Douglas, Lauren Wright 1947-
DOUGLAS, Lauren Wright 1947-
(Zenobia N. Vole)
PERSONAL: Born December 14, 1947, in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada; daughter of Robert Douglas (a military officer) and Pansy Jean (a retail clothes buyer; maiden name, Walters) Wright. Education: Carleton University, B.A., 1968; attended University of Toronto, 1970-74. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Agnostic.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Naiad Press, P.O. Box 10543, Tallahassee, FL 32302.
CAREER: English teacher at Ontario, Canada, high schools, 1968-74; University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, editor of University of Toronto Bulletin, 1974-78; freelance writer, 1978—.
MEMBER: Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Award from L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future, 1984, for "Moonshine"; award from American Health magazine, 1986, for short story "Divers Ascending"; grant from California Arts Council, 1988; Lambda Literary Award, Lesbian Mystery, 1991, for Ninth Life.
science fiction novels
(Under pseudonym Zenobia N. Vole) Osten's Bay, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1988.
In the Blood, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1989.
A Plague of Change, Del Rey (New York, NY), 1992.
"caitlin reece" mystery series, except as noted
The Always Anonymous Beast, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1987.
Ninth Life, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1989.
The Daughters of Artemis, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1991.
A Tiger's Heart, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1992.
Goblin Market, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1993.
A Rage of Maidens, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1994.
Death at Lavender Bay: An Allison O'Neil Mystery, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1996.
Swimming Cat Cove: The 2nd Allison O'Neil Mystery, Naiad Press (Tallahassee, FL), 1997.
Contributor of numerous essays, short stories, interviews, and travel articles to periodicals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Research into paranormal phenomena and the myth of the hero.
SIDELIGHTS: Canadian author Lauren Wright Douglas has carved a niche for herself as a writer of science fiction and of mysteries in a special genre, those portraying lesbian detectives. Her first sleuth, Caitlin Reece, a private investigator, features in six titles. Reece solves mysteries involving such especially feminine issues as crimes against women, children, and animals. For instance, A Tiger's Heart deals with the murder of a ten-year-old girl's mother, Goblin Market deals with "goblin men" who possess women's souls through abuse and terror, and A Rage of Maidens deals with child molestation. Writing about Goblin Market in the Lambda Book Report, Carol LeMasters noted the novel's strengths and weaknesses: While "parts remain irritatingly predictable," the "plot is compact, the dialogue lively." Overall, LeMasters judged the story a success because Reece is "irresistible: smart, independent, sexy, funny, and altogether human." The second novel in the series, Ninth Life, won the Lambda Literary Award in 1989 and earned reviews in the mainstream press. A Publishers Weekly critic who found the narrative "occasionally too cute," nevertheless called it "enjoyable and thought provoking."
After six volumes of her "Caitlin Reece Mystery" series, Douglas began her "Allison O'Neil Mystery" series. O'Neil is the owner of a mail-order fantasy and mystery book store who turns into an amateur sleuth when she inherits from an aunt a bed and breakfast on the Oregon coast. Upon reluctantly taking up residence at the inn, O'Neil discovers the mysterious circumstances surrounding her aunt's demise. Readers of Death at Lavender Bay follow the efforts of O'Neil and local private investigator Kerry Owyhee in what Lambda Book Report reviewer Kanani Kauka called an "enjoyable read." The sequel, Swimming Cat Cove: The 2nd Allison O'Neil Mystery, begins when the daughter of the inn's handywoman brings in a stray cat. Yet this is no ordinary stray cat and neither is the stray girl who arrives next. According to Lambda Book Report reviewer Richard Georgian, this "terrific Pacific Coast yarn … works on several levels."
Although Douglas has most often written mysteries, she has published in the science-fiction arena as well. In 1984 her short story "Moonshine" earned praise from the science-fiction group L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future. Reflecting on her entree into writing science fiction, Douglas once told CA: "My early introduction to speculative literature—fantasy, mythology, science fiction—had a profound effect upon me." Thus under the pseudonym Zenobia N. Vole, Douglas published Osten's Bay in 1988, which she followed with In the Blood and A Plague of Change, which tells the story of an alien species that holds the key to survival for the human species. As she told CA, "What might be and what might have been, has always been more interesting to me than what is. I write for the same reason I read: to see how the stories 'turn out.'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Advocate, November 2, 1993, Jewelle Gomez, review of Goblin Market, p. 73.
Animals' Agenda, Batya Bauman, review of Ninth Life, p. 52.
Booklist, October 15, 1991, reviews of The Daughters of Artemis, pp. 413, 421; October 1, 1992, Marie Kuda, review of A Tiger's Heart, p. 239.
Lambda Book Report, October, 1990, review of Ninth Life, p. 35; November, 1991, review of The Daughters of Artemis, p. 29; September-October, 1992, Paula E. Langguth, review of A Tiger's Heart, pp. 37-38; March-April, 1994, Carol LeMasters, review of Goblin Market, p. 36; November-December, 1994, Judith M. Redding, review of A Rage of Maidens, p. 35; September, 1996, Kanani Kauka, review of Death at Lavender Bay: An Allison O'Neil Mystery, p. 32; March, 1998, Richard Georgian, review of Swimming Cat Cove: The 2nd Allison O'Neil Mystery, p. 31.
Locus, October, 1992, review of A Plague of Change, p. 50; November, 1992, review of A Plague of Change, p. 29.
Publishers Weekly, November 2, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Ninth Life, p. 69; September 14, 1992, Sybil Steinberg, review of A Tiger's Heart, p. 116.
Small Press, spring, 1992, review of The Daughters of Artemis, p. 79.*