Escape to Havana with Nick Wilkshire
Straight from his latest posting to some far flung destination, there’s a very special writer on the booktrail today. Let’s Escape to Havana!
A man who has travelled far and wide to so many destinations and has now woven them into a series of novels about a Canadian diplomat. Having worked in embassies myself, this really made me laugh for many reasons. I’d not read many books based in the world of embassies and diplomats…with this level of humour and adventure style plot!
What do you do when not writing?
I’m a lawyer by day and though I don’t practice criminal law, I’ve always been intrigued by crime, and I enjoy reading (and writing) mysteries. I’ve always loved travel and the experience of being somewhere foreign, so the idea of setting novels in foreign locales naturally appeals to me as a writer.
It’s the first in a series. What else can we expect?
Escape to Havana is the first in the Foreign Affairs series that will follow Charlie Hillier, a Canadian consular officer, from one posting to another. You’ll find Charlie in Moscow in 2017 and Tokyo in 2018. I’m currently writing the next book, which will find Charlie in one of my favourite cities – London. As the series progresses, Charlie will get a little better at using the skills he’s learned along the way to solve each new mystery.
Where do you set your books and why?
I’ve set the books in places that I find personally interesting and where society functions very differently from what the Canadian protagonist is used to. Different cultures, bureaucracies etc. present Charlie with challenges he wouldn’t find in more familiar surroundings and I like playing with the fish out of water theme.
Do you have a personal link to the places in your novel?
I’ve been to all of the settings in the series multiple times and try to offer the reader a view of the main experiences that each has to offer, through Charlie’s eyes.
Why is your setting good for your genre?
Havana is the ideal place to launch the series, given the stark contrast from Ottawa and Charlie’s pedestrian life there. The concept of a series of diplomatic mysteries is perfect for my purposes because the setting is constantly changing from one posting to another. Also, being a consular officer means that Charlie has plausible reasons to become embroiled in different mysteries along the way.
How do you research your location?
I’ve spent some time on the ground in all of the settings featured in my novels – it’s the only way to really get a feel for a place (sights, sounds, smells etc.) If I need a refresher, I’ll do some online research or read novels by other authors set in the location in question. I always have a map of the city on hand when I’m writing my first draft.
Do you ever merge settings or fictionalize some if too violent a crime for example?
Unfortunately, violent crime isn’t beyond the realm of possibility in most places, especially at night when even the sunniest street can take on a more sinister character.
Your novels are dark – where do you really like to visit in your location?
The streets of any city at night are fertile ground for imagining how things could go wrong.
Why do you love where you’ve set your novel? Answers on a postcard please……
Thanks Nick! Susan Booktrailer
Booktrail Boarding Pass Information: Escape to Havana: A Foreign Affairs Mystery
Author/Guide: Nick Wilkshire Destination: Havana, Ottawa Departure Time: 2000s