Merow! My guest this week is author Meg Macy!
Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter -- the area she chose for the setting of her new "Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear" cozy mystery series for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two, Wouldn't It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg's first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She's a graduate of Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg loves reading mysteries, historicals, and other genre fiction, and also enjoys gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.
R: Welcome Meg! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Thanks ROCCO! I’m an avid reader, and started writing when my daughter was a toddler – children’s puzzles, etc. (magazine credits between 1997-2001) - and wrote a few romances. Those manuscripts, unfortunately, had dead bodies cropping up – so the editors would pass after complimenting my “voice” and style. After a break until my daughter entered college, I started over in the mystery genre via Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Within a year of graduating, I was published. Double Crossing, a western historical mystery, won the Western Writers of America 2012 Spur Award for Best First Novel. Quite a surprise to me!
R: Tell us about your “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” mystery series! Where did that idea come from?
I started collecting teddy bears after buying a Paddington Bear at Harrods in London. When I needed a cozy theme, I researched if any other series had teddy bears (only one, John J. Lamb’s Teddy Bear Collector series) and also discovered that the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory had moved from Michigan to Missouri. Rats! But I found photos online of the shop, which had offered tours, and developed my own unique small town shop and factory.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
I didn’t have an agent when my first novel sold, but I do co-write the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mystery series (My Fair Lady fans, take note!) with a friend and fellow author, Sharon Farrow. We wrote the first book, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, sent a query at 9 am one day, and received a phone call from the agent by 11 am – not just interested in seeing the completed manuscript, but offering representation! We were shocked. That’s virtually unheard of, really, and he sold it within three weeks. So exciting. I was also thrilled when my current editor thought the idea was “adorable” and made an offer for my teddy bear cozy series within a few months.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Pinterest. Seriously! I have multiple secret boards for photos of my setting, characters, fashions, etc. I also use Michael Hauge’s 5-point plot arc, and I spend at least a month developing character sketches before working up a detailed synopsis/outline. Saves a lot of time in the long run. I also have my “Sheldon” spot on the sofa, near the window, where I do most of my writing. I love to watch the squirrels and birds, and see my flowers while working.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
Wow, great question. I’d say when Gutenberg invented his printing press – I would have loved to be involved in that! It changed history.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
That’s a toss-up between Bearly Departed (a perfect idea for the Hallmark channel, and I’d love to see NCIS’s Emily Wickersham as my amateur sleuth Sasha Silverman!) and also Wouldn’t It Be Deadly – but I don’t have an actress in mind for Eliza. Who can beat Audrey Hepburn? Or Rex Harrison as Higgins. Sigh. Wouldn’t that be loverly…
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’m a Christmas cookie fiend. Seriously, a fiend.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
Tried to go up a down escalator. And failed. I still laugh about that. Long story, shared with my writing partner back in college.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
A sense of family connections, which are important to me, and that justice is served in the end of all cozy mysteries – unlike other books, or real life.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
I just sent in Bear Witness to Murder, book 2 of the Teddy Bear cozy series. Next I will start With A Little Bit of Blood for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins series with Sharon Farrow. Two books in that series have been finalists in the Best Historical category of the Agatha Award from Malice Domestic. We’re really proud of that.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter, definitely, for novels. I have “pantsed” a short story or novella at times, but even that needs a basic outline.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Persistence is key, hard work pays off, and listen to only the best advice.
R: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
Teaching school, or retired and writing picture books! I love picture books, the artwork blended with words. I’m also an artist, so I’d probably be doing a lot more watercolors. No time now, unfortunately.
R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?
Soooo many, it’s hard to choose! Design for Dying, Renee Patrick; What You See, Hank Phillippi Ryan; The Song of the Lion, Anne Hillerman.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day – I am a happy morning person, to some friends’ dismay.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) BOTH! Love the furries, so much.
Beach or Pool? Pool – no surprises, but I don’t mind walking a Florida beach looking for shells or a Petoskey stone in Michigan.
Favorite Book? Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Favorite TV Series? Remington Steele
Favorite Movie? Cary Grant’s – North by Northwest, Charade, Father Goose, etc.
Favorite Actor: David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, or Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
Favorite Actress: Dame Maggie Smith or Audrey Hepburn
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Agatha Christie.
If I had just one wish, it would be to live on Mackinac Island.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be myself at a younger age, so I could start writing much earlier!
Thanks Meg! Folks, you can find Meg at:
Meg will give away a print copy of Bearly Departed to one lucky commenter!
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! US entries only! Contest ends midnight, July 23!