By Ana Maria Hanssen
Mystery author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera creates an award-winning series based on the Golden Rule of writing -- write what you know.
For award-winning author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, "in order to be a writer you have to be a reader." And it seems like in order to be a successful mystery writer it might help to be a private investigator.
At least that is the case for this Cuban-born writer, who grew up reading Sherlock Homes and fantasizing about crime mysteries. Always drawn to that literary genre, Garcia-Aguilera wondered what it would be like to write her own detective novel.
Author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera holds her latest mystery title in her home office in Miami Beach. (Photo: Ana Maria Hanssen)
However, she was spending most of her time as a wife and mother of 3 kids. So how did a 'soccer mom' (as she describes her old self) become the creator of the popular book series featuring Lupe Solano, a wealthy and sexy Cuban-American private investigator who lives and works in Miami?
Sandwiched between carpooling her kids and volunteering for an organization for abused and neglected children, Garcia-Aguilera took the first step of writing her book by outlining the plot -- at least in her head.
But something was holding her back. She felt there was something very important that she didn't know -- what was it like to be a private investigator?
There was only one way to find out.
"I knew I wanted Lupe to be a private investigator, so I became a P.I. so I could write the books about it. I'm a perfectionist: I have to get things right."
During the 1980's peak of the cocaine war in Miami, Garcia-Aguilera was hired as a P.I at a firm where she was the only woman among seven men. She had everything she needed to be a successful undercover investigator.
"I look like a Mom. I'm not threatening at all. I have never been arrested and I have an MBA in Finance which was very helpful because after the cocaine bonanza, I was able to investigate a lot of financial frauds."
After many days and nights of sharing fictitious roles and confined spaces, Garcia-Aguilera and her fellow undercover partner and good friend decided to open their own private investigation agency.
Now at the pinnacle of her career as a P.I., Garcia-Aguilera had everything she needed in order to write her mystery book -- experience and an exciting lifestyle. During the day she was a typical soccer mom. At night, she was undercover following bad guys around town, knocking on doors, and searching for leads in murder cases.
It took her 10 years -- and her husband continually asking her, "So what about your book?" -- before she would finally sit down and write "Bloody Waters," the first of the Solano series.
"I wrote it in nine months. Almost one chapter per day," she states modestly. With her manuscript ready, she found a literary agent and got a book deal that unleashed her successful career as an author.
Since then, she has written seven novels in the "Bloody" series featuring Solano. Her most recent book, "Bloody Twist" is about to hit the bookstores and make its way to success thanks to a "hot" story that will definitely not go unnoticed.
"In my new book, Lupe Solano investigates the case of a 22-year-old, $5,000 per night South Beach hooker who happens to be a virgin, and the murder of two men she knows well."
Pimps, call girls, murders and Miami's high society are the ingredients that make this book a good mystery novel.
These days, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera is enjoying her personal and professional successes in life. She writes from her home in Miami Beach. She is able to pick and choose which private investigation cases to work on and her days carpooling are but a distant memory since her children are now grown up.
With everything she has accomplished and is still doing, it got this writer to thinking that Garcia-Aguilera has something else going for her: living a writer's dream.