Monday, November 15, 2010

9mm interview with Yvonne E. Walus

Welcome to the latest instalment in Crime Watch's ongoing series of author interviews; 9mm - 9 Murder Mystery questions put to a variety of New Zealand and international crime, thriller, and mystery authors.

After a run of international authors in the 9mm series recently, I thought I’d introduce you to another New Zealand-based crime writer. So today, for the 43rd instalment of 9mm, we are talking to Yvonne E. Walus, who was born in Poland, spent her teenage years in South Africa, travelled extensively, and now has spent the past several years living in New Zealand. Just like her diverse geographic ‘homes’, Walus also has many literary homes; she writes in several genres, including crime, romance, short stories, poetry, and more. She also has several blogs, covering her different writings and interests, and writes articles for the likes of Mystery Readers’ Journal.

Her most recent crime novel is MURDER @ PLAY, a prequel to her debut MURDER @ WORK, which was shortlisted for the South African Writers’ Circle Novel Award. Although she now lives in New Zealand, Walus’s murder mysteries have thusfar been set in her teenage home of South Africa, particularly dealing with the period around the end of Apartheid in the 1990s. You can see a book trailer for MURDER @ PLAY courtesy of YouTube below:

You can read more about Yvonne E. Walus here, and see the full list of blogs she contributes to here. MURDER @ PLAY is now also available on Kindle (see here) for a very reasonable price.

But for now, Yvonne E. Walus stares down the barrel of 9mm.

The Crime Watch 9mm Author Interview: Yvonne E. Walus
Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?My childhood hero was, predictably, Hercule Poirot. I've changed my mind several times since, and am currently into Harlan Coben's Windsor Horne Lockwood.

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?"The Mysterious Affair at Styles" had me hooked before I was 10. I loved all the misdirection and the relentless logic of the solution.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything;) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?Science fiction short stories, literary short fiction, poetry and travel articles. For some bizarre reason, I didn't know how to write short crime fiction for years.

Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?I spend a lot of time parenting my children, and I actually enjoy it... mostly. This leaves very little time for things I'd like to do more of: sleep, travel, sleep, scuba diving, sleep, reading, wine tasting, beach walks... did I mention sleep?

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?Define my hometown. If it's where I live, and it's North Shore City (not Super City), they should sit on a bench at the Tui Park beach in Beach Haven, look at the water and listen to the silence. My original hometown is Warsaw, Poland, and there I would invite the visitors to take the first mode of transport out of the city and head south until you hit a tiny spot called Wieliczka, where you go underground to tour a salt mine.

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Sophia Loren

Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?Always the one I'm currently writing. Of the published ones, I prefer "Murder @ Play".

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller’s shelf?When I got the contract, I thought I must have made a mistake and sent the manuscript to a vanity press! I almost chucked it in the bin....

What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?I remember a particular book signing in downtown Auckland, where one Kiwi reader told me "Murder @ Play" wasn't South African enough. It felt strangely gratifying. I consider my setting an integral part of the novels, and to hear people say they loved it and wanted more... it confirmed that my instinct was right.

In contrast, many Americans feel uncomfortable with books set in foreign countries. I understand and respect that, but I'm so very glad New Zealanders can embrace New Zealand fiction set elsewhere.

Thank you Yvonne E. Walus. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.


So what do you think of this 9mm interview? Have you read any of Yvonne E. Walus’s crime novels, or her other stories and articles? Do you like the idea of South African murder mysteries set during the late Apartheid/transition era? What do you think of crime writers setting their novels somewhere other than the country they live in (eg Irishman John Connelly setting his books in the USA rather than Ireland, etc)? What about book trailers? I'd love to read your comments. Please share your thoughts.


  1. Craig - Thanks, as always, for this terrific interview. Always nice to meet another person with a soft spot for Hercule Poirot :-).

    Yvonne - It's a pleasure to "meet" you. I can see why you were hooked by The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Christie has that effect on people. I wish you the best with your writing. I'm especially interested in your work, having been to both New Zealand and South Africa. I always enjoy books that share different places like that.

  2. Thank you, Margot. I wish more people wrote like Dame Agatha!

  3. Great interview. I wish you success with the new book.
    Stephen L. Brayton

  4. Hi Yvonne - I'm one of those Americans who DO appreciate books set elsewhere! Look forward to reading Murder @ Play.
    All the best,