[Readers of this blog might recall that I reviewed Leah Devlin’s excellent mystery Ægir’s Curse last Wednesday. Without further ado, you can now meet this multi-talented woman.]
Steve: Leah, could you start by telling the readers something about yourself?
Leah: I’m American of Swedish and Irish descent. I’m a mystery and thriller writer and marine biologist, the latter giving authenticity to the scientific background of the “Woods Hole Mysteries,” comprised of The Bottom Dwellers (2015) and Ægir’s Curse (2015), and The Bends (coming this summer). I love boats and the sea too, and that relates to the series, the “Chesapeake Tugboat Murders” consisting of Vital Spark (under contract), Spider (under contract), and The Death of a Chrome Diva (in progress), all with Penmore Press.
Steve: That scientific background probably took a few years to acquire, right?
Leah: The literary part too. I have BAs in English Literature, Biology, and Environmental Science (American University, Washington DC), and an MS and PhD in Biology (University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI).
Steve: I now understand where all those scientific and technological details come from in Ægir’s Curse. This mix between creating science and creating stories isn’t completely unknown to me, but let’s hear how you got started writing those mysteries.
Leah on Writing:
Steve: Why, how, and when did you start writing?
Leah: I vividly remember the house of my childhood being full of books from the town library, in a time before bookstore super chains, when one wandered through the stacks and left with a dog-eared stack of books. My writing career was delayed until my early forties, because I was employed as a biologist at a university where, for decades, I wrote research papers on the neuroscience of marine organisms. During my time at a marine laboratory on Cape Cod [Woods Hole], I got the idea to write my first novel. My children were older and more independent and I’d earned tenure at my university, so the pressure was off and I had more mental space to create stories. I have a lot of restless energy and am always game to try new things. After writing my first “practice novel”—bad as it was—there was no turning back.