An interview with Lesley Diehl

3523Meet author Lesley Diehl:

  What’s your current guilty pleasure?

I love, love, love dark chocolate. One Christmas season I found dark chocolate seasoned with pepper and that became my favorite dark chocolate. Unfortunately, I never found it again. So instead, I now have a passion for dark chocolate and caramel with salt. My second guilty pleasure? Wine, but not red wine which does go with chocolate very well, but white wine, especially sauvignon blancs from New Zealand.

  If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

A comedian.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I made that decision. I think I just have so many stories in my head that I’ve finally found the time to get them out.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve always played around with writing. When I was in junior high, I decided to write a novel. I think I wrote about five pages before I forgot about it. I don’t remember what it was about, but I’m certain it must have been about young love. In high school I wrote several short stories and a few humorous essays in college. Then my creative writing was replaced by the need to write in my field. I think scientific writing killed my creative energies. I took up writing poems just before I retired and decided to write mysteries after I left academe. It was the best decision I ever made. For over ten years I’ve been writing and publishing cozy mysteries, traditional mysteries and short stories. These have been the most rewarding years of my life.

Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband is one and a small group of friends.

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I first wrote in secret not telling anyone what I was doing. When I finally identified myself as a writer I had to go through that inevitable, “Have you had anything published?” Once I was published, there was the “Is this a selfpub (makes bad face) or a real publisher.” Then there was “I’ve never heard of this publisher.”

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I think I just fell into it and before I knew what I was doing, I had several books published.

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I spend my spare time going to yard sales, consignment shops, secondhand stores, looking for items I can use to furnish my 1874 cottage. Used items are my passion and find their way into one of my mystery series, the Eve Appel Mysteries. Eve is the owner of a consignment shop in Florida.

I also garden. I have a vegetable garden and a perennial flower garden in Upstate New York. My husband and I like to hike and work on refurbishing our cottage. And, of course, I read, read, read.

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

I write very few reviews because I don’t want to get into the quid pro quo of having to review a really bad book.

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Unfortunately I can’t help myself.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I prefer to listen to the sounds of the birds on my canal in Florida and the babbling of our trout stream up north.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading and going to yard sales, of course. My grandmother never bought anything new. She always reused and repurposed, so I think it’s genetic with me to never buy new.


What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

One of the first book events I did was at a library in Florida. I was promoting a book I wrote several years ago. The protagonist in the book was called Emily Rhodes. After my presentation, a girl about 12 years old ran up to me. She was so excited because her name was Emily Rhodes. She brought her birth certificate to me to prove that was her name. We had our picture taken together. I’m not sure which of us was proudest.


With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?


I write mostly cozy mysteries with humor in them, but I always incorporate serious themes into my work so that the read is more than just a simple “beach read”. I’ve used such issues as sexual abuse, racism, mistreatment of indigenous people, sexual harassment, and family issues.


What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?


Join a professional writing group. I recommend Sisters in Crime. Learn from them by taking advantage of their prepublication group, the Guppies where you can find manuscript exchanges, online classes on writing and recommendations for books. Go to a writers’ conference such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville, and Malice Domestic to meet other writers and learn from their workshops. Then write, write, write.


What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?


Library programs where I can meet people face to face or book festivals where the same is true.


What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I’m not crazy about social media, but I do it because other authors use it, yet no one can say what social media platform works or if any does.


Your favorite books and author?


I loved Elizabeth Peters’ series on archaeologists in Egypt during the early 1900s. And Elizabeth George is my favorite for her ability to develop her characters’ angst and make it sympathetic. I miss Robert Parker, especially the Jesse Stone books, and I loved the character of Hawk in the Spenser series.


Which genres do you prefer to read?


I read mysteries and prefer the traditional mystery.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I like Cindy Sample’s Dying For books. Funny stuff.


What book is currently on your nightstand?


I just finished Wild  by Cheryl Strayed.


How many books do you read/month?


Probably 12 or more.


How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?


I think if a reader takes the time to contact me, I owe that person a personal reply. I always respond to their messages and read their reviews, understanding that not everyone will like what I write. I try not to cry over a bad review.


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?


Twitter is a fun challenge for me. Can I be brief? As a retired college professor, I always wrote sentence that were pages long!


Where can your fans find you?


My website and blog:





Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?


The Green Toad Bookstore, Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820


Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:


Hera Knightsbridge Microbrewing Mysteries: A Deadly Draught, Poisoned Pairings

Big Lake Murder Mysteries: Dumpster Dying, Grilled, Chilled and Killed

Angel Sleuth

Eve Appel Mysteries: A Secondhand Mystery, Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, Mud Bog Murder (due out Summer, 2016)

The Killer Wore Cranberry, Thanksgiving Anthologies from UJntreed Reads


Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:


Fatal_final_ebook_1Professor Laura Murphy is at it again, snooping into a murder of a coed and finding that some faculty and a few students take advantage of innocent, young women, but the worst offenders may resort to murder for reasons that emerge from the past.

Elevator pitch for Failure Is Fatal


Where can we buy it?




Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?


I have two manuscripts that have been sitting on my computer for the past few years. They are both mysteries (of course), but not cozy mysteries, but rather noir cozies. I’d love to complete them, but haven’t yet found the time.



What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?


I laugh out loud when I write something I think is funny.


3 thoughts on “An interview with Lesley Diehl

  1. I enjoyed learning more about you, Lesley. I’ve read and reviewed several of your books and, if you ever decide to change careers, which I hope you won’t because I love your books, I think you’d make a great comedian. 🙂

  2. lesleydiehl says:

    Thanks, Pat, and, although your books are very different from what I write, I love your work, too, suspenseful and scary.

  3. radine says:

    YES! I can relate to some of what you share, and the rest is interesting on its own. Thanks for opening a window into your writing life.

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