Today Kate Parker is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Deadly Travel, her latest novel in the World War II mystery series.
Welcome, Kate. 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.
Deadly Travel is the fifth book in the Deadly Series. It takes place in March and April 1939, months before World War II began and centers around a Kindertransport. The Kindertransports were designed to rescue at-risk children, mostly Jewish, from Nazi held territory and bring them to England until such time that Hitler stopped persecuting Jews and other minorities. 10,000 children were rescued from the Holocaust this way. The fictitious Kindertransport that I write about occurs at the right time in history, but for the purposes of my story, there are two murders, two young boys in danger, and one lethal British traitor.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
The Deadly Series, so far, has taken place in the time leading up to World War II in Britain. I’ve done a lot of reading and research into that time and place, and I’ve built mysteries surrounding actual events and attitudes. The Kindertransport, the main event of Deadly Travel, involved a lot of people with fundraising, with finding homes for these children, and with the actual journey. Then I wondered how these noble people would react to murder.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
Each story in the Deadly Series springs out of the time I lived in a small town where a large number of Congolese refugees attended our church. They spoke a different language and had different customs and different beliefs about childrearing. I wondered how it would affect the refugees, trying to learn the ways of a new country. That story is still being written, so I looked to history for a similar situation, and studied the effect on Britain of taking in refugees before and during World War II, and the effect on the refugees. In Deadly Travel, I look at it through the experiences of two young boys.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
I create my characters as I get to know them while I’m writing. Livvy is a particular favorite of mine. I couldn’t write a series from her point of view if I didn’t like her. She’s not perfect by any means, but she’s fair-minded and curious and she believes in justice. Sometimes she jumps in when she shouldn’t, but she’s determined to expose killers and spies. She’s also young and pretty and I’d like to be her rather than my old, dumpy self.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Research, research, and more research.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Except for my husband’s last illness and this year of global pandemic, I try to get to Britain once a year. This allows me to visit museums, old houses on tour, ride steam trains, and generally get the feel of the place. I also love the old digitized newspapers available at the British Library. Access to these are now available by subscription online, so I can do research on newspaper stories at home. That’s one good thing to come out of the pandemic. While I’m in London I haunt bookstores where I’ve found all sorts of good historical volumes on various subjects as well as reprints of books from bygone eras.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
I like adventurous and puzzling mysteries that keep me entertained, and I hope your readers do, too. If so, I hope that they will enjoy Deadly Travel.
Thanks for answering my questions, Kate, and good luck with Deadly Travel, the latest book in theWorld War II Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Kate Parker: Kate caught the reading bug early, and the writing bug soon followed. She’s always lived in a house surrounded by books and dust bunnies. After spending a dozen years in North Carolina, she moved to Colorado. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but she’d developed a love of wide rivers, warmer and wetter weather, and fast-growing greenery that sent her hurrying back to North Carolina.
Deadly Travel is the fifth book in the Deadly Series, and Kate’s plan is to follow it quickly with Deadly Darkness, both set in 1939 in the days leading up to war. There are at least three more of the Deadly Series coming that will bring the beginning of the war to Olivia’s doorstep. Kate reports that she is having fun creating new stories to entertain readers and chaos to challenge her characters.