Interview with Lesley A Diehl

3578Tell us about your publishing journey…

My first manuscript was a cozy mystery, and it was 120,000 words.  Yikes!  Once I learned to write fiction and genre fiction at that, I had success with a short story that won the Sleuthfest 2009 short story contest.  I think that gave me confidence because the next year a small press picked up my first book.  I published with a number of small presses, and finally my agent hooked me up with Camel Press which publishes my Eve Appel mystery series.  I also am self-publishing books.

What do you love about being an author?

I write cozy mysteries and short stories most of which are also cozy in outlook although I have written more serious stories.  Because I like to go for a laugh by creating unusual characters and scenes designed to give my readers a chuckle, and I’m entertained as I write.  I was trained as a psychologist, so I know there’s nothing that feels better emotionally or physically than a good belly laugh.  Laughing is part of why I love writing, but the other part is how liberating and satisfying it feels to create characters, places and stories, how satisfying it is to pull that stuff out of my imagination and transfer it to a story.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and what would you eat?

I always thought I’d like to drink champagne and eat chocolate covered strawberries with Robert Parker.  Because he married a woman in the mental health field and seemed to have a profound respect for therapists (note his character Susan), I felt he would understand me and my quirky outlook on life.  But alas the man died before the two of us could get together, so I guess I’d choose the same meal with Elizabeth George because I have the utmost respect for her ability to create characters with real emotional depth.

If your book/ story was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads? 

Can I choose the book or story?  If so, then I’d choose the stories I wrote for The Killer Wore Cranberry: Vols 1-4.  It’s the Thanksgiving anthology published by Untreed Reads.  The main character is Aunt Nozzie, a woman based upon my own six foot tall, very outspoken aunt.  There was just no one with my aunt’s verve for life.  And she was a great bartender!  But who could do this woman justice?  With a red wig and a few more pounds, Meryl Streep might be just the one.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?sporting_murder

My love affair with vampires ended in the late sixties and early seventies with the Hammer studies production of the Count Dracula story.  They cast Christopher Lee as the count, and there was something subtlety sexy about the guy.  Now the subtlety is gone, and I miss that.  Now it’s too in-your-face and doesn’t allow the reader/viewer to input her own imagination.  And, no, I never want to think of a vampire as a blood hungry monster because I’m too much of a romantic down deep inside (very deep inside—my friends would be shocked to hear me say that).

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

The Victorian period.  Although I hated the corsets, everything else about the dresses was very lovely.  If a woman has to live her life out as some man’s chattel, at least she should get to dress well.  I’d go back and speed up the women’s rights movement, maybe by blowing up a few more golf courses.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

The best and worse advice I got was to write what you know, so I began writing a mystery about a woman who was a psychology professor.  That first manuscript was so boring.  However, I discovered that a writer can take what she knows and convert it into something quite fun if she frees herself from what was and makes up what was.  It’s called imagination.  I found I had a lot of it once I got going.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I want to be the elf guy in The Lord of the Rings, you know the one who fires arrows and always hits his target.  He’s a force with which to be reckoned.  Nobody would mess with me with if I had those skills. He also has the best hair, so straight.  I bet he never has trouble with frizz in humidity.

Where do you write best? 

I do my best (and my worst) work at my desk in my office.  It’s my “now I’m creating stuff” place.  At my office in Upstate New York, I can look out my window into the lilac bush and see the birds.  In Florida, I look out the window and see…alligators.  No wonder my Florida based work is so weird.

Academic_final_200x300What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I just finished A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  My husband had read it, and we went to see the movie.  I was so intrigued, I read it also.  It is charming, funny, enlightening and convince me that my first impulse not to hike the Appalachian Trail was the correct one.  But what a read about two out-of-shape guys who did it.  I loved it.  It was just the break I needed from reading my usually diet of mysteries.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

If I could master doing some sultry sex scenes, I might try my hand at romantic comedy.  Note that it has to be comedy.  I haven’t the chops for writing real romance.  I guess I’m just too much of a cynic (don’t tell my husband).  I really don’t think I’m fit for anything other than thinking up ways to kill off people, then creating a jazzy protagonist who can get the bad guys.

Where can fans find you online?

My website:

Twitter: @lesleydiehl


The newest book from Camel Press is A Sporting  Murder, the third in the Eve Appel mysteries

A Deadly Draught

Poisoned Pairings

Murder is Academic


Angel Sleuth



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