Monday, May 26, 2014

Juba Good

by Vicki Delany

Like Rick and Barbara, I also write for the Rapid Reads line of Orca Books.  As they’ve explained to you, these are not novels, but novellas.  Short (15 – 20,000 words) but (hopefully) gripping and exciting.
I love writing these.  To me, it’s an exercise in stripping a novel down to its basic essence. No subplots, no backstory (or very litte), no flashbacks, no multiple points of view.  One story, told in a straightforward, linear style by one character over a short frame of time.

Oh, and no subordinate clauses, compound sentences or words that send you scurrying for the dictionary.  

When I was in South Sudan for the first time two years ago, I realized that I wanted to write a book set there.  It wouldn’t work for a Molly Smith, partly because that series is so closely associated with Trafalgar, British Columbia as well as her family, friends, and co-workers. I thought of a standalone novel, but I was unsure about having enough material from a three-week visit for an entire novel.  In addition I felt that the setting of Juba, South Sudan, would require a darker novel than I am accustomed to writing.
So it was perfect for a Rapid Reads novella.

Juba Good has just been released.  It is about an RCMP officer with the UN in South Sudan, working to train the South Sudanese police, and was inspired by Canadian police I met there.

Africa is a wonderful, complex, amazing continent with a lot of problems.  People are coming from all over the world to try to help.  And people are coming from all over the world to take advantage of those problems for their own ends. And it is that which I want to explore in this book and others in the series.

Juba, South Sudan. RCMP Sergeant Ray Robertson has spent eleven and a half months serving with the United Nations in the world’s newest country. He’s tired of the chaotic traffic and jostling crowds that fill the narrow streets. Tired of the choking red dust that blows into the capital from the desert. He can’t wait to get back to his wife and kids, and back to policing a world he understands. But when a young woman, the fourth in three weeks, is found dead at the side of a dusty road with a thin white ribbon wrapped tightly around her neck, Robertson fears that a serial killer is on the loose. In a country plagued by years of extreme poverty, civil war and the struggle to establish a functioning government, he realizes that it’s up to him and his Dinka partner, John Deng, to find the killer before they can strike again.

The nice people at Orca then asked me to consider writing a Sgt. Ray Robertson series. At the moment, I don’t think I can write about South Sudan, not with all that's happening there right now.  So instead, for his next assignment Ray will be off to Haiti. Look for A Hill Full of the Dead fall 2015.

P.S. The current issue of Mystery Scene magazine has an article on Juba Good.  Check it out!


Donis Casey said...

Must have Juba Good. I went to the Orca Press site for it. That's a fabulous cover.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Yes, it is a great cover. Looking forward to reading.

Eileen Goudge said...

Good things come in small packages. Shorts and novellas are the new black of publishing, from what I've been reading online. I agree with the other comment, by the way. Fabulous cover.

Vicki Delany said...

It is a great cover, I think. They do a super job.