Finally, a mystery about an English teacher who solves crime! Believe or not, there aren’t that many of these series and I was excited to find Strangled by a Simile. I used to be an English teacher and I bet you can’t guess what my favorite thing to teach was? It wasn’t grammar. I could teach kids to write! It was a beautiful thing to see, but I’m also pretty happy I’m not going home with a stack of senior research papers to grade. But enough about me, we have an interview with Emma Lovett our teacher and her life of crime, or at least solving crime. Be sure to scroll down for the giveaway!
About Strangled by Simile
Strangled by Simile (Chalkboard Outlines)
3rd in Series
Southern transplant Emma Lovett and best friend/colleague Leslie Parker can hardly believe it: it’s Emma’s third year at Thomas Jefferson High School, and in addition to an amazing year with boyfriend Hunter Wells and Leslie’s brand-new love interest, they’ve gotten all the way through Homecoming with no one dying.
At the end of October, Emma finds the strangled body of Charlie Foreman, one of Leslie’s favorite nemeses. And the first clue implicates Leslie in the crime! To make things worse, Emma’s feeling a little oogy: tired, dizzy, and something’s up with her eyes. What’s going on?
All Emma and Leslie are trying to do is find new methods for teaching the youth of America, hopefully using lessons from The Great Bard—their hero—William Shakespeare.
But someone has a different idea: more schooling in murder.
And now here’s an interview with our teacher Emma Lovett. Sit up straight now, and I’m watching you in the back row.
Please tell us about your latest adventure.
There’s this coach I met when I first started teachin school at Thomas Jefferson High—Charlie Foreman. He’s very mysogynistic and loudmouthed, and he and my closest Leslie prank and torment each other regularly. Whenever he’s inappropriate, everyone laughs it off because he’s the son of the school superintendent. But I guess Charlie’s not makin’ noise now, because he’s dead. Just when I thought I’d get through a year with no more murders, here we go again…
Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?
Leslie Parkerand I decided three years ago we needed to get involved with an investigation of a murder at our school—a sweet old custodian named Melvin McManus. Because of the problematic law enforcement in our sweet little town—the chief of detectives is this old high school football player named Carl Niome who doesn’t know his rear end from his rear window, if you get my meanin’. Anyway, Melvin was a member of the school community, and I was a new member of that community. We just knew we had to help.
Do you have any special skills to fight crime?
Leslie and I got together at the park one day when we first decided to solve a murder and collected stuff we thought we could use to solve it. From our whole personal collection of mystery novels to a blender, we felt like we’d need supplies. I think really we use our brains and our eyes, and that’s it. I did find out, during this particular inquiry, that some childhood skills perfected by me and my best friend Hannah and our summers at Target Swamp would be necessary. You’ll see. Turns out I’m kind of a Van Damme.
Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?
I teach high school English at Thomas Jefferson High School in Pinewood, Colorado. This year I was also lucky enough to get to teach a beginning acting class, and we worked on Shakespeare scenes. Worked out well for me, because my friend Leslie is so good atcallin’ up Shakespeare quotes right outta her . . .head, that go with any situation. I’m trying to get better at that, but Leslie’s the master.
What are you most frightened of in this story?
Turns out . . . mobsters. And chronic illness. Both can be deadly. Both are really, really scary. But that second one is turnin’ out to be easier to handle with the help of my friends. The first one too, I guess. If you’re willing to think back to me and Hannah at the swamp.
Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?
I think our friend and librarian, Edward Dixon, has funny things happenin’ to him all the time. Only he doesn’t think they’re funny, because he’s kinda high-stress like that. He says things all the time without realizing they’re funny.
If I were to choose an actor or actress to play your part in a movie, who would that be?
Do you see any other characters in your story as actors or actresses that our readers might know? I haveactually been thinking about this as a television series for years now! I think the perfect actress for me (although she’s blonde in her series now, but she used to be brunette like me, so I know she could go back) is Melissa Benoist. You know, she plays Supergirl right now on the show Supergirl. I think she’d be a great me. And Leslie should be played by Cate Blanchett, I think, although I think that actress is older than Leslie. So don’t tell Leslie until she sees herself in the series. 😊
Do you have other mysteries you would like to tell us about? Is this the first book in the series, or have you cracked a few other cases?
I have, unfortunately. Besides Melvin, I had a student who was killed named Kisten Hollis. It was a horrible tragedy, and Leslie told me the death of a student is the worst tragedy she’s ever suffered. I can believe it.
Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?
I reckon these investigations don’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison to my real job, which is teachin’ school. Kids need to learn and I wanna help them love it!
Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?
Thomas Jefferson High School and Pinewood, physically, are a combination of both of my teaching jobs and schools, in Fruita, Colorado and South Lake Tahoe, California. Pinewood and its schools are a really fun invention, so I can utilize places I’ve been without worrying about that reader (and those readers are real, I guarantee it) who has also been to the actual places or ridden on the actual roads and is looking for the ways I can get it wrong. This way I get it right, every time… 😊)
About Kelley Kaye
“Kelley Kaye” taught High School English and Drama since 1992 in California, then Colorado and now Cali again, but her love for storytelling dates back to creating captions in her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created for her Barbie and Ken—whatever the case, the love’s been around a long time. She’s married to an amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and wonderful sons.