Mystery author Charlene D’Avanzo sits for an interview today. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
About five years ago. I heard another scientist describe the harassment he had to deal with at the hands of powerful climate change deniers. I realized most people had no idea this was going on and that fiction might be a good vehicle for telling the story.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
After several years taking workshops and working with editors I found an agent and publisher.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Traditionally published by a small independent publisher.
Where do you write?
I live on the coast of Maine, where my stories are set. My little office upstairs has a window with a view of the ocean.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I need silence, solitude, and a lot time.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
A great deal. I’m a marine ecologist and like me, my protagonist is Irish-Italian, lives on the Maine coast, and loves sea kayaking. We’re both opinionated and save-the-world types.
Describe your process for naming your character?
“Mara” is Italian for “sea” and Tusconi has a nice ring to it.
Real settings or fictional towns?
The “Maine Oceanographic Institute”, which does not exist, is in the fictional town of Spruce Harbor, Maine.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
She talks to her pet lobster.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I talk to my cat.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Anythng by Nevada Barr or Kathy Reichs. Both write books some call thrillers (mine are closer to cozies) with very strong female protagonists who are scientists. Nevada Barr’s stories are set in national parks and nature is essentially a character in itself. Reich’s were adapted for the T.V. Tempe Brennan series.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I’ve moved along in years and wish I had a tenth the personal wisdom thirty years ago that I have now.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Fake news—and that people believe it—drives me wild. I cannot understand why people don’t ask questions like “How do you know?”, “What’s the basis for that claim?” and “Why am I so ready to believe this?”. The irony, of course, is that I write fiction to help readers better understand facts.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves? Something that distills seawater into freshwater, a boat, and fishing gear.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Being a waitress.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Hmm, that’s tough. Maybe Gabriel Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.
Ocean or mountains?
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
What’s on the horizon for you?
I intend to write a book a year for my Maine Oceanography Mystery series. The second one, Demon Spirit, Devil Sea, is in final editing now and will be published early this summer. I’m researching book #3, which focuses on lobstering and lobstermen. Working title is Beware the Lobster’s Sea.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
If you like fast-paced mysteries with smart female protagonists plus the ocean, boats, lobsters, plus humor and surprises, please give Cold Blood, Hot Sea a try. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cold Blood, Hot Sea
A Mara Tusconi Mystery
A scientist is killed aboard research vessel Intrepid—and oceanographer Mara Tusconi believes its no accident. Although busy with demands of work and distracted by the blue eyes of a new hire down the hall, Mara investigates why her friend and colleague died. The quest takes her from a lobster-lined research lab to a kayak bobbing in icy waters of the Atlantic. Mara uncovers a scheme cooked up by powerful energy execs threatened by Maine Oceanographic Institute researchers’ climate change findings. Her career—and life—is on the line, imperiled by intrigue as big and dark as the ocean.