Interview: D.A. Lampi

Please welcome D.A. Lampi, author of the Grace Rendeau mystery series–the first of which is Shadow Play, to be followed by An Unfortunate Death.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I love days I can be outside, preferably in autumn, hiking or walking for a couple of hours, and then coming home to read or write, hshadowplayaving a nice dinner with family or friends.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
My signature accessory is my sheltie. Scout Finch follows me everywhere!

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Writers, Stephen King because he has overcome tremendous adversity to become a successful writer, Philip Roth because he looked at topics that were taboo when they wrote about them (with great insight), and Joyce Carol Oates for her talent and how prolific and driven she is.

Do you listen to music when you write?
Sometimes. Lately it’s been Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch although there are times when I need absolute quiet.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
It would be a chocolate wine! Maybe Truffle Merlot because An Unfortunate Death has a dark plot with a bit of everything– love, obsession, murder–a bit decadent and delicious for a mystery lover, like chocolate wine.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I wrote Shadow Play for many reasons. I wanted a strong female protagonist. Grace Rendeau, M.D., psychiatrist came about because of my interest and background in mental health. The setting is one that intrigued me. She works in what I have called “The Rochester Forensic Center for the Criminally Insane,” which is loosely based on a prison hospital for inmates. I wanted to bring awareness to the patients and to the staff who care for them with such humanity and dignity.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Usually unrequited or impossible love! Loss, mystery.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Grace Rendeau is a single working mother of two. She is bright, well-educated, and loves her children. She has suffered–she was widowed some years ago, her children were abducted in Shadow Play and she becomes unwillingly involved in murder in An Unfortunate Death.

I think these experiences have made her somewhat anxious but stronger as well. Working with mental health clients has given her a great deal of empathy and compassion.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Sherlock Holmes, Mia Farrow and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Gillian Flynn, Erin Hart, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, Tana French and Louise Erdrich (although she has written a few mysteries, she is not technically a mystery writer)

What’s next for you?
I have finished An Unfortunate Death–the second in the Grace Rendeau mystery series. Next will be seeing it to publication which generally means REVISION!

Thanks so much Mysteristas for having me and for the thoughtful questions. I particularly loved the question about “if your character were a mash of three famous people…”


D.A. Lampi was born in Fishkill, New York and grew up in a community of Finnish immigrants with whom she danced the polka, attended a bi-weekly community sauna, and enjoyed skinny dipping afterwards in the cold waters of the Fishkill Creek.

She attended New York University and The New School for Social Research where she earned her Master of Arts in psychology. Her favorite class in college? American Literature.

Ms. Lampi has worked as a psychiatric emergency room nurse, a mental health therapist, a second grade teacher, a yoga instructor, and writer. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime.

After living in Puerto Rico for fifteen years and experiencing her share of hurricanes, Ms. Lampi now happily resides in Minnesota where she writes and takes long walks, weather permitting. Ms. Lampi can be found on Facebook and at her website

Shadow Play, Ms. Lampi’s debut novel, is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at Ms. Lampi’s website.


6 thoughts on “Interview: D.A. Lampi”

  1. Nice mash up for your character. Really peaks my interest. And you get the prize for most original answer–chocolate wine. Now we have to figure out what the prize is. 🙂
    Looking forward to reading your book.


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