The Best Medicine

New York is wonderful but it is also dauntingly busy for someone used to a less frenetic lifestyle.  I was honored to be part of ThrillerFest in general and the Matchup celebration in particular.  I came away from there having still flunked selfies, so there will be no selfies posted here.

But let me say how happy I am to be home where the highs are in the seventies, the humidity is not so much, and the wisteria is in full bloom.  Home sweet home.

Earlier this summer I was contacted by Charles Rzepka, a professor of English from Boston University, saying he was coming to Seattle for a wedding and asking if it would be possible for him to do an interview with me while he was here.  I said yes.

We did the interview here on what I call the back porch. (Bill, who is a font of sometimes useless details, tells me that it’s actually a portico.)  Whatever you call it, this is where Professor Rzepka (the R in Rzepka is silent by the way) and I sat, gazing down over the garden while he asked an hour’s worth of questions.

It was wonderful to be able to share our home with him because this place is truly the fruit of three decades’ worth of labor.  We live here because of all those years of writing but also because of all those loyal fans who have read my body of work and continue to do so, book after book and year after year.

Professor Rzepka wrote to me this week, letting me know that a transcript of the interview is posted on Crimeculture.

We spoke for the better part of two hours.  His questions were engaging and fun.  It was an interview I truly enjoyed doing.  If you’re a fan who has been able to attend one or more of my presentations, some of the stories related here will be familiar.  You’ll have heard versions or snippets of them here and there along the way.  If you’ve never been able to attend a “live” show, this may give you some insight into my life and times.

In transcribing the interview, Professor Rzepka decided to leave in the laughter notations that appeared throughout. As you read along, you’ll see those occur fairly often, and here’s why that’s important:

I worked in an insurance agency in Phoenix for five years before I finally divorced my first husband in 1980.  I met and married Bill in 1985, in June and December respectively.  In August of 1986, we went to Arizona to celebrate my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary.  While we were in Phoenix, I took Bill by the office to introduce him to the people with whom I had worked for all those years. I was shocked when none of those folks recognized me because they had never seen me smile and had never heard me laugh.  Those were tough years.

So yes, Arizona will always be my home, but Seattle will always be my CREATIVE home because this is where I first gave myself permission to live my dream and become a writer.  It’s also the place that gave me my legions of fans, to say nothing of a wonderful place to live and a gorgeous garden.  But even more than that, it gave me back both my smile and my laughter.

The Reader’s Digest always used to say that laughter is the best medicine.

I’m here to tell you it’s true.

14 thoughts on “The Best Medicine

  1. Compliments to both of you. To you for granting the interview, your candor and your outlook. To the professor for his creative, energetic approach to his teaching. Don’t we all wish we’d had him for our college (zzzz) English classes?

  2. I really enjoyed the interview. I’ve read your story several times, but learned a couple of new things about your life that I didn’t know before.

    I’m sorry that the heron is still giving you trouble, but such is life. Maybe he just likes your fish pond better than any others.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer.

  3. Thanks for doing the interview with Charles Rzepka. Even though I’ve read all your books, and attended a couple of your visits to Bellingham, the interview results really produce a more complete outlook on your experiences and presence both as a writer and a person.
    Thanks to you both for sharing.

  4. I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks to you both for investing your time in it. Like others have stated, although I have been following you for many years, reading all your books, posts and interviews, I learned more about your approach to life and to writing. So much enjoyment of others depends on having a good sense of humor. Of this you are a fine example!
    Looking forward to Beau!

  5. Loved the interview and learned so much about your approach to writing. I have heard you speak many times but had not heard the entire story of the serial killer, very scary.
    I cried through the funeral for Eleanor and George and thought the release of the balloons was perfect. I want to take care of our environment too, but don’t think a bunch of balloons will make that much of a difference.
    Love all four series and look forward to the release of each new book. May you have many, many more years in both Tucson and Seattle.

  6. I also have read all of your books, as well as several interviews, and even many years ago was blessed with the opportunity to meet you briefly prior to a book signing at The Mystery Book Store in Seattle. (All arranged by my 13-15 year old sons, for my birthday. Aren’t they great kids?) Having said that, I REALLY enjoyed the interview. I think I had read or heard the story of the serial killer before, but for some reason, it struck me this time as incredibly frightening. I cannot imagine how you managed to not be terrified that entire summer until he was caught! And to find out he had been back to your home more than once after that. Wow…just wow.
    Looking forward to your next book as always.

  7. Really liked reading this. As a big fan of books it’s interesting to know some of your back “story”. Sounds like you are living the life you deserve

  8. Sitting among the cedars in Renton Highlands on this beautiful ‘blue skies over Seattle’ summer day and reading your interview with Rzepka doesn’t get better. Your personal stories bring back many of my intertwining memories. So glad you shared your Seattle (the wild west) surroundings with Rzepka.
    Sharon (relocated from Chicago in ’99)

  9. Is my memory failing or do you have J.P. Beaumont novella coming out soon. I can’t find it to buy it or preorder it.

  10. Is my memory failing or do you have a J.P. Beaumont novella coming out soon? I can’t find it to buy it or preorder it.

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