HT: I read a lot of author bios, either when I’m checking out the competition or finding a new mystery series—and I get it’s all about selling—but it’s gets boring to read so-and-so won this award and so-and-so is liked by this author.
I admit I was shocked and laughed when I read it. How did you come up with Ethel Cunningham? She’s not like most amateur sleuths.
In what way? (Laughs)
Well, for one thing, she tells people off!
(More laughs) I’m a big fan of mystery books and TV shows, but there was always a point on Murder She Wrote, where for 12 seasons, people got murdered, and she pointed a finger at the guilty party and not one person tried to slap her silly or curse her out. It made me frustrated and I love the show. I just wanted my sleuth to tell people off and also for them to yell at her sometimes or try to hurt her.
Ethel comes off as tough, but she has a tender side, it’s just hidden with big blonde hair and sequins. Also, her love interest, Detective Vince Carpino, isn’t such a good guy.
Ethel’s wild look hides her vulnerabilities, like a lot of people. Vince has his issues and to me, he’s more like a real New York detective. I’m sorry Lifetime channel fans, but most old boyfriends-turned-detectives are not waiting around your hometown, and still hot fifteen years after you left town so you can come back at Christmas and rekindle a romance. (Laughs) It would be nice but probably not going to happen! Love and romance and relationships can be hard for most people. So in writing them, I wanted real friction.
Ethel talks about her double mastectomy in most of the books. Was it hard working with a topic so serious?
Not at all. I have a lot of wacky things in my books but I do like some reality. I wanted a reason for this woman to move to New York at thirty-nine-years-old. Ethel wasn’t scared of failing or trying new things in life anymore because she beat cancer.
What inspired Death Of A Christmas Tree Man?
I love Christmas. Especially the decorating. I mean, come on, the glitz, the glamour. It’s so Ethel Cunningham. In New York, around the holidays there are Christmas trees everywhere for sale and the people selling them are usually an odd bunch. So I came up with the story about competing tree salespeople.
I think it’s my favorite Ethel Cunningham book. It has everything. Christmas, mystery, murder, cute dogs, and the wacky residents of Clover Court.
And don’t forget the snow storm!
Yes! Loved it! Your newest book Gentlemen Prefer Murder has Marilyn Monroe solving murders in the late 1970s. What inspired this?
I wanted to do a different kind of mystery series. So I set it in 1977 and added a mature Marilyn Monroe. It was harder than I thought it would be, given I was writing about a real-life person but I made her a bit of a different person and it’s really a satire of how I think she would be at 50.
My office has been loving, or should I say, digging it.
Thanks a heap!
One last question, given that you write about murder and mayhem. What do you watch on TV to unwind?
I’m a homebody so I watch a lot of TV. I’m really loving The Deuce and Mindhunter on Netflix. I have a huge crush on Johnathan Groff after watching it. He did nothing for me—like he cares—when he starred in Looking but he is amazing in this new show. I love all the actors and it’s great that the writers don’t have to stoop to blood and gore to creep you out. And it’s creepy!
Mindhunter isn’t actually unwinding.
I know. I’ll unwind in my grave.
Hudson Taylor’s latest book, Gentlemen Prefer Murder is available now, as well as a special edition version of Death Of A Christmas Tree Man. Find him on Facebook @AuthorHudsonTaylor and Twitter author_hudson
Interview by Cute Guys Reading Books. Used with permission.