An Interview with Author Edith Tarbescu

Edith Tarbescu is a produced playwright and the author of children’s books published by Clarion, Barefoot Books, and Scholastic. Her debut novel is One Will: Three Wives (Adelaide Books, December 2020), which Anne Hillerman says is “packed with a large array of interesting suspects — any one of whom could be a murderer — and a roller coaster ride of plot twists.” You’ll find Edith on her website at and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Tell us about One Will: Three Wives?
It’s a who-done-it, and those who’ve read the book were unable to guess, which is the goal of a mystery.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
I was totally unfamiliar with police procedure and how the police solve a mystery. I had to familiarize myself with the NYPD (New York Police Department).

Who are your main characters, and why will readers connect with them?
My main characters are two detectives: male and female. They are partners and lovers. I think they are both likeable. The female detective moved to New York from Montana and is part Native-American, and the male detective is a native New Yorker.

What makes this novel unique in the mystery market?
It has hints of romance and betrayal between the two detectives and a fair amount of humor mixed with adventure and murder.

How did the book came together?
I wanted to write something different for me and hit on the idea of a murder mystery. After I finished, I sent it to several agents. A few said it lacked tension. I hired a freelance editor, formerly an editor at Harper. He said it lacked tension because I was in everybody’s head. So I made the female detective my protagonist and everything is seen through her eyes.

Did you discover anything surprising while doing research for the book?
I realized how much research I had to do. I went to New York (my home town) and visited the police station I was writing about. Luckily, a policeman offered to show me the squad room, answer questions, etc. I was incredibly grateful to him and the time he spent with me.

What was the most rewarding aspect of writing One Will: Three Wives?
I came to love my protagonist, Cheri, and her partner, James, and loved spending time with them. They were very real to me. The research I did in New York was also rewarding. In addition to visiting the police station, I also visited a dog shelter. A character in my book is a dog walker and later becomes a person of interest. She was one of the three wives.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I attended the Yale Drama School, I saw my plays performed and got positive feedback from the Head of the Playwriting Department. Then I called myself a playwright.

What kinds of scenes do you find most difficult to write?
Scenes with a lot of description. I am a playwright and best at dialogue, so I have to work at descriptions.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?
Definitely creating. I also enjoy research and use Google a lot.

What advice do you have for beginning or discouraged writers?
Persevere. Join a writers group, if possible, and try to attend meetings at SWW (zooming for now). And read a lot — books and magazines.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m working on a memoir titled Beyond Brooklyn.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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