Sunday, April 20, 2008

Elizabeth Zelvin

Lonnie Cruse interviewed author Elizabeth Zelvin about her new novel, Death Will Get You Sober. Their opening exchanges:

LC: Please tell us about your upcoming book. What inspired you to write this book?

LZ: Death Will Get You Sober is about a guy, my protagonist Bruce, who wakes up in detox on the Bowery on Christmas Day and realizes he’s got to do something drastic about his life. The formula he finds is “Don’t drink, go to meetings, and investigate a murder.” That’s an AA saying—except for the part about the murder. The other thread is the healing of the friendship between Bruce and his two sidekicks: his best friend Jimmy, who got sober 15 years before he did, and Jimmy’s girlfriend Barbara, the codependent addictions counselor. I started with a great title and a desire to pay tribute to the courage and honesty of people who recover from alcoholism. Not drinking is just the beginning.

LC: Please tell us about your day job. How does it figure into your writing? And how difficult is it for you to work full time and write as well?

LZ: I used to direct an alcohol program on the Bowery, but I left that job, which was my last actual day job, in 1999. Now I have two careers about which everybody says, “Don’t quit your day job!”: online therapy and mystery writing. Besides my author website at, I have an online therapy website at, where I “see” clients from all over the world via chat and email. So my schedule is completely flexible. The challenge is deciding what to put in that high-energy time slot at the beginning of the day. Whatever I do first thing in the morning gets my best. Sometimes it’s clients, sometimes it’s the writing. Sometimes I have to go out and run around the Central Park reservoir, because if I postpone it till the afternoon I may not do it—just like the writing. Lately I haven’t been working on a novel—I’m a little ahead there—but working for hours and hours on promotion for Death Will Get You Sober, especially my book tour around the United States in May and June and my virtual tour in April, which involves lots of guest blogs and interviews.
Read the full Q & A.

The Page 99 Test: Death Will Get You Sober.

--Marshal Zeringue