If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our August Author Interviews--8/2 Maggie Toussaint, 8/9 Kellye Garrett, 8/16 Matt Ferraz, 8/23 Matthew Iden, 8/30 Julia Buckley. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

August Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/5--Kathleen Kaska, 8/12 Triss Stein, WWK bloggers-Margaret S. Hamilton on 8/19 and Kait Carson on 8/26. Look for E. B. Davis's blog on 8/29--the fifth Tuesday of August.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Author Marja McGraw

Marja McGraw is originally from Southern California, where she worked in both criminal and civil law enforcement for several years. Relocating to Northern Nevada, she worked for the Nevada Department of Transportation. Marja also did a stint in Oregon where she worked for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and owned her own business, a Tea Room/Antique store. After a brief stop in Wasilla, Alaska, she returned to Nevada where she wrote a weekly column for a small newspaper. She was the editor for the Sisters in Crime Internet Newsletter for a year and a half. She’s appeared on television in Nevada, and also has been a guest on radio and Internet radio shows. Her mysteries contain a little humor, a little romance and a little murder. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband. Visit Marja at http://www.marjamcgraw.com/.

EBD: I read The Bogey Man, which is told through your main character Sandi Webster. Do you find writing in first person the best POV for your books?

MM: I’m a storyteller. In fact, I probably drive my friends crazy because I have a story for every occasion. (It’s been an interesting life.) Consequently, I created Sandi to be a storyteller. Instead of an overview of what everyone is doing as in third person, she has to depend on people telling her things, seeing things for herself, or finding information the hard way. I don’t know if first person is the best point of view (POV), but it is the easiest for me.

EBD: I liked Sandi very much and was interested in her relationship with her mother. Did personal history contribute to this character and their relationship?

MM: Maybe a little bit; although, it would be based on my daughter and me rather than my mother and me. We barely knew that my mother was going through the change of life. I, on the other hand, went through it starting at age forty and it really was a very bumpy ride for all of those around me. As for the other parts of their relationship, Sandi’s overbearing mother is based on many people I’ve known throughout my life, both female and male. I generally try to keep my real family out of my characters, but I suppose once in a while traits can’t be avoided. You know the old thought that says, Write What You Know About.

EBD: The setting is in L.A. in the Hollywood milieu. Have you lived there? Have you worked in the industry there?

MM: The Bogey Man is the only story based on the Hollywood crowd. I’m originally from Southern California and my family goes back several generations there, although I didn’t work in the movie industry. The setting is based on personal observations, pure fiction, and people watching. I used to be extremely shy, and consequently I watched people and tried to figure out what made them tick. That habit has carried over into my writing life. Other stories require a lot of research, but this one didn’t to any great extent.

EBD: I understand that you’ve worked in criminal law enforcement, which I take to mean that you were a police officer in CA. Have I understood you correctly? What is civil law enforcement?

MM: Civil law enforcement deals with everything from serving legal papers to enforcing court judgments to evictions, and a lot in between. No, I wasn’t a police officer. I was a Deputy Clerk with the Los Angeles County Marshal’s Office (which is now part of the Sheriff’s Office). However, in the day, there weren’t any female deputies, so when I worked in the smaller courthouses, I found myself sometimes doing deputies’ tasks out of necessity when it involved a female.

Have I got stories! The Clerks were in on most situations from beginning to end. We started the process, typed up reports, and even served civil process in the office. I worked in criminal law enforcement in the same capacity, meaning clerical. I learned a lot over the years, and continue to learn through friends and relatives who are still working in law enforcement, and they are officers and detectives.

EBD: Your secondary characters are interesting, Felicity DuBois -a hand model and Sandi’s best friend, her boyfriend Stanley-the techie in Sandi’s office, and of course Chris Cross-the Bogey look-alike who meets Pamela-a single mother and waitress. Any advice on developing secondary characters since you are adept at creating them?

MM: Thank you for the compliment. My advice is simply to observe the people around you; on television, in the grocery store and everywhere you go. No two individuals are really alike, and I think a writer needs to remember that when creating characters. If they’re all similar, then the story becomes boring. Keep the characters fresh, allow them to grow and change, and remember that the reader needs to be able to relate to some of them.

EBD: Your next book, Bogey Nights, in this series confuses me. It is told (I’m assuming first person POV) through Chris Cross’s wife Pamela’s POV. What happened to Sandi Webster?

MM: Readers liked The Bogey Man, Chris Cross, so much that I decided to give him his own series, which Oak Tree Press has picked up. Bogey Nights is the first in the new series and a spinoff from the Sandi Webster mysteries. The stories are told from Pamela’s POV because I believe I can represent a woman’s POV much better than a man’s perspective.

Sandi hasn’t disappeared. In fact, I’ve just started a new Sandi Webster mystery.

EBD: The Bogey Man is the fourth Sandi Webster novel. Do writers need to create other projects to keep their ideas fresh for their original series, or do you see the Chris Cross series taking Sandi’s place like natural evolution?

MM: Sandi is here to stay, as long as people enjoy reading about her experiences and adventures. However, Chris and Pamela Cross have been a wonderful diversion. Some stories are “right” for Sandi, and others wouldn’t fit into her life style. I think working on two series does keep the writing fresh, and it opens doors leading to different types of stories that can be related to different characters in the two series.

EBD: Can you give us a short synopsis of Bogey Nights?

MM: The tagline is, “You know your day has taken a turn for the worse when you buy a vintage house to convert into a restaurant, and you find a vintage body buried in the basement.” Chris and Pamela discover a murder that stems from the 1940s, and they find that the house they’ve bought to convert into a forties-themed restaurant used to be a boarding house. At the request of the victim’s family, they begin to investigate the old murder and find that seniors can be just as dangerous as younger people.

There is a second Bogey mystery sitting in the wings, waiting for discovery, and it’s about four Church Ladies who give Bogey headaches on a daily basis, along with a mystery to solve. The title is BOGEY'S ACE IN THE HOLE.

EBD: What’s the hook of the new Sandi Webster novel?

MM: The working title for Sandi’s latest mystery is Old Murders Never Die. The hook is that Sandi and her partner, Pete, become stranded in a ghost town while on a camping trip, and discover a mystery that’s been waiting to be solved for many years. Why did the residents of this small town pick up and leave without bothering to take their belongings with them?

Oh, there’s also a cowboy on horseback who complicates the issues.

EBD: Wings ePress, Inc. has published your novels. Did you submit your manuscript to them or do you have an agent who placed it?

MM: I submitted my manuscript to Wings, and thankfully they liked it. They’ve been good to work with, and I appreciate them very much. As I said, the new series is being published by Oak Tree Press. I don’t have an agent, and I also submitted directly to Oak Tree. I believe both small publishers are right for me and my books.

EBD: The name of your publisher is ironic since my copy is a trade paperback. Are your books available in other formats?

MM: Wings ePress, Inc. offers both ebooks and trade paperbacks, which makes me very happy. The books are also available through Amazon.com, including the Kindle format, and of course through ebook distributors.

EBD: Are you satisfied by Wing ePress, Inc.? Will you continue to publish with them?

MM: I’ve been very satisfied with Wings and at this time I’m planning on offering them Old Murders Never Die. They’ve been good to work with, and I think they really care about their authors. I believe I’ll have the same experience with Oak Tree Press.

EBD: Do you have any upcoming events promoting your books that you can tell us about?

MM: At present, with the economy in its slump, I have no plans for personal appearances. (I’m one of the many who got laid off from my day job.) Of course, that could change in a heartbeat. At this point in time, I’m doing most of my promoting on the Internet. I’ve done many appearances at libraries, and have enjoyed that immensely. I hope to continue those appearances in the not-too-distant future.

EBD: How do you feel about the life of a mystery writer?

MM: Don’t let anyone kid you, writing is a job. But I have to admit that writing mysteries is the most fun I’ve ever had on a job. It’s not only fun, but very fulfilling. I’m just sorry I didn’t start writing when I was younger. Although, come to think of it, I wouldn’t have had as many of life’s experiences to draw on, so my stories would have been very different.

Thank you, Elaine, for a terrific interview, and for taking the time to read The Bogey Man. I hope that someday you’ll invite me back. This is a lovely place to visit.

Thanks Marja. Let’s visit again when your next book comes out. Check Marja’s web/blog site for the release dates of Bogey Nights and the new Sandi Webster novel Old Murders Never Die at http://www.marjamcgraw.com/.

15 comments:

Pauline Alldred said...

Fascinating and informative interview, Marja and Elaine. The settings you describe draw readers into the story and I'm interested by the characters discovering murders in the past. With all the crime dramas on TV, an author has to come up with something different to compete and that's something you do well. I'd guess being a clerk enabled you to follow the whole story instead of having to focus on one part of it. I'm looking forward to reading your books.

Warren Bull said...

Great interview. Marja, it sounds like you could base a character on your experience as a clerk in the Marshal's office. It sounds like you will never run out of characters. Thank you very much.

Marja said...

Thank you, Pauline and Warren, for stopping in. I appreciate your comments.

I have to admit that these two series are a lot of fun to work with, and I hope they do well.

Dee Hendershot Gatrell said...

Marja, sounds like you've had an interesting life and can draw from a lot of real life experiences.
Look forward to reading your books.
Dee

E. B. Davis said...

Marja's come up with great concept books. After reading The Bogey Man, I kept thinking about her secondary characters, which she writes so well. It's no wonder that a new series spin-off took flight.

Something to think about-write great secondary characters and you might just end up writing two series!

Sandra Parshall said...

Good interview. Thanks, Marja and Elaine.

Marja said...

Dee and Sandra, Thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment. Elaine really does a good interview.

And, E.B. Davis, it's good to hear from someone who's read The Bogey Man. I truly appreciate your comments. You made my day.

Actually, you've all made my day.

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

Hi, Marja, I enjoyed learning more about you. I had no idea you ever lived in Wasilla. I visited there for a few days with a Native woman I'd met at Left Coast Crime a few years before. It reminded me of a lot of small cities in California except for the snow covered mountains looming over the valley.

You know I'm thrilled you're with Oak Tree Press now.

Marilyn

Marja said...

Marilyn,

Wasilla was an interesting place to be, but not for long. The roads were icy because the exhaust from cars froze on the road! It was a good experience though.

And thank you for the welcome to Oak Tree.

Donnell said...

What a terrific interview. The Bogey Man sounds fantastic. I will add to my To BE READ pile. Your background sounds perfect to write this novel. Congratulations and thanks, Marja and Elaine!

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks Marja for coming to WWK to interview. I enjoyed your work, the interview, and look forward to reading the next releases of both your series. Come back later this year!

Marja said...

Thank you, Donnell. I appreciate your comments and I hope you enjoy the books.

Thank you to everyone for stopping in!

Marja said...

Elaine,

Thank you again for letting me visit. I appreciate the hard work you put into this site.

I'd love to come back anytime.

Ellis Vidler said...

Interesting interview, Marja. You have a good background for storytelling. I'm a Bogey fan, so I'll have to check out your books. Good luck with the two series.

Suzanne said...

Nice interview, Marja and Elaine. And Marja, congrats on your success!

Suzanne Adair