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article imageAuthor Preben Ormen opens up about 'White Jaguar' book Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 25, 2018 in Lifestyle
Author Preben Ormen chatted with Digital Journal about his new book "White Jaguar: An Inspector Marco Nayal Crime Detective Thriller."
Ormen's book deals with sailing the open seas to writing a No. 1 international best-selling thriller, which is called White Jaguar. It is a deepening murder mystery where nothing is as it seems.
When the founder of a young nanotechnology startup company in Merida turns up floating face down in the mangroves on Yucatan’s north coast and the company's revolutionary agriculture product prototype is discovered missing, Inspector Marco Nayal of Mexico’s Federal Police finds himself entangled in web of lies and deceit. As body count and suspense build and lead after lead takes him down one empty trail after the other.
Wondering why somebody kills this many people over rice and beans, Marco suddenly realizes that the prototype is not what they are told. But when he discovers the terrifying truth, Marco must battle foreign assassins and White Jaguar is recommended for fans of Law and Order and NCIS.
Ormen is a former Royal Norwegian artillery veteran. On the idea for the concept of White Jaguar, he said, "The first inkling of an idea started in Nicaragua. Long story short, we had two bags with cameras and computers stolen off a bus we were on and got the police involved who found the robbers and got our things back. Yeah, I know. Life was better than fiction, but what impressed me was the young tourist police officer who did the investigation. He had very little to work with, not even handcuffs for the two thieves. But he was pleasant, helpful, diligent and an excellent service to his country and us the visitors."
The author continued, "My wife and I have talked about the incident many times since and commented on how hard it must be to be a police officer in a country like that. At the time we were considering retiring to Nicaragua, and I had initially thought I might pattern a police character after this man. As it happened, we retired to Mexico in a different setting, but with similar law enforcement challenges. Inspector Nayal is a much more mature character than the Nica tourist police officer, but something crossed the border all the same."
"As for the story, I knew wanted to write a series that tackled the challenges of policing in the kind of law enforcement environment we see here in Mexico," he explained. "I made the main character mixed culture because culture conflict has been a part of Mexico for 500 years. I also knew I wanted to write from where I live myself, so the Yucatan location was a given. On top of that, the story had to function as an introduction to a character and his work and personal environment. By providing the character a certain level of complexity, I have given myself the freedom to explore a lot of storylines and associated problems."
On traveling from Canada to Mexico, he said, "Everyone should live on a boat away from marinas for at least a year. It rearranges your thinking about possessions and helps you disconnect from the consumer culture. It is surprising how much you can pack into a 32-foot sailboat, but it's a lot less than you keep in your average house. As for sailing from Canada to Mexico, I can say this: get out of the Pacific North East as fast as you can. The weather is never good for very long, and you will get beat up on the way down. Do it in the warm season. Says I, knowing we did it in October."
Differences in technology from one country to another
He lives with his family in Mexico, and he sees differences in technology from one country to another. "I have lived in three countries now, Norway, Canada and Mexico. I came to Mexico the first time a little over 25 years ago, so that's my frame of reference time wise. Back then, the technology gap was palpable. Telephone service was spotty and we had to go to private telephone service shops to call most places. Now I pay about eight American dollars for unlimited calls and messages to Canada, US, and Mexico from my mobile. My landline phone is included in my TV and Internet package and lets me call Europe for free. So, communication technology is excellent and cheaper than up north. Internet speed is faster than the community where we lived in Canada."
Ormen continued, "We used to get mail to Lista de Correo, that is general delivery, and the service was better than is today. Mail from the north now takes three to four days to the border and eight to 10 weeks from there. It doesn’t matter if it’s registered or not. Interestingly, we get mail delivered to the door once it's here. Perhaps the most significant change is the availability of goods and services. We get everything we need here now. What little is missing or overpriced, we can get from Amazon. The record is three days delivery, but the average is probably six to seven days."
He noted that health and dental care are very comparable, and shared that they "see the same equipment here as up north." "We get prescription drugs through our Mexican national health care system. We used to have to bring supplies to a clinic for hospital, for example at one time whence of use needed injections. We had to bring syringes, but got tired of traveling across town so I became ship's doctor and took it on," he said. "There's a two-tier pricing level here. Anything local or locally produced is inexpensive. Anything else is probably made in China so everybody pays the same around the world. Most consumer goods are pricey for the average Mexican family because the economy isn’t where it really should be."
Ormen acknowledged that a "huge change" has been the influx of cars. "The volume of cars on the road has increased phenomenally over the last 25 years. There are still lots of motorcycles and scooters, but good luck finding parking downtown Merida. That said, traffic is still light down here by big city standards, which is great," he said.
On his inspiration to start writing murder mysteries, he said, "I have written non-fiction as part of my job for decades but never tried fiction. I had this idea started back in Nicaragua about a police character, so a murder mystery was a pretty natural choice. It is a very versatile genre, and my sense is I have a lot of freedom to explore many different story-lines while also adding some exciting dimensions by finding subplots or unusual contexts."
Ormen continued, "Many North American readers will have visited Mexico, but I hope I can still bring depth to the stories. Murder mysteries have been captivating readers for ages and show no signs of fading away. Of course, it’s up to us the storytellers to find ways to make our stories relevant. I like that challenge because it lets me pursue my interest in Mexico and the Yucatan and be a little different."
When asked if there is a sequel to White Jaguar in the works, he responded, "There is a sequel, and the theme is human trafficking, which is a problem in Mexico and around the globe. This allows me to bring an international dimension to the story as was the case in White Jaguar. This particular story-line is a lot more challenging for me as a writer because it is much more complicated than just chasing after a single device like Sicarus in White Jaguar. Human trafficking can only be fought if it is understood for what it is: a network."
If he could sail anywhere in the world, Ormen selected the following three "prime" sailing grounds: The Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the South Pacific. "They are all great, but all different," he said. "At this stage of my life, I think I would pick the Mediterranean for some purely personal reasons."
Ormen concluded, "I should also mention that I have a more short term saying project I hope to complete one day. I was chairman of the British Columbia Viking Ship Project that launched a fully functioning half-size replica of the Norwegian Gokstad Ship. We launched as part of the celebrations of the 1000th anniversary of the discovery of North America. I sailed and rowed on it in English Bay in Vancouver, which was fun. The thing is that in Scandinavia there are very active groups with their own ships and they put on meets and group sails. I would love to be able to go there one summer and sail on some of the other replicas."
White Jaguar is available on Amazon.
To learn more about author Preben Ormen, and his book White Jaguar, check out his official homepage.
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