Described by the Ottawa Citizen as “one of the best new voices in the mystery business”, Canadian author, RJ Harlick, writes the Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of West Quebec. And like her heroine Meg Harris, RJ loves nothing better than to roam the forests surrounding her own wilderness cabin or paddle the endless lakes and rivers. But unlike Meg, she doesn’t find a body at every twist and turn, although she certainly likes to put them in Meg’s way. There are currently four books in the series. The 4th book, Arctic Blue Death was a finalist in the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. The fifth, A Green Place for Dying, will be published in Spring 2011.
The view from my pen
Like many writers, I had a desire to write novels as a child and had my own secret drawer full of carefully penned stories that never went beyond my own eyes. As the years progressed, events and economics transpired to keep this desire out of reach yet not entirely forgotten. Whenever I thought of writing I had this image of me writing in some idyllic rural location with the sun shining, the birds twittering and the breeze gently ruffling the pages.
It is a place of peace and calm. During my working years, it was a place where I would seek weekend relief from my 14 hours-a-day job in the highly competitive high tech industry. It was probably what kept me sane during those stressful years. I knew it was the kind of retreat my heroine, Meg Harris, an escapee from the big city and an abusive marriage, would need to heal her wounded soul.
As beautiful as this wilderness can be, it can also be cruel. Danger can lurk behind the next bend in the river, beyond the next hill, or can be as close as behind the next tree. It might pounce as you walk past or lurk in the shadows waiting for you. And what better place to hide a body, a secret, than in a land where trees out number people a million to one and lakes a thousand to one. All of which makes this wilderness a perfect setting for a murder mystery. And I take full advantage of this. I have Meg paddling down a foaming river, fleeing a raging forest fire, chasing a killer through a forest locked in ice or encountering a moose with her dog Sergei.