Denise M. Hartman, Author of Killed in Kruger, Talks Writing

My guest today is Denise Hartman. Denise's background in journalism and television production has influenced her writing style and habits. Living overseas for several years, currently in Madrid, Spain, gives Denise's imagination new sites and sounds for her mysteries on a day in and out basis. 

She is a member of Sisters-In-Crime, and was president of her hometown Kansas City Partners in Crime chapter. Denise has a passion for reading, books, travel, tea, and teapots not necessarily in that order.

Anne – Welcome, Denise! It’s always a joy to connect with a fellow author and traveler. When did you first realize you were destined to be a mystery/suspense writer?

Denise - I loved the mystery stories of childhood and in the 5th grade a group of us were challenged to write a play and perform it. We wrote a murder mystery and I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. Up until then, I thought I wanted to be a hairdresser which if you knew my hair habits would make you laugh.

Anne - Tell us about Killed in Kruger

Denise - Tabitha Krans arrives to discover the veldt 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.

Anne - Would you share an excerpt of Killed in Kruger with us?

Denise – Of course!

Sunlight reflected off the blade of the knife as Mhlongo wiped it on the dead man’s shirt. A bullet had killed the man quickly. Mhlongo didn’t need someone wounded calling for help in the bush. A stupid guide might stumble on him before he was dead. No danger of that now. He nestled the body in a patch of meter high spear grass. It was a good hiding place. The knife and the gashes he’d opened up on the body insured that the predators would smell him and make their way through the veldt to a free meal. The lions and hyenas weren’t picky how their food got dead. Dead was easy. Dead was dinner.

A horn beeped from the truck idling on the road nearby. Mhlongo stood and surveyed the spot once more, making sure the body couldn’t be seen from the road and that he’d left nothing to indicate his presence. He scooped up the small bags at his feet and used a handful of the dry spear grass to eliminate his footprints as he backed away from the body. 

Anne - Dead was easy. Dead was dinner. Those two sentences really painted a picture for me, Denise. I saw the lions in wait, and it creeped me out! Of the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Denise - Right now, I’m really enjoying a character named Blanche Binkley. She is the protagonist in my Work In Progress tentatively titled Nosy Neighbors for release next year.  I think part of it is that she is based somewhat on my feisty grandmother and maybe it’s because my favorite character is the last one I’ve been working on too. I’m enjoying Blanche so much I’m thinking of making her into a series instead of a stand-alone book. She certainly gets herself into lots of tricky situations that add up to a good story.

Anne - Where can readers find you online?

Denise - I’m trying to be everywhere and meet everyone! Readers can visit my website and blog. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Anne – Thanks so much for dropping by today, Denise, and sharing an excerpt from Killed in Kruger.

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Anne K. Albert said...

Great to have you drop by the Muriel Reeves Mysteries, Denise!

Denise M. Godwin said...

What fun it was to be here!

Denise Hartman said...

Fun to be here!