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Interview with author of The Cunning Linguist

Just the name of the book caught my attention so I was happy to have author of The Cunning Linguist spare some time so that I could interview her. Feel free to comment below or connect with the author on her blog.

What is the book about and what inspired you to write it?

The Case of the Cunning Linguist is a murder-mystery that was inspired by my desire to combine elements of my erotica writing with my love of mysteries. I had wanted to write a mystery for quite a while, as I read a lot of them for fun, but had never attempted to write one myself. Although the title is a double entendre that hints at some of the characters’ vices, the focus is definitely more on the “whodunit” than my other books, which are fairly sexually explicit.

I was also inspired by a friend of mine, Ben Sobieck, who writes the Maynard Soloman funny detective series. Maynard describes himself as “the old badger,” and incorrectly uses a lot of old-timey expressions in his modern-day tangles with petty criminals. He’s solved big cases like The War on Drugs, and even proven Santa Claus is real, all while traveling the U.S. in his busted-up Winnebago. I find Maynard’s antics pretty hilarious, so I thought it’d be fun to create a series that draws on some of that slapstick humor, while also dealing with some darker crimes. It’s not quite cozy territory, but it injects more levity than, say, a true noir story.

Tell us about the writing process? 

I wrote the first draft of this book during NaNoWriMo 2013, so I was hammering out as many words as possible each day. I’m actually still in the process of revising the book, but have decided to try something new by publishing it one chapter at a time at Jukepop, a website devoted to serials. I’m curious to see if I can get more reader feedback this way, and it’s also unusual to publish a story that’s still in progress, since it’s rather like walking a tightrope without a net!

 How did you come up with the title?

The title came to me from out of the blue. I was wondering why there weren’t more “sexy” mysteries, as I had been reading Gypsy Rose Lee’s book, The G-String Murders, which has a wisecracking burlesquer at the center of the story. I jokingly said I would write a story called “The Case of the Cunning Linguist,” playing on the old joke, and then started Googling to see if such a title already existed. There is a book called The Cunning Linguist by Troy Conway that seems to venture into “sexy crime” territory, but I was more interested in actually solving a mystery than putting my character into sexual situations. It occurred to me that the “linguist” aspect could be taken more literally if I set the story in a church where the use of Latin might be a key to solving the mystery, and so I started writing about a wayward priest who turns up dead.

 How long did it take from writing to processing?

The writing is still ongoing, but I finished the first draft in November 2013 and started editing in 2014, and have been publishing a chapter a week (give or take) since May.

 Give us an idea of the plot of the book.

When Mark O’Malley, Notre Dame’s favorite father, is brutally murdered in the rectory, Carmelite wannabe Sister Mary Gloria turns to famed stripper-turned-sleuth Venus Delmar for help. Following a wild trail across Paris, Venus discovers that the root of all evil isn’t a love of money – it’s the Catholic Church! With the help of a randy rabbi, a few wayward nuns, and maybe even a little divine intervention, she’s determined to solve The Case of the Cunning Linguist before the mysterious Latin lover kills again.

 Where can the book be purchased?

Right now the book is available for free in serial format (with new chapters published each Friday) at Jukepop. I also plan to publish it as both an ebook and print book through Buttontapper Press once all of the chapters have been released, so you can pre-order a copy on my website.

What makes this book unique from others in this genre? 

I believe this is the only murder-mystery where the sleuth was formerly a stripper, rather than the other way around. Typically, I’ve seen sleuths going undercover as dancers in order to gather clues. With The Case of the Cunning Linguist, my PI Venus relies on her existing knowledge of the sex trade, as well as the psychological insights she’s gotten while performing in clubs. She’s a street-smart dame with a lot of tricks tucked into her garter belt. She’s also not the type of woman you should mess with, as she’s got a Glock 36 ready to meet you when the going gets tough.

 How can readers connect with you?

Readers can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or by visiting my blog. For the truly adventurous, I’m also sending saucy short stories on postcards to people’s snail-mailboxes; you can sign up to receive one at my blog.

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