Friday, August 1, 2014

Sandra Orchard and Counterfeit Currency

LISA: One of the things I love about writing is all of the research. It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m writing historical or contemporary, I always end up spending hours upon hours doing research. And because I enjoy it so much, I admit that I sometimes find myself spending a bit too much time researching those tiny details.

Because of this, I was particularly interested in hearing from Sandra Orchard about some of the research she had to do for her second book in her Port Aster Secret mystery series, Blind Trust, that recently released. Here’s what Sandra has to share about researching counterfeit money! (Don’t forget to read to the end of the post to find out how you can win a copy of one of Sandra’s fabulous books!)

SANDRA: Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by your blog! I also love doing research and Blind Trust was no exception. This story opens with my heroine being caught passing counterfeit bills. Bills she received from her dear sweet neighbor lady to buy groceries—a woman who couldn’t possibly be printing counterfeit money in her basement. Could she?! 

This is the first of several mysteries in the story, and one I had a lot of fun researching. Once I managed to convince my local banker that I wasn’t contemplating anything illegal, she was happy to sit down with me and demonstrate all the things they look for to discern counterfeit money from the real thing.

The story is set in Canada, where, like in New Zealand and Australia, our bills are now all plastic and much more difficult to counterfeit then the old paper bills. 

However, at the time I was writing the novel, the new five and ten-dollar bills hadn’t released yet, so I decided that those would be what my bad guy counterfeited, since even now many paper twenties, tens and fives are still in circulation. 

My American editor, unaware of the marked differences between Canadian and American bills was skeptical that anyone would risk counterfeiting such small denominations. 

However, my neighbor had received fake five-dollar bills in the Ladies Missionary Circle offering at her church on two separate occasions (an event I include in the story), so I knew it wasn’t too far-fetched. 

But for fun, when the security guard presents my Detective hero with the evidence and the detective raises his eyebrow to the heroine, she responds:

“You can’t think that I . . . ?” At the amused twinkle in his eyes, she let out a humph. “What kind of moron counterfeits ten-dollar bills? If I wanted to defraud someone, I’d at least go for twenties. More likely fifties or hundreds!”

The amusement in Tom’s bright blue eyes intensified, but he held his mouth in a firm line. “You’re not helping your case,” he murmured.

She rolled her eyes. He knew she was joking. Then again—she slanted a glance at the guard—maybe this guy didn’t.

In the US, the most common type of small-time counterfeiting operation is a cut and paste job in which someone cuts the corners off a twenty and pastes them onto four 1-dollar bills, for example, then tries to palm off each as a twenty, usually to buy a two-dollar item so that they’ll receive their change in real money. But this won’t work with Canadian bills as each denomination is a distinctly different color and the numbers aren't in the corners.

However, modern copiers and printers do an astounding job of replicating paper money that will pass undetected to those who aren’t paying close attention. For example, the last time our paper fives got a new look, an enterprising teenager printed a bunch of fakes and palmed them off to unsuspecting classmates, who’d never seen the crisp new bills and so were easily duped. 

But…I’ve been told that newer color copiers and printers are designed to lock up if they’re used to print money. As tempting as it was, I didn’t dare test it on my own printer! 

Not to mention I’d spent a lot of time studying the Criminal Code of Canada while writing the book, and learned that it’s a criminal offence to: make, publish, print, execute, issue, distribute or circulate, including by electronic or computer-assisted means, anything in the likeness of a current bank-note.

Now, if you have authentic looking play money for your kids, no worries, there are exceptions for bills that are less than ¾ of the size of the real thing or that are printed on only one side or printed in black and white. 

Whew! Wouldn’t want those little kiddies carted off to jail while playing store!

(All bank note images in this blog were sourced from the Bank of Canada image gallery.)

LISA: Thanks so much for sharing, Sandra! Now for the giveaway. Sandra is offering an Ebook giveaway of Blind Trust (or Deadly Devotion if the winner hasn’t read it) or one of her LIS books if the winner has already read both of the Port Aster books. Leave a comment below with a message for Sandra. I’ll draw a winner after midnight (PST), Aug 6th.

Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning Canadian author of inspirational romantic suspense/mysteries with Love Inspired Suspense and Revell. An active member in American Christian Fiction Writers, The Word Guild, and Romance Writers of America, she enjoys helping writers hone their skills. To find out more about her novels, and to read interesting bonus features, please visit www.sandraorchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard 



Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

37 comments:

  1. Hi Sandra,
    You know I am a BIG FAN.......so am very anxious to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!
    jacsmi75 at gmail dot com

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  2. Hi Sandra! I just bought Deadly Devotion - I haven't actually read it yet, but I'm going to soon! I've very excited to read Blind Trust, too. I love the excerpt you included and I'm very curious about the counterfeiting theme - sounds like a great book!
    Thanks for an interesting giveaway and a chance to win your book!
    ~Sarah

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for buying Deadly Devotion. Hope you enjoy :) Glad you enjoyed the interview.

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    2. Oops! I forgot to include my email address - not sure if I I'm supposed to, but just in case it is bookluver1492[at]gmail[dot]com. :)

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  3. Sandra, you're a new author to me, so I would love to win ANY of your books! Plastic money! Very cool!! Thanks for sharing!!
    RW620(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Cool, as long as we don't leave it on the radiator! One poor boy had his Christmas money all melt together! ;)

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  4. I found the currency insight very interesting as well! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing, Sandra!

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  5. Thanks for all the opportunities to win a book from you, Sandra! I actually bought Deadly Devotion the other day in a local Family Christian store after reading an interview with you.

    This is very interesting stuff about counterfeit money too--the things people will try to get a few bucks!

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    1. That's so nice to hear, Chris, thank you!

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    2. Has a winner for the ebook been selected?

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  6. Ooops, Sandra....my bad.....just realized I have your book on my Kindle....waiting to be read!
    Duh!
    So please don't enter me for this drawing!
    Thanks!!

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    1. That's great, Jackie, thanks for letting us know!

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  7. Hey Sandra....your insights about counterfeit money are interesting. I didn't know Canada had plastic money. Working in retail, You know I have encountered fake bills on occasion. I would love to read one of your books. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. I didn't want my full name shown so include me in as Rebecca. Thank you!

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    2. Totally understand Rebecca. Check back on the 7th when the winner is announced, since without your email addy, we can't email to let you know.

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  8. So looking forward to reading this book, it would be a new author to me. Thanks, Kristie Porter tklovenest@aol.com

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    1. Thanks for your interest, Kristie. I'll suggest we start with Deadly Devotion if you win. ;)

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  9. My TBR is low so Blind Trust would be a great addition. I'm looking forward to reading it.

    clkane58@gmail.com

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    1. Oh, yes, definitely can't have a low TBR pile in the middle of summer!

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  10. Your post was fascinating and enjoyable. I am Canadian and I loved reading about your life, locale and writing. a print book would be captivating and memorable..Many thanks and best wishes for happiness and continued success. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi traveler and fellow Canadian :) Thanks so much for your best wishes. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  11. Sounds like interesting research!

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  12. I'm a researcher too, different kind, but I love doing research and seeing the results! Always something amazing comes of it!

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    1. So true, Sonja. I'm doing research for my next series now and learning so much that will make for fun details and twists in the plot.

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  13. I loved Deadly Devotion and can't wait to read this one. Thank you for the opportunity. I wonder when the US might use non-paper currency? Interesting concept.
    tsotela(at)cox (dot) net

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    1. Hi Tammy, so delighted to hear that you enjoyed Deadly Devotion. :) I'm not sure if the US has ever considered switching to non-paper currency. I was surprised to learn that NZ has already had polymer currency for 15 years. And for years already has been without 1, 2, and five cent coins. We eliminated our penny last year and now charges are rounded to the nearest nickel.

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  14. This sounds fantastic. added this author to my must read list and have followed to keep up with updates!!

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    1. thanks, Pink! Emailed you a subscriber-exclusive short story earlier today. Check your spam box if you don't see it.

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  15. From Mary: Already have your two books so maybe one of your love inspired suspense
    books. Love them.

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  16. Please enter me into the drawing for Blind Trust.

    lill dot kohler at gmail dot com

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  17. Wow! I never really thought about counterfeit money even though we did have to occasionally test $20 when I was a cashier at a movie theater. This was all very interesting and certainly makes your book sound more appealing (I love to learn things as I read fiction).

    I have not yet read one of your novels, but will definitely keep an eye out for them.

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  18. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by! Congrats to traveler who has won a copy of one of Sandra's books! (She'll be in tough soon) Happy reading all!

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  19. I've been to Canada twice but that was back in 2001 and 2002 and I forgot what the money looked like, except for the coins such as loonies and toonies.

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