Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Lake Templeton Murders by HS Burney - Book Tour + Giveaway

 The Lake Templeton Murders

A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?

 Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out. 

 Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected? 

 As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?


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Author Q&A
1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Writing is not zero or one hundred. You can do other things and also write. You don’t have to make an all-or-nothing choice to become an author. In fact, in many ways, it’s better if writing is not your main gig. If you put pressure on your passion to earn you the lifestyle you desire, maybe it won’t be quite as joyful.

2. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
Going shopping for them! My mother used to take me to roadside stalls in Karachi, where I grew up, to buy used books. The musty volumes would be stacked in piles on top of one another and I would thumb through them, sometimes taking an annoyingly long time to gather the gems. I could never purchase as many books as I wanted – money was tight – so I had to choose wisely. Once the choice was made, my mother would haggle with the vendor, trying to get him to knock off a couple hundred rupees. She usually succeeded – we were buying a stack of books, after all.

3. Did you want to be an author when you grew up?
Yes – when I was a bright-eyed child who believed anything was possible. Then, I became a jaded teenager and realized there was no money in writing (at least at the time). So, I decided to go into business and banking. The writing bug never really went away, though. It was just slumbering for a while.

4. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Too long! My first book, The Lake Templeton Murders, took about 9 months. I meet authors who can put out multiple books a year and I’m impressed! Sadly, I can’t write that fast. The best I can do is about 1,000 words an hour on a good day. Given how hectic and demanding my day job is, I can’t always commit to a certain word count on any given day either.

5. How do you select the names of your characters?
My starting point is making sure my characters reflect the diversity of British Columbia, the main setting for my books. I need to know their cultural backgrounds. Then, I consider personalities. For example, my main character, Fati Rizvi, Private Investigator, was given a traditional Muslim name, i.e. Fatima, by her family. However, given her personality, of course she would shorten it to something more palatable, less ‘foreign’, and easier to pronounce like ‘Fati’. None of my characters have super unique ‘celebrity’ names because I wanted them to reflect real people that you might meet in your day-to-day life.

6. What creature do you consider your "spirit animal" to be?
A tiger. They’re beautiful creatures, highly independent, bold and fierce, and they rule the jungle. They’re resourceful and fast. And they have the most languid, self-assured stride. I have such incredible respect and admiration for them.

7. If you were the last person on Earth, what would you do?
I wouldn’t survive for very long because I’m a people person and I get my energy from being around others. I’m an extroverted – I know it’s unusual for a writer. A world where no other humans exist sounds like a boring and bleak world to me. Also, I’m not the kind of person who can survive in the wild on my own – unlike my spirit animal, the tiger! I need people around to do stuff for me I can’t do myself!

8. If you could live in any time period, what would it be and why?
We live in the best time there is. We live in an interconnected world. Our lives are incredibly easy and we have so many modern conveniences at our disposal. I don’t believe in the ‘good, old days’. What people forget it how hard life used to be. Now I can order food from the comfort of my couch. I can Facetime with my mother anytime I want while we have the distance of half the world between us. I live in a safe society where I have a voice – as a dark-skinned woman. I am in the senior leadership team of a large corporate where I have a seat at the table. Thirty years ago, at this same company, women weren’t eligible to be senior leaders – or have pensions. Oh, and mine is probably the last generation that won’t fully see the devastating impacts of upcoming climate change.

9. What is your favorite genre to read?
The same one I write in – mystery! But I also love a good supernatural horror story. And I also really enjoy psychological thrillers. Anything that keeps me on the edge of my seat, reading well after I’m ready to go to bed.

10. What sparks your creativity/how do you get your ideas?
Daily life sparks my creativity. Everything around me – people I meet, situations I hear about, places I travel to – gives me ideas. In fact, I have more ideas than I can execute on in multiple lifetimes. It’s a good problem to have. But I do sometimes get frustrated at the lack of time to bring all the ideas I have to life.

11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to hike and spend time in nature. We have majestic mountains and sparkling ocean in British Columbia. There are splendorous hiking trails just a short drive away from where I live. We get a lot of rain here in BC so a good, sunny balmy day is always celebrated. I try to get outdoors as much as I can. I also really love to go on long, scenic drives. They always help clear my mind and give me new perspective on problems I may be dealing with. In fact, a lot of solutions strike me while I’m letting my mind roam while on a scenic drive.

12. Would you ever write under a pseudonym?
My pen name, HS Burney, can be called a pseudonym – sort of. It was important for me for my author name to include my last name, which is a big part of my identity and family background. I didn’t want to use my full first name because having initials instead preserves a sense of mystery, which aligns well with my genre. A lot of mystery / thriller authors use initials instead of a full first name! The first initial, H, is my actual first name. The second initial, S, is my husband’s last name. This was my way of incorporating him into my writing journey because I can’t do anything without him.

Author Bio –

HS Burney writes fast-moving, action-packed mysteries set against the backdrop of majestic mountains and crystalline ocean in West Coast Canada. She loves creating characters that keep you on your toes. A corporate executive by day and a novelist by night, HS Burney received her Bachelors’ in Creative Writing from Lafayette College. A proud Canadian immigrant, she takes her readers into worlds populated by diverse characters with unique cultural backgrounds. When not writing, she is out hiking, waiting for the next story idea to strike, and pull her into a new world. 


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