Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pro-File: Margaret Maron

Margaret Maron:

Margaret's books have been nominated for every major award in the American mystery field for which they are eligible.

In 1993, Bootlegger's Daughter won the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Anthony Award for Best Mystery Novel of 1992, the Agatha Award for Best Traditional Novel, and the Macavity for Best Novel -- the first time one novel has ever won all four awards.

Margaret was the Guest of Honor at Malice Domestic XIII, held May 4-6, 2001 in Arlington, VA. She won an unprecendented fourth Agatha Award (below) for Storm Track. The flamingo? Don't ask!

Pro-File Margaret Maron

1. Current Novel: Winter's Child. Out in August 2006. 12th in the Judge Deborah Knott series. Opens a month after the wedding in Rituals of the Season. The eponymous child is Deborah Knott's stepson.

2. Working on now? Various short stories ("El Tramegra" is due out in EQMM in the Sept/Oct issue) and the next DK novel.

3. Greatest pleasure? Working at one's own speed, in one's own house. The friends who enrich my life but whom I'd never otherwise have met.

4. Greatest displeasure? Not getting to see those friends as often as I'd like and readers who write to correct the grammar in my first-person narrative or in dialog.

5. Advice for publishers? Or for writers? For publishers, nothing that would be feasible for their bottom lines. For writers, keep your bottom in the chair, i.e., finish the work.

6. Forgotten writers? No, all my favorites are in print.

7. "Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment. " First moment? Oh, sweetie! Try first year. A botched-up mess that would take too long to detail. Suffice to say initial exaltation to black despair to near indifference by the time the book was actually in my hands.



My first published book, A Case of Imagination, was published by Poisoned Pen Press, February 28, 2006.

In the small town of Celosia, North Carolina, no one takes former beauty queen Madeline Maclin seriously as a private investigator. Her best friend, Jerry Fairweather, has inherited a house the locals say is haunted, but Jerry thinks the house is perfect for his shady psychic schemes. Madeline not only has to deal with her growing feelings for Jerry, but she's also called upon to help investigate the murder of an unpopular contestant at the Miss Celosia Pageant.

For me, the writing process begins with finding the right name for a character. Once a character is named, he or she starts talking and I write down what they say. Dialogue comes easily for me. I have to work at creating a believable plot. I chose the beauty pageant world for Madeline because, living in the South, you can't avoid pageants. I have many friends who have participated in pageants, judged pageants, or produced them, and I drew on their experiences for the book. I've also done a lot of community theater. Between community theater and pageants, there is a wealth of eccentric characters and more drama than you can imagine.

As for being published, perhaps the biggest adjustment for me has been the leap from private writing world to the Internet and beyond. I've been living with and writing about these characters for at least 30 years and to have them finally alive to everyone is a heady experience.

Jane Bat

Jane Tesh

A Case of Imagination

Poisoned Pen Press, 2006


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