Saturday, April 11, 2015

Author Interview and Giveaway: A Bookmarked Death by Judi Culbertson

A Bookmarked Death: A Delhi Laine Mystery(Delhi Laine Mysteries)  
Cozy Mystery – 262 Pages • Publisher: Witness Impulse (March 31, 2015) • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers • ASIN: B00JDKBUXE

For the first time in nearly twenty years, Delhi Laine’s family is whole. But that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal. With no proof to condemn her daughter’s kidnappers, Delhi’s family is forced to share Elisa with her “adopted” parents. But when they suddenly perish in a mysterious house fire, Elisa is heartbroken…and Delhi’s husband, Colin, is charged with their murder. Delhi knows it’s up to her to prove his innocence, but the deeper she digs, the more it becomes evident that nothing is as it seems. When Elisa goes missing, Delhi fears her nightmare may be repeating itself. If she can’t clear Colin’s name and find Elisa again, there may not be another chance. Twenty years ago she lost her daughter…if she fails now, she might lose everything—and everyone—she holds dear.

Interview with Author Judi Culbertson

1. Your work as a used and rare book dealer sounds fascinating! How did it inspire this book and the Delhi Laine series?

I always wanted to be a writer, but I knew I would need a day job, so I went into social work as a career. I've always been fascinated by people's lives and the choices they make, and in the beginning imagined I would be able to ask them any questions I wanted. I found there was much more to it, of course, but it was a good fit for me professionally. But when I took early retirement, I couldn't wait to get into my other love, books. I relished everything about being a used/rare book dealer--the frantic hunt to seek out wonderful treasures at sales, the people I sold them to who had been looking for that particular book, and the books themselves--their knowledge, even the way they felt physically. When the business ran its course and I reluctantly moved on, I miss it. I never looked back longingly at my social work days, but I felt great nostalgic for bookselling.

So putting Delhi Laine into that genre was a way of staying in it myself and continuing to experience all the wonderful surprises it holds. It was a way to share that world with readers, to get them excited about old books and tell them what books they come across are valuable. I think you have to love what you write about and this series came about just that way.

2. What is a typical writing day like for you?

Nothing very exciting, I'm afraid. We get up early, about 6:00 a.m., and as soon as I have my coffee I settle down to write. I write mostly in the mornings when I'm most fresh, but having a day job taught me to write anywhere: in my car during my lunch hour, waiting for Little League and high school baseball games to start, on trains. I like places like Starbucks where I'm not tempted to clean the refrigerator (joke) and there's a low-level hum of activity. Especially if I'm revising, Starbucks or my local library are ideal spots.

3. Do you have any writing quirks?

The only quirk is where I write. I have a nice upstairs office with a desk my husband made me years ago, and a comfortable wing chair next to a window. When the weather is nice, there's a pleasant back deck. But I gravitate to one end of the living room couch and sit there to write. I write a first draft by hand and then revise as I type it onto my laptop--all squeezed into one spot on the couch.

4. Who are your favorite authors?

I started out in college loving Philip Roth and John Updike and have always stayed loyal to them, but I read widely. I'm partial to Jane Gardam (Old Filth), and Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See), but as soon as I write that I think of others, especially in the mystery genre such as Charles Todd, S.J. Rozan, Donna Leon. My favorite book will probably always be The Great Gatsby, but I read a lot of non-fiction, In the Garden of Beasts, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and so on.

5. What will your next book about?

With A Bookmarked Death, I've left Delhi with at least some of her life resolved, so I'm not sure where we'll go next.

About This Author
Judi Culbertson draws on her experience as a used-and-rare book dealer, social worker, and world traveler to create her bibliophile mysteries. No stranger to cemeteries, she also co-authored five illustrated guides with her husband, Tom Randall, starting with Permanent Parisians. She lives in Port Jefferson, New York, with her family.
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