Friday, February 10, 2012


Diane Rapp

Becoming a High Seas Mystery Writer
by Diane Rapp

When my daughter, Laura got tired of working as a purser on a cruise ship, she submitted proposals for a travel guide to publishers and got a contract.  Since I love to write, Laura and I decided to work on the project together.  The research trip would be a long vacation gathering information by day and sipping cocktails on the veranda each evening.  Wrong!  We spent three days each on eleven different islands running like crazy to see everything and fell into bed exhausted each night.  Writing a factual guidebook was hard work!

Don’t get me wrong, I cherish memories of the islands.  I enjoyed the scent of exotic flowers, the sounds of string bands playing Christmas carols, and the feel of gentle ocean breezes on my sunburned skin (I am a redhead).  I rode a community taxi across St. Martin and tried to decipher the patois spoken by locals.  My daughter and I went diving together.  We floated over coral reefs filled with vibrant tropical fish and felt the champagne bubbles from hot springs in the ocean.  We tasted weird but wonderful cuisine.  As travel guide authors we couldn’t make our readers imagine those experiences in a factual guide book.
Laura planned to write a mystery set in the Caribbean but decided that she hated writing fiction.  She gave the book idea to me and I started writing a mystery.  A mystery novel takes planning, especially when the goal was to describe all the exotic islands we visited in the Caribbean.  I invented a cruise ship company and charted a complex ship schedule to investigate a murder while my heroine travelled from port to port.  Luckily I could use our guidebook to remember real locations and recreate the ambience of the Caribbean.  The result was Murder Caribbean-Style, the first novel in a High Seas Mystery series.

Friends tell me that it’s fun to read this mystery and Cruising the Eastern Caribbean together while visiting the islands.  I plan to offer the book free for two days at the end of February, so watch for the announcement on , Twitter, and QuickSilver Novels Facebook page.

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