Question: Who is the intended audience?
Answer: Readers who love mysteries and who want to see if they can outwit the author and figure out “whodunit.” I believe that readers who enjoy mysteries are smart and like to find out information about new and/or intriguing places, characters and situations that they wouldn’t know or meet in their everyday lives. Consequently, my mysteries are written to entertain and to enlighten in a fun way. My amateur sleuth Bridget O’Hern does what I do in my other grant writing life: assist nonprofit agencies to fulfill their missions. Bridget, 48, is recovering from depression following the divorce and sudden death of her ex-husband. Now, she’s “seeking her bliss,” and stumbling over dead bodies along the way. Of course, being compassionate and smart, she stops to help the investigating police find out “whodunit!”
Q: What is the book about?
A: In Death Stalks the Khmer, the Hahn Lys, a Seattle Cambodian refugee couple, have been found shot and killed in their apartment. The Khmer (Cambodian) community is stonewalling the police investigating the murders because of their bad experiences under Pol Pot’s regime. Bridget O’Hern, a nonprofit consultant, who has worked with the community, is called in to act as a liaison between the police and the community. The refugees whisper that the couple died because of bad karma; Bridget believes their deaths are rooted in the Khmer Rouge times.
Q: Why are you the best person to write this book?
A: I’ve worked with the Cambodian refugee community in the Puget Sound area for almost 20 years. And I was the first director of the first Cambodian Episcopal Church in the U.S. Mysteries are set on a three-legged stool: setting, character and plot. The struggle of the Khmer refugee to adjust into Western society while clinging to old, cultural ways was a natural in using those “legs” to develop an intriguing plot.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about this book?
A: Death Stalks the Khmer–though just a mystery novel–has been chosen as a required supplemental reading text in two university classes. A professor of social work and one teaching “Intercultural Communications,” chose this mystery novel because of its insights into a culture not readily understood and because it was an “entertaining read.”
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