One of many great articles that you can find each month in The Big Thrill!
Maria Hudgins' novels from her Dotsy Lamb travel mysteries series, and you'll soon be transported to a new place with an exotic setting, intriguing characters, and a murder or two that needs solving. Her latest, Death on the Aegean Queen, finds protagonist Dotsy Lamb on a cruise ship in the Greek Islands searching for the killer of a tourist from Indiana and the ship's photographer. Dotsy's creator, Maria Hudgins, took some time to chat with The Big Thrill.
This is your third Dotsy Lamb mystery. The first two, Death of an Obnoxious Tourist and Death of a Lovable Geek, are set in Italy and Scotland, respectively. Your current novel, Death on the Aegean Queen, takes place on a cruise ship in the Greek Islands. How did you come to write what you call "travel" mysteries, and how did you develop the idea for this third book?
I love to go places. I'll hop on a plane and then ask, "Where are we going?" I don't visit a country with the purpose of writing a mystery about it. Sometimes, nothing strikes me, but when it does, I use the setting as part of the story. I did take a cruise around the Greek Islands a few years ago, but the idea for Death on the Aegean Queen came to me following TV coverage of a newlywed man who disappeared from a cruise ship on his honeymoon. The novel itself bears no further resemblance to that news story.
I don't know why, but there's a strong connection between science and mystery, isn't there? In both, you're looking for answers to things you don't understand.
I love the quotes on the left side of each page of your website, www.mariahudgins.com! What's your all time favorite quote, and why?
I try to follow J. D. Salinger's advice to think of the book you'd most like to read, then "You just sit down and shamelessly write the thing yourself . . ."
You also mention on your website that you and Dotsy share a trait: Neither of you tolerates injustice very well. Does this drive your writing? How does it play a part?
It's the whole point, isn't it? I can't stand to think of someone getting away with murder. The only thing worse is someone being convicted of a murder they didn't do. That gives me the willies.
What has been most surprising to you about being a published author?
How much you have to hype yourself. It makes me uncomfortable, but as my mother used to say, "He that tooteth not his own horn the same shall not be tooted." I used to think that was really in the Bible.
Which writers do you believe have influenced your writing the most? Why?
Truman Capote, Agatha Christie, Graham Greene. These are the ones I'm most aware of influencing me. The thing they have in common is that they all write so smoothly you can forget you're reading and loose yourself in the story.
What's next for Maria Hudgins and Dotsy Lamb?
I'm working on a mystery set in the Swiss Alps. Dotsy's son is getting married there and he wants his whole family together. This puts Dotsy, her ex-husband, and his new wife in the same isolated Alpine chalet.
Julie Compton is the author of the critically acclaimed legal thriller, TELL NO LIES, and the recently released RESCUING OLIVIA, which Kirkus called "a pleasing hybrid of modern-day fairy tale and contemporary thriller." She lives and writes near Orlando. To learn more, go to www.julie-compton.com.
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