Rebecca M. Douglass spent more than a decade slinging books at the library and herding cats with the PTA. Rebecca published her first book in 2012. Death by Library is the fourth book in the Pismawallops PTA Mystery series.
The beginnings of Death by Library
Rebecca said that one of her former co-workers at the library suggested “Death By Librarian” as the title of a book on a particularly frustrating day. “I didn’t go with that, but thought I could do something with Death By Library, and started thinking about the ways in which a library might kill you. Since this is Book 4 in a series, I also had some things I wanted to include to help build the story about the community, and putting the two together gave me a pretty good start on the story.”
While she wasn’t planning to write about an issue because she sees the books as pure fun. “But something always creeps in, doesn’t it? In this case, you might see me a bit on my soapbox about the need to be involved in your community government, as well as mounting a strong defense of the importance of libraries in our communities!”
The importance of being involved
Like most authors, Rebecca hopes her readers are more interested in her books than in her than in her personal life. “But those who like to know about the author might be interested to learn that in addition to reading and writing, my big love (aside from my family) is hiking and backpacking. We love to travel, and our travel always includes a lot of time in the outdoors. That does make it hard to keep up with the writing sometimes.”
She added that she is very passionate about the importance of libraries, public education, and getting involved. “If this introvert could serve 8 1/2 years on the school board, you can join your PTA, attend some city council or school board meetings, volunteer to organize something, and help make your community work. That’s political action that makes a huge difference.”
The writing challenge
“Ironically, the biggest challenge to my writing is that we’ve retired. Yeah, tons of time, now I can write full-time, right? Well, not really, because of that thing about travel I mentioned. When we’re away from home for weeks or months at a time, I don’t get much writing done, and when we come home, there’s a daunting amount of work to be done before things are back to ‘normal’ and I can immerse myself in my writing. In this last year, I really leveraged the down times, which proved to me that I can do it. I drafted the book during November and early December when the weather got bad where we were staying in Maine, and I revised it in March, when we were resting between trips in Christchurch, NZ.”
The research conundrum
Rebecca said the most fun she’s ever had in research a book was riding the Silverton-Durango steam train. “It was supposedly done for the kids. Really, I wanted to know what it was like for a book I was working on (which still isn’t finished). Spoiler: it’s slow and dirty. Slow was fine in the mountains of Colorado, but crossing the mid-west that way must have been utterly tedious.”
While I was researching “Death By Trombone,” Rebecca spent a lot of time trying to find a poison that would kill the way she wanted. “I always wonder when the FBI is going to come knocking on my door after a long dive into ways to kill people, but so far they’ve let me run free.”
Learn more about Rebecca Douglass at ninjalibrarian.com.