When you think about it, it makes perfect sense I would eventually try to be a writer. One need only examine my childhood, as any therapist will tell you, and look for the signs: On family vacations my poor mother, already on her last nerve as my father, the Botany Professor, drove us around winding mountain roads with one eye on the ground vegetation, repeatedly admonished me to “stop reading and look at the scenery!” I assigned my own books call numbers and insisted my friends “check them out” from my “library” (the fines for late returns were steep but, as it turned out, largely unenforceable). I wrote plays about forest fairies and figures from classical mythology and obtained special dispensation so I could stage them on the playground during lunch. My favorite school task was diagramming sentences. So, when, many years later, I scaled back my other work to spend more time writing, no one really should have been surprised. Concerned for my sanity and financial well-being, maybe, but not surprised. And am I ever glad I did. I am truly blessed, and I make an effort every day to remember that.
What else... I'm half Chinese and Florida-raised, Yale- and UVA- educated, and Chicago—buffed and polished? In any case, I now proudly call New Orleans home, and when I'm not writing or getting lost down research rabbit holes, I spend my time practicing law, shooting pool, performing in operas and musicals, ogling old buildings, acting for film and television, futzing with inventions that address highly specific and possibly only-annoying-to-me problems, traveling, ranting at bartenders about the evils of straws, riding horses, and petting strange cats (as well as my own, of course). Yeah, I know.
If you have suggestions for additional hobbies or want to talk about my books, feel free to send me a message!
One other thing about me: If you try to tell me the Oxford comma is wrong, I will fight you—before hugging you because I’m just so thrilled you care.
In the fall of 1883, Cassie Gwynne, heartbroken over the recent loss of her father, returns to the southern island town where she was born to meet a mysterious newfound aunt and uncover the truth about her family's past—but finds herself tangled in a murder inquest instead.
When a traveling theatrical troupe comes to the island to perform a charity production of Gilbert & Sullivan's recent comedic hit, The Pirates of Penzance, a dramatic accident turns out to be murder, and Cassie must take center stage to track down the killer.
As Cassie delves into troubling questions surrounding her father's death, one of her friends, a Chinese merchant-sailor, is accused of murdering the very hateable Collector of Customs... and confesses. Cassie is convinced of his innocence but must put aside everything she thinks she knows, including about her own past, to solve the mystery.