D. J. Adamson is an award-winning author. Her family roots grow deep in the Midwest and it is here she sets much of her work. She juggles her time between her own desk and teaching writing to others at two Los Angeles area colleges. Along with her husband and two Welsh Terriers, she makes her home in Southern California.
Her latest book is the mystery, amateur sleuth, Admit to Mayhem.
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About the Book:
Lillian Dove is an endearing “everywoman” struggling with life issues, emotional complexities and a habit of doing just the opposite of what she’s told to do. These qualities in a heroine give the reader an ability to vicariously struggle along with the protagonist in this intriguing Midwest Noir mystery.
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Thanks for joining us at our little book club, D.J. Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into amateur sleuth/mystery writing?
D.J.: Thank you for having me. I look forward to getting to know your group.
I always enjoyed reading amateur sleuth novels, Agatha Christie, so when my character Lillian Dove came to me, I knew she would have to be the one solving crime—whether she was a willing participant or not. However, while mystery is a major genre in most of my writing, I also write other genres. Such as I have a mystery-science fiction serial coming out April 1st.
In your book, Admit to Mayhem, your main character is Lillian Dove. Can you tell us a little about her?
D.J.: I guess I can tell you as much about Lillian as anyone can. She isn’t always forthcoming. I guess that’s because she is learning who she is.
She is a recovering alcoholic and has found taking life on sober more difficult than giving up booze. She needs to face her other addictions and compulsions: Pepsi, chocolate, men, being afraid, being afraid of not being afraid, men, again, and her need for independence while she is still very co-dependent. She has been forced to take care of her convalescent mother, who she calls Dahlia. Lillian doesn’t resent her alcoholic father, but blames her mother who she considers to have been the enabler and responsible for ruining her life. Lillian is attempting to work out who she would have been if her life would have started differently. She can’t go back to her childhood, but recovery is like a rebirth. Only, it’s not as easy as she thought it would be.
What do you believe is one of her strengths and what would be one of her weaknesses in the book?
D.J.: Let me address her weaknesses first. She sees herself as a failure in life. She is in her thirties and she really is just coming into her own person. Which isn’t much different from others of us, but Lillian doesn’t understand this. And love is hard for her to accept without suspect.
Her strengths outweigh her weaknesses, of course. And like most of us, these are hard for her to see. Those of us watching her story realize she is far stronger than she gives herself credit. She is: brave, empathic, loving, has a strong value system.
The best description of Lillian, really, is that she is each of us…an everywoman (man) trying to figure out what it means to be human and how to maneuver through those events in life that come to us without our bidding.
How did you shape your character? Did you base her on someone you knew or was this all part of your creative imagination?
D.J.: One part real, one part imagination, mix thoroughly. And put a cherry in that glass please! An aunt who I never met was an alcoholic. Mormon’s believe a person can be saved after they have died. In Admit to Mayhem, I gave my Aunt Lillian sobriety. While I don’t take after her in appearance, in the photos that exist, I was told by my sister that my personality is very much like hers. I am extremely lucky to have dodged the “addictive” gene. But like Lillian, I do have addictions and compulsions: books, movies, curiosity, making up stories, forgetting the stories are made up, an need for independence but yet enjoying loving relationships with family and friends.
What are some of the other characters in the book?
D.J.: Men, of course. Chief Charles Kaefring, a respected member of the community, who becomes interested romantically with Lillian. Detective Jacque Leveque—who oozes sexy-bad boy, but scares Lillian because she has always leaned toward picking the wrong man. Donna Stockman, a dispatcher at the Frytown Police Station. Donna is the town gossip and a close friend to Lillian. Donna believes in her when Lillian can’t. Dahlia Dove, Lillian’s contrary mother, who Lillian is a lot alike in personality and need for independence. But of course, Lillian can’t see this. And Bacardi—the one who loves Lillian without any conditions, except for feeding him his Feline Delight on time.
They say all books have at least one pivotal point where the reader can’t put the book down. What’s one of yours?
D.J.: Lillian comes across a house fire and calls it in to the police. Spotting someone in the house, she attempts to rescue them. Only, she becomes trapped. By the second chapter when Lillian’s mother is threatened and Lillian realizes her own danger, the reader and Lillian cannot stop the race to figure out the solution to arson and murder.
What are you working on now?
D.J.: I have just finished Outré, the first book in a mystery-science fiction serial. Its release is scheduled for April 1st, and it is set in a small Iowa community not far from Frytown where Lillian lives. Suppose There Was A Crime, the second book in the Lillian Dove series, is scheduled to release in October.
Now’s your chance to say something to your readers and fans. What would you like to say?
D.J.: Oh dear. I’m pretty shy. Let’s see. First, thank you for reading. I think all books should have something to say, and I hope that I have touched upon life issues and helped as well as entertained.