Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Dave Hugelschaffer

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Ten Questions with Dave Hugelschaffer

Dave Hugelschaffer has spent eighteen years working in the forests of Alberta as a forest ranger, timber cruiser, firefighter and land planner. One Careless Moment (Cormorant Books) is Dave's second book in the Porter Cassel Mystery series. On Thursday, February 12 at 12:30, Dave Hugelschaffer and April Lindgren will be reading at the Toronto Reference Library's Literary Lunch: Mystery Novels and Killer Careers. See our events page for details.

OB:

Tell us about your latest book, One Careless Moment.

DH:

One Careless Moment is the second book in the Porter Cassel mystery series. Cassel is an ex-forest ranger, turned professional wildfire investigator. In the first book, Cassel tracked a serial arsonist and an eco-terrorist. In this latest book, he’s working in Montana as the Incident Commander on a fire, assisting the US Forest Service. He’s in charge of an arson fire, and one of his men is killed in the line of duty. Under US law, the firefighter’s death is considered a homicide and the search for the arsonist becomes a dual fire and murder investigation. Cassel feels personally responsible for the death of his firefighter, and against the advice of local authorities, conducts his own investigation.

OB:

How did you research your book?

DH:

I did quite a bit of research with the US Forest Service, both with their criminal investigations branch and local field personnel. I interviewed a fire investigation expert with the US Parks Service, as well as a Sheriff in Montana. I spoke with the investigator of the Storm King Mountain tragedy, in which 14 firefighters were killed. I talked to investigators at the Missoula Technology Development Center, who develop and investigate how protective equipment used by firefighters performs in the field. I learned how fire shelters are used, their limitations, and what happens when they don’t work and people die. I interviewed firefighters from Canada, who were sent to the US, to determine differences in culture and operating procedure. I visited a small town in Montana, which I used as to model the setting. I’ve also worked as a wildland firefighter and forest ranger.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

DH:

I cast a fairly wide net - anyone interested in drama, action and mystery set in the outdoors.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

DH:

Anywhere quiet. I once and wrote a book in a closet, just big enough for a tiny desk and chair. When you write, your physical surroundings vanish as you enter the world you create. When distractions are removed, anywhere will do fine.

OB:

What was your first publication?

DH:

Day into Night – first in the Porter Cassel series.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

DH:

The Watchman by Robert Crais – a master of modern mystery and drama.

OB:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

DH:

Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell (an amazing true adventure), The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (a fascinating true story filled with rich characters) and The Story of B by Daniel Quinn (perspective).

OB:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

DH:

Don’t give up. Even the masters struggled.

OB:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

DH:

I’ve signed a lot of books for firefighters and old rangers who are in the hospital, as gifts, and I’m touched they would think of my book as a gift, under those circumstances.

OB:

What is your next project?

DH:

The next book in the Porter Cassel Series – Whisky Creek.



Read more about One Careless Moment at the Cormorant Books website.

Visit Dave Hugelschaffer's website at www.davehugelschaffer.com.

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