When I wrote the first draft of Death Will Get You Sober back in 2002, my techie character, Jimmy, had to show his girlfriend, Barbara, how to look something up on Google. Charlaine Harris had just published the first Sookie Stackhouse novel (in 2001). The term “urban fantasy” had been around since the early 19th century but was not the province of mystery writers, and a mystery featuring a telepathic waitress in a world in which vampires have come out of the closet—with humor, yet—was something fresh. By the time my book was published in 2008, “google” had become a verb and an activity in which a savvy New York professional woman would certainly need no instruction. By the time my novella, “Shifting Is for the Goyim,” came out on Untreed Reads in 2012, a huge number of mystery writers had followed Harris’s lead, and Harris herself had grabbed a well-deserved gold ring with the success of the TV series True Blood, based on the Sookie books.
Amazon’s Kindle first appeared in 2007, changing the face of publishing and reading itself forever. I remember this, no matter how my aging memory deteriorates, because when I signed the contract for Death Will Get You Sober, the electronic rights were not considered very important, and by the time I signed the contract for Death Will Help You Leave Him (2009), they were. Kindle and its competitors affected us primarily as readers—and as authors who wanted readers to buy our books. But once the e-readers started busting out all over like the proverbial June, could the iPad and its ilk—featherweight tablets that functioned as both e-readers and computers—be far behind?
By the time I got the copy editor’s queries on Death Will Extend Your Vacation (2012)—my last chance to make changes before the manuscript was set in type (an archaic phrase in itself)—Jimmy wouldn’t have been caught dead on the beach with anything less than an iPad. The sunbathers all around him should have been thumbing away on their smartphones too. Luckily, I’ll have a chance to put that into an e-edition soon.
I’ve lived to regret that I established Jimmy as a “computer genius”—a term that ought probably to be reserved for the likes of Steve Jobs—at the beginning of rather than merely the geek I now realize he is. Since I’m not a geek myself, it’s still handy to be able to assign the most challenging investigations in cyberspace to Jimmy without having to describe exactly what he does.
In the meantime, in Shifting Is for the Goyim, I found an even better way to accomplish any miracles that needed to be performed: magic. Amy Greenstein, stage name Emerald Love, is a nice Jewish country music star who happens to be a shapeshifter. I created a bunch of suspects by having someone slip her a mickey (a potion and a spell, as it turns out) at the Seder table on Passover, and after an investigation in which shapeshifting was integral to the puzzle, I had her use her magically enhanced singing voice to help her solve the murder.
About Author Elizabeth Zelvin:
Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York City psychotherapist and mystery writer. DEATH WILL EXTEND YOUR VACATION is the latest in the series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler, which started with DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER and includes DEATH WILL HELP YOU LEAVE HIM. Liz is a three time Agatha Award nominee and a Derringer Award nominee for Best Short Story. Her author website is at elizabethzelvin.com.
Liz is also a singer-songwriter. Her album of original songs is titled OUTRAGEOUS OLDER WOMAN. Her music website is at lizzelvin.com. For more than a decade, she has worked with clients all over the world as an online therapist at LZcybershrink.com. Liz is also a poet with two books of poetry published, a former Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, and a doting grandma.
How to Purchase Shifting is for the Goyim:
Shifting is for the Goyim is $1.50 from The Untreed Reads Store in multiple formats. Through March 30th, 2013, all titles from Elizabeth Zelvin are 30% off.
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