Dorothy St. James is the pen name for award-winning author, Dorothy McFalls. Dorothy writes in several different genres. The Broken Spine is the first in her Beloved Bookroom Mystery series.
“The Broken Spine explores the tension between living in the digital world and the analog world,” Dorothy said. “My heroine, Trudell Becket loves her library so much that when it’s being converted into a ‘bookless’ library she does something outrageous. She opens a secret ‘bookroom’ in the basement of the library where she works. The bookroom is a throwback to libraries of another era with a card catalog and book slips for checking out the books. Change can be difficult, painful. In the case of the changes coming to the Cypress library, that change is murder.”
Do bookless libraries exist?
“I read an article about a bookless library opening in Texas. It got me to thinking about how I would feel if my library went completely digital. I read mainly digital books, and yet the thought of the books leaving my local library made me feel anxious. I wouldn’t want that to happen. I then started to play ‘what if’ games in my head. What if I were a librarian in that library? What would I do? I far would I go to save those books?”
Dorothy said she wants prospective readers to know that she’s not against technology. “I love all the new gadgets. I don’t know what I’d do without my smart phone. But at the same time, I’m a nut when it comes to books. I have such lovely childhood memories from my time spent at the library. My daughter adores going to the library to find treasures to read. She rarely goes in with a book in mind. She simply wanders around in the stacks and picks up anything that appeals to her. This isn’t something she could do online.”
Oh, and for those who truly have inquiring minds, Dorothy said, “I love cats! I hate cooking.”
Learning about libaries
Dorothy said that one of the problem she faced in writing this series is that she’s not a librarian, nor has she been through the training and education librarians undergo for their work. “This was a problem since my protagonist, Trudell Becket is (in addition to being an amazing sleuth) the assistant librarian of the Cypress library. While I did have extensive experience working in government, I knew that it wasn’t quite the same thing. To write this series, I needed to get into the minds of local librarians.” Fortunately for Dorothy, she learned that librarians love to share their knowledge.
“I love to research my books. Sometimes I must remind myself to stop researching and start writing already. For the White House Gardener Mystery series, I stalked secret service agents through Lafayette Park at three AM in the morning to see how difficult it would be to murder someone there. (It’s possible.) For the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries series, I learned how to make my own chocolate from cacao beans. I also tasted many, many different types of chocolates in the name of research. While writing books for that series, I always eat some chocolate before sitting down at the computer because…research.”
For the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series, Dorothy took part in many of her local library’s activities. She joined tai chi classes, took sewing classes, art classes, attended plays, and author talks. “I was amazed at how libraries are changing. They’re becoming vibrant community centers that also have books.”
Learn more about Dorothy St. James and The Broken Spine at www.dorothystjames.com. Did you like this interview? If so, click here to read more Behind the Story interviews from your favorite authors.a Rafflecopter giveaway