A Conversation with Author, Adrienne Mathues

The response to my invitation for authors and poets to participate in my blog post interview series last year overwhelmed me. So many responded that I still have a few more to go and will intersperse them throughout the first few months of this year. As always, I hope writers in my audience will discover helpful jewels of information from these interviews, and readers will find great books to add to their "To Be Read" list.

This next interview is with Adrienne Mathues. I met Adrienne several years ago when she moved to Greenville and joined our local writing chapter. She's served on the Board of Directors for South Carolina Writers' Association (SCWA) and provides insightful critiques in our group. I love the novel she's currently writing.

Adrienne Mathues

Adrienne Mathues can’t remember a time when she wasn’t surrounded by books or making up stories. She has worked as a librarian in public, academic, and corporate settings before joining a small medical device company in the upstate of South Carolina.

Adrienne placed second in the Carrie McCray NonFiction category in 2016. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Petigru Review in 2016 and 2018.

As a member of SCWA, she's been an active participant in the Aiken and Greenville chapters. She served on the SCWA Board of Directors from 2017-2019. In 2016, she became an Associate Editor for  The Petigru Review, SCWA's literary journal, and served as the Editor for 2017 and 2018.

What are you working on?

I’m currently writing a mystery novel that takes place during the Raj, the British rule of India from 1858 to 1947. My main character, Celia, suffers from debilitating arthritis. Celia’s mother hasn’t spoken to her brother since before Celia was born and, yet, decides her daughter’s illness is too much for her to handle. She packs Celia off to the warm climate of India and her doctor-brother. There Celia falls in love with India but quickly learns there’s a darker side to the glittering world of the British rulers.

How does your book differ from others in its genre?

I try hard not to fall into the temptation facing every author, namely, thinking my book is different from every other in my genre. However, in all my reading I haven’t come across a detective, amateur or professional, that has an autoimmune disease, especially a disease that makes daily tasks difficult. In writing Celia, I wanted to turn the stereotypical strong-willed, vivacious, and active detective-heroine on its head. Celia is cautious, slow, and often sick. However, she is sensitive and observant, qualities critical for solving mysteries. 

Why do you write what you do?

I’ve always been fascinated with India. The people, the food, the culture(s). It’s a vibrant country. Colonialism, too, fascinates me, particularly the colonization in India. Nowhere else has the pain and destruction of colonization been paired with modernization (at least in my opinion).

As a reader of mysteries, I often grow irritated with main characters who plunge into an investigation without a thought to danger or consequences. I wanted to reverse these genre-norms and see what the results would be.

How does your writing process work?

I used to feel guilty for writing late at night. Then I read Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends (if you haven’t read this and you write or want to write, go read it right now). He admits to writing from late at night to the early hours of the morning. So, now I own the fact that only at night, when I’m no longer distracted by housework or feel the need for business, I write.

I also make sure I’m reading at least one book at a time (out of the eight or nine I have going) on India or writing for research.  This keeps me learning without growing bored by the subject. 

Where can we find your published works?

The Petigru Review is available through Amazon.


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