Peter E Fenton released the hugely successful, The Woodcarver’s Model last year. Now he’s back with a brand-new series, The Declan Hunt Mysteries. I’m already invested!
The first instalment comes out this week and it’s called Mann Hunt. Peter took some time out to answer my questions.
Tell us all about Mann Hunt
Mann Hunt is the first book in the Declan Hunt Mystery Series. Declan is an openly gay private detective living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After losing his office assistant, Declan takes on 24 year old computer-whizz Charlie Watts just as the agency is hired to take on a missing man case that gets progressively more dangerous. The mystery takes a front seat in this book, but smouldering in the background is the growing sexual tension between Declan and Charlie. If you like a good mystery with some hot men thrown in, you'll enjoy this book.
Where did you get the inspiration for the character of Declan?
I wanted to write a character that had flaws. Someone who had a long ways to go before he could find a stable relationship. In some ways the character of Charlie came first. I am drawn to characters that have a sense of innocence and wide-eyed amazement at everything they come across. Declan came into existence as the polar-opposite to that, which is what creates the tension between the characters.
Who would play Declan and Charlie in a Hollywood movie?
For Declan Hunt I’m kinda thinking that Theo James from the Divergent series might be nice. For Charlie Watts, maybe Gavin Caselegno from The Summer I Turned Pretty
Is this the beginning of a series?
Mann Hunt is Book One of a three part series. Each book contains a different mystery, and as we progress through the books the relationship between Declan and Charlie heats up. It is a slow burn, but book two will have a lot more steam between the main characters.
What else do you have in store for us?
In the spring of 2024 my gay teen romance Not Not Normal will be released by Lorimer Publishing, followed by the late June release of the second book in the Declan Hunt Mystery Series, which is titled Hoodoo House.
Who are your favourite writers at the moment?
Ian Rankin for mysteries, Lauren Wolk for children’s literature (which I enjoy as an escape from writing on mystery), and some guy named Kristian Parker for MM Romance. (Bonus points for this answer – KP)
What time of day do you usually write?
The best time for me to write is in the morning right after coffee. That being said, there isn’t a time of day when don’t I stop to make notes. My partner is very patient with me as I hop out of bed after just lying down for the night and pop into office to write. With Not Not Normal I came up with the perfect sentence to wrap up the novel. The problem was I had just gotten out of the hospital after tearing my Achilles tendon and couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. I lay there running the line over and over again so I wouldn’t forget it. Eventually I woke up my partner so I could ask him for a pen and notepad. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Editing. I hate editing. It’s not that I’m afraid of losing something (okay, that’s a lie). It’s just that sometimes I honestly don’t understand how to meet the editor's needs and still keep my voice in the work. Ultimately, I get there (and I adore my editor) but it takes me time to wrap my head around the edits.
What is the difference between writing a series and a standalone?
A standalone is shorter! The Declan Hunt Mysteries is a series which follows the lives of Declan and Charlie and their evolving relationship through three books as they solve different cases. There are also a number of reoccurring minor characters. And these books are coming out over a two year period, which means I live with the characters in my head for a much longer time. You sort of have to have a master plan for all three books when writing the first one and the first book often sets the “rules” that the rest of the series will play by. There is a sigh of relief when finishing a standalone. But with a series, there is still more of the journey to go when the first book is finished and when you move into the second book, you have to honour the voice of your characters and make sure that you aren't contradicting things written in the first book. The character files, location files, the world you have created … those files are bigger for a series. And themes and things that are seeded in book one will come back around by book three in a surprising way. Well … hopefully. I'm still writing it. I really enjoy the world building regardless of if it is a series or standalone. The real challenge is to make each book in a series as compelling as the first.
Do you have any other creative pursuits other than writing?
I also write for the stage. My partner and I have a production of our latest musical comedy The Detective Disappears going on tour in Canada in March of next year.
What is the best part of the day and why?
The end of the day when everything that can be accomplished is done and I am curled up in bed with my partner. Before we go to sleep we thank each other for three things the other did that day, be it for ourselves (you reminded me of someone’s birthday), for someone else (you gave so-and-so a shoulder to cry on over coffee), or for themselves (you treated yourself to a well-deserved lunch when you were out.)
Tell us an unusual fact about yourself.
I was working on the shore of a remote arctic island with a friend when we were approached by a mother polar bear and her 2 cubs. My only real job was to protect my co-worker against such an unfortunate encounter but I had managed to misplace my gun (don’t ask). Luckily the bears chose to ignore us and I didn’t have to do anything (other than explain to my co-worker that he’s lucky I didn’t have the gun because I like bears more than him, so...)
Where would your dream vacation be?
Italy. Any part of it.
If I was coming for dinner, what would you cook?
It would either involve grilled salmon served with asparagus, or a shrimp risotto, or my family recipe for chili con carne. And I’d probably force you to help me eat an entire loaf of freshly baked bread.
Where can people find you?
Everywhere: www.peterefenton.ca has my blog and links to all of my social media sites. Or you can look for me on the Bloor Street Viaduct. I’ll be the one leaning against the railing making notes on my phone for whatever book I’m working on.