Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery (Five Star -2016) and the 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus. Her short stories and essays have appeared in periodicals and anthologies, including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The Birmingham Arts Journal, Mardi Gras Murder and The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fourth Meal of Mayhem. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board, numerous civic boards in Birmingham, Alabama and is an MWA member.
I love the title of your website, “It’s Not Always a Mystery.” Your first two books—including the IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue—were mysteries. Do you have an alter-ego who’s writing in another genre?
For years, my alter-ego could be found in the decisions I issued as Judge Debra H. Goldstein (much more boring than my mysteries). I called my blog “It’s Not Always a Mystery” because, under my own name, I write both mystery and literary short stories and non-fiction essays, as well as my novels.
You grew up in New Jersey and Michigan and worked in New York before moving to Atlanta to attend law school. Now you live in Birmingham, Alabama. Was it an adjustment, a culture shock when you first moved to the South?
For me, moving to the South was a charming experience. I embraced it although I came South by accident. I was working in New York and had been accepted to several law schools. I got on a plane to tour some of the ones offering me scholarship money. It was snowing when I left New Jersey, snowing harder in Pennsylvania, snowing even harder at my next stop, but when the plane broke through the clouds in Atlanta, I saw the red clay Margaret Mitchell described in Gone With the Wind and this English major was hooked. I didn’t know it was the day after one of our terrible rainstorms when the air is clear, the pollen washed away. At that point, I thought I would be here for three years, but when I took my first job out of law school, it was in Michigan during a winter which had thirty-four inches of snow. I moved back to the South the following year.