In this week’s Thursday Throng interview I am pleased to welcome Denise Hartman, a full-time journalist and freelance writer for magazines and newspapers who now lives in Spain. Denise is also a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former local chapter president. This week she is offering one of my readers the opportunity to win a free eBook copy through Smashwords which allows you to download the right version for your reading device, or a PDF version to print out if you don’t yet have an eReader
Tabitha Krans arrives to discover the veld 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.
Denise’s book has it all, both the murder and the mystery, and she blends them beautifully with vivid descriptions of the African countryside. I have often wondered what happens when someone stumbles into something they aren’t supposed to know anything about, particularly something criminal. Movies make it seem that it’s second nature to just ‘bump someone off’, but I’ve never been convinced, it all seems too ‘perfect’ if you know what I mean. However, in this novel I began to see just how things might happen in the real world if you happen to be someone nosy who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Denise’s plot is believable and enjoyable, she races along at a fast pace leaving you unsure about what will happen next and being surprised at the turns that events take. Highly recommended.
Hi Denise and as usual my first question is ‘What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?’
I’ve thought long and hard about disappearing from life several times. Not a la Agatha Christie where you turn up again on a publicity stunt or due to amnesia, but in a I’m out a here and don’t want to be found kind of way. I think a lot of people go through escape fantasies when times are hard, but also being a mystery fan I knew a lot about how to disappear and felt like I toyed with it really deeply a couple times. (Linda’s Aside: I think many people can relate to that, I know that I do)
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
Killed in Kruger is a fast, exciting novel that I couldn’t put down. Tabitha Kranz travels to Kruger National Park in South Africa to collaborate with her uncle Phillip on some wildlife articles, only to find him missing. When he turns up dead, Tabitha is left to complete the assignment alone. Encounters with exotic animals, smugglers, eccentric characters, a very different culture, and bureaucratic red tape keep the pace moving. Being young, out of her element, and too trusting keeps her in trouble and the suspense high. The characters range from charming to sly and even evil, the setting is vividly drawn, and the plot is engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it.
How did you choose a title for your book?
I love alliteration and so far all my titles have it. I’m not sure it will hold up forever because some of my short stories that are in line to be published don’t have alliteration titles. Usually a phrase, a rhythm, or a word gets stuck in my head and that becomes the title. My Work In Progress at the moment had one title and a friend mentioned it to me in an email but with different alliteration words with the same meaning, so right now I don’t know which title I like most for that one.
Where do you find your inspiration?
So often inspiration comes in the form of the common place. A phrase someone says, a glimpse of a stranger, an odd news story, funny people you meet. I draw a lot of inspiration from travel also, but have a great awareness that I cannot write from inside someone else’s culture so characters tend to be outsiders who have come for some reason.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
I am a big tea drinker. Mostly hot tea and decaf because of the quantity I drink. I’m a tea snob though. Everyone assumes “decaf” means herbal and there are few herbals I actually like. I want it black, made with clean water (never put my tea in something that held coffee, please!), and not sweet, thank you. (Linda’s Aside, I’m fond of Lady Grey, weak and milky …. )
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
I always think you could get so much done in life if you didn’t have to sleep, but I do enjoy sleeping and I’m really good at it. Sometimes too good, so for the near future anyway, it’s a habit I’ll keep.
If you could commit the perfect murder where would you hide the body?
For years, I always thought it would be great to use a brush chipper to dispose of a body, but then the scene appeared in Fargo so I feel like I can never use that now. I would add the caveat not to do the tree chipper thing in the snow – makes it obvious that a body ran through there. But it was made for great video, very vivid. I’ve also heard of a case where someone fed the body to animals. I’ve always thought alligators that are accustomed to being fed would be a good choice. So far, I haven’t had to actually put any of these into practice. (Linda’s Aside: That’s always good to hear Denise :-)
How to get a free eBook copy of Killed In Kruger
If you are a lover of crime novels and would like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Killed In Kruger for your eReader then all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to leave a comment on this interview. In about two weeks time I will use random.org to select the winner.
Where to buy the book and find out more about Denise Hartman
You can meet Denise online on her website at: denisemhartman.com, you can also join her on Twitter @DeniseMHartman and on Facebook as well at: facebook.com/pages/Denise-M-Hartman/204463622925085
If you would like to get a copy of Killed In Kruger then you can find it on Amazon in the UK and on Amazon in the US too, you’ll also find my reviews of Denise’s Book on Amazon in the US, the UK and on Goodreads too.
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not email me to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/