We are very pleased to bring you another crime writers interview, this time with Mary Feliz, who writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever.
Mary has led an interesting life. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming.
She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Address to Die For, the first book in her series, was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews.
Kass Lamb (on behalf of misterio press): To start things off, tell us one or two interesting things that will help folks understand who you are and why you write what you do?
Mary Feliz: When I started writing these books, which are set in Silicon Valley, I’d lived there for more than 30 years. I felt the image portrayed by Hollywood and TV focused only on the mega-rich.
The area boasts an extraordinarily diverse population representing all 50 states and all corners of the globe. All major religions have a visible presence, along with those who follow a number of less-well known spiritual paths.
I’ve tried to give readers of the Maggie McDonald Mysteries a feel for what it can be like to be a thread in such a rich tapestry.
Kass: Why crime fiction? What is the appeal of mysteries for you, rather than say romance or science fiction?
Mary: Crime Fiction is based on the age-old battle between good and evil. In the fantasy world of cozy mysteries, ordinary people win and justice is always restored. That doesn’t always happen in the real world, but we all need to escape reality from time to time.
Kass: What type, i.e. subgenre, of mysteries do you write?
Mary: My books are marketed as cozy mysteries and follow the dictates of the genre regarding no swearing, overt violence, or sex. But I think my characters might be more comfortable being considered the cast of a traditional mystery, in which small groups of clever friends and strangers combine forces to bring bad guys to justice and restore the community to an even keel.
Kass: What was your favorite book/author as a child? Why was it your favorite?
Mary: I loved Meg in A Wrinkle in Time, along with her mother’s lab and the family kitchen. I liked that the characters were unabashedly smart. Meg and her little brother Charles Wallace had trouble fitting in at school, but they were able to use their intelligence and their quirks to save their family and the world. And in the end, good wins out over evil.
I also gobbled up every Madeline L’Engle book I could find and loved them all.
Kass: Where are you in your writing career? And what’s next?
Mary: I’m writing the sixth and, for now, final book in the Maggie McDonald Series, and working on a new series that will take place on Monterey Bay, a National Marine Sanctuary often referred to as the Serengeti of the Sea due to its diverse and abundant wildlife.
Kass: What was the oddest thing you’ve ever had to research?
Mary: For Disorderly Conduct, I had to thoroughly research the social, economic, and devastating ecological problems associated with the South American drug cartels growing marijuana on state and federal lands. It was fascinating, but I’d hate to have anyone judge me by my search history.
Kass: Ha, I hear that! My search history’s pretty scary as well. Thanks so much for joining us today, Mary, and please stick around for a little bit in case any of our readers have questions for you in the comments.
Professional organizer Maggie McDonald manages to balance a fastidious career with friends, family, and a spunky Golden Retriever. But add a fiery murder mystery to the mix, and Maggie wonders if she’s finally found a mess even she can’t tidy up . . .
With a devastating wildfire spreading to Silicon Valley, Maggie preps her family for a rapid evacuation. The heat rises when firefighters discover the body of her best friend Tess Olmos’s athletic husband—whose untimely death was anything but accidental. And as Tess agonizes over the whereabouts of her spouse’s drop-dead gorgeous running mate, she becomes the prime suspect in what’s shaping up to become a double murder case. Determined to set the record straight, Maggie sorts through clues in an investigation more dangerous than the flames approaching her home. But when her own loved ones are threatened, can she catch the meticulous killer before everything falls apart?
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