion for reading, books, travel, dogs, tea, and teapots not necessarily in that order.
Welcome, Denise. Please tell us about your current release, Killed in Kruger.
Tabitha Krans arrives to discover the veldt of South Africa’s Kruger Park seems to have swallowed up Uncle Phillip. Tabitha’s afraid her writing career has disappeared along with him and dire things lie in wait for her as her mother had predicted. Uncle Phillip’s connections are her only link to travel writing and his photos are crucial. When he turns up dead, she wants the truth. Dead men don’t speak but photos Phillip took evoke strange reactions in park authorities. Her nosing around turns up suspicions of human trafficking, poaching and covert investigations but not many answers. South Africa holds dark secrets and deep beauty but it doesn’t want to give Tabitha the truth. She keeps prying until someone believes she’s a threat in need of elimination.
What inspired you to write this book?
In 1997, I got a job with a nature photographer doing writing and graphics. He was a college president before he retired to do photography and loved challenging me to expand my horizons. When he went to do a photo safari for 16 weeks all over the southern tip of Africa, he challenged me to come during some part of that trip. I did and we photo safari-ed Kruger National Park in South Africa and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. It was a wonderful experience. I’d done a ton of research setting him up for the trip and out of all that came this book. However, both of us came back from the trip alive .
What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I’m really enjoying a character named Blanche Binkley. She is the protagonist in my Work In Progress tentatively titled Nosy Neighbors for release next year. I’m liking Blanche so much I’m thinking of making her into a series instead of a stand-alone book. She certainly gets herself into lots of tricky situations in Florida with neighbors, the police, and a human trafficking ring. It adds up to a good story.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I loved the mystery stories of childhood and in the 5th grade a group of us were challenged to write a play and perform it. We wrote a murder mystery and I knew that’swhat I wanted to do with my life. I studied communications and worked as a reporter straight out of college, so that’s the first time in my life it was a paying gig for me. When my short stories started getting published the last 10 years, I finally grasped that I could be an “author” as well as a “writer.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Well, yes and no. All my jobs since college have involved writing in some capacity. So in a way I write full time, but fiction has to wait for the evening hours and weekends right now. My day job at the moment is as a script writer and production manager/producer for short films for a non-profit group. I’m living in Spain and in the summer it is very hot when I get home from work. Too hot to cook or exercise, so I sit under a hot laptop and write until the sun gets low enough on the horizon to do something else.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I feel like I need to write 1,000 words when I sit down and I like it when my chapters are 800-1200 words. It’s short actually but it feels like it keeps things moving. Once I’ve written 1,000 I might stop for the day unless I’m on a roll. I’m disappointed if I don’t get to 1,000 – sometimes it’s been several hours but between research and figuring out the story arc I just couldn’t move faster that day.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Up until 5th grade, I thought I wanted to be a hairdresser which if you knew my hair habits would make you laugh.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I just lost a friend to cancer in July. A young friend. He had lived life fully – he had practiced his art (painting) even though it meant doing it on the weekends late at night. I’m so proud of that and the inspiration he gave me to pursue writing novels which has been my big dream. I encourage you to take a baby step toward a dream you have, whatever that might be. I have never regretted my efforts and you won’t either.
Thanks for visiting, Denise. Keep us updated on your WIP, especially when they are released!
Readers, here's the direct Amazon link for Killed in Kruger.