I'm happy to welcome Paula Paul to the blog today. Paula starts a new series with A KILLER CLOSET.
Kathy: Irene Seligman leaves her job as a district attorney to open an upscale consignment store. Do you frequent consignment stores, upscale or not?
PP: I rarely frequented consignment stores until my agent, Irene Kraas, got me interested in them. She lives in Santa Fe while I live in Albuquerque, and there are a number of upscale consignment shops in Santa Fe that we visit. I have discovered some good buys on quality merchandise in those stores!
Kathy: Setting plays such an important part in a novel. What makes Santa Fe, New Mexico, the perfect location for A Killer Closet?
PP: Santa Fe is a wonderful location for any story because it is so unique. It is an Old-World town in the modern western U.S., complete with narrow, unplanned streets, ancient buildings, and thriving vestiges of an ancient culture. It is the capitol city of New Mexico with all of the intrigue, power, and corruption of politics. It is the center of the three major cultures of the state—Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo. Each culture has its distinctive traditions, and the mix of the three makes life interesting. Santa Fe is known as “The City Different” because life styles, architecture, and city government are unlike any other place in the world.
Kathy: Your Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series is historical, while A Killer Closet takes place in present time. What made you choose a present-day setting?
PP:I wasn’t specifically planning a modern-day setting for my next book. It’s just that the inspiration for the story demanded a setting in the present.
Kathy: What was the specific inspiration for this story?
PP: As I mentioned, my agent likes to frequent consignment stores. One day when we were making the rounds, she mentioned that she would like to open an upscale consignment store in Santa Fe. My reply was, “Sounds like fun. You could call it Irene’s Closet.” She did some research and found that it would be difficult to make yet another upscale store of that kind in Santa Fe profitable. My reply this time was, “But Irene’s Closet doesn’t have to die. I could write a cozy mystery series about a woman who opens a consignment store in Santa Fe.” She jumped on the idea and had me write a proposal which she sent to my editor at Random House/Alibi. Now, at last, we have Killer Closet, the first book in a series. Irene’s Closet is a thriving business in the world of cozy mysteries.
Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Irene?
PP: My plans for Irene’s future will require her to stay in Santa Fe and interact with her crazy mother, Adelle, her young friend Angel, and the sexy lawyer, P.J. Bailey. She may become a prosecutor again as she was in New York while Adelle runs the store. Or, she may never return to law and continue to run the store. I think her relationship with P.J. will evolve. Angel, with his quirky background and close ties to the old Spanish culture, will remain an influence in Irene’s attempts to solve more mysteries.
Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?
PP: I am working on the next book in the series in which Irene and the others become involved in a murder related to the theft of a valuable Native American artifact. I am introducing Juanita Calabaza of Kewa Pueblo, who sells her hand-made jewelry on the plaza of Santa Fe in front of the old Palace of the Governors.