Interview: Micki Browning

Welcome Micki Browning, author of Adrift and winner of the 2017 Dorothy Cantrell Scholarship.

adrift_browningWhat’s your idea of a perfect day?

My perfect day is a simple one…where I have time to write and read and drink tea before it cools, a day where I can spend at least some time in the water, and share a lovely meal with my husband.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?

Let’s see. Wetsuits are a necessity, not an accessory. Perfume and I have a difficult relationship. My favorite phrase isn’t fit for children. But I make a mean clam and smoked oyster chowder, and there is always a bottle of champagne in the fridge!

Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?

I learn something from every author I read. Recently, I read Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. The subject matter is very dark, and the setting in the Ozarks is stark, but the writing is beautiful, evocative, even poetic at times. I’ve dealt with crime my entire professional life. Woodrell proves a writer can capture the darkness in people without sacrificing their humanity. After I finished it, however, I had to reread all three volumes of The Complete Calvin And Hobbes.

Do you listen to music when you write?

I listen to soundtracks when I write. Lyrics distract me, so I restrict the playlist to instrumental pieces only. A few of my current favorites are Game of Thrones (season 5), Westworld, and Outlander (season 2).

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?

Bittersweet with a couple of nuts thrown in. Of course, it would be melted from the Florida Keys heat.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?

After a career in law enforcement, my husband and I retired to the Florida Keys. We are both avid divers and I hold a professional divemaster certification. The story was triggered by the real-life medical emergency suffered by a diver. The diver recovered, but the event prompted a bevy of “what-ifs” that became Adrift.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?

Family, the search for Truth (with a capital T), and redemption—all coated with a bit of wry humor.

Tell us about your main character.

Dr. Meredith (Mer) Cavallo is a marine scientist. She is curious, analytical, and driven in her pursuit of truth. Occasionally she forgets to engage her filters and her outside voice runs amok, but she has a good heart, is dedicated to her friends and family, and is awed by the beauty of the ocean.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (the actress I cast on my storyboard), Temperance Brennan (a socially awkward character on the TV show “Bones”), and Sylvia Earle (Marine biologist, explorer, author, and Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet in 1998).

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?

J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Elizabeth Peters, Christopher Moore, Mark Twain, and Anna Komnene, a Byzantine princess who wrote the Alexiad in 1148.

What’s next for you?

Beached, the second in the Mer Cavallo Mysteries, followed by Chum.


micki-browning-author-photoFBI National Academy graduate and award-winning author Micki Browning worked in law enforcement for more than two decades and retired as a division commander. Her debut mystery, Adrift, set in the Florida Keys, was published by Alibi-Random House in January 2017. It won both the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award.


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12 thoughts on “Interview: Micki Browning”

  1. Welcome, Micki, and congrats on your debut! I love the ocean–swimming in it, reading about it, everything–so your book sounds fantastic. I want to attend that dinner party! 🙂


  2. I have been trying to convince Dear Hubby to retire to the Keys, but so far, no dice. Meanwhile, I shall look forward to your book. Sounds fantastic!


  3. Liz, as a police tactical communications instructor and hostage negotiator, I learned that if it feels good to say, usually it’s not the best choice of words. But…


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