Two southern authors alone on a road trip through the Yukon. Sounds like a good premise for a novel, doesn’t it?
On June 4, two Canadian mystery writers, Vicki Delany and Barbara Fradkin, touched down in Whitehorse for a 10-day book tour of the Yukon. It will include several events in the capital, as well as stops in Haines Junction, Pelly Crossing and Dawson City.
“It’s a busy time,” Fradkin says. “Every day has at least one event. Driving around will be its own adventure, but Vicki brought her GPS (which is named Smithers) so hopefully it knows the Yukon roads.”
They are not total strangers to the territory, however: both Ontario-based writers have been here before — Fradkin on a paddling adventure and Delany as a tourist — and both decided to set books in the North.
Delany’s Klondike Gold Rush Series is set in and around Dawson City in the late 1800s. The most recent, Gold Web, will be released in December.
“To my considerable surprise I found no one had written a mystery series about this time and place,” Delany says. “I think it’s fascinating and so far my readers do too — they love learning about the Klondike.”
Fradkin’s latest book, The Whisper Legends, is set just over the border in Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories. It is the ninth book in her award-winning police procedural series featuring Inspector Michael Green.
“I came up here on a wilderness river trip two years ago and felt as if I needed to set a story (in the North),” Fradkin says. “There is a peace and a danger (in the Nahanni) that go hand-in-hand.
“It was also interesting to see how Inspector Green would do up against a new
adversary: nature. He’s a city boy, but he comes to the Nahanni when his daughter disappears on a canoe trip.”
The authors are each mothers to three children and had long careers in other areas — Fradkin as a psychologist and Delany as a computer programmer — before becoming full-time writers. The two met at mystery writing events in Ontario, like Bloody Words and the Scene of the Crime, and decided to take this trip together once Fradkin’s book was released.
“So far we’ve survived,” Delany laughs.
Both are very encouraging to budding Yukon mystery writers.
“You have to read a lot to be a good writer,” Delany says.
Fradkin adds that, “The most important thing for writers is to keep believing in themselves and keep going. You’re going to get criticism and you should pay attention to that feedback, but keep practicing and you’ll get better.”
On June 13 Delany and Fradkin will be at the Dawson City Museum presenting Mounties, Miners and Madams: The History of the North Through Fiction from 7 to 9 p.m. Their last engagement in the Yukon will be on June 14 in Whitehorse at the Coles Bookstore from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to present their work at the Parking Lot Reading Series.