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The Dead Lie: Debut Mystery

The Dead Lie, a debut mystery by Ivanka Fear

Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!

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The Dead Lie

The Dead LIe

A Blue Water Mystery

You can run. You can hide. But in the end, the past catches up with you.

Lana, a young mother who suffered a traumatic event 11 years ago, has been living under an assumed name. When she visits her hometown to check if it’s safe to reclaim her identity, Lana suffers several mishaps. Then her parents are killed in a car crash. Lana blames herself and her past mistakes until she discovers her mom and dad weren’t who they claimed to be, leading her to suspect their secrets may be responsible for their deaths.

Lana returns to her family’s native Croatian village to visit her grandmother in hopes of learning the truth about her parents and the reason they died. When she meets the villagers, they slam their doors in Lana’s face at the mention of her father. Meanwhile, the near misses that happened back home follow her to Croatia, as does a tall, dark stranger.

Lana probes into the village’s past and uncovers a cold case and a decades old curse, bringing out the ghosts of the past and putting herself in the same danger her parents ran from years ago.

To purchase The Dead Lie, click on the following link: Amazon

The Dead Lie — The Interview

The Dead Lie starts in Canada and travels to Croatia. Tell us about the choice to set your debut novel in two different countries.

The Dead Lie is the first in my Blue Water Mysteries, all of which are set by the water.

My novel begins in Ontario, Canada, because that’s where I live and what I’m familiar with, so my main character, Lana, also resides there. I chose the city of Hamilton as her hometown since it’s on Lake Ontario.

She travels to a small Croatian village on the Danube River, where her parents were born, to learn more about her roots. I was born in Slovenia, near the Croatian border. I believe writing is more authentic when you draw upon your own experiences and surroundings.

Croatia was the best choice for my character’s background because it borders Serbia, and Croatian/Serbian conflict plays a role in my main character’s story. One of the themes of the The Dead Lie is that the past drives the present and future, so Lana returns to her parents’ birthplace to search for answers when tragedy strikes.

The Dead Lie centers on Lana, a young mother. What would you like readers to know about her?

Lana is innately naïve and introverted, but her curiosity and determination override her shyness.

She sticks her nose into other people’s business, making her a good reporter and amateur sleuth. She is fiercely protective of her family and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe.

Because of her past actions, she fears retribution, which could result in danger for her husband and children. She is happy with her life as a wife and mother, reporting for the local newspaper in a small town.

But the mistakes she made years ago haunt her every day. She must live with them and their repercussions when what she longs for is a normal life. Fate, however, has other plans for her.

Tell us about your road to publication:

It has been my dream to be a writer ever since I can remember. After retirement, I found the time to pursue that dream. In the summer of 2018, I began to write as a hobby, but my husband insisted my poems were good enough to be published, so I submitted them to literary magazines, then expanded to short story writing. After finding success with poetry and story publications, one of my short stories led to an idea for a novel. The short story became a series of 5 novels, and the ideas for more keep coming.

When I completed my first novel, I began to query agents while continuing to write. With the help of beta readers and critique partners, I improved my books. After 15 months of querying and many rejections, I signed with my agent. Several months later, I received an offer from a publisher for my 5-book series. In addition, I signed a contract for another 3-book series.

You also write poetry and short stories. How does your process differ between the different forms?

A poem or story usually takes me a day or two to write, and I don’t spend as much time planning or editing, so I don’t have as big an investment in that.

A novel means a major time commitment and if it doesn’t get published, I leave myself open to a lot more disappointment. With a novel, I need to do a lot of thinking ahead of time to ensure I have enough ideas and material to begin writing. Novels also require much more research, revision, and editing.

But for all forms of writing, one thing is the same. I need to be inspired to write. Whenever an idea comes to me, if I don’t get in in writing as soon as possible, I lose my train of thought and there is the possibility I won’t get back to that project. My poems and short stories flow freely without an outline, whereas novels require more planning. However, I consider myself more of a ‘pantser’ than a ‘plotter’, and once I begin to write, things keep on rolling.

Prior to publishing The Dead Lie, you worked in education. Tell us about that career and how it impacts you as a writer:

I taught all grades from 1 to 8 at different points in my teaching career, and I enjoyed all of them. Children of all ages have something special to contribute, and whichever grade I was teaching at the time was my favorite. I have been inspired by my experiences to write some poems about teaching and learning.

My main character in Blue Water Mysteries becomes a teacher, and in my other series, the main character is a teacher’s aide.

My post-secondary education led to degrees in English and French, with a focus on literature, so the classic books I read contributed to my love of reading and writing, which began in childhood. I’m sure that helped me to be a better writer.

What are you working on now?

I recently completed another novel for a new series, and that is in the hands of my agent. I’ve begun the third book of my second series and written a couple more short stories which I submitted to contests.

Also, I’m spending a lot of time editing my other novels and reviewing novels for fellow authors.

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:

Don’t give up. If you feel the need to write and love to do so, then keep on. If it gives you satisfaction, it’s worthwhile to write for yourself.

If you want to be published, either traditionally or self-published, be prepared to put in a lot of time and hard work to get there. Whatever your goal, stay true to yourself and write from the heart. But most importantly, do what you love.

Great advice!

Author Pet Corner!

T.C and Scruffy!

We have two cats, T.C. and Scruffy, both of whom were strays we took in. T.C. has been with us for about 8 years, and Scruffy for almost 4 years.

They love living with us as much as we love having them. They have brought much love and comfort to us.

Their favorite activities are sleeping, eating, playing, snuggling, and looking out the window.

Sadly missed is Lucky, our little black cat who was with us for a short time but will live in our hearts forever.



Ivanka Fear — Author of The Dead Lie

The Dead LieIvanka Fear is a Canadian writer, born in Slovenia.

She earned her B.A. and B.Ed. in English and French at Western University.

Prior to pursuing writing full time, she enjoyed a long career in education.

Her debut novel, The Dead Lie, is the first in her Blue Water Mysteries series. Ivanka is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

She resides in Ontario, Canada, with her family and the stray cats that wandered in.

When not reading and writing, Ivanka enjoys watching mystery series and romance movies, gardening, going for walks, and watching the waves roll in at the lake.

To learn more about Ivanka, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram, Goodreads & Pinterest

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Amazon #1 bestseller

Header image by JPlenio on Pixabay

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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