What: Author Ted Haynes discusses “The Mirror Pond Murders”

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Roundabout Books, 900 Mt. Washington Drive, Bend

Cost: Free

Contact: roundaboutbookshop.com or 541-306-6564

When: 6 p.m. July 11

Where: Herringbone Books, 422 SW Sixth St., Redmond

Cost: Free

Contact: herringbonebooks.com or 541-526-1491

When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 20

Where: Sunriver Books & Music, 57100 Beaver Drive, Suite 25-C

Cost: Free, registration requested

Contact: sunriverbooks.com or 541-593-2526

Local author Ted Haynes shares his love of Central Oregon through his writing with four of his six books set in the High Desert. He and his wife, Joan, live in Northern California but began visiting Central Oregon in 1975 and built a log cabin on the Little Deschutes River near Sunriver in 2007 where they have spent summers ever since.

Haynes, who is 74 years old, enjoyed a successful career in advertising and marketing for various technology companies before founding his own consulting firm. But he didn’t begin to pursue his interest in creative writing until the early 1990s, first studying with author and writing teacher Tom Parker and then going on to take writing classes at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. Haynes’ published works include an instructional e-commerce guide, a political thriller, a nonfiction history of the Vandevert ranch in Central Oregon, a collection of Oregon-themed short stories and his Northwest Murder Mysteries series. The series features two books so far — “Suspects” and “The Mirror Pond Murders” — with a third novel now in progress.

“Suspects,” is about unemployed attorney Dan Martinez, who becomes a suspect in the murder of his childhood friend’s husband. To clear his name, Dan sets out to identify the real murderer but becomes a target himself when he uncovers a web of shady business dealings, public corruption and criminal activity. The story is set in a fictional Central Oregon community called Upriver Ranch, which Haynes said combines elements of Sunriver, Crosswater golf community and other locations in the region.

“The Mirror Pond Murders,” released June 17, is based in the heart of Bend, where a girl’s skeletal remains are found at the bottom of Mirror Pond. The case grows to include four seemingly unrelated murders and connections to the controversial nearby 1980s community of Rajneeshpuram (a city established in nearby Wasco County by followers of the spiritual teacher Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh). Attorney ­Sarah ­Chatham learns she has a personal connection to the first victim as she works with a Bend Police detective and a ­motley team of helpers (including some returning characters from “Suspect”) to uncover the truth behind the murders.

“After having the first book take place in a fictional Central Oregon town, I wanted to set the second book in Bend, and Mirror Pond is certainly one of its best-known landmarks,” Haynes said. “I was looking for bits of local history to incorporate into the story and thought the infamous Rashneeshee city was really interesting, even though it was a bit further away.”

While most of the murders recounted in the story are completely fictional, one is based on an actual 1962 case in which the body of 17-year-old Judy Lee Reeder, who was found on the shore of Mirror Pond under the pedestrian bridge. No one was ever prosecuted for that crime, although Haynes learned that local gossip about a suspected perpetrator persisted for many years after the event.

Haynes views mystery novels as a puzzle for the writer as much as the reader. The challenge for the writer is finding a way to foreshadow and provide hints or red herrings without giving too much away, but keep up the pacing and suspense until late in the book.

“In some ways it’s almost an intellectual or clinical challenge,” Haynes said. “But to really make it a novel, and get readers emotionally involved in it, requires the author to do something other than just imagine a clear, rational mystery and solution.”

When Haynes begins writing each novel, he charts the characters’ physical characteristics and backgrounds, and has a general idea of the plot. However, he keeps his outline fairly high level, as he has found his plots and characters often change significantly along the way.

“You’d like to imagine you could outline a plot and then fill it in, but it never works that way,” Haynes said. “Some of the best ideas come up as you’re writing, or you get yourself into corners where you have to solve a problem, or realize you haven’t really accounted for the characters’ emotions or foibles.”

After writing for around 25 years, Haynes continues to hone his craft and fine tune his process. “Suspect” took him three years to write, while “The Mirror Pond Murders” took just over two years. He is currently at work on the third book in the series, “The Mt. Bachelor Murders,” which he hopes will be released in mid-2020 or early 2021.

23478913