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Regional author coming to DL July 11

Wisconsin author Victoria Houston is on tour with her latest novel, ‘Dead Lil’ Hustler,’ the 14th in her Loon Lake Mysteries series. She will be in DL on July 11 for a book signing. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Wisconsin author Victoria Houston will be visiting Book World in Detroit Lakes on Friday, July 11.

Houston is visiting the area as a part of the book tour for her recently released novel: “Dead Lil’ Hustler.” The novel is the 14th in her Loon Lake Mysteries series, which revolves around a fictional Wisconsin town and draws on the author’s own experiences growing up around the state’s fishing culture.

The books feature a detective-dentist duo who find themselves drawn into solving homicides in the town. The plots of the novels often involve some aspect of fishing.

Bringing this subject matter into her writing was a natural fit for Houston, who grew up in a region of Wisconsin known for its world-class fishing.

When she first began writing mysteries, she set her stories in other locations, but found more success in her writing after turning her attention back to what she knew and loved.

“This is where I grew up… this is the culture I grew up in,” Houston said about choosing the setting of her novels.

Going fishing for the first time around the age of 3, Houston grew up in a family of passionate anglers. Her father, who was a dentist, often said that the reason to go to work was “so you can afford to fish.”

Between her writing and work in public relations, Houston still finds time to get out on the water. That passion, which has lasted a lifetime, has definitely had an influence on her writing.

Still, she said, readers who’ve never cast out a line will find plenty to interest them in her series.

Houston, a former magazine and feature writer, is a “devoted newspaper reader” who draws on real-life crimes as inspiration for her novels.

“Murder, mayhem and fishing,” Houston said will all be found in her books.

Houston’s series has been described as belonging to a recently designated genre of “cozy mysteries,” sometimes simply referred to as “cozies.” The genre, while not strictly defined, includes works that often leave out the explicit, gory details surrounding their subject matter. Murders take place off-page, sex and profanity are kept to a minimum.

Houston, however, said that designation was more assigned to her books than her attempting to write in the genre. She would classify her novels rather as “traditional police procedural.”

The Loon Lake series does follow some of the cozy conventions. But for Houston it was more a matter of personal preference when it came to leaving out graphic violence and excessive profanity.

She said that it “always takes her aback a little,” to see profanity printed on a page.

As for sexual content, while she said there is an “affectionate” relationship between two of her main characters, and the books feature another character who is a bit of a ladies man, she likes to leave the details up to her readers’ imaginations.

To help promote this, the 14th book in her series, Houston will visit Book World locations in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

“Book World has been very supportive,” Houston said about the chain of booksellers. They even plan to hold an online drawing for readers. One person will be selected for a day on the water fishing with Houston and a professional fishing guide.

Houston, who has never visited the area, said that she is excited to come to Detroit Lakes. Her hometown of Rhinelander, Wis. is similar in size, and she said that residents here definitely share the same love of fishing.

That love will continue to inspire her as she gears up for book 15, which is already in the works.

Houston will be visiting the Detroit Lakes Book World on July 11 from 10 a.m. to noon. Other Minnesota stops on her tour include Park Rapids, Bemidji and Baxter.