Friday, April 29, 2016

Interview with Mystery Author Judge Debra H. Goldstein by Jacqueline Seewald

 Debra H. Goldstein writes mystery novels, short stories and non-fiction. She also serves on the national Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter and Alabama Writers Conclave boards and is a MWA member. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Joel,“whose blood runs crimson”.

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel?

Answer: Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery is a traditional mystery with cozy elements.

Question:  What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: After my first novel, Maze in Blue, a mystery on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s, was published, I was a panelist at several conferences. Murder on the Menu in Wetumpka, Alabama absolutely charmed me. I not only fell in love with the town, but was excited when a bidding war to name a character in my next book occurred during a fundraising auction for the Friends of Wetumpka Library (FOWL. The winner was delightful.  As we talked, a sentence popped into my mind that I immediately knew could be the genesis of a story. Combining that sentence, characteristics of the auction winner, and the town of Wetumpka was my starting point. The final result, after much revision and thought, is Should Have Played Poker.

Question: Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer: Twenty-nine-year-old Carrie Martin juggles the demands of her corporate law job and the needs of her father, a former minister who, because of early dementia, resides at the Sunshine Village Retirement Home. When Carrie’s mother comes back into her life after an absence of twenty-six years, she leaves Carrie with a sealed envelope and the knowledge she once wanted to kill Carrie’s father. Before Carrie can discover what is in the envelope and why her mother returned, her mother is murdered. Compelled to find the killer, her efforts quickly put her at odds with her former lover – the detective assigned to her mother’s case.  Determined to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets, Carrie joins forces with the pink-haired Sunshine Village Mah jongg players but quickly realizes that truth and integrity aren’t always what she was taught to believe.

Question:  Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer: My first novel, 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue is a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery purchased its mass market rights and published it as a book of the month in May 2014. I also write short stories and non-fiction. Some of my favorites include Thanksgiving in Moderation, Who Dat? Dat the Indian Chief, and Violet Eyes which were published in The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fourth Meal of Mayhem, Mardi Gras Murder and Over My Dead Body!.

Question:  What are you working on now?

Answer: I’m revising a cozy food mystery with a new set of characters, One Taste Too Many. I also continue to write short stories. Lesson Learned was published as part of the “Terrible Tuesdays” series by Akashic Books on March 29. Another story will appear in Kings River Life Magazine in May or June 2016.

Question:  What made you start writing?

Answer: My parents instilled the love of the written word in me. My mother, a Holocaust survivor, had to learn English as a new language when she was ten. Understanding the importance of communicating, she made sure my sister and I were readers. To help me with a speech problem, my father spent hours having me read classical poetry aloud to him. During those sessions he not only taught me to pronounce words correctly, but to listen to their nuances and subtle meanings. Writing was the easy way for me to take what I learned and share it with others.

Question:  What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Write, revise, write, revise, revise, revise and enjoy the ride.

Question: Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery was released by Five Star/Cengage on April 20, 2016. It is available online from Amazon: or  Barnes and Noble and through local bookstores and libraries (ask for it).

Note: Questions and comments for Debra are welcome here!


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a wonderful interview.
So nice to meet you.
Good luck and God's blessings.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

THank you for stopping by and for the good wishes. HAve a great day. Debra

Susan Oleksiw said...

Your new book sounds very intriguing. And your advice to new writers is spot-on. Good luck with your new book.

Maris said...

Hi Debra, I thoroughly enjoyed being on a panel with you at Sleuthfest 2016. You have a delightful sense of humor, and this book sounds great.

Allan J. Emerson said...

Sounds like you chose your parents well, Debra! Best of sales with Should Have Played Poker.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Susan, thank you for your good wishes. Glad to know the advice was on the does the best one can :). Maris, enjoyed that panel, too....thanks for leaving a comment today. Allan, from your mouth to ..... and I couldn't agree with you more about my parents.

Sarah Wisseman said...

Good interview Debra! Hope you are enjoying Malice Domestic. Sarah

Sarah Wisseman said...

Good interview Debra! Hope you are enjoying Malice Domestic. Sarah

Earl Staggs said...

Wonderful interview, Debra. Great getting to know you. Like you, I still write short stories along with novels and don't intend to stop.
Best wishes for continued success writingwise and otherwise.

Carole Price said...

Good interview, Debra. Your book sounds interesting. Good luck.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Sarah, Earl and Carole,
Thank you for your comments and good wishes. Sarah, I am having a wonderful time at Malice - hope you are, too. Earl, if I could write one short story 1/2 as good as some of yours , I might just sit back on my laurels. Carole, hope you have an opportunity to read Should Have Played Poker and let me know what you think of it.