Once upon a Crime: Stella Cameron

by Lindsey A.

We have one more author visiting for Oak Harbor Library‘s Once upon a Crime series! This series features local authors of mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Previous authors interviewed include Marty Wingate, Robert Dugoni, and Kevin O’Brien. This week we feature an interview with author Stella Cameron. On Oct. 31, Stella will visit the Oak Harbor Library to talk about her books and the craft of writing mysteries.

Stella Cameron is a New York Times Bestselling Author with an English background. In addition to her ongoing Alex Duggins Mystery series, she has written many other books. Cameron received the Pacific Northwest Achievement Award “for distinguished professional achievement and for enhancing the stature of the Northwest Literary community.” She is a Washington resident, sharing her home with her husband and their pets.

Stella was kind enough to share a conversation with Sno-Isle Libraries staff member and mystery enthusiast, Marie B.

Interview with Stella Cameron

Marie: Have you ever based characters on people you know?

Stella: Not completely, and if I had I doubt if I’d tell you! Bits and pieces of people I’ve met, known, noticed or found interesting for any reason probably come into my characters but not deliberately. I shall stick to that statement.

Marie: What (or who) inspires you when creating characters who kill?

Stella: What a very difficult question—but a good one. It is said that given enough provocation, anyone could kill. Who am I to suggest this isn’t true? But I don’t write about those who destroy life to protect the innocent or helpless. How far must we look to encounter true evil? Not far. I know my villains are motivated by human weaknesses. Hate, greed, jealousy, fear, and yes, twisted love. I put killing to protect another, or oneself in a different category.

Marie: You started your writing career with steamy romances. What made you decide to write mysteries?

Stella: Every story I’ve written has incorporated a puzzle to be solved, an antagonistic element to overcome. Writing pure mystery was an inevitable progression in my writing career and I’m very grateful to have taken each step along the way.

Marie: What made you choose the Cotswolds as the setting for your mysteries?

Stella: The Cotswold Hills are a treasure trove of mysterious villages with cottage windows that cry out for me to tell stories about the folks who live in them. History doesn’t have to be searched out, it’s stamped on the faces of churches, shops, pubs, tithe barns, markets still held where they have been for hundreds of years, cobbled alleys and streets, and even in the cadence of the people’s voices. This is a place rich with atmosphere, and it’s a haven for someone like me who sits quietly, observes and spins tales. I think the Cotswolds chose me to tell the stories.

Marie: What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book?

Stella: Some mysteries should remain private! That or a personal mystery would make a very boring story . . .

Marie: What do you enjoy most about interacting with fans?

Stella: Readers are drawn to other readers and I’m an inveterate reader. The enthusiasm I encounter when talking to people kind enough to come and tell me I’ve entertained them is a joy.

Marie: What is the worst job you ever had?

Stella: Keeping the books for a building company. Yuck.

Marie: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Stella: Read. Watch drama. Plot, plot, plot. Walk, preferably with my dog (which means I carry her most of the way). And my husband and family are the center of my life.

Marie: What was the last amazingly good book you read?

Stella: Glass Houses by Louise Penny. But give me another hour and I’ll keep listing stories that captured me and still run out of time.

Marie: Which authors do you enjoy most and what do you like about their books?

Stella: Their number is just too huge to note.  Without exception, I want a book to move me, excite me, perhaps frighten me, shock and surprise me, make me look forward to picking it up again, and keep me reading long past the time when I should sleep—almost past the time when it falls to the floor and I wake up with a start.

Marie: What is your favorite thing about being an author?

Stella: The extraordinary privilege of spending so much of my life telling stories for people who want to read them!

Marie: What was your favorite book as a child, and why?

Stella: Treasure Island. What an adventure. The first time I encountered the story was as a class book and waiting to read each next segment was painful!


Below is a list of Stella’s books in our collection and the titles mentioned in the interview.

Meet Stella at the Oak Harbor Library on Oct. 10 at 2:00 p.m. Books from The Book Rack in Oak Harbor will be available for purchase.


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