Episode 35: Maggie King

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If only I could learn to say no, I wouldn't be perched on a barstool in a redneck bar, breathing secondhand smoke and pretending to flirt with men sporting baseball caps and Confederate bandanas, their eyes riveted on my Victoria's Secret-enhanced cleavage... I hit the rewind button on my life and stopped a few days earlier, at the point where Phyllis Ross threw a cup of coffee in Nina Brown's face... -- Maggie King, Murder at the Moonshine Inn Maggie King says on her website (which you should definitely go check out) that she writes cozy with a touch of noir -- traditional mysteries that sizzle just a bit more than your usual cozy. Well, with a book group as the focal point, what did you expect? There are two books so far (and counting) in Maggie's Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery Series, Murder at the Book Group and Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She is also the author of several short stories in a variety of anthologies: Virginia is for Mysteries, Virginia is for Mysteries II, and the upcoming 50 Shades of Cabernet. Maggie gives a couple of fun shout outs: to writers Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Gillian Roberts and Joan Smith; and to two favorite characters from the old Little Lulu comics (I remember those!), Witch Hazel and Little Itch. Alas, our audio fell out a few times, but I want to make sure you know that in addition to her website, Maggie blogs regularly on Lethal Ladies Write. Finally if you're on Instagram, follow her here! As always, if you'd rather read than listen, a transcript is below. Enjoy! Transcript of Interview with Maggie King Laura Brennan: Maggie King’s novels are a sassy, suspenseful cross between traditional mysteries and cozies. Her protagonist, Hazel Rose, is a romance writer who wants nothing to do with murder. And yet, more than once, it falls to her to uncover the truth. Maggie, thank you for joining me. Maggie King: Thank you so much for having me, Laura. LB: You write the Hazel Rose Book Group Mysteries and in fact your first novel was called Murder at the Book Group. So, I have to ask: did you join book groups because you had an idea for a murder, or was it being in a book group that made you want to kill somebody? MK: (Laughter) Well, that's a great question. The first book group I was in was back in the 1990s in Santa Clarita, California. And it was a themed book group, very much like the book group in Murder at the Book Group. We read by theme, it could have been mysteries set in New York City or books where the detectives were journalists, something like that. And all the people were just absolutely lovely. And it occurred to me, well, what if they weren't so lovely? What if they had secrets and scandals? I've been in many book groups ever since, a lot of my characters are based on people who I have known a book groups. I can't say that anyone was ever murdered, or that I even wanted to murder anybody, but there's always a certain amount of conflict in book groups because there a lot of opinions and people are very passionate about books. LB: Well, I was thinking about book groups: they're one of the ways in which we re-create villages, you know? We create a small community of people who are bound together in this case by a love of books, but they may not all get along. It makes me think of Miss Marple in her village, to see how all of your characters interact. And your book group as a whole functions with a desire for justice. MK: Yes. Yes, they are very strong advocates of justice. LB: That really resonated with me. Do you think that's one of the reasons why we're drawn to mysteries? MK: Absolutely! Absolutely. We want to see justice. So often in the real world, we don't see justice served. And I think that's one of the reasons I like to write mysteries as well, because I have a strong sense of justice. I have to say though, I play a little looser with the justice in my short stories.

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