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
’s campus in the 1970’s, was published, I was a panelist at several
conferences. Murder on the Menu in University of Michigan 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, Alabama was my starting point. The final result, after
much revision and thought, is Should
Have Played Poker. Wetumpka
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,
’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. Alabama
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
’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!. University of Michigan
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: http://www.amazon.com/Should-Played-Carrie-Players-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01E7M2810
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/should-have-played-poker-debra-h-goldstein/1123200097
and through local bookstores and libraries (ask for it).
Note: Questions and comments for Debra are welcome here!