Savasana at Sea Cover tiny


Tomorrow, November 15, is the official release day of SAVANASA AT SEA, the first Nautical Namaste Mystery, under the Ava Dunne name.

This is an absolute case of I wrote the book I wanted to read, but couldn’t find. I worked in the office of a cruise line many years ago, and was drawn to the multi-cultural, international people that work on ships. Everyone has a story, and it’s a story worth telling. I also liked the aspects of a locked room mystery that being on a cruise ship held.

As a yoga practitioner, I’m annoyed when I see those who practice yoga portrayed as flaky or silly or dumb. Most of the teachers I know are smart and grounded and funny and talented. Practitioners are from all walks of life, so you have all kinds of people. They’re not generically flaky or stupid.

I knew I wanted to write a mystery. I wanted to use elements of the cozy mystery genre, but I also knew that the formula itself was too restrictive for what I wanted to say. Which is why this is labeled as “not quite cozy.”

I also wanted elements of comedy and romance. Early drafts had more of a chick-lit flavor to them, and the comedy felt forced instead of organic. When I let the humor and the banter flow from character rather than formula, it worked.

One of the things I loved about working on Broadway with diverse casts such as we had on shows like Miss Saigon and David Henry Hwang’s re-envisioning of Flower Drum Song was that we had the opportunity for real discussions about race, religion, sexism, oppression, and the casual comments we sometimes make, not realizing they’re hurtful. We could talk openly, without getting either offensive or defensive, about our experiences, and try to come up with ways to make the world a better, more tolerant place. Since we were artists, it often took the form of stories, plays, performance pieces, songs or poetry. I tried to capture some of that sense of collaboration in these stories.

I hope you like SAVASANA AT SEA. For those of you not familiar with yoga, “Savasana” is also known as “Corpse Pose.” I felt that was appropriate for a mystery, but I wanted to use the traditional name for the pose, not “Corpse Pose.”

At the back of each book, I also have an article with travel tips, and links to some of the real places mentioned in the book. Since the cruise route changes from book to book, it gives the crew — and the reader — chances to visit fascinating, beautiful places all over the world.

The book is available digitally, through several outlets. The Nautical Namaste website has more information about the series. I also have more background information about the crew, short bios written as though they’d be handed out in Welcome Packets, and information about the backgrounds of passengers relevant to each voyage.

We’re in negotiations for a small, traditional print run to happen at some point next year. The contracts aren’t signed, so it’s not a definite, but fingers crossed the numbers for digital sales will be strong enough to warrant a print run.

Below is an excerpt from Savasana at Sea:

“I wonder how many guests tried to hide in their cabins this time.” Roz McIntyre snickered as she joined us. She was a dancer on the entertainment staff, a tall, slender, dark-skinned woman with exquisite posture, who reminded me of a cross between a Daddy Long-Legs and a giraffe. From the moment I set foot aboard the Charisma, she decided we would be friends. Considering Geri’s hostility, I was grateful. “Hello, Sebastian. Hello, Sophie. How’s it going?”
“I’m sure we’ll hear in CB later, when the bets are paid off,” Sebastian replied. “Crew bar,” he added, for my benefit.
“I can put the damn life vest on in my sleep,” I grumbled.
“Let’s hope you never need to,” Sebastian dropped the joking tone.
“Bet Geri’s making you teach the two o’clock Pilates,” said Roz. “While she’s off assignating with Gary or Viktor. She hates Pilates.”
“She told some guy named Gary she didn’t have time for him right now,” I said. “Is ‘assignating’ even a word?”
“I’ll submit it to the OED when I get a minute.” Roz nodded. “Then it’s Viktor. Thanks for the tip. It’ll give me an ace up my sleeve against her when I need it.”
“Geri’s not supposed to mess with the ship’s second officer.” Sebastian frowned.
“Or he with her,” Roz shot back. “I don’t like Geri, but let’s not blame the woman for everything, shall we?” She tugged my arm. “Let’s grab something to eat. If you don’t eat when you can, you’ll pass out at the most inconvenient times.”
“Watch out for that one.” Sebastian nodded in Roz’s direction. “She likes bad men and good champagne.”


SAVASANA AT SEA Buy links here.