by Grace Topping
Since I didn’t start writing fiction until I retired, I’m always amazed at what writers with demanding jobs can accomplish. Author Alexia Gordon,
Execution in E
Gethsemane Brown Mystery Book 5
Back Cover Copy
Romance is in the air. Or on the ’Gram, anyway.
When an influencer-turned-bridezilla shows up at the lighthouse to capture Insta-perfect wedding photos designed to entice sponsors to fund her lavish wedding, Gethsemane has her hands full trying to keep Eamon from blasting the entire wedding party over the edge of the cliff.
Wedding bells become funeral bells when members of the bride’s entourage start turning up dead. Frankie’s girlfriend, Verna, is pegged as maid-of-honor on the suspect list when the Garda discover the not-so-dearly departed groom was her ex and Gethsemane catches her standing over a body.
Gethsemane uncovers devilish dealings as she fights to clear Verna, for Frankie’s sake. Will she find the killer in time to save Frankie from another heartbreak? Or will the photos in her social media feed be post-mortem?
Welcome, Alexia, to Writers Who Kill.
As a physician, it would be understandable if you had a character in the medical field, but instead, you made Gethsemane Brown a musician. Why a musician?
I love music and wish I had a talent for it. When I created Gethsemane there weren’t many classical musician sleuths around and I thought having her be a professional musician would set her apart. Writing about a musician also gave me a chance to vicariously experience the musical life.
It is said that setting is frequently another character in a novel. You selected Ireland for your setting. Why Ireland?
Gethsemane is a fish out of water. I needed a setting where my main character seemed out of place but ghosts didn’t. Ireland
Is being an American living in Ireland an advantage or disadvantage to Gethsemane Brown when she becomes involved in murder investigations?
Being an American living in Ireland takes away Gethsemane’s
What is the most challenging thing you face having a setting in another country?
My biggest challenge is having to learn about an unfamiliar place as I write.
Did you travel to Ireland to do research?
My non-existent research budget means my research is of the virtual variety. I Googled instead of traveling.
Your main character, Gethsemane Brown, shares a cottage with Eamon, a resident ghost. Do you believe in ghosts, or have you had any ghostly experiences?
I never had any paranormal experiences. I grew up on horror stories and ghost stories of the fictional variety. I read Stephen King alongside Agatha Christie and Carolyn Keene. I know reputable, rational people who have reported paranormal experiences. I have no reason to doubt them—I’m related to some of them—so I can’t definitively say paranormal phenomena don’t exist.
In addition to writing an intriguing mystery, you also wrote some lovely text—lines that were very visual and had me underlining them. For example, “Her name in neat block letters marched across the page.” To me, having text I want to underline or note is one of my measures of a good book. What are your measures?
To me, a good book is one I want to read more than once. An excellent book is one that I don’t want to finish reading because I don’t want it to end.
With your first mystery, Murder in G Minor, winning the Lefty Award in 2016, nominated for an Agatha Award, and chosen as one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts of 2016, did you feel more pressure when writing subsequent books in your series?
I didn’t feel pressure because of the accolades. I felt pressure because book 2 was an official assignment with a deadline and an editor waiting to get it. Book 1, I wrote for me and was pleasantly surprised that other people liked it. Book 2, I wrote because it was my job as an author to write books and people were counting on me to do my job. There was a lot of “what have I gotten myself into” with book 2. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
I understand that you periodically travel for your job. What does broad travel bring to your writing?
I keep my day job and my writing compartmentalized so they don’t overlap much. When I travel for my day job, that’s my focus. I do find that airport lounges and hotel lobbies and bars are good places to accidentally-on-purpose overhear conversations and witness scenes that may inspire future fiction. I scribble lots of notes, some of which I post on Facebook, which is like a virtual travel journal. I also enjoy writing on airplanes. Something about having a limited time, with a set beginning and set end, to write helps me get words on paper. As a bonus, since I’m the seatmate who doesn’t want to chat during the flight, I find writing discourages the person next to me from being overly talkative.
You have been instrumental in promoting other writers through your Cozy Corner Podcasts. What made you start the podcasts?
Pam Stack, the producer of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, invited me to host the podcast after the previous host left. I’ve been a long-time podcast fan, mostly true crime. I thought the opportunity to shine more light on a genre of crime fiction that doesn’t get the attention that thrillers and noir get
With your job as a physician, writing mysteries, doing promotion, and recording the podcasts, how do you find time for it all?
I make the time. I have to decide what my priorities are and what I’m willing to give up to make them happen. You sacrifice for what’s important. Writing and podcasting while holding down a day job (both to pay my bills and because I enjoy it)
We have been seeing a pattern of cozy writers starting to write much darker mysteries. Have you felt the urge to write in a different genre or subgroup of mysteries? How about a second traditional/cozy mystery series?
My current WIP is a medical mystery. It’s not cozy, it’s more of a traditional mystery. I don’t deliberately set out to write dark or light or in a particular subgenre. I set out to write the best story I can and then sort out what bookshelf it belongs
What’s next for Gethsemane Brown?
The publisher doesn’t plan to publish any more Gethsemane Brown mysteries, so I’m moving on to my next project.
Thank you, Alexia.
Find out more about Alexia Gordon, her books, and links to her social media sites at https://alexiagordon.net