- Who designed your book covers?
The covers for my books released by Down and Out are designed by JT Lindroos (https://www.facebook.com/LindroosJT). He is a true artist, doing more than using purchased images for overlays. The cover for Diamond’s first book, Widow’s Run, is a photo JT took near his home of a cemetery, the opening scene of the book. The cover for Suicide Squeeze is also the opening scene and yes, it is a bathroom.
For the De La Cruz Casefiles, the covers are themed on the murder weapons. Exacting Justice and Driving Reign both feature images JT took himself. In Exacting Justice, the weapon is a sharp blade, one that is never found. In Driving Reign, the victim is poisoned or forcefully overdosed on doctored wine.
- Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Reality sucks. Especially in 2020 and 2021 is not without its carry over. Suicide Squeeze gives your brain a 4-to-6-hour place to play where the biggest thing you have to worry about is if you ate all your [insert favorite reading snack here]. Follow Diamond through the pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, then come with me to my favorite parts of Scotland. And, yes, there’s a Loch Ness Monster scene. Diamond goes to Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster HAD to make an appearance. Come, fly with me.
- What did you edit out of this book?
I had a fantastic dream sequence where Diamond “wakes up” in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. The long she was in it, the more she began talking in verse, the meter matching the original poem. She makes a mess of it, getting pissed at the bird, which in her dream is her archenemy, a robin. After nearly destroying the room, she figures out the clue buried in the most amazing poem ever and wakes.
Among my beta readers and editors, this scene was either their favorite part of the book or the scene they skipped. There was no middle ground. Because the scene was important to the story, I re-wrote it. The final version had essentially the same plot but was told in Diamond’s voice in about half the space. A decent compromise.
- Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
Diamond’s bathroom was the one my husband and I had in our second apartment. Built-in the first quarter of the 1900s, the tile, trimming, and fixtures were definitely old school. Our bathroom was white, as opposed to the more colorful version on the cover art.
My husband, children and I went on vacation to Scotland a few years ago. The things that made the strongest impression on me are in the book, like Walker’s Shortbread Cookies – I still have to pace myself or I’ll eat a box in a sitting. Edinburgh Castle is incredible and was overrun by hordes of adults with selfie sticks when we were there. Killing someone using a selfie stick was my own way of getting even. The town of Fort Augustus on the south end of Loch Ness is a real place, as is the old abbey converted to flats. The stand-alone cabin I made up, but the streets, restaurants and gas station/ grocery store are real. The Castle Urquhart is real. I made only modest changes to the insides of one of the buildings to work for the story. Not featured enough in the book are the people of Scotland. They were wonderful hosts and I hope to go back there. Notably missing from the book is Scottish food. Go to Scotland for the scenery, the history, the mysteries, and the people. Not the food. Unless you count the cookies.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am not a writer who tracks or tries to be ahead of trends. I write mysteries and, inside that genre, try to be original. I write puzzles. If I am not original, readers will know the solutions before they have all the clues. One challenge these days is a reader that “games” the story. That is, instead of reading and figuring out the solution, they are focused on metadata like how much face time a character is getting. It increases the challenge for me as the originator of the puzzle to counter the metagamer. If there is one thing I love, it’s a good challenge.