Welcome Guest Paula B. Mays

I met Paula through the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime and we’ve been on a couple of panels together. She’s charming, smart, and I loved the story of how she came up with the idea for her mystery Murder in the Parador. Here’s a bit about the book:

Only one thing was certain: John Donne was dead. That fact was verified after the wedding. Marco, former police officer—currently private detective and police consultant–must follow clues from Southern Spain to Morocco in order to determine whether the brilliant scientist on the verge of one of the world’s greatest discoveries- the cure to the insidious disease of cancer- had been murdered. Marco had been assigned to Alberto Flores, a detective from the police force of Malaga, Spain, a member of the blue wall that had betrayed him. How could they work together? Moreover, Marco and the straight-laced Flores employed different modus operandi for solving crime. During this journey of discovery, Marco also finds out about himself and his relationship both to his own culture and to his family. He is also forced to examine his relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Belen, a Spanish flamenco dancer. Murder in the Parador introduces you to a diverse array of characters unlike any you’ve ever met. The various threads of the intricate plot ultimately align to reveal the startling circumstances at the heart of this compelling mystery.

Paula: The plane landed at Malaga, Spain airport on a bright sunny afternoon.  I stepped off tired after a long flight, stared into the sun and knew I was home.  Have you ever had that feeling? That sense of place, a knowing that this is where you belong.

My inner-self was not disappointed.  I first visited Marbella, Spain when a friend allowed, even encouraged me, to stay in her father’s now empty condo next to the Marriott hotel and just a walk from the beach on the Mediterranean.  I know it’s hard to believe I had to be talked into going the first time.  Luckily, my friend, Christine heard about it and said absolutely we must go.  She said she’d always wanted to go to Southern Spain.

Christine and I disembarked on Thanksgiving Day to 70 degree weather, sunshine, mountains, and the Mediterranean Sea.  Luckily, at that time, Christine understood some Spanish (I do now, but not at that time), so we easily got a taxi to Marbella 30 some miles away from the airport and found the condo.  The week-long adventure led to a permanent love affair and many excursions to the tiny condo steps from the beach.

I went often; attended Spanish immersion school, learned a great deal of Spanish, and made life-long friends. I specifically remember hanging out with a group of good friends atop a mountain near Marbella overlooking the sea, while one of our friends cooked chicken paella over the grill.  Sitting on a blanket sipping Sangria, I recall thinking how amazing it was to be in this dream. Some of these friends make cameo appearances in my book, though all of the characters are fictional.

What a magical place to set my other interest: International Mysteries.  I became entranced with MHZ networks in Washington DC, which featured mysteries from around the world.  Two of my favorites were Montalbano, based on the novels of Andrea Camilleri and Inspector Brunetti, based on the novels of Donna Leon.  It was all the inspiration I needed. They became my muses.  

I had to incorporate the mystical beauty of Spain into the mystery genre. So I set about writing my first novel, Murder in the Parador, which encompasses my own fantasy of a beautiful wedding to a gorgeous Spaniard in a Parador. (Note to reader- that hasn’t come true, but I carry on).  It’s important to me that you get the sense of place that touched me, the sea, the mountains, and the food such as well-known tapas and paella.  My main character, like Montalbano, often enjoys a good Spanish meal and delicious wine.

Magical places aren’t free from controversy though and my characters don’t shy away from it.  I purposely emphasize the diversity of Southern Spain, filled with British, Scandinavian, German and other European ex-pats, and an immigration problem.  Immigration issues from Africa, especially neighboring Morocco are similar to those in Mexico and the US.  My main characters are intended to represent this diversity and to point out the issues such as trafficking, and racism that plague even magical places.

COVID may have curtailed my jaunts to my second home, but I am always there through the stories of the characters who occupy the world of Vivirrambla.

Readers: Is there a magical place that has touched your heart?

Bio: I am an attorney with thirty-five years of experience.  My legal experience began in criminal law as an Assistant States Attorney to intellectual property, specifically trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  I attained a Masters in Public Health (MPH), from the George Washington University late in my career.  Presently, I work for a healthcare company.

I am a native of Washington DC. I started writing mysteries due to my interest in Southern Spain, which I view as a second home and from viewing International Mysteries on the MHZ network in DC, which featured mysteries from around the world including  the well-known Scandinavian mysteries.  I also enjoy water color and reading lessons at the National Cathedral, as well as tennis.

29 Thoughts

  1. You take us right there, Paula! Welcome to the blog, and congratulations on your debut.

    I spent a week in and north of Barcelona about twenty years ago – it felt magical, too.

  2. Wow, southern Spain does sound magical! You’ve painted a lovely scene with your words! Congratulations on your book!

  3. “Murder in the Parador” sounds like a fabulous book and one I can’t wait to read. Great way to take a vacation to a far off place experiencing their way of life right from my favorite reading spot.

    Yes, we use to vacation in the Ozarks. Always loved going there and hated it when we had to leave. In our senior years, we thought why not stay. So we sold out, downsized and built our smaller dream home in our dream destination about 4 1/2 years ago. Best decision EVER!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Wow, Kay I am very impressed you made the move and I hope life is wonderful for you!

  4. Welcome, Paula! My husband was in the military so we moved a lot. When we moved to Monterey, California, we arrived and I was yessssss! It’s the only place that happened, but other places grew on me — especially Massachusetts.

    1. My Dad was stationed at Fort Ord for 9 years. Loved those years there as a kid. We left when Dad retired. I don’t know which I hated worse leaving the area or not being a military brat any longer.

  5. Your book sounds so interesting, Paula. I loved hearing about your experiences in Spain. Petra in Jordan was a place that touched me and actually brought tears to my eyes. In all of the places I’ve travel around the world, it was the first place that affected me so greatly. Mainly because I never thought I would ever get there.

    1. Petra is still on my bucket list. Don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but I can dream. I envy you

    2. Hi Grace always enjoying about your books as well. I know what you mean about the tears. 🙂

  6. Welcome to the Wickeds, Paula! One of my favorite mystery series is an historical series set in Spain–the Sergeant Carlos Tejada Investigations by Rebecca Pawel.so I would very much like to read your book. I was born in Boston but left when I was six months old. I didn’t come back to New England to live until I was 22–and I instantly knew I was home.

      1. Lol, Judy wouldn’t that be wonderful! Probably from watching all those mysteries.

  7. I’m ready to go. Your love for Spain comes through in this post, so I’m sure it does in the book as well.

  8. The synopsis for this book reads like an episode in a murder mystery TV series. Maybe Marco will become the next Hercule Poirot.

    1. Lol, Judy wouldn’t that be wonderful! Probably from watching all those mysteries.

  9. Hi, Congratulatins on your new book! Your book sounds and looks very intriguing ! Thank you for sharing about it and for sharing the photos. Spain sounds like a Beautiful place, my mom went to Spain one year and she loved it. I lived in Puerto Rico for 6 months and I loved it, I was there for the Christmas Holidays and it is a really magical time then. Have a Great weekend and stay safe.

  10. Congrats on the new book.
    When I first stepped off the plane for my dream come true vacation in Cusco, Peru, I knew I was home. I returned something like 27 times and always felt the same.

  11. The book sounds wonderful and I’m putting it on my TBR list. I know exactly what you mean about arriving somewhere completely new and falling completely and irrevocably in love with it. I lived in Italy for two years back in my twenties, and to this day I’m homesick for it.

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