Interview with Lee Strauss
Author of the Higgins & Hawke and Ginger Gold mysteries
* I love the historical cozy concept of Higgins & Hawke. Why the 1930’s in the city of Boston?
Higgins & Hawke is a spin off series from The Ginger Gold Mystery series which is set in 1920s England. Both leads originally met in Boston and lived in London in the same house. Haley Higgins exits the Ginger Gold series when her brother in Boston is murdered. Higgins & Hawke begins seven years later. Since I was already writing about the 1920s with Ginger Gold, I wanted a change of scenery and tone. The 1930s is a very interesting time in world and American history.
*What’s your experience writing cozy mysteries versus other genres?
I’ve been writing cozy mysteries for two years now. Before that wrote in a myriad of genres including YA, romance, and science fiction. When I finally settled on cozy historical mystery, I found my “home.”
*How important is the setting in historical mysteries?
I would say very. The historical backdrop is almost like a character in itself. Readers love the details and historical trivia. Otherwise, you might as well stick to a contemporary setting.
*What’s the historical background of Boston in the 1930’s?
That is a loaded question. Like the rest of the country, its citizens were suffering from the great depression. There were large sections specific to ethnicity, especially Italians, Irish and Jewish, who didn’t exactly get along. As the war grew closer, anti-semitism became a real problem. It’s one of the reasons I gave Samantha Hawke a Jewish mother-in-law; to make those problems real.
*What was the relationship like between Dr. Haley Higgins and her brother Joe?
Joe was the third of 3 boys and Haley the last and only girl. They were close in age, and Haley was largely a tomboy, so they were very close as children.
*What are the duties of the city’s pathologist assistant?
Like the title suggests, the assistant is supposed to assist the chief medical examiner in instances where a death may be suspicious or the cause of death undetermined. In Haley’s case she steps in for the chief most of the time. You’ll have to read it to find out why. 🙂
*Describe the relationship between Dr. Haley Higgins and Investigative reporter Samantha Hawke.
In the beginning Haley can’t help but feel suspicious. She has a history of bad rapport with the press, especially from when her brother’s case was new. However, as the book progresses, she sees Samantha as someone much like herself: a woman trying to make it in a man’s world, and they form a friendship.
*In the Ginger Gold mysteries how did you select your settings?
It was pretty simple. I adore all the British mystery authors and TV shows and I wanted to set a mystery there.
*Do you have plans for more Ginger Gold books?
Yes. The 9th book, Murder at the Boat Race, is releasing in June.
*What’s a typical writing day like?
It’s typical in that it’s never typical! But if I had to drill it down I’d say I tackle the business part of being a writer in the mornings and write in the afternoons. I really should flip that around, but that’s usually how it lands.
*What are the most challenging aspects of writing for you?
My husband and I started snowbirding this year, and so the warm weather, palm trees and beautiful beach is a huge distraction! It’s a challenge I’m prepared to take on.
*How do you manage multiple writing projects?
I write one book at a time. I can’t plot and plan for future books, but when it’s time to write, I focus fully on the story in front of me.
Ginger Gold Mystery Book 9 Murder at the Boat Club: A Cozy 1920’s Murder Mystery will be out JUNE 28, 2019 – Pre-order HERE
The most recent Higgins & Hawke Mystery is Death on the Tower: A 1930’s Cozy Historical Murder Mystery
Death by Treason . . .
When the body of a British National is found at the base of the common house tower in Boston, assistant medical examiner, Dr. Haley Higgins has no reason to believe it wasn’t suicide.
That is until Investigative Reporter Samantha Hawke gets an anonymous tip: the victim, a Mrs. Olivia Gray, was pushed from the seventh floor to her death.
The question is why?
Haley and Samantha work together to unravel secrets that go back to a time that no one wants to remember ~ when shameful acts were sanctioned, and death licked at everyone’s heels.
What did Mrs. Gray know, and who wanted to silence her?
As Lee Strauss, I’m a bestselling author of The Ginger Gold Mysteries series (cozy historical mystery), A Nursery Rhyme Suspense series (mystery sci-fi romantic suspense), The Perception series (young adult dystopian), and young adult historical fiction. When I’m not writing or reading I like to cycle, hike and kayak. I enjoy traveling (but not jet lag :0), cashew lattes, red wine and dark chocolate.
I also write younger YA fantasy as Elle Lee Strauss.