Three Questions and a Cover — a short interview with one of my favorite authors, along with one of the author’s covers.
Margaret Maron is the author of thirty novels and three collections of short stories. Winner of several major American awards for mysteries (Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity), her works are on the reading lists of various courses in contemporary Southern literature and have been translated into 17 languages.
A native Tar Heel, she still lives on her family’s century farm a few miles southeast of Raleigh, the setting for Bootlegger’s Daughter, which is numbered among the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century as selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.
1. You’ve written two highly successful mystery series (Deborah Knott and Sigrid Harald). Did you ever consider a series featuring another character? If so, tell us a little about that. And if you did not consider it, does that mean that Deborah and Sigrid were satisfying or exhausting?
Two series characters and their circle of friends and relatives were enough to furnish all the books I could write. I had thought I was finished with Sigrid after Fugitive Colors, the eighth in the series. I had already created Deborah Knott because I wanted to bring my writing home to North Carolina. Twenty books later, I concluded her story with Long Upon the Land in 2015. Then to my surprise, I realized there was more to tell about Sigrid, thus Take Out in 2017. Through the years though, there have been many different characters in my short stories which I continued to write and they satisfied any need for variety.
2. Would you recommend the mystery genre to aspiring authors? Why or why not?
I would recommend it to any aspiring author as long as I could be sure they respected the genre and didn’t feel they were just marking time before trying to write a “serious” book.
3. Have you kept big secrets from the reader in any of your books?
Actually, I have. The identity of Roman Tramegra, Sigrid’s housmate. He showed up in the very first book and kept showing up with his truly bad cooking and would-be helpful advice. He wanted to write mystery novels and kept trying to pick Sigrid’s brain for procedural tips. Over the years, only one reader ever untangled his name and wrote to ask me if it was an anagram for Margaret Maron. “Give that man a gold star!”