A Conversation with Author Meg Macy

~What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

When I first learned to read in first grade, I was fascinated by the words on the page. By the time I was old enough to go to the school library and see hundreds of books lined on the shelves, I dreamed of seeing my name on a book spine. It took years of dreaming, practice, and life experiences to make it come true. Now it’s beyond the library shelf; I love seeing my books available on Amazon, B&N, or other online stores as well as the actual bookstores. But I still enjoy going to the library and seeing my books there. ☺ I’m also touched when I receive emails or letters telling me how much a reader enjoys my work. Because, for all the fun I have “making stuff up” and researching, plotting, etc., it IS work! Hard, at times, especially on deadline. But all worth it as an artist.

~Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?

Sasha Silverman, manager of her family’s Silver Bear Shop & Factory, is looking forward to Silver Hollow’s inaugural Highland Fling with a Kilted 5K run/walk, games, dancing, music, and a Hurl-the-Haggis contest. But trouble’s brewing behind the scenes. Teddy Hartman, former owner of a rival teddy bear company, has moved to the village and targeted Sasha’s family and their business. And when Hartman is found murdered, Sasha’s got her hands full making sure the Silver Bear Factory produces enough kilted and tartan teddy bears for their vendor booth, proving her dad’s innocence, plus bagging the killer.
 

~What inspired the idea for your book?

I saw a photo of a bear wearing a kilt, sold by Harrods department store in England, and that sparked the idea for a Highland Fling as the special event in “Bear A Wee Grudge”.

~Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

I think Jay Kirby is, because my dad loved to carve wood (although he used a knife and tools, not a chainsaw!) Now my daughter has taken up the hobby (and his tools), so that’s another reason. I’m fascinated by carvings and ice sculptures. Would love to do it, but…

~Do you have any “side stories” about any the characters? 

Sasha’s Uncle Ross drives a classic light blue Ford Thunderbird with turquoise interior, that he’s extremely protective of, and I based that car on my grandfather’s “Blue Bomb” – or so we called it, a Ford Galaxie 500. I always liked the ‘fins’ on the Thunderbird, and the sportiness, compared to the Galaxie, though. And his wife, Aunt Eve, loves wearing vintage 50s style fashions. They’re quite a pair!

~Where did you come up with the names in the story? 

I keep a “bible” of names for all my books, so I try not to use the same ones. I check my two lists, alphabetical for both first and last name, and then plug the ‘holes’ by choosing a name that isn’t close to what I’ve already used before.

~If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?

I based Sasha Silverman and her friends on my daughters and their friends. We’ve attended tea parties together and festivals, so that makes it easier to imagine how they’d act and talk about stuff. But if ever do get stumped, I call one of them! 

~How do you define success as an author?

If I’m proud to put my name on the book cover, to me that’s success. I want my work to be the best I can make it – even if later I find a typo! Sometimes that’s not the author’s fault, however. Rarely have I wanted to change something in one of my published books.

~Can you share a day in the life of an author?

I get up around seven, have breakfast, have lap time with the cat – he would stay there for hours if I let him, LOL. I try to get started on the next book by 9 am. If I’m more lenient, I’ll check social media first. That often means I end up writing much later than I want! My best, freshest time is between 9 and 11:30 or noon. Afternoons are for revising or other stuff (reading, too!). If I have morning errands, then that can put a wrench in my day but I do try to schedule those on an “off” day. But when I’m on deadline, nothing else can interfere. Dinners are take-out (brought home by the hub), and I try not to answer any phone calls from family/friends. Distractions are very rough.

~What difference do you see between a writer and an author?

For years I considered myself only a writer – that being published by a NYC publisher was “the big time.” Things have changed now, but being a hybrid author myself, I do think self-publishing can be one way to go, IF it’s your best work. I’ve advised people who want to toss off a short story or novel and sell it to first learn the craft, because bad reviews or word of mouth can impact any success in terms of sales. Ultimately, I don’t equate success with monetary sales.

~What made you say to yourself,
“Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”?

Long before I considered being a writer, I told someone “I’m going to write a book one day.” That surprised me at the time, so I started thinking “how am I going to do that?” While I waited for my husband at the doctor’s, I just started writing a beginning. And that got the ball rolling. That scene/book is in a drawer somewhere, along with others. It wasn’t an easy journey!

~What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Take the time to learn the craft.

~What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?

Believe it or not, the setting is almost as important when writing something new. Then I can imagine the type of person who finds themselves in that setting – their name is the next important step. Without the right name, I can’t keep going to explore the plot. Every author is different in the way they start out. At times, an “incident” will spark an idea that I’ll use for plot, then come up with a protagonist and setting. Depends, really, on my mood. All artists usually find their own way of writing.

~As an author what do you think makes a good story?

A good story should take readers out of their world, immerse them into an intriguing mystery or adventure, tease them with sensory delights (tantalizing smells or tastes, sounds of barking dogs or traffic, a visual feast—but not all at once), and tug at the heartstrings a bit, at least.

~Who is your audience?

Cozy mystery readers are mostly those who love a good puzzle—and want to be a little surprised to learn the solution, or at least not cheated. They vary in age from young to old, but I’m afraid more and more of the younger generation are no longer reading as much as I did at their age. There’s too much to plug into—TV, video games, etc. I was (and still am) a voracious reader of all genres (including children’s picture books and YA, biographies, history, etc. Except horror, too scary for me) And while I do watch a few TV programs and love playing board games, I would rather read. Mystery is my favorite genre.

~How do you interact with your readers?

I post daily on my Facebook page and enjoy sharing my love of teddy bears or funny memes, or photos on Instagram, plus I try to put out a seasonal newsletter. I’ve enjoyed meeting readers in the past at Malice Domestic, Kensington Cozy Cons, or workshops, but with the ongoing pandemic, that makes it tough. I have done a LOT of FB parties instead, although some authors have done Zoom “meets.”

~What is your all time favorite book or author? Do you think this has influenced your writing?

I can’t pick one! Some of my favorites – J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, Laura Ingalls Wilder (and Rose Wilder Lane, who edited her mother’s books), Agatha Christie, Kate Ross, Spencer Quinn, Will Thomas. And of course, they all had some influence on what makes a story really good and enjoyable, if not my actual style.

~What is the first book that you remember reading? 

Dick and Jane, first grade. I graduated to The Boxcar Children soon after, and absolutely loved mysteries – the Happy Hollisters, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, etc. I HAD to read – the backs of cereal boxes, the dictionary, magazines, anything if I was stuck somewhere! 

~What is an underrated book, series or author that you think everyone should read at least once?

D.E. Ireland’s Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mysteries – and I’m VERY biased, because I co-wrote them with Sharon Farrow! But we both loved My Fair Lady and knew that Eliza would never have gone back to Higgins to “fetch his slippers and coffee,” so we decided to set her free – and become his equal as an amateur sleuth. Ha! We believe George Bernard Shaw would approve.

~What are you reading now?

I’m catching up on Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse mysteries (the last few), I have Mariah Frederick’s historical mysteries to read next, catching up on Nicholas Meyer’s books, and a TON of others on my TBR Kindle list. Soooo many books, sooo little time…

~What is your author spirit animal? 

A rabbit – I love bunnies

~Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 

I’m a watercolor artist, and would like to get back to it. I also love crafts and spending time in my garden.

~What would your dream library look like?

Like the British Museum Library Reading Room. Sigh. I loved visiting that spot.

~If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?

Tolkien’s The Hobbit – and it would let me into Middle Earth’s the Shire!

~If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go?

Ireland, with my best friend Sharon Farrow! What fun we’d have.

~What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?

I am a true know-it-all when it comes to using homonyms. LOL. I catch them all the time, everywhere. I also am fairly proficient at proofreading (except my own work, that’s hard to catch without time spent away from it). I once caught a typo in a report card! And I’m good at spelling, although I have missed a few at times until checking the dictionary.

~If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

Write a huge bestseller! LOL One of these days, maybe.

Teddy bear shop manager Sasha Silverman must step fast to find a murderer before an upcoming Scottish festival . . .

It’s springtime in Silver Hollow, Michigan, and Sasha is looking forward to the village’s inaugural Highland Fling weekend. Plans are underway for a Kilted 5K, athletic competitions, dancing, live music, and even a Hurl-the-Haggis contest. Meanwhile, Sasha’s staff is busy crafting custom teddy bears in kilts for the Silver Bear Shop’s vendor booth. But trouble’s brewing behind the scenes, as the obnoxious Teddy Hartman, former owner of a rival teddy bear company, sows seeds of discord about town, targeting Sasha’s family and their business.

Things go from plaid to worse when—just a week before the festival kicks-off—the disgruntled gossip is found murdered with an ax buried in his back. Sasha’s dad is arrested, since he’s a champion ax-thrower. But she doesn’t give a dram what it looks like—Sasha knows that despite the old business rivalry with Hartman, her father is innocent. So with a spot of help from her friends, Sasha must bag the real killer before her first Fling also becomes her last.

Purchase Links – Amazon –  B&N  – Kobo   – Google Play  – Apple Books  

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the setting of her “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, 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. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

Author Links

Website — https://www.megmacy.com

FB  — https://www.facebook.com/MegMacyAuthor

Twitter — https://twitter.com/megmims

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15751255.Meg_Macy

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/meg_macy_author/

BookBub — https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meg-macy

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