October 4, 2015

BOOK OF THE MONTH: NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE BY THERESA VARELA (Plus, Excerpt!)

  
The Latina Book Club congratulates author Theresa Varela on the debut of her new mystery series, NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE (Aignos Publishing).  Readers will be captivated by Daisy Muñiz, a Latina combination of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie.  We were able to get the scoop on this new heroine and the opening excerpt from the book.   
  


Aignos Publishing, Inc.
Q:  We heard that you came up with the idea for Daisy Muñiz as a take-off from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Can you tell us more about that?

THERESA:  I’d just completed my PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development and looked up from my statistics when I heard some voices whisper in my ear. I listened and realized that my heart was in poetry and literature. Although I vowed that I wasn’t returning to school I found myself registered for my first continuing education creative writing course. The teacher gave us a prompt that asked the students to write a modern short story based on a fairy tale theme. Somehow, Daisy appeared on my pages within the context of Goldilocks and the Three Bears that became a very contemporary story of a young woman searching to learn about herself and who she was meant to be. I met Daisy sharing a ‘very hard bed’ with Lou, her boyfriend at the time. Daisy knew that she deserved more than what she received in that very difficult relationship and was able to move out of it. She next found herself bartending with the lovely Letty who had the sweetest smile. They hit it off, almost too well,but stirrings inside of Daisy told her that bed was ‘too soft.’ Daisy did some soul searching and realized that she might be better off getting to know herself before she made a decision that might not be fair to herself or Letty. Finally, Daisy got her own place and a little pooch, Mona, that she named after the character in the old ‘90s sitcom, “Who’s the Boss.” That was something she watched as a very little girl that brought up good and happy feelings for Daisy. At the end of this short story, Daisy finally allows little Mona to cuddle up with her in a bed that is her own and ‘just right.’ In my book series, Daisy is no longer with Lou, you’ll find out why in a subsequent novel in the series, and Letty had been a bestie in Daisy’s high school crew and they continue to be friends. Mona, the dog, hasn’t appeared yet although she might in a future episode.



Q:  Tell us about NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE. How does Daisy meet Detective Rod Rodriguez, and how do they become a team?

THERESA:  NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE  is the first in the series of novels about Daisy Muñiz. The chief surgeon, Dr. Charles Campbell, is found dead the morning after he worked “Sixth Saturday,” that is a clinic at Windsor Hospital for cosmetic surgeries for clients who aren’t able to pamper themselves with these procedures during the usual work week schedule. Daisy, who is the Administrator’s Assistant at the hospital, works overtime to catch up on her ever mounting credit card bills and may have been one of the last people to see him alive. She’s questioned about the afternoon of the murder by the very handsome and stylishly dressed Detective David ‘Rod’ Rodriguez and his partner, Liz Munroe. That interview goes as well as it can, but a few days later she meets up with him again at her friend Letty’s house. Letty’s husband, Mike, is also a Detective and he invites Rod over for dinner that same night. Rod has just made a geographic to Brooklyn from Chicago to get away from some heat he left behind. After some initial awkwardness, the electrical charge that sometimes ignites between two people does just that and Daisy and Rod find themselves in each other’s company, a lot.


Q:  What can readers expect from this dynamic duo?

THERESA:  Not only do the two fit like hand in glove as they investigate the untimely death of Dr. Campbell, they find they are both interested in Espiritismo. Daisy has finally begun to embrace her spiritual gifts and Rod who grew up in a spiritual household taking it for granted, finds her inquisitiveness and candor quite refreshing. They compare notes and support each other’s new experiences in the paranormal world. The two are guided in part by Daisy’s friends, Jose and Rubio, who are both initiated in the Orisha tradition and practice Espiritismo.


Q:   How many books will be in the series?

THERESA:   As we speak, there are three [books] in varying stages of development, NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE,  is the first one of the series that is published. I’m in the middle of writing the second in the series, EYES DON'T LIE, that centers on her friends, Rubio and Jose. The plot has to do with the circumstances surrounding a murder at Rubio’s art gallery and his life in Colombia before coming to New York City. The third novel, WOMAN FOUND, was completed before NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE. That one is the first full length completed novel starring Daisy and I like to call it ‘The prequel.’ It’s an elaboration of my original modernization of the folk tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In it we’re told more of Daisy’s backstory and how it is that she ended up making the choices she has in turning her life upside down and moving into one of the brownstones in Brooklyn with her best friends as neighbors.  I’m a writer who doesn’t plan ahead in terms of outlining. My spouse laughs and tells me that I sound like I’m reading each book although I’m actually writing it. That is true. I ‘hear’ my characters talk to me and write down what they say. That means that there may be a long line of Daisy novels as she’s always chattering in my ear. I have the thought that hers will be a series like Nancy Drew or Agatha Christie mysteries. I think it’s about time we have a Latina cozy mystery heroine. Don’t you? ###


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Theresa Varela, Puerto Rican author, was born and raised in Brooklyn. She holds a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development and currently works with the mentally ill homeless population in NYC. She is a recipient of a 2015 International Latino Book Award for Best First Novel for COVERING THE SUN WITH MY HAND. Visit Theresa at www.theresavarela.com.


EXCERPT:

NIGHTS OF INDIGO BLUE
by Theresa Varela
Aignos Publishing, Inc.

Book Summary:  Daisy is ready to embrace a fresh new start in her brownstone apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when she is thrust into the midst of the mysterious murder of Windsor Medical Center's most prominent surgeon, Arthur Campbell. As the secrets of the Campbell family are revealed, Daisy is forced to delve into her own troubled past as she becomes the unwitting ally to Detective David "Rod" Rodriguez.





CHAPTER 1


Swallowing my pride was the first step I took when I agreed to work on Saturday. It was bad enough that everyone knew me, but the fact I’d been promoted and still had to work extra time was embarrassing. It had been a while since I worked at the weekend out-patient clinic. Saturdays were dedicated to cosmetic surgeries. Easy enough and the money came in handy. I had to admit that it made me feel good when the supervisor asked me to help out. I guess my skills as a clerk were more important than my history. That I didn’t want to think about; my plan was to keep my focus on paying off my last three credit cards.

“So, have you missed me?” I buttoned up my gold colored smock. “A bunch of people getting their noses and chins done, huh? They must be getting ready for the holidays,” I said jokingly to Allie while standing at the reception area desk that gave me a bird’s eye view of the people who were coming in for a bit of surgical sprucing up. A nose realignment, a tummy tuck, or a breast or butt shape up could do wonders for the soul. If they didn’t get what they wanted for  Christmas it wouldn’t sting so hard when they gazed at themselves in their mirrors.

“Of course, we missed you, Daisy. Glad you could help out today. It's been a real zoo here,” Allie rolled her eyes. She was an old friend from my not-to-be-celebrated past. I don’t have that many of those friends left over these days. “We’re a couple of months away but that gives enough time for the swelling to go down. These folks will look splendid just in time for Thanksgiving. Here, have a look at this schedule,” she handed me the list of Saturday morning surgeries.




To learn more about Theresa Varela and her Daisy Muñiz mysteries, 
visit www.theresavarela.com.

Happy Reading! 
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!