Ontario’s waters inspiration for Fear’s writing

  •    Wednesday, April 12, 2023   Emily Stewart

Author Ivanka Fear always enjoyed mysteries.

She read “The Hardy Boys” series growing up and likes the works of Agatha Christie. Fear says that that one of her favourite activities outside of reading and writing is watching mystery series.

"I was always drawn to something that was mystery or suspense. Something where you need to keep turning the pages and you're kind of always on edge what happens next.”

Fear released her debut novel “The Dead Lie,” the first of five books in the “Bluewater Mystery” series on February 28. The series, published through Level Best Books, is about a young woman from Hamilton, Ont., named Lana, who is under a new identity after a traumatic event. She loses her parents in a car accident and travels to a Croatian village to find out who her parents really were. 

Prior to writing, Fear was a teacher for 34 years before retirement. Her writing career began after she finished her teaching career. 

"Writing has just been something I always wanted to do - just didn't necessarily have the time until I retired to pursue it full-time” she said.

Fear published several poems and short stories and has written eight novels. She resides in Moorefield, which is about 40 minutes away from Stratford. She was born in Slovenia and grew up in Kirkland Lake. 

Her books are based on places familiar to her and all of her books take place in Ontario. “The Dead Lie” begins in Hamilton, which Fear picked because she knows the area from visiting family. She also wanted to pick a different city from Toronto, which she felt is represented often in Canadian literature.

“All of my books are based on a location that’s close to the lakes, the water,” she said.

 “Hamilton was a choice for me because it was a place that I knew somewhat from my childhood.”

The second “Blue Water Mysteries” book takes place in Northern Ontario because she lived nearby a mine that eventually closed down and her father worked in a gold mine. 

The third, fourth and fifth book in the series are set in a fictional town based on Goderich, Ont., where Fear likes to visit to spend time at the beach. London is also referenced in the series. According to the bio on her website, Fear earned her B.A. and B.Ed. from Western University. 

The scenes in “The Dead Lie” that take place in the Croatian village are also inspired by her past. Fear has family in Croatia and lived on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. 

Before writing novels, Fear wrote a short story about her memories at the Avon River in Stratford before her mother’s passing. They spent their last day together on a day trip walking nearby the river, not realizing it would be the last day. 

"I was really glad we were able to do that because she was at that point - able to walk around and do all those things that we would do when we were younger. She’d always used to come,” she said. “It was a special day for the two of us to be out one last day.”

Tantor Media will publish three of the “Bluewater Mystery Series” in audiobook format in a couple of months. Fear’s first book in her JK Mallory Mysteries series, “Where is my Husband?,” will be released in October by Level Best Books.

To learn more about the author and to purchase “The Dead Lie,” visit