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LOUDON – Kary Turnell, the peripatetic, crime-solving “man in the fedora,” is poised for a big year in 2020, with his creator penning him into cases throughout New Hampshire, including Concord, Wolfeboro, Manchester and the Seacoast and Monadnock regions, too.
Turnell is the creation of Mark Okrant, who in 1979 at the then-Plymouth State College created the first academic tourism program in the Granite State. Before and since his retirement in January 2016, Okrant has combined his love of writing, tourism and New Hampshire in murder mysteries of various length and forms.
Most recently, Okrant has embarked on a series of six novellas, issued by Concord-based Plaidswede Publishing. The series began late last year with “One Track Mind,” which had Turnell investigating a murder on the Mt. Washington Cog Railway.
Last month, Okrant released “A Thief in the House,” which has Turnell pursuing the bad guys at the Beaver Meadow Golf Course, State House and McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.
On or about April 1, Okrant expects to release “Long Walk, Short Deck,” most of which takes place aboard the MS Mount Washington cruise ship that plies Lake Winnipesaukee.
He recently completed the fourth novella – “Knock Knock. Who’s Dead” – which is set entirely in the Queen City, with action on Elm Street and in the Millyard. He also has tentatively set Book 5 in the Portsmouth-Dover area and Book 6 in the southwest corner of the state.
“I decided to write this series for two reasons,” Okrant said during an interview at his home. The first is to give Kary Turnell fans “more to read about their favorite investigator,” while, more broadly, the second is to offer visitors and residents alike “a chance to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with some of New Hampshire’s favorite places.”
Although born and raised in New London, Conn., Okrant is a self-acknowledged New Hampshire homer who believes there is nothing better than living in the Granite State, other than the occasional murder that can be solved only by a clever academic, turned sleuth, not entirely unlike himself.
A member of the New London High School Class of 1965, Okrant enlisted in the Army National Guard after graduation and later attended Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography.
He headed west to Oklahoma State University, where he earned a doctorate degree in geography. He taught at South Dakota State for three years, also working briefly as a data analyst for the Hamden, Conn., Police Department before being hired at Plymouth State.
There, Okrant used the scientific method to identify and quantify the importance of tourism to New Hampshire and made recommendations on how best to attract visitors. He conducted research for 26 years, including 20 for the state’s Joint Promotional Program.
Gratitude for being welcomed into the nascent field of New Hampshire tourism by its first leaders was the inspiration for his creative output celebrating the state, Okrant said.
His past works have been set at grand hotels, including The Balsams in Dixville; the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield; the Omni Mount Washington in Bretton Woods; and, in 2015’s Whacked,” at Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle.
After those adventures, Turnell “left New Hampshire for a while, but now he’s back,” Okrant said.
Modern tourism, Okrant said, is about “storytelling,” fostering an emotional response that brings a place “to life” in the minds of potential visitors.
Okrant’s storytelling, he said, “puts a face, in this case Kary Turnell’s, on a place and destination.”
Okrant thinks he can complete the Turnell novella series by the end of the year. Although unsure of what he may write next, he knows that writing will always be a part of his life.
“This isn’t about money,” he said, “It’s an opportunity to give back to an industry — New Hampshire tourism — that I dearly love.”
TTRA Conference Committee is happy to announce two of the keynote speakers for this year’s International Conference – Dr. Chris Bottrill and Paul Ouimet. Both individuals promise to deliver compelling insights that will propel the way you think about planning and management in the travel and tourism industry.
More speakers will be announced as they are confirmed…
Dr. Chris Bottrill is an accomplished educator and administrator with a wide background of applied experiences. He has taught tourism sustainability, destination development, entrepreneurship, and adventure management topics in universities in Canada, New Zealand, USA and Austria, and he has served as Dean of three Faculties and oversees all international recruitment, admissions, partnerships, and global engagement activities.
Chris’s Keynote will be on Enriching Culture through Tourism.
Paul Ouimet has also facilitated over 300 planning retreats and led major several community consultation and engagement processes. During the past 4 years, Paul has led the team which developed and delivered DestinationNEXT, an important Destinations International initiative on the future of DMOs. DestinationNEXT was ranked by SKIFT Magazine as one of the top 10 biggest developments in the global tourism industry in 2015. He has spoken around the world on this new strategic roadmap for the DMO industry.
Paul’s Keynote will be on Destination Stewardship and Community Alignment.
AWARD SUBMISSIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED
51st Annual TTRA International Conference
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
June 16-18, 2020
The Travel and Tourism Research Association awards program was developed to encourage and recognize excellence in the field of travel and tourism research and marketing. Entrants are judged on quality, originality, creativity, usefulness, results, and benefits to the travel and tourism industry.
- J. Desmond Slattery Award (Academic Award)
- DK Shifflet Award for Research Excellence (Practitioner Award)
- Keeling Dissertation Award (Academic Award)
- Chapter Achievement Award
- Distinguished Researcher Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award
Submit your documentation to apply for a 2020 TTRA International Conference award. Award documentation MUST be received by end of the day by Sunday, March 29 2020 (NO EXCEPTIONS/NO EXTENSIONS). To submit: CLICK HERE.
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