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PR Isfeld

Starting somewhere
Starting somewhere

“Wherever you are is the entry point.”


I’m PR Isfeld, and this is my first blog post on this new website. I have to start somewhere, so I’ll answer the questions I always have when I discover somebody else’s blog:

Why are you doing this?

A few weeks ago, I put the finishing touches on my manuscript, Captives, a psychological mystery that was shortlisted for the Crime Writers of Canada Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in 2021. This website and blog are intended to help get Captives into the world by finding an agent, a publisher, and ultimately, readers.

What do you write about?

Captives tells the story of journalist Sam Gilchrist and three other women who survive a brutal kidnapping. Three years after their escape, the survivors gather at a lakeside cottage to celebrate putting the experience behind them. Before the weekend is over, one of the four is dead and the others learn their ordeal is not yet over.

I’ve also written some short stories. You can get one for free by signing up for my mailing list.

What will I find on this blog?

First I’ll tell you want you won’t find, which is a much directly related to my work as a Canadian diplomat or my current position as President of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO). This blog is about writing, and any views expressed here are solely my own.

Although Captives is fiction and bears no resemblance to any real-life people or events, some of my inspiration came from assignments as a civilian advisor in Kabul and Kandahar. I’ve retained a deep interest in the people, history, and politics of Afghanistan, and in the aftermath of our mission there for us as well as the people we tried to help.

More broadly, Captives is about the complicated friendship between the four main characters, and their relationships with the other people in their lives. It’s also about power and the different ways it can manifest and change human behaviour.

I plan to write about these subjects and share recommendations and comments on books and other resources. They’ll be recommendations rather than reviews, though, because life is too short to read something that’s not worthwhile, or to trash another writer.

When should I come back?

I plan to update this blog a couple of times per month, normally on or around the first and third Mondays. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get notified when I post. I’ll also use that list to let you know about any important events, publication information (eventually!) and so on, once in a while.


On submission
A psychological mystery that explores the aftermath of a brutal abduction and the secrets that haunt the survivors.

Three years ago, Samantha Gilchrist and her friends Amanda, Kaylee and Maria forged an unbreakable bond when they survived a brutal kidnapping in Kandahar. Sam wrote a best-selling memoir about their ordeal and moved on to a great new career as a journalist and a happy relationship with Dave, a handsome intelligence officer she met in Afghanistan. Still, she can’t help wondering about the reasons behind their capture.

On their way to Maria’s remote Gatineau cottage to commemorate the anniversary of their escape and rescue, Sam and Kaylee hear news reports about a missing Afghan diplomat. Then, they think they see Ali, their former interpreter and the mastermind behind the hostage-taking, who was supposed to have died during their rescue. When Amanda’s lifeless body is found the next morning, the friends’ suspicions lead them down a dangerous path that uncovers dark secrets and hidden motives.

The narrative alternates between the present day and the version of events presented in Sam’s memoir, as she and her friends struggle with their grief over the loss of Amanda and lingering trauma and jealousy over their differing fortunes in the aftermath of the kidnapping. As tensions rise and secrets are revealed, Sam starts to question everything she thought she knew about her friends, her lover, and herself, not just in the past, but in the here and now. 

Full of suspense, complex characters, and unexpected twists, Captives will cause fans of mystery and psychological thrillers to make irresponsible decisions about their sleep.