Debbi Mack interviews crime writer June Trop on the Crime Cafe podcast.

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Unfortunately, I can no longer provide transcription show notes, but will resume doing so when finances allow. I have tried to note at what time various discussion topics come up in the recording.

[02:40] June talks about how she discovered Maria Hebrea, the woman who inspired her protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, while researching a paper for a class on the history of chemistry.

[04:43] June describes the nature of her protagonist, Miriam bat Isaac, a female alchemist, along with the illegal nature of her work.

[06:10] June explains how she found information on a topic with few records to verify its accuracy, except for references to Hebrea’s work made by her successors.

[07:15] Much of what June learned through research revealed surprises about Hebrea. Along with alchemy, she was an inventor. Her inventions are well-known, even if she isn’t.

[08:30] June explains why alchemy developed and why it was outlawed. Alchemy is still alive, but “barely breathing.” Alchemy is the forerunner of modern chemistry. And alchemy is still pursued, as a “fringe” pursuit.

[12:09] June talks about her books and the series. How Miriam bat Isaac uses alchemy, and the role it plays in the stories.

[13:40] June describes the research she did for her novels and the kinds of details she familiarized herself with, as well as how long it took. She shares a bit about her research process.

[17:15] June says she writes stories that depict her protagonist in extreme peril, involving a battle between Good and Evil, but one the protagonist may not always win.

[18:42] June discusses her plans for the series.

[20:25] June’s working on a set of Miriam bat Isaac short stories.

[22:05] June discusses women’s education (and its availability) during the First Century CE and how it would affect her protagonist’s ability to work.

[24:36] Tacos versus pizza? June picks her favorite!

[25:36] June’s concluding remarks. She tries to write her books for a person “sitting in a hospital room,” because she wants to transport people to fascinating worlds with her stories. She also shares her website, so check that out!


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