After thirty plus years as a professor and marine ecologist, I decided to write environmental mysteries as a way to engage citizens in the reality of one of our most pressing environmental issues – climate change. Gallup has reported that over 40% of Americans polled said the issue was “exaggerated in the news”.
Frustrated by polls like Gallup’s, I turned to the arts as a different way to connect with people. Mysteries have a long history of entangling readers in social issues (wealth and justice are front and center in Murder on the Orient Express). As a scientist, I love the puzzles mysteries present. So my choice was easy.
Cold Blood, Hot Sea—the first in my Maine Oceanography mystery series—features amateur sleuth Mara Tusconi. Smart, stubborn, and loyal, Mara suspects that a colleague’s climate change research has something to do with his murder. Spruce Harbor, Maine is home to a colorful assortment of suspects.
This book brings readers into the unseen world of scientists trying to figure out what’s happening with global warming––and who are harassed by people with a lot to lose by the scientists’ discoveries. Through Mara’s experiences, readers also get a taste of life aboard research vessels, the Maine coast, and being on and under the water.
The interest in Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction) has grown tremendously. Cli-fi is everywhere in the news. Reuters says “Climate fiction finds its way into classroom” and a New York Times Op Ed asks “Will fiction influence how we react to climate change”? Dan Bloom, who coined the term, has a website called “The Cli-Fi Report” (cli-fi.net).
Links to cli-fi and Eco-literature sites
- Interview with Wilson Ring, AP news reporter
- Books, author interviews, and more