Are you familiar with Emma Schwarz already? If not, may I introduce you to the protagonist of my latest novel series? Emma is a German journalist who works for a small daily paper in a fictional suburb of the Southern German city of Stuttgart. Though she is supposed to work on cultural and social topics only, she happens to stumble across incidents that involve criminal activity. And Emma’s curiosity wins out over her usual assignments and gets her into some pretty dangerous situations.
Her first case in “Ashes to Ashes” involves arson committed to horse stables around her hometown. It also involves a stunning U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant, Oscar “Ozzie” Wilde, whom she meets coincidentally at one of the arson sites and with whom she falls in love. As he is stationed in another country, England, a long-distance relationship enfolds.
“Bulletproof” is the title of my sequel in the Emma Wilde novel series that has been published barely a week ago. This time, Emma travels to England to house-sit for her sweetheart, Ozzie, who has been deployed to Northern Africa. Although nothing much happens in the pretty village of Ealingham-on-Ouse in the Suffolk Fens, Emma is soon way into another criminal investigation. Because during one of her walks along the river, Emma finds a shooting victim. What was the reason for murder at close range? The bullet case Emma finds leads her into a labyrinth of history, traditions, and prejudices against minorities in a rural society. And Scotland Yard’s Detective Superintendent Barb Tope is not amused that a journalist, from a foreign country at that, digs around in her territory.
Inspiration for this novel came from running into a small travelers’ camp isolated from surrounding villages in the Fens years and years ago and from having read and watched quite a few biographies and documentaries about Irish and Romani travelers. As to the protagonists, Emma is based very loosely on my experiences as a journalist with a daily paper in my rookie days, and Ozzie could simply be any Air Force member. Barb Tope is entirely fictional – but the fun part was to write a character with a few traits of a real-life reader who won a namesake to be written in.
Readers of my Wycliff novels may have encountered Emma already, by the way. The Emma Wilde novel series is a spin-off of these small-town novels located in Western Washington’s South Puget Sound region. As I have encountered so many military spouses over the years but hardly any literature dealing with this very enduring, mostly female species, I thought it was time to give them a voice. Emma might not be typical as a character, but her journey somewhat is. Minus the sleuthing.
You can find “Bulletproof. An Emma Wilde Novel” (239 pages, $ 12.00, ISBN-13: 979-8370283925) on Amazon or order it from a bookstore.