I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Cynthia Kuhn and her new book The Spirit In Question. This is the third book in her A Lila MacLean Acedemic Mystery series.
The Spirit in Question (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
3rd in Series
Henery Press (October 2, 2018)
Trade Paperback | 252 pages
ISBN 9781635114065, 1635114063
Digital ASIN: B07FDL54HG
English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical.
But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage.
The show must go on—yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad.
With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague…or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series: The Semester of Our Discontent, an Agatha Award recipient for Best First Novel; The Art of Vanishing, a Lefty Award nominee for Best Humorous Mystery; and The Spirit in Question. She teaches in Denver, serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado, and blogs with Chicks on the Case. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog! I fell in love with books as a young person (largely due to my parents reading to us—with additional credit to teachers and librarians). Always dreamed of writing a novel, but although I wrote short stories and poems, I didn’t write a mystery until after I’d gone to grad school. An intense “now or never” moment one day pushed me to start the book immediately.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
Readers have said that the school setting helps them stand out a little in the cozy genre, though there are definitely other authors who set their mysteries in academia too—and thank goodness for that because I love to read them. 🙂
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
It starts with a bare-bones outline, but as I’m writing, the characters often lead me in new directions, which is always a lovely surprise.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
In the beginning, I did read them all, but I’m trying to move away from that at the advice of other authors. (Whether positive or negative, it can take up too much real estate in your head.) I was also advised at the outset not to respond, ever–though I did secretly send grateful thoughts toward the writers of kind reviews. And no, I haven’t done anything to get them, though I wish I had the nerve to ask people who have read a book to please please please write a review because they’re so important.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t wait so long—start the book now!
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
Yes. Henery Press designs the Lila book covers—I think they do a wonderful job with all of their covers.
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
Lila is curious, smart, and determined—once she gets her teeth into a mystery, she’s going to stick with it until the end. At work, she’s in a difficult situation because she has to “play the game” in order to get tenure, but she resists it at the same time, which makes for an ongoing tension. Her mother, Violet O, is a famous artist, and she can make choices that surprise even me! There are too many colleagues to go through in detail, but I think they’ve all got interesting personalities and goals for themselves. And I do try to give the criminals real motivations for doing what they do, which requires seeing things from their perspectives…that’s always fascinating (to me, anyway).
What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
I’ve learned to trust the writing process—there WILL be the part where you’re excited to begin and the part where you despair because it’s so difficult to translate what you have in your head to the page and the part where you have to delete things you worked so hard to produce and the part where you can see the ending in sight.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I teach full time and write part-time (but it feels like full-time because I’m always writing).
What do your plans for future projects include?
Writing more mysteries.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
The hardest part is getting started when there’s a whole book to be written. It can be daunting. Revising, because I have something to work with, is easier–but it’s not easy, if that makes sense. It’s a different muscle.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Mysteries are at the top, and the list of authors I love is very long. I don’t want to leave anyone out, so I’ll just say that the last book I read was The Other Mother by Carol Goodman—and it was fantastic.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
That I’m very grateful for them.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for reading!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Kuhn
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