In my twenties and thirties, I spent my writing career in New York City creating short stories, comedy acts, plays, television treatments, ad copy, and commercials. I even ghost-wrote a book once. The idea of writing my own novel didn’t occur to me until my husband and I moved to California in 1986 when I was in my late thirties. What can I say? I’m a late bloomer.
The absolute first book I can remember reading and love to this day was Uncle Remus. I still love Briar Bear. He’s such an idiot. Maybe I relate to him in some way. Hmmm.
Like so many other mystery writers, when I read my first Nancy Drew book, Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock, at the tender age of nine, I never looked back. I love a good mystery, in particular, humorous mysteries. Most of the time when I read a book, I like it to be on the humorous side. If I want to cry, I can pick up a newspaper and read the real estate or financial section. Tears will spring to my eyes immediately.
So I decided to write a funny murder mystery series, beginning with Murder is a Family Business. After all, a writer lives inside her or his head and if I have to be in there 24/7, I’d like to have a few laughs along the way. Also, I felt my mystery series had to include two important things: the recently immigrated, which is one of America’s natural resources, and the family unit.
I went to college on a costume scholarship and studied drama. Ultimately, I went to NYC to become an actress, but hated it. I hated the life of an actor. It wasn’t for me. All that traveling! Living out of a suitcase! Who needs it? However, I loved writing. I could sit in a room and write for hours, send characters to the far corners of the earth and never leave my chair. To supplement my meager income, I worked backstage on Broadway in the costume department for such shows as A Chorus Line and Annie. I met some wonderful theater people, honestly. Not one egotistical actor, dancer, or singer among them. It was the best. That’s also the time I met my husband. We got married during the run of A Chorus Line. One Singular Sensation!
My 13th book is now published, the sixth book of the Alvarez series, The Culinary Art of Murder, and is receiving great reviews, The CEO Came DOA, Book Five of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, won the Global Gold Medal and the Dan Poynter Legacy Award, both in 2017. I’m in the throes of writing the 7th of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Casting Call for A Corpse. Lastly, there’s the second of the Lee Alvarez spin-off series, Marriage Can Be Murder. I’m busy, but having a ball. Life is good.
I’m often asked which books I like to read. Here’s an answer a lot of people don’t expect. The top of the list is Right Ho, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse. No matter how many times I read it, it makes me laugh. I have read every book of his I can get my hands on and he wrote over 90! His writing can make me laugh like no one else’s. He’s most famous for the Jeeves and Bertie Wooster collection of short stories and books but he was a prolific writer of screenplays, plays, novels, short stories, pretty much anything. I’m a big fan. Agatha Christie, the queen of the mystery, the plot maker, is the one who made crime writing what it is today. Hats off to the Queen. Janet Evanovich is the lovely lady who turned it all into a wonderful, funny game. Then there’s Ernest Hemingway, who was a terse writer if there ever was one. He is credited with writing a 6-word short story, “Baby shoes for sale. Never used.” I mean, come on. The man was a wonder. And he loved cats. He was surrounded by dozens of 6-toed cats when he lived in Key West; many feline descendants still call his estate home. Have I left any books or writers out? Of course!