This week I welcome Marja McGraw to Reade and Write. Marja is a prolific author of two mystery series and two standalone mysteries. She’s here to discuss her latest novel, Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery. Thanks for visiting, Marja!Tell me about your new book.Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery is a departure from the norm for me. Carrie McFerrin travels from the present back to 1909 where she has to figure out who’s trying to murder two sisters. In the process, she learns more about her ancestors and develops relationships that she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life. Being in a different time period is quite an adjustment for Carrie, and simply trying to speak as though that’s where she belongs is an issue while she tries to track down a killer. There’s a little romance in the air, but I’m not a romance writer, so it’s secondary to the mystery of the day.Who is the audience for the book?With the story taking place in 1909, it’s about as clean as a book can be, so really, readers of any age might enjoy it. I would imagine those who enjoy mysteries and a bit of history and a slight touch of humor would also enjoy this story.Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?The setting is a fictional small town in 1909 Washington. I recently moved to a small town in Washington and I’m so taken with it that I wanted to use it in a story. My research was more of 1909 general history than this area in particular. Thanks to the historical society in Vancouver (Washington) I even learned what the name of the first theater in Vancouver to show silent movies was, and used it in the book.What was the hardest thing about writing the book?The hardest part was remembering how far technology has come and not using modern appliances and jobs in the story. I also tried to be careful about the vernacular of the era. Since the character, Carrie McFerrin, has traveled back to her ancestors, keeping the relationships straight was no small issue, either.If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?I haven’t got a clue, to be honest. I’d like to see actors who can be true to the time period play the parts. In the era of the book, people were generally smaller than people in the present, so size might even be an issue.I know you’ve written other books – can you tell us about them?I write two series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, plus I have one other standalone story, Mysteries of Holt House, totaling fourteen books when I add the new one. The Sandi Webster series is about a young female detective, and the Bogey Man series is about a Humphrey Bogart look-alike who’s an amateur sleuth. All of the books are light reading with a little humor.Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?I have three people who critique for me, and two of them aren’t authors. I critique for the other one, Dorothy Bodoin, also a mystery writer.Do you write every day?Pretty much. Having just finished Choosing One Moment, I’ll probably take a break and take care of personal issues, while still trying to market and promote. It’s a never-ending job, but I love it. My day usually starts around nine o’clock in the morning and ends whenever it ends.When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?I’m a diehard mystery reader, and enjoy books with some humor more than others. There are several authors whom I enjoy – too many to name here.Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?I’d probably say Australia, but I’ve already been there (and loved it). My second choice would be Scotland, but I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe I just enjoy the Scottish accent? I have no idea why it fascinates me.What advice would you give to aspiring writers?First, don’t talk about writing a book – do it! Secondly, grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like what you write, so don’t take things too much to heart. At the same time, often there’s a little pearl of wisdom in criticisms, so after you get over your hurt feelings, reread the comments just in case there’s something that might be helpful.What is your favorite movie and why?It’s a tossup between “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Secondhand Lions”. There was a made-for-TV movie with Mary Tyler Moore titled “Secret of the Rose Garden,” too, which I enjoyed. Now that I think about it, I really enjoyed “Red”, too. And “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Hmm. Once again, too many to name.What advice would you give to your younger self?Everything happens for a reason. Wait for the future to see where things will lead you. Life is good, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.Describe yourself in three words.Tenacious, stubborn, soft-hearted.Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?Not really. This has been an interesting interview, and I appreciate that you touched on so many subjects.Where can readers connect with you?I have Marja McGraw Mysteries on Facebook (click here for the link) and a public email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m on Twitter, too, but I’m so non-techie that I have no idea what I’m doing there. I also have a website at www.marjamcgraw.com, which will soon be completely rebuilt.Where can readers find your books?They’re available on Amazon (click here) and you can request them at your favorite bookstore.Thank you for having me as a guest, Amy. I hope you’ll visit me on my blog and do a guest postsoon.I would love that!BIOGRAPHYMarja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. She worked in both civil and criminal law, state transportation, and a city building department. She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona. She wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A past member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC-Internet Newsletter for a year and a half. Marja writes two mystery series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, which are light reading with a touch of humor. She also occasionally writes stories that aren’t part of a series. Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder! She now lives in Washington, where life is good.
Until next week,