Monday, August 31, 2015
By Vicki Delany
As most of you know, as well as writing novels Rick, Barbara and I write Rapid Reads novellas for the Canadian publisher Orca Books.
The Rapid Reads books have a dual purpose. First they’re short, fast, but interesting and exciting crime stories for the reading public with perhaps not a lot of time to get into a longer book. Secondly, the books are aimed at a low literacy or ESL (English as a second language) audience.
Adult books, with adult themes and adult language plainly written, without a great deal of complexity.
My third book with Rapid Reads will be released on August 25th. It’s titled Haitian Graves.
The first book I wrote for them was A Winter Kill, about Nicole Patterson, a young police woman with the OPP in Price Edward County, Ontario, where I live. Before I continued with another Nicole Patterson book, I had the opportunity to visit South Sudan , and there I met some RCMP officers who were working with the UN, helping that country set up a modern, efficient, police force. (Aside: I blogged extensively about my visits to South Sudan over at One Woman Crime Wave, my private blog. Here a link to a sample, for those interested in reading further: http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.ca/2011/12/klondike-friday-juba-south-sudan-2011.html)
And so I created Sgt. Ray Robertson and Juba Good. But by the time the nice people at Orca asked me for another Ray Robertson book, the situation in South Sudan had deteriorated so much that I felt I couldn’t write another book set there.
As it happened, I was heading off to Haiti to visit a friend there. And, as it also happens, the RCMP is active in that country, also working with the UN.
I asked my friend to introduce me to some Canadian police officers and then I took Ray to Haiti in Haitian Graves.
I love writing the Rapid Reads books. To me, it’s an exercise in stripping a crime novel down to its most basic elements. No flashbacks, no subplots, only one POV, a linear time frame, little introspection. Just a fast moving plot, clearly defined characters, and a great setting. Word for word, these novellas take far longer to write that any of my other books do.
Why not check out Haitian Graves or one of Rick or Barbara’s books. We promise you a great read!