Brenda Chapman Talks Butterfly Kills

Brenda Chapman Talks Butterfly Kills

Posted on January 26 by Dundurn Guest in Interview, Mystery
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We sat down with mystery author Brenda Chapman for her next Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery! 

Tell us about your book.

Butterfly Kills is the second in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series. Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau moves to Kingston to head a new major crimes team and they are soon embroiled in two major cases – a spousal rape and the murder of a fourth year university student. Kala Stonechild drops in for a visit and is enlisted to help with both investigations. A third plotline is told from the point of view of a young girl whose sister disappeared after she was being forced into marriage with a man from India.


How did you come up with the idea for this work?

In my communications work, I handled the forced marriage file for a time and attended a conference in Toronto where I met with the leader of the task force from London, England who explained how they rescued girls from countries where they were being forced into marriages by their families. The murder of three daughters and first wife by an Ottawa man, his second wife and son when their car was driven into the Rideau Canal also haunted me for some time. In the spousal rape storyline, I was showing that family violence is not limited to one culture or nationality.


How did you come up with the title?

Butterflies are free and represent innocence and beauty. Killing butterflies is akin to murdering goodness and light. I’m hoping the unusual title will draw in inquisitive readers.


What was the creative process like for you?

I always begin plotting from the crime and who committed the murder and then figure out how to get to my ending. In this case, I knew how two of the plotlines fed into each other from the beginning. I had no idea how the third plotline fit in until that ‘aha moment’ when everything fell into place. I love when that happens! In addition, I develop my police characters in tandem with the investigation since they remain constants throughout the books. My goal is to make their lives as interesting as the crimes they are working to solve.8. Describe your ideal writing environment.

Several years ago, we put on a major addition to our house in Ottawa and included an office for me. I spend my most productive hours at my desk with music on low and a mug of tea at my elbow. The tea can become a glass of wine if I work into the evening hours. Ideally, I am on vacation from my full-time communications job and have days on end to immerse myself in the manuscript.