Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York psychotherapist, a three-time Agatha Award nominee, and author of the mystery series featuring recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler, starting with Death Will Get You Sober. The third book, Death Will Extend Your Vacation, is now out, and “Death Will Tank Your Fish” was a 2011 Derringer Award nominee for Best Short Story.
From Zelvin's Q & A with The Stiletto Gang:
Where does your new book, Death Will Extend Your Vacation, pick up the story of Bruce Kohler?The Page 99 Test: Death Will Get You Sober.
Bruce got sober at Christmas at the beginning of Death Will Get You Sober. In fact, waking up from a blackout in detox on the Bowery on Christmas Day was his wake-up call, or as they call it in AA, hitting bottom. The short story, “Death Will Clean Your Closet,” takes place when he’s 90 days sober, which is a big milestone in recovery. He’s still in early recovery in “Death Will Tie Your Kangaroo Down.” There’s an unpublished novella (formerly a novel) that covers Bruce’s first sober summer. Death Will Help You Leave Him takes place in the fall. “Death Will Trim Your Tree” covers his one-year anniversary Christmas. And his sobriety is well established in the latest story, “Death Will Tank Your Fish.” So Death Will Extend Your Vacation tells the story of his second sober summer—long enough for him not to worry much about drinking again, no matter what’s going on, and ready for a girlfriend, if he can only get to first base with Cindy, the attractive and slightly mysterious woman who’s one of his housemates in the clean and sober group house in Deadhampton (Dedhampton on the tax map) where everybody has at least one secret. Bruce’s, by the way, is that the beautiful housemate whose body they find on the beach is the first girl he ever almost slept with when he was fifteen. Actually, he’s keeping another secret from his best friends Jimmy and Barbara, because he thinks they’d kill him if they knew. But you’ll have to read the book to spot it.
Has your writing routine changed since the publication of your first book, Death Will Get You Sober? Tell us about a typical day.
The nice thing about my typical day is that there’s nothing typical about it. I have, not one, but two careers that let me spend the day at the computer in my jammies: writer and online therapist. I usually say “sweats and bunny slippers,” but in fact, it’s usually one of a collection of ankle-length sleep T-shirts—very, very comfortable. My prime writing time is in the morning, but since the morning is my best time overall for anything that requires a lot of focus, I don’t always use it to write. I see my therapy clients regularly, but none of them is on a fixed schedule. One of the advantages of online therapy is...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: Death Will Help You Leave Him.