Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Marja McGraw

Marja McGraw, Mystery Writer

Good morning, everyone! It’s the second week in our exciting Mystery We Write Blog Tour! Today’s guest is mystery writer Marja McGraw, who has worked in both civil and criminal law enforcement, so she knows her stuff. In our interview, I’m going to grill her like a cheese burger to learn the facts about her life and work. (smile)

Marja McGraw

Jackie: Would you tell us a little about your latest mystery and how it came about?

Marja: Bogey Nights – A Bogey Man Mystery, is the story of Chris Cross (the Bogey Man) and his wife, Pamela. After their forties-themed restaurant burns down, they convert an old brick home into the new restaurant, and find a dead body buried in the basement in the process.
Jackie: Cool! Sounds like a fun setup, sort of like the Mr. and Mrs. North series from the forties.
Question: Do you have any WIP? If so, anything you can tell us about?

Marja: I’m just putting the finishing touches on Old Murders Never Die, which is a Sandi Webster mystery. It has to do with being stranded in an old ghost town and finding all the makings needed to solve a series of crimes that happened over a hundred years ago. Oh, and there’s a cowboy who seems to be in the thick of things in current time.

Jackie: Another winner in the works, me thinks. I’ll be sure and check it out in July when it’s available.
Question: Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the final result?

Marja: Andy Kohut and his wife, Patti, are friends who live near us. Andy was an artist before he retired, and he agreed to create the book cover for Bogey Nights. He’s done a wonderful job, and I believe he’ll create the covers for future books, too. He’s a very talented man.

Jackie: You’re lucky to have input, most writers don’t and have to accept whatever their publisher decides on.
Question: Do you have a personal quirk that you have given to one of your characters?

Marja: Actually, I have a few. In the Sandi Webster stories, she brings sighing to a new level. In the Bogey Man stories, Pamela is constantly rolling her eyes and vaguely remembers her mother telling her, as a little girl, not to do that because they might get stuck that way. And both women have an affinity for chocolate, just like me.

Jackie: I like both characters already! Can’t stand a protagonist who is too perfect. Not my cup of tea.
Question: Ever find yourself zoning into the world you have created when you’re supposed to be listening to something else such as church services, friends talking, or during a class of some sort?

Marja: Absolutely. When I least expect it, and when I should be thinking about other things, I’ll suddenly think of a plot line, a scene, or even one line of dialogue that I don’t want to forget. My husband says that if he could read my mind, he’d see, “Book, book, book, book, book.” He’s right.

Jackie: He sounds like a guy with a sense of humor, you lucky girl. And I suspect he’s pretty good at reading your mind. Hmmm?
Question: Do you have a pet? If so, tell us about this special relationship.

Marja: We have two yellow Labrador retrievers, Sugar and Murphy. I’ve added two yellow Labs (Sherlock and Watson) to the Bogey Man mysteries because they’re so much fun, so loyal, so unexpectedly intelligent, and they’re full of surprises.

Jackie: Animals add lot to a story, I think. Makes me like the hero/heroine even more.
Question: If you could choose another time in history to live, when would that be?

Marja: Definitely the 1940s. There’s something about the music, the styles, and the lifestyles that had an air of romance about it. And even considering World War II, there was still a kind of innocence about the era.

Jackie: I was a child (very young, of course J) in the forties, and it was an exciting time to live. I fell in love with every serviceman I saw. I only hated that I was too young to go out jitterbugging.
Question: Suppose you could invite any three people, living or dead, to lunch; who would you pick and why?

Marja: Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) because I have questions about her book.
Katharine Hepburn because I admire her so much, and enjoyed her movies.
My grandfather, Joseph, because he knew how to enjoy life to the fullest.

Jackie: Excellent choices! Wish I could have met your grandfather.
Question: How do you celebrate special times: finishing a novel, signing a book contract, or solving a tough plotting problem?

Marja: I have two friends, also authors, and we have a special email that we send each other. It says, “EEEEKKKKK!!!!!” That says it all. After that, my husband and I go out to dinner and I start breathing again.

Spoken like a true writer!

Thanks Marja, for this peek into your life. We have a lot in common, and I’ll bet other readers feel the same. Your love of chocolate and pets, to start with.

Readers, here are a few places where you can out more about Marja and her mysteries.

If you have any questions for Marja or remarks about her answers, I know she’d love to hear from you and so would I.




4RV Publishing said...

I enjoyed this interview, Jackie and Marja. Now, I have other books I want to read.


Jean Henry Mead said...

What a delightful interview! You both have a great sense of humor and I'm looking forward to reading your books, Jackie, as well as more of Marja's.

Marja said...

Thank you both for stopping in. This is so much fun! By the way, Old Murders Never Die (the ghost town story) is actually coming out in July, 2011.

Jackie, Thank you for letting me visit today.

Beth Anderson said...

Love the cover, Marja. It's perfect for that time in our history and beautiful besides. Great blog, I'm trying for the 12th time today. If it work, I'll know what to do next time I Battle With Blogger.

Marja said...

The Google Chrome worked for me, I think. At least I was able to post a comment this morning.

Thank you for stopping in. I love the cover, too. It was a great era, although the story actually takes place today.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Bogey Nights is really a fun book. And this was a great interview! Thank you Jackie and Marja!

Marja said...

Thank you, Marilyn! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, and that you did a review for me.

Yes, Jackie presents a fun interview, that's for sure.

Palmaltas said...

I am reading Bogey Nights right now and thoroughly enjoying it. And I'm looking forward to the next Sandi Webster mystery.

Anne K. Albert said...

The Mystery We Write Blog Tour is just SO much fun. My TBR list has just hit the many great books to be read. Thanks, ladies!

Marja said...

Pat, Thank you so much for your comment. The Bogey Man is so much fun to write about.

Anne, I'm with you. My TBR pile runneth over.

Marja said...


Thank you again for letting me visit today. This was fun.

Mary Martinez said...

What a fun interview, and I didn't think I'd be able to learn anything new.

Marja said...

Thank you for stopping in, Mary. The interviewer is what makes it fun, and Jackie does a great job.

Jake said...

You need to read her work to appreciate fun side of a mystery. Her latest is a keep you awake page turner. Characters are so real you expect them to walk into room for a chat.
Number one fan continues to be impressed.

Jackie King said...

Marja, Thanks so much for being my guest. The comments show how much everyone enjoyed your interview.

Jackie King said...

To Everyone: YEA! I've finally managed to reset the blog so I can make comments! I've read all of the comments each day and have enjoyed each one. Now I'm going to respond!

Vivian, I know just what you mean! I have a huge list of new books that I need now!

Jackie King said...

Jean, I'm sort of a clueless-senior and laughing at myself is what keeps me sane.

Jackie King said...

Beth, glad you won your struggle with Blogger. I hope that I have, too. We'll see.

Jackie King said...

Marilyn, Thanks for stopping by.

Jackie King said...

Hi Palmaltas, I'm so glad you stopped by to chat with us. Isn't Marja great?

Jackie King said...

Annne, The Mystery We Write Blog Tour is your brainchild, and we all thank you for the privilege of being invited to join.

Jackie King said...

Hi Mary, I'm learning more and more each week about our crew, plus learning about wonderful new books and writing tips.

kathleenkatmclaughlin said...

Thank you for the interview of Marja McGraw. I'm going to have to order her book, Bogey Nights. I loved the forties even though I wasn't born until the fifties. The dresses were fabulous, shoulder pads and all. Keep bringing us more interviews. I love each one. Hugs! -- Kat

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, Jackie.

Bob Avey

Jackie King said...

Kat, the styles in the 40's were so classy and dramatic. I love watching old Bogart/Bacall movies just to see what she wears. Our current clothes are more comfy, but we have lost that glamour.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Jackie King said...

Jake, your testimonial for Marja's books is one of the best I've heard. You've sold me.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jackie King said...

Thanks, Bob for stopping by and commenting.

It's been a wonderful week to spend with Marja, readers, other writers and friends.
Happy Reading Everyone,