ABOUT THE KARMA OF KING HARALDWhen springtime arrives in picturesque New Bergen, so do the tourists and antiquers. This year, though, there are some unwelcome visitors. Extortion. Arson. And murder.
After his business tanks and his wife leaves him for a Pilates coach, Andy Skyberg flees the big city for the peace and quiet of his hometown. All he wants is a decent job, a steady girlfriend, a flat screen TV with a hundred-plus channels, and one loyal dog. But fate has something else in store for Andy, when his big mutt King Harald starts sniffing out crime.
It’s clear that someone has it in for the town’s New Age retailer, Trudi Bock. And it’s also clear that Trudi wants to rekindle the steamy romance she and Andy enjoyed back in college. Andy has to fend her off, while placating his fiery girlfriend, Deputy Sheriff Cass Conlin. Meanwhile, Harald keeps digging up more mayhem. And it falls to Andy to channel his inner sleuth and make sense of it all.
Throw into this mix one legendary (but lost) ebelskiver recipe . . . a gimlet-eyed church lady…a van full of federal agents . . . a crusty socialist…a beloved iguana . . . and an overabundance of rosemaling . . . And you have all the makings for The Karma of King Harald.
ABOUT KING HARALD'S HEIST
But the good-natured, go-to guy can’t seem to catch a moment’s peace. His next-door neighbors—two elderly sisters—want him to fend off a pushy historian who thinks they had a scandalous past. His parents enlist him to entertain a narcissistic, boring couple they would like to ditch. And his ever-scheming Aunt Bev tricks Andy into seeking an improbable new gig that could land him in the hot seat. Even Andy’s big ol’ mutt King Harald has a kennel full of trouble in store for him, beginning with a pilfered thousand-dollar bill and a naughty garden gnome. Before long, New Bergen’s favorite crime-sniffing pooch finds even more deep doo-doo to toss his boss into. Havoc and hilarity ensue, as Andy and his happy hound get to the bottom of King Harald’s Heist.
INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD AUDRY
Richard, how did you get started writing and when did you become an “author?”
I planned to become a photojournalist, but got engrossed in writing for the college newspaper. After that, I developed my career as a journalist and later a copywriter. I became an “author,” IMO, when I finished my first novel — an epic fantasy called The Queen of Thrones. This was several years before George R.R. Martin published A Game of Thrones.
How do you feel about Facebook?
Until recently, I hadn’t much use for it. But as I learn its ins and outs, I have to admit that it has a certainly utility for keeping tabs on old friends and new. I’m just now beginning to explore its capacity to help get word out about my books. I’ve set up a Richard Audry author page, and I’m slowly starting to develop it.
For what would you like to be remembered?
As a teller of good tales. After I’m gone, I’d like my books to live on as long as there are online vendors selling ebooks. I’d like to think that a hundred years from now someone will discover a King Harald mystery and be entertained by it.
What five things would you never want to live without?
1. Above all, my wife. I can’t imagine my world without her in it.
2. Good food. It’s not only nutrition, but comfort and pleasure. A nice meal can make a perfect day.
3. A Kindle full of great reads.
4. A nice, fast internet connection.
5. My big library of DVDs and Blu-Ray movies and TV shows. Who needs cable TV or streaming?
True. If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
If it were in my car, definitely. I live in a big city, so I see stupid driver tricks all the time. It seems every time I sally forth in the Toyota, I’m dodging idiots running stop signs or failing to yield or cutting in close or what have you. And then the air in my Camry turns blue and words beginning with “a” and “f” and “s” burst out of my mouth.
Do you spend more on clothes or food?
Definitely on food. My wife and I are pretty capable cooks. We’re constantly making dishes for the freezer and trying out new recipes. I think we both regard clothes as a necessary evil, buying things only when the old items wear out. No one would accuse me of being a fashion plate.
What is the most daring thing you've done?
Investing thousands of hours of my time and not a little money in this venture of writing and publishing fiction. It is easily the most risky thing I have done in my life. But it’s always been my dream over the years. And if I don’t pursue it now, when will I?
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." —Theodore Roosevelt
What would your main character say about you?
“Why does this guy keep sticking me in situations where people are pointing guns at me? I’m just trying to live an ordinary life. And what’s so hard about finding me a nice, steady girlfriend?”
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
I’ve written many hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, and just as many pieces of marketing and corporate communications. But by far the toughest project was the first book in my middle-grade fantasy series, Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb. I had to create an alternate history of the world, make ghosts real and material, wrangle dozens of characters and complicated plot devices, and make it all believable. I worked on it for six years, off and on. It was brutal, but I’m proud of the book it became. In fact, I think it’s the best book I’ve written so far. Sales have been disappointing, but I’m determined to finish the trilogy. I owe it especially to the ghosts, who are the best characters I’ve created. I’ve left them trapped in the ether and I need to free them in the final book.
You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
My favorite fictional character? Travis McGee. He lived on a houseboat in Ft. Lauderdale starting in the mid-‘60s and sallied forth twenty-one times to solve mysteries and right wrongs. I would love to be as smart as him for a day, as tough, as resourceful, as thoughtful. But I don’t think my wife would want me cavorting with the nubile young things in bikinis that populated his boat, the Busted Flush. I even have a blog devoted to McGee.
Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
I would invite two English actors who have a very long history together — Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Laurie, of course, is known in these parts as Dr. House. But before that he was Bertie Wooster and Fry’s partner on a classic sketch comedy show. For his part, Fry played Bertie’s valet Jeeves. He is also a marvelous writer and raconteur, and a maker of travel documentaries, not to mention a prolific actor. As soon as we all sat down at the table, I would simply sit back and shut up, and let these two launch into a brilliant and witty dialog.
How many hours of sleep do you get at night?
I’ve been a poor sleeper since high school. I consider five hours to be adequate and six hours luxurious. I am not sure when the last time was that I slept eight hours. Maybe in 1996.
Do you have a favorite book?
It’s a novel I first read when I was twelve, and I love it as much today as then. It’s Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. While it was written for children, its depiction of the friendship between Rat and Mole and Toad speaks volumes to the nature of human friendship. I can read passages now that still move me. For example, I read the “Dolce Domum” (“Home Sweet Home”) chapter aloud to my wife every Christmas, and I still get a lump in my throat as poor little Mole smells the scent of his abandoned home in the midst of a snowstorm. He has to see it again. Rat desperately wants to get back to their new digs, but — being a true and good friend — goes with Mole to his old habitation. And as a writer, I am still blown away by Grahame’s flawless prose.
What are you working on now?
I’m just in the process of wrapping up the third book in my Mary MacDougall historical mystery series. It should be out sometime this winter. The first two tales were novellas, but the third installment is full-length. In it, Mary MacDougall — a young heiress of 1902 — takes on her first paying case. She thinks she has the craft of detecting figured out. But discovering the fate of her client’s mother turns out to be far more challenging and dangerous than she ever thought it would be. Complicating things further, she goes sleuthing with her handsome companion Edmond Roy, whom she thinks she hasn’t fallen in love with. For a detective, she’s not very good at uncovering her own emotions.
Cake or frosting? Cake
Laptop or desktop? Desktop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray
Emailing or texting? Emailing
Indoors or outdoors? Indoors (in winter); outdoors (in summer)
Tea: sweet or unsweet? Unsweet
Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Audry (D. R. Martin) grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and began his writing career as an arts journalist in Minneapolis. He has specialized in topics ranging from consumer electronics and healthcare to travel and classical music. For many years, he reviewed science fiction and fantasy books for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is the author of the Johnny Graphic ghost adventure series for kids; the contemporary PI mystery Smoking Ruin; the Mary MacDougall historical mysteries (A Pretty Little Plot, The Stolen Star, and A Mary MacDougall Mystery Duet); and the canine cozy mysteries The Karma of King Harald and King Harald’s Heist.
Connect with Richard:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Buy the books:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble