‘Alaska. Why it speaks to me’. Yolanda Renee reveals a dark secret that has plagued her for years.

My guest today needs no introduction. Welcome Yolanda Renee and sincere congratulations on publishing the third in your murder series with Curiosity Quills Press. 

I warn you this is not your run-of-the-mill book tour post. Today Yolanda shares a dark secret which has haunted her for many years. No doubt it has had a deep impact on her writing. Take it away, my good friend and WEP partner…

Murder & Obsession Blog Tour

March 16, 2016         Denise Covey            Why Alaska

March 21, 2016         MichaelDi Gesu       Guest Post  


March 25, 2016         StuartWest              Couples Counseling

March 28, 2016         AlexJ. Cavanaugh   It’s All About Snark


March 30, 2016         Robyn Campbell        Character Interview

April 1 – 30                A to Z Challenge       Murder & Obsession


Why Alaska Speaks to Me

Why is a fair question. Most all my work reflects the influence Alaska has had on me. Is it just the ‘write what you know’ tool or an obsession? I’m betting it’s a little of both.

If you’ve ever seen any picture of Alaska, you can get a sense of the magnificence, but until you visit the state – there’s no way to describe what such beauty does to your soul. I fell in love in a matter of minutes – the drive from the airport was enough for me to feel as though I’d come home. A feeling I’d never felt anywhere else, but I also realized that part of it was the distance from family and other worries that allowed me to breathe easy for the first time in years.

Alaska was a magnificent opportunity and one I grasped with both hands. I embraced each new adventure and found happiness, something I’d never known before to any degree. But in less than a year, I’d lost my soul…
Raped by my boss, a man I’d trusted, turned my new world upside down. And even though I completely suppressed the memory for over 10 years, I was changed.

So why do I write about Murder occurring in such a lovely place? Because the ugliest things happen in the most beautiful places. Serial killers haunt all lands and Alaska is no exception. In 1984, Robert (Bob the Baker) Hanson was sentenced to 461 years for the rape and murder of four women. He confessed to the rape of 30 and the killing of 21. Most of the women were prostitutes. Hanson then flew them out into the bush (wilderness) where he let them go so he could hunt them down. He killed them with a high-powered rifle and left them to the animals. Unbelievable!

I lived in Anchorage during his reign. I walked past the area he trolled, 4th Avenue, on my way to work for Calista, a native corporation where I worked as an accountant. Such things leave an impression, and, I’m certain, come out in my writing. Life experiences, places, people I’ve met all influence my stories but I’ve chosen to write murder mysteries, romance, and horror because I find the genre closely fits with my own search for answers to some of life’s most horrid questions.

In The Snowman, a WIP, I mention the Hanson killings, but in Murder & Obsession, my latest release, the antagonist has different goals — he’s in love with a woman he can’t have, and determined that if he can’t have her, no one else will.

Here is an excerpt that speaks to his intent: This is a nightmare that haunts Steven as he flees incarceration and searches for answers.

A scenc trail, bright sunshine, and clear skies. Steven and Sarah followed the river south.

“You do realize we’ll take the same trail back,” Steven informed her after they’d stopped yet again to take photographs.

“I know, but not until after lunch. The light will be different then.”

“The middle of winter and you want to eat lunch in the cold.”

“I want to do more than eat lunch. This is a honeymoon, isn’t it? You brought a tent and sleeping bag for a reason.”

Steven laughed. His angel loved getting naked in the snow. Only half a mile later, Sarah stopped again to snap a few pictures of the valley laid out before them, and Steven had to admit, the day was perfect. No, he thought, she’s perfect. He gazed at his wife with admiration.

The red laser light of a rifle sight bounced off the white of her fur collar, and the fracture of a gunshot registered just as Sarah dropped to the ground.

Steven was instantly at her side, his gaze on the area where the blast originated.

The shooter stepped out from his hiding place, pocketed his gun, and declared, “If I can’t have her, neither will you. See how you enjoy life without Sarah by your side.”


You Can Buy Murder & Obsession Here

Read the First Chapter Here

At one time adventure called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun of Alaska, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can find Yolanda at:

Blog: Defending the Pen




Thank you, Denise, for hosting me and allowing me to discuss my favorite place and its influence on my life and my writing.

A tweet to share, thank you! 
I would so appreciate it!

Murder & Obsession is now available. Please share my celebration – wine or chocolate – your choice! Salute!http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Obsession-Detective-Quaid-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01CRYKNH6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

It would thrill Yolanda if you had a conversation with her here on my blog…Here are some prompts…

  • Do you read murder mysteries?
  • Do you ever wonder why authors choose to write about murder?
  • Do you have any specific question/s for Yolanda. She’d be happy to respond.


7 thoughts on “‘Alaska. Why it speaks to me’. Yolanda Renee reveals a dark secret that has plagued her for years.

  1. Hi, Denise. I commented to Yolanda on your blogspot blog and decided to come here to thank you for your comment on my A Hand Pushed Me Back post. I responded, if you have a minute to check back. Still trying to maneuver the ins and outs of WordPress. Am about to try downloading a plugin that enables you to email the person after he/she leaves a comment. People don’t always check back to see the post author’s reply….if that makes sense. Monday morning and you know….though by now YOU may be sleeping!


  2. Hi Denise and Yolanda – I’ve never been to Alaska … but am fascinated to read about it and see it in programmes etc . However now you’ve blurred my mind by that absolutely appalling ‘man’ hurting so many.

    However what one man did to you .. is just so cruel and unnecessary in this day and age – I’m not surprised you suppressed as much as you. I am so glad you’re happy now, settled with two children and happily writing … even if they are murder mysteries … good luck and I’ll see you around .. cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Hilary. The power of the mind to suppress horror amazes me but I’m glad too. I have been blessed with a wonderful life, and even more so with a creative mind. Writing is cathartic as well as pleasurable.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry for what you suffered there. I visited Alaska once, on a cruise, so I saw only what a tour guide showed us, but I remember the magnificent nature. And I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the locals. Every boulder there had a story, and the guide told us all of them. Maybe some of those stories were even true, while others were surely fiction written specifically for tourists, but it was a fascinating trip all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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