New People and Places

New People and Places

Posted on September 6 by Barbara Fradkin in Mystery
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I have lived with Inspector Green for fifteen years. Fifteen years of him nattering in my head, arguing, stonewalling, and making me laugh. He was there, in all his stubborn, frustrating, and entertaining glory, when I went for dog walks, emptied the dishwasher, or tried to sleep at night.

But fifteen years is a long time for a writer to spend with the same characters in the same place. I wanted to travel. I wanted to meet new people. So I put him, his long-suffering wife, and his loyal colleagues on the shelf, left the complex, subtly hued city of Ottawa, and set off into the wilderness, both literally and figuratively.

Then the idea came to me – why not choose them all? Can I base a series in a different iconic setting for each book?

Canada is a vast, largely unsung landscape of contrasts, full of gorgeous places to set a mystery. Crashing oceans, rugged mountains, desert badlands, fields of wheat as far as the eye can see, tiny villages clinging to the shores and huge cities teeming with colour. What to choose? Then the idea came to me – why not choose them all? Can I base a series in a different iconic setting for each book? What fun for me, and for the reader too!

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So I embarked on my armchair trek across Canada. The first book in the Amanda Doucette Mystery series, Fire in the Stars, is set on the remote Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and the second, scheduled for Fall 2017, features Quebec’s historic Mont Tremblant region. The third will be set among the pink granite islands of Georgian Bay. Other settings farther west and north are mere flashes in my imagination so far.

I wanted to create a character who embodied female strength

I also knew, after fifteen years of looking at the world through a man’s eyes, that I wanted my next hero to be a woman. I did love writing Inspector Green and enjoyed having a man in my life over whom I had some control, but now I wanted to create a character who embodied female strength – resourceful, tough, and determined, yet compassionate, feminine, and caring.  Amanda Doucette came to me as an international aid worker whose terrifying experience in Africa left her ideals shaken and her future in doubt, but her commitment to people still strong. In the debut novel in the series, Fire in the Stars, she is back in Canada to recover when she sets out to help a fellow trauma survivor in trouble and ends up on the trail of a murderer.

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Future books in the series will be loosely centred around her cross-country charity tour for disadvantaged families.  Amanda is a powerful character who drives a lime green motorcycle and owns a Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever rather like my own. Like Canada, she is a study in contrasts. I love her spirit and her all-too-human vulnerability, and I look forward to several years in her company while Inspector Green waits impatiently in the wings.

Barbara Fradkin

Posted by KathrynB on December 6, 2014
Barbara Fradkin photo

Barbara Fradkin

Barbara Fradkin is a retired psychologist who is fascinated with why people turn bad. She has written numerous short stories and novellas as well as the critically acclaimed Inspector Green novels. Two of these, Fifth Son and Honour Among Men, have won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. She lives in Ottawa.