As one of Texas’s most prolific writers (thirty-plus works), the author of the best-selling China Bayles mystery books is still going strong: This month’s Bleeding Hearts makes fourteen in the herbalist sleuth series.

Does China Bayles still surprise you?
She certainly surprised me—surprised herself too—in this book, with the discovery of a half-brother. Series books present an interesting challenge to the writer. I’ve chosen to write a series in which the central characters grow and change, so I come to each book with the expectation that the mystery will show me some new part of her.

Can you envision a time when you retire her or even kill her off?
Like Conan Doyle and Sherlock? Push her over the falls because I get tired of her? I don’t think so. I’d miss her.

You’re originally from Illinois but have lived in the Austin area for almost 35 years now. You feeling like a Texan yet?
I still don’t know how a Texan feels, exactly. It’s a big state, lots of different kinds of Texans here. Every time I write about a corner of it or go someplace I haven’t been before, I find a different kind of Texas.