D. J. Adamson is an award-winning author, the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and a teacher of writing and literature. Let Her Go is the third Lillian Dove mystery.
Let Her Go and renewal
D.J. said the Lillian Dove series addresses the issue of renewal. “Using the twelve steps of AA, Lillian begins a recovery of her life, not just her recovery from drinking. ‘There is no graduation from alcoholism. Or life, for that matter. I am also addicted to Pepsi, chocolate, men, being afraid, being afraid not to be afraid, men—again—and my independence, co-dependence and unsettling ability to fail no matter my attempt.’” (Admit to Mayhem).
In part, the series was written about D.J.’s own Aunt Lillian, who was estranged from the family due to her problems with alcohol. “Today, we know this is not a problem, but an illness, and it plays in families from one generation to the next. The Mormons believe a soul can be saved even after it has passed on. I thought, what if I gave my Aunt Lillian recovery? My protagonist takes on that challenge, but she states, ‘Giving up alcohol turned out to be easier than changing some of my other behaviors.’ While many of us may not have a problem with alcohol, we definitely have problems in our lives similar to Lillian’s: family relationships, unresolved issues, self-identity, love, death, and taking on life challenges willing to fail.”
Beyond the simple whodunnit
“My belief is that even with a simple whodunnit theme, literature can teach, offer hope, give an eye into the state of being human, as well as entertain. I don’t want to get preachy. I do this, I believe, so I give other characters just as strong a personality as Lillian with their own issues, fumbles, and desires. And their own fun. My favorite is Lillian’s mother Dahlia.”
D.J. said that in this third book Lillian begins to realize that Dahlia, in her way, lived the same life Lillian did. “Dahlia enabled her husband. The relationship is full of conflict: Anger, resentment, love. In Let Her Go, Lillian is faced with having her mother live with her. Two tigers in one den. The challenge with each book is to offer entertainment over the ‘teaching and inspiration’ I hope to offer.”
Some questions should never be asked
“My life has been one crazy, funny, enjoyable ride for research. The best, probably, is the time I decided to get to know my mother as a person. I was fifty? She was a woman much like Dahlia. Strong willed. Determined. Funny. My mother, elder sister, and I were at a family gathering and someone mentioned my mother having a fairly serious boyfriend before my father. When the three of us were back at our hotel, in our pjs, I dared the question: ‘So mom? Were you a virgin when you met Dad?’ My sister got up and hurried off to the other side of the room, eyes wide, as if the very question was a time bomb waiting to go off. I was just as terrified, but I took another sip of wine and used the best poker face I could muster. My mother got such an expression of shock and awe on her face. And for those of you who have never braved or can’t wait for the answer, she gave me just what Dahlia would have said: ‘What kind of question is that to ask?’”
Learn more about D.J. Adamson at djadamson.com.