Saturday, May 19, 2012

What kind of reader are you?

I’ve always been an avid reader but I’ve found that, through the years, my reading habits have changed. When I was a little girl and a teenager, I used to start a book and, if it drew me in, I’d read every spare minute until I’d finished it – day and/or night. I haven’t done that for many years because some things changed.
I became an adult with lots of other responsibilities. There was housework, job, family; you know what I’m talking about. But I loved to read so I had to figure out a way to get my reading time into every day. Now, I read in bed each night before I go to sleep. As a matter-of-fact, I can’t go to sleep until I’ve read for at least an hour or so. Believe me, there are many nights when I don’t want to close the book I’m reading but, when I find myself reading the same sentence three times, I know I have no choice. That’s the kind of reader I am.
But, there are different kinds of readers. Several people have told me that they don’t normally have time to read; they’re too busy. Others have said they suffer from eyestrain by the end of the day because their jobs require spending extensive time on the computer and reading business related material. They say the only time they read is when they go on vacation. They read on planes and/or by the pool, which is something all readers seem to have in common. We wouldn’t dream of going away without a book; it’s as important to us as bringing our toothbrushes!
Well, vacation time is drawing near. Soon, people will head for various destinations for the three R’s: rest, relaxation and reading and they’re going to want to have a good book to take with them. Each month, I post at least one “Getting to know you” interview with a published author. I try to provide the readers of my blog with a wide assortment of books to choose from. Mostly, I feature mystery authors because that’s what this blog is mainly about and that’s my genre of choice but I occasionally interview authors in other genres too.
This week, I’m offering a free copy of Mixed Messages, the first novel in my Malone mystery series, to someone who leaves a comment answering the question, “What kind of reader are you?” I’ll put all the names in a hat (or a Tupperware bowl) and pick one at random. Then, I’ll list the winner’s name as a comment on Saturday, May 26th, the last day for this post. Please check back to see if your name is chosen and, if so, email me with your mailing address. Even if you don’t win, I hope you’ll take my book on vacation with you. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting to know Marja McGraw

I’m pleased to have Marja McGraw with us today. I met her online and I’ve come to consider her a good friend. Not only that but she’s a fantastic writer.
Marja, let’s start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer?
I grew up in So. California, when times were simpler and things weren’t so crowded (before freeways), in the day when making a mud pie was big stuff. Although my childhood didn’t contribute to my desire to write, California became the setting for most of my books. I wanted a place large enough where multiple murders could occur and it wouldn’t be quite so far-fetched. I also wanted a place where you could lose yourself in a crowd. I found that place in California.
Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels? 
I live in Northern Arizona where it becomes so hot in the summer that you can fry eggs on the sidewalk. In the historic town of Oatman, they actually have an egg frying contest on the walkways.
Yes, I have used this area, and Arizona in general, in Prudy’s Back! and Old Murders Never Die. I let the parents of one of my characters move here so I can use the Arizona setting from time to time.
 What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
Honestly? I have no idea. Bogey’s Ace in the Hole just showed up and asked to be written. My characters have minds of their own sometimes. I included some Church Ladies in this story, and I had a great time creating them. They can be very pushy, but they’re funny and lovable at the same time. Church Ladies want to solve mysteries, too.
Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery genre.
There are so many! I’ve answered the question in other interviews, so I’ll try not to repeat myself. Rhys Bowen, G.A. McKevett and Clive Cussler come to mind. Also, I just read a new book by Patricia Gligor that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I’m not just saying that because I’m your guest.
What can I say? Thank you! What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?
         Photography is a hobby I enjoy.
         ATVing out on the desert before it becomes too hot.
I’ve discovered that I really enjoy building book trailers, which can be time-consuming when you’re looking for graphics.
I’ve seen your book trailers and they’re fantastic! Tell us, do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go?
I have to be honest and say not really, because I’m terrified of flying. I was able to visit Australia once, and that’s a trip I’ll never forget. I do visit a few new places when I attend conferences. (I sure wish they’d bring trains back and lower the prices.)
How would you describe yourself personality wise?
I think I have a positive attitude about most things. I find myself watching out for the underdog more often than not. I can be generous when I have the resources. I can be funny, but it’s usually unintentional other than in my books. Hmm. Honesty is important to me, and I believe that what comes around, goes around. Injustice and dishonesty push me right to my limits. Most of all, I love a good laugh. Enough about me.
What’s your favorite color? Why?
Yellow has become my favorite color because it’s bright and cheerful. Somehow it represents joy and happiness in my mind. I even have a yellow trench coat in honor of one of my characters, Sandi Webster, P.I.
What’s your answer to this question – If I won a million dollars, I would ------
Interestingly, this is something my husband and I talked about recently. I’d pay off my stepdaughter’s house and buy my daughter a home. So many people are hurting in this economy, I’d help some of those I know personally – and I’d do it anonymously. There are some local churches helping people, and I’d contribute to them. The biggie is I’d like to find a struggling young, divorced mother who’s raising children by herself (been there and done that) and help her – again, anonymously. You might wonder why I want to remain anonymous. It’s because I don’t want anyone to ever feel obligated to me.
Okay, if anyone reads this and has someone help them, and they don’t know who it is, don’t look at me. I don’t have a million dollars. I do have a lot of good intentions though.
Thank you for having me on your blog site, Patricia. I enjoyed myself very much. You ask some fun questions.
I’ve enjoyed it too, Marja! Thank you! I also want to mention that I’ve read (and loved) “Old Murders Never Die” and I’ve ordered my copy of “Bogey’s Ace in the Hole.”
Here are links to both novels.
Old Murders Never Die:
Bogey’s Ace in the Hole: