Fifteen-year-old Lou can’t seem to help herself. When she sees something suspicious, she just has to break out her homemade spy gear and investigate.
The plot of Inga Kruse’s first book is set in Squamish, BC, where a young sleuth literally “spots something fishy going on.”
With the help of her clumsy dog, Rocky, and her new best friend, Oliver, she sets out to find clues and uncover the truth about what the nefarious criminals are doing.
The Murrayville resident said she had been planning her book, Lou and the Whale of a Crime, for the past two years, comparing the style to that of a modern-day Nancy Drew story.
When asked why she choose to set her story in Squamish, Kruse said it is one of the prettiest places she knows nearby – a convenient fact lent itself to short trips for inspiration.
“I thought about the problems they might have there and figured a fishing boat would be the good setting for a crime,” Kruse explained.
With the setting also came the strong cultural ties to the Squamish First Nation, a factor Kruse said was important to her to be respectful with and get right.
A Squamish elder read the book to help guide Kruse’s writing for accuracy – particularly with the specifics of a blanket ceremony.
Kruse said the book is not frivolous – there is messaging. She wanted to show readers the importance of interacting with the community – purposely populating her story with characters who are paraplegic or struggling with dementia.
“I want kids to see themselves or even their aspirational selves – I’ve had readers tell me that Lou is fearless,” she said, noting an importance to show young female readers a strong, empowering character.
Kruse said she intentionally used a few words that young readers may not understand – something the author hopes encourages them to expand their vocabulary and look up the meaning.
”My writer friends are deeply into self-publishing,” Kruse explained about her road to getting her work out into the world. “I don’t have time to send it to publishers and wait six months to find if I got a rejection.”
That freedom gave the author the opportunity to work with illustrator Trevor Watson.
“He lives in North Van and went to school for cartooning,” she said. “All 29 chapters have individual pictures.”
Kruse added that this is the first book in a planned trilogy – she said the second instalment is 75 per cent written.
Books have not yet hit local stands, but Kruse hopes to have them for sale physically within the coming weeks.
“I have been asked by a few teachers if I would do a video meeting with their class,” Kruse added. “Neat idea – I hadn’t even thought of that.”
Above all, Kruse said she is proud that the work is out there and that she hopes seeing publication for someone happen right around the corner inspires others to pen their own story.
People can purchase Lou and the Whale of a Crime online at www.amazon.ca/Lou-Whale-Crime-Inga-Kruse.
Is there more to this story?