EVERYTHING FAMILY &
"Mother of Family Ideas"
Mount St. Helens Mystery
By Jeanette F. Chaplin
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the Second Mystery in this series by author, Jeanette F. Chaplin.
the third Mystery in this series by author, Jeanette F. Chaplin.
A Mount St. Helens Mystery
Join Torrie Madison in her first adventure as an
unwilling sleuth. This mystery, set in the harsh landscape of
Mount St. Helens is the first in a series of books planned by
author, Jeanette Chaplin. Torrie is an amateur sleuth with a
quirky sense of humor, a sharp mind, quick reactions, and more
than a little bit of bravery.
Is the Fireweed
a real plant?
Yes. It’s very common in forested
areas and is one of the first plants to appear after a forest
fire. I had never seen the plant until my first trip to Mount
St. Helens. In fact, it was seeing the abundance of its
eye-catching blooms that sparked the idea for this critical
element in the plot development. The biggest difficulty was
deciding whether to make the plant a force for good or evil. I
decided that impending evil had more potential.
Could the events
described really happen?
Well . . . some of them could. I
interviewed a biogenetics expert before I finalized some of the
plot elements, because I wanted the happenings to have a ring of
truth to them. Mutated species do actually make some bizarre
changes, and many plants glow in the dark. A mutation moving
from one species to another is not likely, but changes that
spread into the environment are indeed irrevocable
On May 1980, an
unforgettable devastation was wrought by the Mount St. Helens
volcanic eruption. But in the midst of that destruction
appeared a portent of good. In a remote canyon, prehistoric
Fireweed seeds germinated in the intensity of the blast,
making possible the production of a potent honey with
incredible healing powers. Unfortunately, genetic tampering
caused mutations, bringing death and destruction instead of
Torrie Madison, a young
aspiring journalist, stumbles across the genetically altered
Fireweed while vacationing in Washington State. When people
and animals start dying around her and she becomes a murder
suspect and potential victim, she must solve the mystery
before it's too late. She and her ranger friend Brad set out
into the barren landscape to discover who is behind this
aberration of nature. Meanwhile, the plague proceeds up the
food chain. Who will be the next victim of the GLOWING
Jeanette F. Chaplin
Jeanette F. Chaplin is a
transplanted Iowan currently teaching English and Spanish
courses in the Phoenix area and working to expand her writing
business. In pursuit of her lifelong goal of being a writer,
she obtained a doctorate in composition and creative writing
at Texas A&M-Commerce, and participated in a workshop at the
University of Iowa’s Summer Writing Festival as well as an
array of other workshops and conferences. Publishing credits
include inspirational writing and a travel piece on her
hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, in the Des Moines Sunday
Register, as well as self-published works such as the Self
Her ongoing goal is to travel
to exotic places and research a series of mystery novels
featuring twenty-something aspiring journalist Torrie Madison.
Torrie’s next adventure takes place in France, which of course
necessitated two wonderful research trips. Chaplin is now
working on the third draft with a local critique group.
When not reading,
which she counts as “market research,” she enjoys outdoor
activities such as hiking, camping, swimming, and biking—as
long as they aren’t too extreme. She loves to travel and visit
her daughters Rachelle in Iowa, and Andrea in Seattle as well
as friends in Monterrey, Mexico, where she spent two years
teaching and conducting short-term mission tours.
What inspired you to write the story?
I had been moving in
this direction ever since the Indiana Jones movies and
Romancing the Stone were popular. About the time I had
decided to write in the mystery genre, I watched a slide
lecture on Mount St. Helens. The lecturer narrated an incident
about falling into a pit of “quick mud” while researching in
the volcanic monument area. It struck me that the harsh
landscape would provide an excellent backdrop for a mystery.
How long did it take to
write the book?
From the time I first
got the idea, I worked on it about four years. I anticipate
the next one taking closer to two years. I did a lot of
background work on Torrie, her family and background, and
potential locales before starting, so many of the elements of
the next novel are pre-established.
How much of you do we see you in
Not too much—she’s braver than
I am. Of course she thinks and reacts the way I do in a lot of
situations and has my quirky sense of humor. I think I’ve also
borrowed a lot from my daughters since she belongs to their
generation. In reality, I relate more to her mother, whom we
didn’t see too much of in this novel. Watch for her in the
next book of the series.