Tuesday, April 30, 2024

What Next?


Terry here, with our question this week: As far as the business side of your own writing, what are you looking forward to in the near future? Having just had my Bahamas thriller, (pictured, Bahama Mama Cocktail) 
Perilous Waters come out on April 2, my world has been centered on doing the requisite (and enjoyable) interviews, blog posts, bookstore events, and searching for promotional opportunities. In addition, I’ve been reading books in preparation for panels at Left Coast Crime and Thrillerfest. I’ve also been reading to provide blurbs for authors whose books I enjoy. 

 All that is kind of “in the present” activity, leaving me little time for speculation about looking forward to much more than taking a deep breath. But answering this question makes me pause and consider. I’ve heard from my publisher that they are going to offer me two more contracts, but I have not actually seen the contracts. As any writer knows, until you sign on the line, it isn’t a done deal. And just between you (all of you) and me, I’m not sure I’ll be content with the same old, same old. 

I really love some things about my publisher, and I can tell they are striving to support their authors. Meanwhile, they asked when I could be done with the next two books. I hate to break it to them, but without a contract, I’m not excited to work on a new book. 

Instead, I’m tiptoeing into a different mode. I’ve had several conversations with people who have begun to try their hand at self-publishing. Some of them have left traditional publishing altogether, and others have become hybrid—remaining with their traditional publishers for some work, and going on their own for others. In both cases, most authors tell me they although it’s hard work, they make more money in the self-publishing venue than through traditional publishing. And they like the freedom it affords. One author I talked to said that he suspects in the future most authors will do a little of both. 

 I’m not prepared to jump off the cliff entirely. I like having a solid editorial staff and I have to admit the covers my publisher has come up with have been wonderful. (Wait until you see the one for the Craddock series, coming out next fall). I can do editing for myself, and can pay an editor if I think it’s necessary, but I have absolutely no eye for cover design. For sure, I’d have to farm that out. I’ve seen some terrible book covers, and I don’t want to fall into that trap. I feel like there’s a solid team working on my behalf. It comes at a price, the price of the lion’s share of proceeds going to the publisher. 

But self-publishing comes at a price, too. 

To put out a really first-class project, you have to work just as hard on the writing, and in addition you have to pay for an editor, a copyeditor, a cover designer, and someone who knows formatting. You have to decide where you want your book published and in what form—e-book only, or e-book and print. And you have to do your own promotion. But since I already do most of that myself, that’s a wash. 

 I don’t want to do anything impulsive, so when I say I’m tiptoeing into the self-publishing world, it’s just that. Trying it with one book—a book I wrote several years ago and abandoned when I began writing under contracts. It’s a book I still like. I have been revising it in what I laughingly refer to as my spare time. We’ll see what happens next. 

 As for the “near” near future, I’m going to be doing bookstore appearances in May: Here are the promo ads for them, courtesy of fellow-Minds author, Gabriel Valjean: The first is with Susan Shea:
The second is in the wonderful Book Carnival:

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Getting Down to Business

As far as the business side of your own writing, what are you looking forward to in the near future?

Brenda here.

The business side of writing is an ongoing challenge. My latest release Fatal Harvest hit the shelves April 15 with the launch at Perfect Books in Ottawa this Wednesday, May 1st. I've got several bookstore signings lined up through May and June. I've also accepted invitations to appear at events around the city. If you live in or near Ottawa, all my public events are updated on the main page of my website.

It would be great to do signings and events outside my city, and I'm hoping some invitations come my way over the summer. Book clubs are also welcome to contact me for author visits. For those far away, I can pop in via Zoom.

Social media is also part of what I consider the business end of writing. It's a way to keep books in the public eye and to broadcast upcoming events as well as to extend my reach. It takes up time to post and keep everything updated, but it would be so much harder to interact with readers without these avenues.

I'm currently deeply into writing book four in the Hunter and Tate series and plan to have the first draft completed by the end of May. While the editing will take up most of the summer, I'll also begin writing book eight in my Stonechild and Rouleau series, requested by my publisher Dundurn. These two projects will take up a lot of my time and energy. I have to admit that I'd rather be writing than working on publicity and marketing, although I look forward to meeting readers throughout the spring.

So lots going on business- and writing-wise. No moss growing on this writer!

Website: www.brendachapman.ca

Instagram, Threads & Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor

Twitter: brendaAchapman

Friday, April 26, 2024

How To VS Why To, by Josh Stallings

 Q: Do you have favorite craft sessions, or articles/books on craft that you return to for inspiration or help?

A: Craft questions often come down to how-to questions. I’ve spent much of my life thinking about creative processes in one way or another. There are many good books on the writing life, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, John Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, are the first to come to mind. I have collected stacks of how-to books on writing, Zen meditation, sobriety, and conquering depression. Many I haven't finished, some I never opened. I guess I think the act of buying and stacking them will teach by osmosis. It doesn’t. I am a natural born contrarian. I seem to need to struggle and batter my way through and discover my own solutions to problems.

Reading is my best teacher. When I come upon a writer that really excites me, I read everything they’ve written to try and absorb their techniques. Reading Who Killed Palomino Molero?, I found Mario Vargas Llosa has a way of covering multiple conversations at once that is stunning and seamless. After reading several of his other books I’m no closer to discovering his secret, but damn glad to have found his work.  

Against my will I’m getting older. I have many fewer words to write ahead of me than those I’ve left behind. Years ago sitting with my friend Charlie Huston he told me given what it took to write a book we had maybe x amount of books left in us. We needed to choose wisely what those books would be. I only half listened. The thing the Greek philosophers knew was that wisdom takes time to achieve. And once you achieve it your time is running short. 

SIDE NOTE: It is universally unfair that we only achieve wisdom at the near end of our journey. It is equally unfair that great dogs don’t live as long their human companions do.

My real question now isn’t how to write a book, but why to write a book. The former is more universal, we all write differently within the limitations of twenty six letters and  five to ten thousand unique word choices. We want a beginning, middle and end. Story elements and structures are objective. But the why of the matter, is subjective and purely personal. It can be as simple as, because I have a contract for this book and bills to pay. A very reasonable reason to write a book. But inside this lays a deeper reason. We all make known and unknown decisions about the books we write. I have called my books Trojan Horses where I hide ideas I want in the world inside. We all do this, it is impossible to write a book and not infuse it with your personal beliefs. Our books are conversations with readers, and they are conversations with ourselves. I continually have readers correctly point out themes in my work that I didn’t know I was chewing on.

I need to be clear here, I had a very personal motivation in writing Tricky. That isn’t always the case. Often I am hooked into an idea because I find something in it intriguing. This original idea is the vessel to hold the why that I will discover as I write. That seems a bit muddy. How do I come up with the why, really, at a how-to level. I spend a lot of my non-writing time thinking about the world around me. At a micro level I think about relationships, how they work and where they fail. At a macro level why have we built a dysfunctional world order? Why are celebrities given swag and hotel suites while childcare workers don’t make a living wage? Why online or on the road are we all spoiling for a fight? Why do we scan for evidence of other’s failures instead of scanning for their brilliance? I question everything including my own beliefs. This then feeds what I’m working on in both subtle and bold ways. I’m not afraid to let new information change my work in progress. I invite new thoughts, it’s the only way I know how to grow as a writer and human. 

“I let myself dream that my voice had a place in this that nothing else could have filled.”— Catchpenny: A novel by Charlie Huston

Back to Charlie Huston, his latest book Catchpenny just came out. It took him ten years to write. It is for my money his greatest work. The Trojan Horse is a thrilling urban fantasy crime heist novel. In the acknowledgments he calls it a “book about a depressive thief who walks through mirrors, and a girl who wants to break the world in order to save it.” And that’s true. It is also his response to looking deeply into the state of a world that seems at the brink of self-destruction. As a writer he has evolved from noir to hopefully romantic without losing any of his edge. He has written a book that helped pull me from a depression I had slipped into and given me hope. It is a book that compels me to keep writing, and that is the best compliment I can give any book.

I hope that all of you readers and writers will find the whys for your work and life. Regardless of how prolific you are we all have a limited number of words we get to say, choose them wisely.  


Where to find Charlie Huston 




What I’m Reading: 

ASH DARK AS NIGHT, by Gary Phillips

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Jock Tamson's Bairns, by Catriona

I'm not answering the question this week, because I've got a book coming out next week and every writer gets a free pass for a bit of BSP when that happens.

First, isn't it pretty?

Details here

As you see, Dandy Gilver is in another heecher of a coat (I really should write "replica coat" into my contract) even if Alec Osborne looks a bit of a prat in his plus-fours.

Here's what it's about:

May 1939. As war hovers on the horizon, aristocratic sleuth, Dandy Gilver, wants nothing more than to keep her friends and family close, when a call in the night places Daisy Esslemont, her oldest pal, at the centre of a murder investigation. With her friend's future on the line, Dandy and her fellow detective Alec Osborne must race to prove her innocence.

But, when they reach the idyllic Scottish village of Dirleton, residents confirm that a woman was seen at the crime scene - the ancient and mystical "leap-over stone", right there on the village green and still spattered with the victim's blood. The longer the detectives spend in Dirleton the more they question Daisy's involvement. They're not getting the answers they need, but are they asking the right questions . . . ?

I called it Jock Tamson's Bairns, while I was writing. It's a Scottish phrase alluding to the idea that we are all God's children, but adhering to the superstition about naming God - or the devil, as it goes. I have no idea why Jock Tamson (John Thompson) is a good pseudonym for the deity. 

But then cluelessness is a crucial bit of my process. 

As ever, there's a line I've half-forgotten between what dastardly suff I made up about poor wee Dirleton, and what stuff is true (if unlikely), but I know that the louping stane is real, because I fell over it.

Did the villagers once put stinging nettles on the top and all jump over it to check that they had no devilry in them, before they went out to collect the harvest? Did I create that story? No clue.

The castle is real:

And I didn't make up the terrible thing that happened there in the 17th century, but I can't say any more about it because SPOILERS.

Also, the church is as pretty, the school as quaint, the schoolhouse as desirable, and the manse as grand as the ones in the book:

Overall, you can hardly blame Dandy for thinking it's all so charming it's almost English, but she probably shouldn't have said it. I probably shouldn't have written it. I'll get emails . . . 

But come on. Scottish villages don't look like that as a rule. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Every book is a book on craft by Eric Beetner

Do you have favorite craft sessions, or articles/books on craft that you return to for inspiration or help?

This week’s topic is tricky for me because the simple answer would be to write No and then end it there. 

I’m certainly not going to say I am self-taught. I have taken English classes in school, screenwriting classes in college. Never a novel writing class, nor have I bought any guide books or craft books beyond Strunk and White and I still have to refer to it when I come across Farther and Further. 

I can’t say I’m self taught because I learned and continue to learn a great deal by reading. And I should expand on that because I think there is much to be learned by novelists about storytelling structure and style from films, plays, and TV as well. 

Let’s open it up even further (farther?) I have long felt that there is as much if not more to be learned by unsuccessful work than by the brilliant stuff. A bad book or a bad movie can teach volumes IF you can break it down and decipher what doesn’t work for you. There needs to be a sense of what storytelling techniques were ineffective, and how you would improve them.

What is that if not a lesson in craft? 

Self-teaching mostly means taking advantage of the lessons all around us, but doing it outside of a formal classroom or having it written down and presented in a book form or in a seminar. 

Any writer interested in developing their own voice must learn to take in craft from other sources and then learn what to let go, what to absorb into your own style. 

I’ve played guitar since age 15. I took 3 months of lessons from a friend of mine’s brother who was only 3 years older than I was. He taught me basic chords and one blues scale. After that I went off on my own path, spending hours studying and dissecting albums that I loved and learning to play by ear. Through that process I never quite sounded like the records I was trying to emulate, but I learned how to play and how other players I loved did it. I’ve long toyed with the idea of taking formal lessons to learn certain techniques like finger picking or to expand on those blues scales, but I never have because for better or worse, my playing sounds like me. 

There are no shortage of tutorials to teach you how to play like Eddie Van Halen or Stevie Ray Vaughn. But why would I want to sound like someone else? I may not be the most technical player, but everything I’ve done has been 100% mine. I am the sum of my influences which are as varied as Black Flag and Muddy Waters, both of which I played for hours and hours in my bedroom while I learned.

I feel the same about writing. We all have our influences, our inspirations and the writers from whom we borrow either consciously or unconsciously. We absorb craft through the osmosis of consuming stories. We are inspired by great writing to reach for higher peaks, and are inspired by lousy writing to never do it like that.

So I don’t personally refer to books on craft, but instead try to see every book I read as a lesson in craft and it’s up to me what to take from it. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Not A Birdhouse by Gabriel Valjan


Do you have favorite craft sessions, or articles/books on craft that you return to for inspiration or help?

I have never attended a craft session, nor have I paid much attention to either articles or books on craft. Please let me explain. I have read articles by writer friends. This blog is an example. I have visited Career Authors and Jungle Red Writers, but I read for perspective not advice.

I equate books on craft with How To books, a manifestation of Self-Help books, which I find perversely strange. Okay, I hear the counterargument. You read X to learn Y that you don’t know how to do. Let’s say, I want to build a birdhouse. I am not a carpenter, but I know the local store will have a Do It Yourself Kit, with instructions inside. I read the schematic and have at it. The result is a birdhouse. Serviceable and functional. Is it any different from any other birdhouse after the paint job? Probably not.

One and done.

“Now, hold on,” you say. “Writing is a technical activity, and it involves abstract items, such as Character, Plot, Dialogue, and techniques such as Foreshadow, Symbols, Irony, and so on.”

True, but there’s a difference in Intention. A story I tell will say something about me, about my view of the world, my take on humanity and the difficult situations people find themselves in. It may contain humor, a turn of phrase—all these things are unique to me.

When it comes to writing, I say trust yourself and your intellect. You were a reader before you’re a writer, and you have decades of reading behind you. That’s hundreds, if not thousands of books to draw inspiration from. It’s Borges’s short story “The Library of Babel” come to life. You want to know how to do X, refer to your mental Rolodex and summon forth an example from your reading of a writer who did something similar. Study it, analyze how and why it works, and then make it your own.

It’s yours and uniquely You. It will have Soul.

You can teach yourself techniques. I’ve consulted Dave King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers because it provided demonstrations of Before and After using excerpts from literary works. The Before is what we have for text from the writer, and the After is the application of Dave’s advice to the passage. Since we don’t have the rough draft or see how the author edited himself, you may or may not agree with Dave, but that’s not the point. Read, analyze, and learn from examples.

What you teach yourself, you remember, and what you internalize, you never forget.

Don’t look outside of yourself. Trust your instincts and your imagination. Trust the sum of all that you have read and observed in life, and your own unique relationship with words and language.

No two people use the language the same way.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Listening and Learning

 Q: Do you have favorite craft sessions, or articles/books on craft that you return to for inspiration or help?

-from Susan


At Left Coast Crime last week, a talented writer told me that something I said set her on a new and exciting fictional path. When she told me what resonated so much, it was something quite simple, nothing that I had polished or that I felt was original. It made me think, and it’s relevant to this week’s question.


You can hear the same message a hundred times and it runs right past you. At a specific moment in time, however, the gates to your mind open and in that piece of advice sinks in – not because it’s new or brilliant but because it comes in a form you “catch” or at the moment when your subconscious is ready for it.


I have a shelf with about a dozen craft books on it, the very first given to me by my biggest supporter and cheerleader, my late partner. BIRD BY BIRD, by his friend Annie Lamott, was just what I needed several years before I had crystallized my desire to write as an alternative career. Lamott’s basic advice is to just do it, no excuses, no rationalizations for being lazy or fearful, just “butt in chair” and get on with it. Her style made her advice not just acceptable but inspiring, a Big Thing broken down into small bites that were achievable. 

 There are bits and pieces of the other books that helped, but for me something said in a particular way becomes the catalyst. Right now on my whiteboard, held up by a magnet, is a list of Billy Wilder’s “Top Ten Screenwriting Rules.” Am I going to write a screenplay? Nope, but the entire list speaks to me about how to structure a novel that will grab and hold the reader. I’m still learning, but “If you have a problem in the third act, the real problem is in the first act” has helped me more than once. 

 I scribbled another piece of advice, maybe from David Corbett, who is whip smart on all writing techniques. It says to ramp up tension, “Put your protagonist in a bad situation and then make it worse!” I sometimes have to apologize to my protagonist as another villain bounds down the stairs while the first is holding her hostage! 

 What I’m trying to say is that there are aha moments, no matter how often and in various ways I have already heard something, when the bell rings and it becomes a forever tool I can draw on in my writing. I haven’t mastered any of this, of course, but when I’m stuck, my eyes drift up to the whiteboard and I’m comforted by the knowledge that so many writers and teachers are ready to help me dig my way out. 

 NOTE: Claire Booth and I are speaking Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the wonderful Avid Reader Bookstore in Davis. And, Terry Shames and I are interviewing each other Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m. at the equally wonderful Book Passage Bookstore in Marin County. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Carry On Writing! By Harini Nagendra

What would make you quit writing? Age? Infirmity? Lack of what you consider success? Boredom? Something else?

My fellow '7 Minds' authors, Brenda, Terry and Dietrich, have already responded to this week's prompt - and I was struck by the fact that everyone plans to carry on writing until they absolutely can't. We are all writers because we must, because their is a worm of compulsion that burrows its way into our mind and screams at us, "Write!" - that forces us out of bed at midnight, keeps us up till the late hours when the family is asleep and the road outside is lonely, empty - gets us out of a warm bed takes us to the writing desk in the early hours of the morning, shivering with cold - to get pen to paper, or fingers on keyboard, striving to get things out - because the thoughts swirling in our head demand to be put down on paper, to be organized and reorganized until we're satisfied that they are pulled together in  semi-coherent fashion. Only then can a writer to finally relax, put down their pen and close their notebook (or shut down their computer!), and relax, saying "I'm done. For today. I think."

It's wonderful to write for success, of course - heady when it comes, and terrifying when it doesn't. Infirmity can stop some from writing - it can get hard to hold a pencil, or type on the screen. I have to stop every few minutes now to do a few hand exercises, and lift weights to strengthen my wrists - my body, which I took for granted when I was younger, now reminds me that I'm aging, that I should be doing my eye and neck exercises more regularly if I want to keep writing with the same physical ease that I had until a few years back. But I do know that many writers now use audio to text software to dictate and transcribe their books - just like people dictated their letters to typists in the past. I've tried it, and found it too difficult - so I abandoned this - but if I needed to learn it, I would! 

Political scientist Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to get the Nobel Prize in Economics, and my very dear friend and mentor, battled pancreatic cancer towards the end of her life. She kept writing, and thinking about her writing, even when cancer sent her to the hospital. Her research and writing were what kept her going through difficult times, pushing the physical challenges she faced to the background.One of the very last things she said was "bring me my laptop". I think I can imagine most writers doing some version of the same - just like musicians will continue to practise their craft till the end, and painters will work with their brush and canvas.

Physicist Stephen Hawking was not just a brilliant scientist but also a determined writer - despite severe physical challenges, he found a way to keep writing, with the help of companies like Intel, who custom-designed software and hardware for him to use.       

More recently, I have been following the chronicles of writer Hanif Khureishi, who suffered a serious injury after a fall, but still keeps writing, engaging with readers across the world through his Substack - using dictation to write his new memoir, Shattered. 

I suspect all writers would like to carry on writing until the end...!  

Speaking of writing - my latest book, A Nest of Vipers - book 3 in The Bangalore Detectives Club series - is out on 2 May! Pre-orders are open here 

A Nest of Vipers - Harini Nagendra 

Death stalks the streets of Bangalore when the Circus comes to town . . .

January 1922.

The Bangalore Constabulary is on high alert as The Prince of Wales is scheduled to visit the city to redeem his reputation after disastrous visits marked by violent anti-British riots.

Kaveri has none of these concerns on her mind, not when she has just been given VIP tickets to the famous Bangalore circus. But when a celebrity magician, shackled in an iron cage filled with deadly snakes, disappears into thin air, she is stunned to discover her friend and favourite policeman, Inspector Ismail, is telling her to leave the case well alone.

After solving two murder cases, Kaveri Murthy thought she had cemented her reputation as Bangalore's favourite lady detective. But when death threats are left at her doorstep, former friends become foes, and the bodies start to pile up, Kaveri realises she has never been in this much danger . . .

A Fondness for Truth, A Polizei Bern Novel by Kim Hays

Today, our guest post is from Kim Hays, a crime fiction author on the rise. She writes the gripping Polizei Bern procedural series, featuring Swiss cops Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatello. It’s one of the best detective series you’ll ever read. The setting is fresh and engaging, the themes current and relevant, and the rich ensemble cast of characters shines, especially Giuliana and Renato. Never far from boiling over, their mutual attraction simmers restlessly throughout the series, adding spice and nuance to their complex working relationship. 

Here’s what I thought of the first book in the series, Pesticide:

“Kim Hays's Pesticide is Switzerland's answer to Scandinavian noir. Fresh and oh so readable, you won't want to put it down."

Don’t want to take my word for it? How about Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels?

"Kim Hays brings a sparkling new voice to police procedurals, giving us engaging and realistically drawn detectives who struggle to balance their personal lives with the demands of a gripping investigation. Set against the fascinating backdrop of modern Switzerland, Pesticide will delight crime fiction fans--a standout debut for 2022!" —DEBORAH CROMBIE

Or how about George Easter at Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine?

"For aficionados of fine police detection and procedure, it doesn’t get better than Kim Hays’s Linder and Donatelli series. Puzzling mysteries, artful prose, and engaging characters abound in these Swiss-based treats for mystery fans of all tastes.” —GEORGE EASTER

A Fondness for Truth is the third installment of the series, and it’s out this week (April 16, 2024, Seventh Street Bools). I’m a huge fan of these books, and highly recommend them!

Meine Damen und Herren, ich präsentiere euch Kim Hays…

But What Is Your Book Really About?


When my German-speaking Swiss husband was a senior in high school, a teacher assigned his class a recently published novel to read; it was by a Swiss writer in his thirties who was just becoming famous. When the pupils and teacher discussed the book in class, my husband and some of his friends disagreed with their teacher’s interpretation of how it ended and argued with him about it. They rehashed the argument during lunch in the school cafeteria, still convinced their teacher was wrong. 

So these four or five boys went to the school’s one payphone, looked up the author’s name in the phone book, called him—and he answered. Feeding coins into the slot from their pockets, they told the writer about the argument and asked him what he had meant by the ending.


“Oh, there’s no right or wrong interpretation,” he said. “It can mean different things to different readers.” The boys were crushed.


When my husband told me this tale years ago, I thought the author was a spoilsport. Now that I write novels myself, I still shake my head over him. To have a group of teenagers find your book so intriguing that they call you from their school to ask about its meaning—surely that’s a terrific thing to happen. Okay, so the kids were hoping to hear that their interpretation was right and the teacher’s was wrong. But they were also showing enthusiasm and asking for information, and all they got in return was a gobbledygook answer.


I thought of this story recently when I was invited to a book club meeting to discuss my first mystery, Pesticide. Usually, having an engaging discussion about any book but a classic is almost impossible if you are trying not to reveal the plot. If you can’t bring up what a book’s about, how can you say anything entertaining about it? This is a quandary that I imagine lots of authors and reviewers face. But at this book club meeting, I was going to have a chance to field all kinds of questions about Pesticide, and—since everyone in the room would have read it—I could debate about the plot, characters, and themes to my heart’s content. 


The group welcomed me warmly. Many of them told me how much they’d enjoyed my book, and then . . . and then they were too kind to challenge what they’d read. Or perhaps plot, characters, and themes take on a certain inevitability once they are in print, making it hard for readers to see them as the results of an author considering, choosing, writing, changing, reconsidering, and choosing again—and perhaps making a bad decision.


Now I’ve been asked to attend another book club meeting to discuss Sons and Brothers, the second book in the Polizei Bern series. This time, I’m going to make it clear that every decision I made as a writer can be called into question. Other aspects of the novels should be open for discussion as well. Each of my mysteries is an entertaining story about how two police detectives solve a homicide. In telling those stories, I’ve introduced issues worth debating: organic versus conventional farming, the legalization of marijuana, the existence of a patrician class in Bern, and the idea of a universal service for young people, among others. Perhaps one of those themes will inspire a challenging question.


The third book in my series, A Fondness for Truth, just came out, so there hasn’t been time for any invitations to talk with readers. At least if I’m lucky enough to be asked to explain what this new book is really about—as the famous Swiss writer was asked by my husband and his friends—I’ll do my best to give a real answer.

—Kim Hays, A Fondness for Truth


A Fondness for Truth: Summary

Andi Eberhart is riding her bicycle home on an icy winter night when she is killed in a hit-and-run. Her devastated partner, Nisha, is convinced the death was no accident. Andi had been receiving homophobic hate mail for several years, and the letters grew uglier after the couple’s baby was born. 

As Bern homicide detective Giuliana Linder pieces together the details of Andi and Nisha’s lives, her assistant Renzo Donatelli looks into Andi’s job advising young men who’ve been drafted intoSwitzerland’s civilian service. Working closely together on the case, Giuliana and Renzo are again tempted to become more than just friendly colleagues. 

As both detectives dig into Andi’s life, one thing becomes clear: Andi’s friends and family may have loved her for her honesty, but her outspoken integrity threatened others, including, perhaps, her killer.