Author Spotlight: Maggie King, Part II

Maggie King Author Photo 72

Today I welcome Maggie King back to Reade and Write. You may remember she was here back in June talking about her book Murder at the Book Group (you can read that interview here). She’s here again to talk about her new book, Murder at the Moonshine Inn. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of the book, and I can highly recommend it! Maggie has a gift for being able to direct a reader’s attention everywhere but the real culprit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Welcome back, Maggie!

Tell us about your new book.


Hazel Rose is back, giving an Oscar-worthy performance when she goes undercover at a redneck bar.

When high-powered executive Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks—she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day—he’s still family.

Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn—or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox.

When a second murder ups the ante, Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.

How long did it take you to write the new book?

Two years, approximately.

Do you write linearly, or do you write each scene separately and then piece them together like a puzzle? Or is there some other path you take to writing a novel?

I create a linear outline, but I write the scenes separately and not always in order—much the way scenes are filmed in movies and TV. I may have a great idea for a scene and want to get it down while I have the inspiration.

Tell us a secret about one of your characters- something that’s not in the book.

Back in her hippie days, book group member Sarah Rubottom had a fling with a hot rock star!

Do you have any writing rituals?

My daily walks let me charge up my creativity and allow for a free flowing of ideas.

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Afternoon. While most people of any profession say they’re morning or night people, I’ve always been at my most productive and creative in the afternoon.

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? And if so, where did you go?

I haven’t to date, but I’d love to attend one. I have friends who return again and again to The Porches and Nimrod Hall, both right here in Virginia.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m working on #3 in the Hazel Rose Book Group series, as yet untitled (I typically come up with a title after I type THE END). The book group goes on hiatus to take a mystery writing class, taught by bestselling author Annabel Mitchell. Readers of Murder at the Book Group, #1 in the series, will remember Annabel.

When a very obnoxious student is murdered, there are no dearth of suspects, including the writing class members and their teacher.

Tell us about the dedication in your new book, if you wish.

I’ve dedicated it to my husband, Glen King, for his love, support, and undying faith in me.

Do you prefer to read a physical book (with paper pages that really turn), or do you prefer an ereader, or perhaps audio books?

I read both ebooks and print, audio only occasionally. I prefer an e-reader, because it’s easier on my eyes and I can read for longer periods of time. And I’m an environmentalist, so that aspect of e-readers appeals to me. If I’m reading a lengthy book, it’s easier to tote the ereader around. But I don’t want print books to become extinct and I do like the feel of the paper. So I read both.

As for audiobooks, I only read them occasionally. I lived in Los Angeles at the time of the 1994 Northridge quake. The infamous LA traffic became much worse as the city worked to repair damaged freeways. That’s when I (and many others) indulged in audio.

If you had an unlimited budget, is there something special you would do for your readers?

Take a group on a worldwide cruise devoted to mystery writers and readers.

Remind us where we can connect with you.




Where is the new book available?

At your favorite online or brick-and-mortar store or at Amazon:

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion at Shockoe Slip” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.

Thanks for stopping by Reade and Write, Maggie, and good luck with your new book!

Until next time,



Meet a Reader: Sharon Aguanno

  • Sharon Aguanno Reader interview
  • Here on Reade and Write I’m trying out a new idea- I’ve had such a great response from my interviews of authors that I thought it would be fun to interview readers, too! My first reader interviewee is Sharon Aguanno, a woman I met just after my first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, came out. She sent me a message on Facebook asking a question about the book and we’ve been in online contact almost every day since then. If you read the comments after each post here on my blog, you’ll notice that Sharon has been a faithful commenter every week. I’m so grateful for her friendship. Welcome, Sharon!
  • How often do you read?
    I try to read daily. If I am not reading a book, I am reading blogs, which I love!
    What is the name of the last book you finished?
    If audio counts, I just finished listening to Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, by Amy Metz. Although I had previously read it, I wanted to hear the southern speak. And I just finished Maggie King’s Murder At The Book Group.
    Audio books definitely count! What are you reading now?
    I just downloaded Memory of Light, by Mollie Cox Bryan (This is outside of my genre, but I love Mollie’s writing style, so I am going to read it.)\
    I’m also looking forward to reading Memory of Light. What is your preferred genre?
    Mysteries, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, Detective stories and Law and Order.
    How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?
    That’s a good question. A year ago I would have said never. However, last year I read 75 books- 40 new (to me) authors and many genres. The only genre I will stay completely away from is horror. I am a big
    What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?
    The Retreat, by Chariss K. Walker.
    Are you in a book club?
    No, I don’t have the patience to read a book at a slow pace. However, I do like when an author adds discussion questions at the end of the book.
    Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?
    Online, and occasionally someone will send me a book via mail.
    How do you decide which books to read?
    I follow lots of author and Facebook pages. When I need a book, I go out to the blogs and pick one.
    What is in your To-Be-Read pile?
    I was upset in January and I discarded my TBR. I figured I would never get to them. Now it’s July and I realize I should have kept it… LOL. There are a handful of books that I downloaded when they were free. Mostly cozies! Kathi Daley, Mollie Cox Bryan, Sarah Hobart, just to name a few. Also, my TBR usually contains authors and books. I see an author on a blog or Facebook page and I go out to Amazon and check them out. For example, if it’s a series, I like to start with the first book rather than their Work-in-Progress.
    Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?
    Absolutely NOT. I have found that bad reviews usually come from people who haven’t even finished the book. A little criticism or suggestion of what a reader would like to see is one thing, but rudeness in a review is unacceptable!
    Amen to that! Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?
    Reading is my passion; I don’t have a favorite book, but lots of favorite authors. When I find somebody I like, I will read everything they write!
    Where is your favorite reading spot? 
    My bedroom. I have a cozy chair and I face a big window looking out onto the street. Since I am on the second floor, I look at roof tops and trees, and I love the sunrise as it comes over the homes in the morning.
  • Anything else you want me to know?
    Yes; since reading is my all time favorite thing to do, I follow many authors and blogs. Occasionally I will come across one that I disagree with and I don’t have a problem stating that. Having said that, I want you and all authors to know that I have the utmost respect for your profession. Being able to create characters, dream up a plot and tie it all together is a talent that the avid reader, like me, only dreams about!
    Thank you! That’s such a nice way to end the interview. I loved having you on Reade and Write! Sharon didn’t mention it, but she has her own blog where she talks about all things books. You can check it out by clicking the following link:
  • I’m looking for more readers who would like to share their love of reading! If you’re interested in being interviewed, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be in touch. Authors, you’re welcome to put on your reader hats and join in!
  • Until next week,
  • Amy
  • P.S. You may have noticed these bullet points throughout my last several posts. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve tried everything.


Meet Maggie King

Maggie King Author Photo 72

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Maggie King, author of Murder at the Book Group. I’m thrilled to have her here to discuss her book!

Tell me about Murder at the Book Group.

Murder at the Book Group, set in Richmond, Virginia, is the story of two women. Carlene Arness is a mystery writer who dies after drinking cyanide-laced tea at a meeting of her book group. Hazel Rose is an aspiring romance writer who decides to find out who killed Carlene. In the process she uncovers many scandals and secrets about Carlene. She also finds out a lot about her fellow book group members that amazes her.
Hazel is a reluctant investigator. She isn’t brave and she didn’t especially like Carlene. But Hazel has a strong sense of justice. And she was once married to Carlene’s husband and he has a special place in her heart.

Hazel’s also in a rut. She’s in an on-again, off-again relationship and as the story opens it’s clearly off again as her sometimes lover has been seen in the company of a fiery redhead named Molly. Hazel’s trying to write a romance but finds it hard to be inspired when her own love life is non-existent.

It’s unfortunate that it takes murder to get Hazel’s life back on track. Which just goes to prove that old adage: every cloud has a silver lining.

Murder at the Book Group Front Cover

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who enjoys traditional mysteries that focus on relationships gone awry; anyone who loves learning about new authors; anyone in a book group.

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?

I chose Richmond, Virginia, because I live here. I didn’t have to do much research beyond verifying distances and temperatures. As the story was published in 2014 but set in 2005, I needed to be sure that any references were not post-2005.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Finding the time amid juggling responsibilities. Also, I had to make writing a priority—ironically, it took giving up my two book groups to finish Murder at the Book Group!

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

Hazel Rose: Melina Kanakaredes or Andie McDowell.

Vince Castelli: Joe Mantegna (with white hair and blue eyes), George Clooney, Jonathan Goldsmith, or David Strathrain. My true preference is a younger, and living, George Kennedy.

Lucy Hooper: Madolyn Smith, Jaclyn Smith, or Rachel Ward (but I really picture the late novelist and actress Jackie Collins for my Lucy character).

Kat Berenger: Jean Kasem.

Have you written any other books?

Murder at the Moonshine Inn, #2 in the Hazel Rose Book Group series, comes out in November, 2016.

I’ve contributed stories to two anthologies: “A Not So Genteel Murder” is featured in Virginia is for Mysteries (2014) and “Reunion in Shockoe Slip” in Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II (2016).

VIFM Front Cover        VIFM II front cover

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a group of readers, but no formal group. I’d like to find a small group of 3-4 writers who understand the mystery genre.

Do you write every day?

Generally, I write five days a week. But I think about writing 24/7.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

My list of favorite authors is a long one and include Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Susan Wittig Albert, Robert Crais, Rochelle Krich, Jane Austen, and Barbara Pym. I mostly read mysteries (cozies, police procedurals, and PI sub-genres), but also enjoy contemporary fiction, classics, and biographies.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

It’s hard to pick one place. I want to visit Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, South America, Italy, and Antarctica (Antarctica would be the ultimate adventure)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write every day even if it’s just for fifteen minutes—that’s how you maintain momentum; walk daily to clear your head and encourage inspiration; take classes; never let anyone discourage you from writing, no matter how wise you consider them to be; write short stories—that’s how many authors, myself included, first get published.

Consider reading and writing poetry to make your fiction come alive. Acclaimed mystery writer Walter Moseley considers poetry to be the basis of all writing and suggests that reading, writing, and studying poetry gives fiction writers a deeper appreciation of the nuances of language (a poetry class is on my to-do list).

What is your favorite movie and why?

Double Indemnity. It’s the ultimate film noir—dark, steamy, loaded with atmosphere and sizzling dialog, with characters sleazy as all get out.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Listen to my heart and follow my dreams. Stand tall and be confident.

Describe yourself in three words.

Caring, conscientious, courageous; how’s that for alliteration?

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

Why did I write Murder at the Book Group? I like to write and read about people at a crossroads in their lives. In Murder at the Book Group both the sleuth and the victim are standing at a crossroads—Hazel Rose is at loose ends in her life, stuck in a rut. She isn’t unhappy but she isn’t fulfilled either. As for Carlene Arness, the victim, she’s recently published her first mystery but her marriage to Hazel’s first husband is falling apart. Carlene wasn’t cut out for monogamy and her eye has started to wander.

Unfortunately, Carlene doesn’t get to cross the road—but solving her murder gives Hazel the opportunity to grow and get out of her rut.

Where can readers connect with you?


Where can readers find your books?

On Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Murder at the Book Group:

Virginia is for Mysteries:

Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II:

Author Biography:

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

Thank you, Maggie, for visiting Reade and Write today!

Until next week,