When Ardelle Holden published her first novel, A Person of Interest, the local mystery writer thought the story was over until a reader said they couldn’t wait for the sequel.
That encouragement prompted Holden to revisit her main characters, Samantha and Ben, to find out what was happening next in their lives. She ended up writing the first draft of the sequel, Murder by Bits and Bytes, in one month and she said part three of the trilogy will be available next year.
“I just zoomed in and I was a voyeur and onto their lives again and they came back to life,” she said. “Because once you publish, that’s it. You can’t get them to re-word something, they can’t do something differently, they can’t react differently. It’s done. So when you’re writing the next book, you get a chance to manipulate these people again.”
Murder by Bits and Bytes starts with the couple visiting their cottage on the Fraser River. However, when Samantha arrives, she finds evidence of a bloody struggle, a trail leading to the river and Ben is missing along with his computer, which contains the ‘test platform’ he designed to upgrade the computer system for an Okanagan winery.
“It’s all about computer hacking and the hunt for the friend that betrayed him,” Holden said.
On June 24, Holden is holding an online book launch for Murder by Bits and Bytes. The event will also feature readings by five other mystery writers: Jacqueline Carmichael of Port Alberni, Port Moody’s A.J. Devlin, Squamish resident Donna Barker, and from abroad, Mel Goldberg in Mexico and Kelly Hayes-Raitt in Scotland.
Holden’s book is meticulously researched. She reached out to an acquaintance who worked for Microsoft for 20 years to learn about computer programming, she spoke with an RCMP media liaison to ensure her fictional police detachment was properly staffed and, as part of the story takes place at a winery, she soon became well-versed in vineyard irrigation as well.
“I looked up the weather on the particular day that they’re on the highway, to see if it was snowing or icy or black ice so that I could put that sort of thing in the setting so it was actually accurate,” Holden said, noting that despite her insistent attention to detail, “it was fun because one thing led to another.”
WHAT’S ON … Ardelle Holden online book launch for Murder by Bits and Bytes takes place on Wednesday, June 24 at 1 p.m. over the teleconference platform Zoom.