Tuesday, March 14, 2017



When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.


Lila Maclean is a new assistant professor of English (and sometimes amateur sleuth) at Stonedale University in Colorado.


Lila, w
hat impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
People seem to think that I’m a pushover.

How about after they've known you for a while?
Eventually, they realize that’s definitely not the case. 

Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

Yes, the one where I win the lottery and then spend a whole chapter trying to figure out how much money to give to everyone I love. (She wouldn’t write it.)

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
My schedule revolves around teaching—so I’m probably preparing for class, grading, or attending meetings. But if I had a day off, I might drive up and explore the Rocky Mountains. Haven’t had much of a chance to do that yet.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
All the places where I blurted something out that would have better been left unsaid. It keeps getting me into trouble!

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
They’re all interesting and mysterious in their own ways.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Sit on the porch with a new book and a cool drink.

What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
My father left before I was born—don’t even know who he is. I’ve learned how to live without a father, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about him. 

Tell us about your best friend.

My best friend is my cousin Calista. We grew up together. She’s sweet, honest, and quirky—and she writes amazing poetry. She’s also looking out for me here at Stonedale, and I’m lucky to have someone like her in my corner.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?

Maybe someone who is a cross between Sandra Bullock and Lizzy Caplan.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Yes. I’d love to know what happens next!


Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean academic mystery series. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She teaches English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado.

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