Friendship, Mystery

Meet My Mystery Writer Friend

Death of a Telenovela Star is the title of Teresa Dovalpage’s latest mystery. This novella, set on a cruise to the Caribbean, features a former Havana detective who now runs a bakery inIMG_0711 Miami. But Marlene Martínez can’t help figuring out whodunnit when a murder happens onboard. Yes, the telenovela star has an untimely death. This book is short, fast and fun read.

Full disclosure: Teresa, or la Te, as I call her is my friend, actually one of my closest friends. And while I want you to read her book, I want to tell you about her.

I met Teresa when I lived in Taos and took the Spanish 101 course she taught at the local branch of the University of New Mexico. She made the class fun. When I found out she was also an author, I bought her first novel, A Girl Like Che Guevara, which is set in Cuba, where she grew up.

Then she started reporting on a freelance basis for The Taos News — I was the editor-in-chief then — for our Spanish page, plus writing features in English. She had no journalism experience but caught on right away.

We became friends. I enjoyed her energy, humor, and Cuban coffee. We even collaborated on a project — a bilingual series for kids. I did the English, she translated. Only one — The Cousins and the Magic Fish/Los primos y el pez mágico has been published so far, but I plan to change that. The first book, which was second runner-up for the Zia Book Award in 2018, deserves a new layout and to be continued.

Teresa has had success with the publishing world. Check out her books on Amazon: Teresa Dovalpage Books on Amazon

I was frustrated by my lack of it. After many years of effort, including two agents who failed me, I ended up self-publishing two of my novels: Peace, Love and You Know What and The Sweet Spot.

Teresa always encouraged me and gave me good advice.

And then, she inspired me to write mysteries. This was a different genre for me. I like to think my adult books are literary fiction, but I am a huge fan of mystery shows, especially those from the UK.

Teresa wrote a mystery, Death Comes in Through the Kitchen, and sold it to a publishing house. I read a draft and thought why not try my own. Like Teresa, who set that book in her native Cuba, I chose to set Chasing the Case in rural Western Mass., where I have lived twice. (As I’ve said before, it’s a case of taking what you know and having your way with it.)

I so enjoyed writing that first book, I completed three more, all published by Darkstroke Books. And I’m onto my fifth.

When Hank and I left Taos to return to Western Mass. three years ago, Teresa and her husband moved to Hobbs, NM, where she is a professor at the university there. We keep in touch via social media, email, and the occasional phone call. I hope our paths cross again.

But back to Death of a Telenovela Star, it’s a good escape from this strange world we have now. Check it out.

PHOTO ABOVE: Teresa and I at the New Mexico Press Women’s conference in 2018.

KILLING THE STORY: No. 4 in the Isabel Long Mystery Series launched Aug. 26. Here’s the link: Killing the Story. And thanks for your support.


6Ws, Author Interview

6 Ws with Teresa Dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage is the next author to appear in this 6Ws series. I do have a confession to make. Not only is Teresa a talented writer in English and Spanish, she is one of my dearest friends. As you can read from her answers, she is a lot of fun.

Her latest book is Death Comes in through the Kitchen, published by Soho Crime.Cover It is a mystery set in Cuba, her country of origin, which puts an interesting twist on the story. And for foodies there are recipes for great Cuban dishes.

Here are Teresa’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Teresa Dovalpage?

A Cuban transplant to New Mexico. A quirky chica. A novelist and a college professor at NMJC.

What does she write?

Un poquito de todo! A little bit of everything but mostly fiction: novels, short stories and a couple of theater plays. I also write for The Taos News. For over eight years I did business and lifestyle stories, which were super fun. I am now writing a series of bilingual novellas.

When does she write?

At night, always. I am a night owl. My best inspiration comes after ten p.m. Qué weirdo, no? And then I need a steak before I can go to sleep.

How does she write?

I used to have just a general idea in my cabeza, a not too well-defined roadmap that was subject to change. But since I started writing mysteries I have developed a healthy respect for a better planned plot. It makes writing easier. I am now reading Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane Cleland, who I just met at the Cozycon, and I am learning a lot about about techniques, settings, subplots and more.

Where does she write?

At home. I now have an office. I used to have the computer in my bedroom but I have found out that keeping a sleep/ work separation is worthwhile. I fall sleep faster, maybe because my characters are trapped in a different room.

Why does she write?

For fun. I started writing when I was a teenager and haven’t been able to stop. At first, I didn’t have any idea of what I was doing… not sure that has changed a lot. But I’ve been an avid reader since childhood so writing felt like a natural step.

About her recent book:

Death Comes in through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018) is available at Amazon and bookstores. Matt, a San Diego journalist, travels to Havana carrying a wedding dress for Yarmila, his Cuban fiancée. But he finds her dead in her bathtub. Later he starts to wonder: Who was that woman he thought he knew? And who killed her? It’s also a Havana travelogue, with descriptions of paladares (small private restaurants), casas particulares (inns), and the bright colored fifties cars known as almendrones. The book contains authentic Cuban recipes.

Other works:

In English: A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004); Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010); and The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond (University of New Orleans Press, 2012).

In Spanish:Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain); El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009); Posesas de La Habana (Haunted ladies of Havana, Pure Play Press, 2004); La Regenta en La Habana(Edebe Group, Spain, 2012); Orfeo en el Caribe (Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013); and El retorno de la expatriada (The Expat’s Return, Egales, Spain, 2014).

Teresa Dovalpage on social media: