Why is dieting like solving a murder?
TBR: Welcome to TBR, JL. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
J.L.: As a biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I enjoy putting tidbits of science into her mystery/suspense novels. So far that’s Coming Flu and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. A third is on the way.
TBR: Tell about Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.
J.L.:This medical mystery/suspense novel is a sequel to Coming Flu, my first novel. It is available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Murder-New-Way-LoseWeight/dp/1610090624/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365534310&sr=1-1&keywords=Murder+A+New+Way+to+Lose+Weight).
J.L.:Dieting is hard, so is fitting into a new job where you aren’t wanted. Linda Almquist is trying to do both as the new interim associate dean of a medical school. Linda steps into a battle among the cliques of the medical school when she checks out allegations against two diet doctors. They may be endangering the lives of their obese patients by recklessly altering their patients’ gut bacteria. She soon realizes that’s the least of her problems when she finds one diet doctor dead. She and the police suspect the other. Maybe they’re wrong. The murders might be related to something in the past – something involving her boss the Dean. While Linda fears for her job, the police fear for her life.
TBR: What inspired you to write about this theme?
J.L.: Have you ever really thought about what you see nightly on TV? First, you see ads for restaurants with mouth-watering dishes. Then come the commercials for weight control regimes and products. Then more ads for restaurants. The schizophrenic nature of Americans attitude towards food is funny and sad.
Similarly Americans decry violence but are fascinated by the gristly details of murder investigations.
The more I thought about it, the more I saw parallels between dieting and solving a murder (fictional or real). They’re both hard to do and take patience. Often supposed colleagues thwart our efforts to diet and the heroine’s efforts to solve the crime.
And then too, Albuquerque has so many restaurants serving tasty, high-calorie food. It made using food and dieting logical reoccurring themes throughout the novel.
TBR: Which of your characters would you most or like to invite to dinner? Why?
J.L.: Dr. Abel Raines. Abel is a conglomerate of many successful academics, who I’ve known over the years. He’s brilliant (and knows it) and never stops analyzing others. Thus he’d be an engaging dinner companion. The conversation would be like playing a game of chess. But I’d be careful not to fall for his charms (like many ladies do in the novel) because he’s incapable of taking anyone but himself seriously.
TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
J.L.: I didn’t expect to so fully immerse myself in the action. When I’m writing a scene, I’m not at my computer in my home but at the scene wherever it is. I see, hear, and smell what the lead character in the scene does.
The other surprising thing is my dog Bug. He seldom leaves my side when I’m working at the computer. But he’s been rewarded. He’s the only non-fictional character in my novels. He plays himself.
TBR: What’s next for you?
J.L.:In my third novel, Sara Almquist (the lead in the first novel of this mystery/suspense series Coming Flu and the sister of the heroine Linda in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight) is doing consulting on public health problems in Bolivia. She stumbles across new dangers, while Linda stays in Albuquerque and battles her nemeses.
J.L.:As just mentioned, my first novel in this series set primarily in New Mexico was Coming Flu.
TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
J.L.:I have a website (www.jlgreger.com) and a blog called JL Greger’s Bugs (http//:jlgregerblog.blogspot.com). I also try to do at least four guest blogs a month so I’m always looking for new sites to visit. Leave me a comment if you’d like me to visit your site. I like to blog on science issues, like weight control and science education.
TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
J.L.:I’m running a contest of sorts. I’m asking readers to make comments on my home blog and guest blogs. Their comment should include their preferred name and a way I can contact them, probably their email address.
On October 1, I’ll gather all the comments and pull one from the hat. The winner will be named in an upcoming novel. I included a colleague’s name from my days as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. He liked meeting his fictional self. I thought others might too.
TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, J.L. All the best to you.