Today A.R. Kennedy is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Sleuth on Safari, her first novel in the Traveler cozy mystery series.
Welcome, A.R.. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
ARK: Sleuth on Safari is the first in The Traveler Cozy Mystery series. In Sleuth on Safari, Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer.
The second book, R.I.P. in Reykjavik, is set in Iceland. Each book will be set in a foreign country with Naomi traveling with a different family member.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
ARK: It came to me when I was on safari, having dinner with a guide and fellow travelers. I was surprised why escorts were needed on the lodge’s grounds at night. From there, the idea was born for a murder on a safari. (You have to read the book to find out why escorts are needed!)
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
ARK: In each novel, Naomi travels with a family member. Their relationships change as a result. You learn a lot about someone when traveling together (and when investigating a murder).
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
ARK: I love all my characters! I read once that every character has a little bit of the author in them.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
ARK: In The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series, I use my photo albums and notes from my trip to make the place come to life. Each book will be set in a different foreign location that I have traveled to.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
ARK: While traveling, I take lots of photos and notes and I consult them regularly to give an accurate view of the area. While writing the novels, I also research local foods and delicacies—Naomi is a more adventurous eater then me! For Sleuth on Safari, I used YouTube to watch videos of other travelers’ animal encounters.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
ARK: I hope my new series inspires people to travel.
Thanks for answering my questions, A.R., and good luck with Sleuth on Safari, the first book in the Taveler cozy mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About A. R. Kennedy: She lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.