Interview with Tasmin Turner, Author of The Missing Diary
27 Apr 2023
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Missing Diary?
I was inspired to write “The Missing Diary” during my time working for an international organization in Kosovo between 2013 and 2019. The experience of living and working in such a unique environment, with its fascinating ethnic and religious mix, greatly contrasted with my life in New Zealand. I was touched by the resilience and open-hearted nature of the Kosovar people living in a post-conflict setting and struggling for their existence since the conflict with Serbia.
My book is set in a fictionalized Kosovo, which, during and after the conflict, was administered by the United Nations and assisted by various international organizations. To avoid pointing fingers at specific organizations, I created a fictional entity called the Organization for International Development and Coordination. With a background in law and a career spanning nearly 30 years in policy and legal positions within international organizations, I decided to combine my fascination with law, international policy, and peacekeeping to share my experiences and insights through fiction.
Although the book’s settings are based on my personal experiences, the characters and events are purely fictional. Kosovo’s unique status as a state not universally recognized and its hybrid legal system, combining international and local laws, creates a compelling backdrop for both good and evil to thrive. The protagonist, Caitlin “Kit” Chase, is a young lawyer from New Zealand who finds herself in Kosovo, unprepared for the situations she encounters. As Kit discovers her own values and the importance of justice, she also uncovers her courage and determination to fight for her beliefs. Kit’s impulsive nature and reluctance to follow directions make her an effective investigator, solving cases others cannot but she often gets into trouble in the process.
“The Missing Diary” is the first book in a trilogy that aims to entertain and inspire readers through the vivid world of crime in Kosovo. The second book, “The Price of Justice,” is in its advanced stages, and the third, “Explosive Reprisals,” is currently in progress. A possible fourth book is also being considered. As a work of women’s fiction, “The Missing Diary” explores the challenges faced by professional women as they balance private and professional lives. Kit’s romantic life provides a backdrop for the criminal investigation plot, while she navigates her world and discovers her life goals.
I wrote the first draft of this book while living in Kosovo, which allowed me to immerse myself in the atmosphere. However, it wasn’t until I returned to New Zealand that I had the time to complete the novel. Writing “The Missing Diary” has been an enlightening experience, and I hope it will captivate readers as much as it has captivated me.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Missing Diary, what would they be?
A fitting theme song for Kit Chase, the main character in the Crime Scene Kosovo series, would be Christina Aguilera’s “What A Girl Wants” because the song captures Kit’s journey of self-discovery and empowerment. As she navigates through complex situations and learns to stand up for her beliefs, the song’s theme of finding one’s voice and desires resonates with Kit’s character development.
A fitting theme song for Sergei Sokolov, the Russian intelligence officer, from the Crime Scene Kosovo series, would be “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay. The song’s orchestral and powerful sound reflects Sergei’s complex and multifaceted character, while the lyrics touch on themes of power, ambition, and a fall from grace, which resonate with his intriguing and enigmatic personality.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
My favorite genre to read is a blend of mystery and crime detection, with elements of romance and horror intertwined. I particularly enjoy incorporating supernatural aspects into the stories I read. Interestingly, my preferences for reading and writing genres are quite similar, as I find both engaging and immersive, allowing me to explore diverse themes and narratives.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Currently, my to-be-read (TBR) pile includes an intriguing mix of genres and authors: “Wanderlust” by Lauren Blakely – a contemporary romance novel “To Dream of the Dead” by Phil Rickman – a supernatural crime detection story “The Curse of the Pharaohs” by Elizabeth Peters – a historical mystery set in Egypt “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson – a groundbreaking cyberpunk novel “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle – a classic collection of detective stories “Scandalous Risks” by Susan Howatch – a compelling tale of personal and spiritual exploration.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
My favorite scene to write in the book was the intense fight scene between my main character and one of the primary antagonists, a former Kosovar policewoman who has become a criminal accomplice. I thoroughly enjoyed researching various approaches to crafting fight scenes and incorporating them into my writing. This pivotal moment in the story serves as a turning point for my protagonist, as she realizes the importance of enhancing her fitness and self-defense skills. The scene also highlights the character’s growing awareness that things don’t always unfold as expected.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I do have a few quirky writing habits. My office is quite cluttered, and I have plans to expand it eventually. I work surrounded by multiple computer screens and my cherished crystal collection. To help me get through some of the more challenging scenes, especially the romantic ones, I enjoy playing suitable background music. This creates the perfect ambiance for crafting the various moods and emotions throughout the story.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
My personal motto and philosophy, which I wholeheartedly embrace, is “Per aspera ad astra,” which translates to “Through hardships to the stars.”
This quote embodies my passionate approach to life and learning, reminding me to stay committed and driven in the face of challenges, as they ultimately lead to growth and success.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
If there is one takeaway I hope readers remember after reading my book, it’s the empowering message that you can achieve anything if you believe in yourself and commit to it wholeheartedly. Embrace your inner strength and determination, and remember that with perseverance, you can overcome obstacles and attain your goals.
Tasmin Turner is the author of the new book The Missing Diary: Crime Scene Kosovo Book 1
Connect with Tasmin TurnerAuthor Site
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