Today, I get to play guest. It is a dream come true!
What’s your idea of a perfect day? I would rise at 5 AM, do 30-45 minutes of yoga, breakfast lightly, then deeply profound passages would pour from my fingertips for three hours while I drink Death Wish coffee. After that, I’d go to my law office, speak with real human beings for three or four hours and attend to those things that make my little world go around, come home to a sparkling-clean house, take the dog for a walk in the woods, eat something warm that someone else made for dinner, then spend the evening reading.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal? “Nevertheless, she persisted.” It used to be “tomorrow is another day.”
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most? Hank Phillippi Ryan, who I met at a Mystery Writers University event in Seattle a few years ago, and who is a beacon of light in the long, dark night to the great unpublished. Honestly, had it not been for her encouragement and example, I wouldn’t be here. Charles and Caroline Todd, who showed me that you can grapple with the most profound of issues in the structure of a mystery. Louise Penny, who created a loving community in Three Pines where everyone eats very well and most of them don’t get fat. Raymond Chandler, a poet in his own right. And Benjamin Black, whose writing is light as a feather, yet he manages to describe the delicate ebb and flow of love and hate, regret and resentment beneath the surface of mundane interactions. And to Hallie Ephron and Rhys Bowen, who served as mentors at Book Passages Mystery Conference a couple of years ago and provided me with priceless critiques.
What made you interested in writing this particular story? DEADLY SOLUTION came to me in a blinding flash when I was sitting in a law seminar. A few years before, twelve homeless people had been found dead during the summer. This was highly unusual as in Anchorage, Alaska, the homeless generally succumb during winter from hypothermia. The medical examiner had ruled that each of these deaths were the results of natural causes, but the public vehemently disagreed. There were many letters to the editor calling upon the police to investigate as it was thought there was a serial killer. The deaths then stopped as mysteriously as they started. During the legal seminar, I learned of a loophole that was large enough for a serial killer to walk through. I slapped my hand on the table, exclaiming “that’s how he got away with it!” disturbing the knitter next to me.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing? Injustice, personal responsibility, forgiveness, redemption, atonement, family, friends, community.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters. She has Michelle Obama’s unremitting dedication, Carrie Fisher’s wisdom and boldness, and looks a lot like a young Kate Mulgrew.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include? Raymond Chandler, Douglas Adams, Dashiell Hammitt, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Sayers, Sarah Caudwell. After they’ve had a couple of drinks, I would start taking notes of the witty banter that ensued. Hopefully, I’ll get them out the door before there was too much property damage.
What’s next for you? I’m about to deliver the second in the Maeve Malloy series to my publisher, looking forward my first Left Coast Crime in Reno in March and the gathering of the clans at the Malice Domestic 30 in Bethesda Maryland in April. It’s going to be a blast.
About Deadly Solution
Less than a year after drinking sidelined her career as a public defender in Anchorage, Alaska, Maeve Malloy is asked to defend an Aleut Indian accused of beating another homeless man to death. With no witnesses to the crime and a client who claims to have no knowledge of the night of the murder due to a blackout, the case is stacked against them.
As Maeve works to maintain her sobriety, she and her investigator Tom Sinclair search for answers in homeless camps, roadside bars, and biker gang hangouts. When they uncover more than a few people with motives all their own for wanting the victim dead, they are determined to prove their client’s innocence before he is sentenced to a life behind bars for a crime he swears he didn’t commit.
When Maeve and Tom discover there may be a link to an unusually high number of deaths among the homeless community, the search is on for a killer hunting among the most vulnerable members of society.
# # # # # # # # # # #
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for the chance to win a e-copy of Deadly Solution. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends January 20, 2018. Good luck everyone!