May - 2013
No movies currently on deck to watch.
Mystery Video of the Moment

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Featured Author - Mary Logue! - Part 4

BLURB: “Mary Logue is one of those rare writers who can, with one hand and a poet’s eye, create an idyllic world—while the other hand, calmly and coldly, reveals a hard truth: we are not safe.”
—K. J. Erickson, author of Alone at Night

“An elegiac tribute to small-town America’s loss of innocence…One of crime fiction’s finest writers, Mary Logue is at the top of her game.”
—Julia Spencer-Fleming, Edgar finalist and author of All Mortal Flesh

“A suspenseful narrative that builds to an explosive climax, then touches the heart with its humanity.”
—Margaret Maron

EXCERPT: From Frozen Stiff:

New Year’s Eve: 11:55 pm

Even though it was twenty below zero outside, wind blowing up a storm, Daniel Walker was stark naked and sweating like a boxer in the beyond balmy two hundred degrees of his cabin’s new sauna.

This is the life, especially in the dead of winter, Walker thought as he tilted his head back and blew smoke from his Davidoff double corona up toward the cedar ceiling. The cigar wrapping was wet and unraveling, but he was almost done. A bottle of Belvedere vodka, nestled in a rapidly melting block of ice, sat on the wooden bench next to him. Wynton Marsalis was blowing his horn through the Bose speakers.

All was so calm. Taking a large swallow of vodka, he could feel the liquid easing its way into his stomach, then sliding into his veins while the sweat beaded up all over his naked body.

Toxins in, toxins out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Featured Author - Mary Logue! - Part 3

MLM: Why Mystery/Crime/Thriller/Suspense? What was the draw for you?

MARY: Many reasons—I loved reading them, I love the psychology of people pushed to do such acts. One of the main reasons was I wanted to learn how to write a good plot and I figured writing suspense would teach me that. Now I think all good novels must have suspense in them. Also, my mom loved them.

MLM: All of us are influenced and impacted by TV, movies, books and/or authors at different times in our lives. Who, what and which TV, movies, books and/or authors influenced you? When in your life did you discover them and why were they so influential for you? (Don’t be afraid to give us more than one of each kind!)

MARY: My, what a big question. Interesting that you ask about TV. I’ll tell you one show that has stuck with me is the Rockford Files. I loved the realistic view of a private eye, the trailer, his dad, always getting hurt when he got in a fight. I thought LA Confidential was a terrific movie—the tension just rushed it along.

Books—there are so many. I love the old hard-boiled trio of Ross MacDonald, Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett—I’d add Ross Thomas to that list. On the other side of the ocean, I love the newer mysteries of Frances Fyfield and Minette Walters. Again, very psychological.

MLM: Considering the TV, movies, books and/or authors mentioned, is there one TV, movie, book and/or author in particular that you try to emulate in your writing? Which one(s) and why? Please be as specific as you can! J

MARY: Not really—I try to bring in both aspects of the hard-boiled and the cozier mysteries into my work. The more intense psychological drama of the hard-boiled and the depth of setting and character of the cozy. My mysteries are set in a very small rivertown in Wisconsin, but the main character is a deputy sheriff and she has some difficult and sometimes disturbing cases to solve.

MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like mysterious, suspenseful, creative, unique etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

MARY: I’d like to think that there’s a human depth to my work. These are real people who wash the dishes and love and hate. Realistic and generous, I guess.

MLM: In Part 2 we asked if you believe in mystical Irish lore such as Leprechauns. Have you ever used any type of Irish lore in one of your stories? If so, which lore and what was the situation?

MARY: Not in any of my mysteries—however, I wrote a memoir about my grandmother Mae Kirwin called Halfway Home in which I wrote a lot about the potato famine. This was the reason why my relatives came over from Ireland and ended up in western Minnesota.

MLM: Also in Part 2 we asked you about your views on March. Does this show through in your writing? If so, give some examples how, please!

MARY: What an interesting question. I don’t think I’ve put March in any of my books. Maybe because in the upper Midwest it’s often a season we’d just as soon skip over. Per today—high of 28, no sun. Dreary. My first book started in spring—but I think it was late April or early May. When it finally starts to get really nice here.

MLM: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over their actions and the plot, or is the muse always the one deciding who done it, where they done it and with what?

MARY: I’d say we work together. As I often tell my students—plan and then be flexible. The planning is me, the flexible is the muse coming in.

MLM: Of all the stories you’ve written please tell us:
a.) Which character/creature did you have the most fun creating and why? What about this character/creature makes it stand out above all the others?

MARY: I wrote a YA novel called Dancing with an Alien, that had a young boy who came down from another planet. It’s a sci-fi romance. He was called Branko and I loved seeing our earth through his eyes.

b.) If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters/creatures in real life, who would it be and why?

MARY: I guess it would have to be Claire. I know I’d like her. She’s the main character of my series. She’s not me—more level-headed, more practical, but I think I’d like to have coffee with her.

c.) Which of your characters/creatures would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

MARY: I don’t think there’s any I wouldn’t want to meet. Even my criminals are rounded—maybe the guys in my first Claire mystery who have killed her husband.

d.) If you could choose to visit one setting/world you’ve created which one is it, where is it and why this destination over all the others? What makes it stand out over all the others?

MARY: I live in it. The town I made up for Claire—Fort St. Antoine—is composite of several of the rivertowns along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi. I have a house in Stockholm, which has a population of around 80 some people. I love it there. My house is on the edge of town, tucked under the limestone bluffs.

MLM: On that note, we’ll end our interview for this week. Thank you so much for joining us this week!

MARY: My pleasure

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Featured Author - Mary Logue! - Part 2

MLM: Mardi Gras is Tuesday March 8th this year. Will you be celebrating it this year? Why or why not? If so, what are your plans this year? Care to share any stories of past Mardi Gras celebrations?

MARY: I’ve never really celebrated it. When I was seven I went with my family to New Orleans right after Mardi Gras and remember picking up beads off the street and eating beignets.

MLM: Are you Irish? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…why or why not?

MARY: I am very Irish, although many generations removed. Logue is an Irish name and my mother’s maiden name was Kirwin. My partner, Pete Hautman, is also part Irish and we make a nice meal. One year he even corned some beef. I always make Irish soda bread and we drink Black and Tans—Guiness and Harp Beer.

MLM: In some areas, St. Patty’s Day is celebrated with green beer and all sorts of other green things, like green eggs and ham, have even been given a spotlight this time of year. What kind of activities will be going on in your area?

MARY: There’s a big parade in St. Paul, MN. A very Irish town.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

MARY: I live in Golden Valley, MN, right on the outskirts of Minneapolis.

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

MARY: This is not a good time to ask me that question. We’ve had a nasty winter. Today wasn’t too bad—it got above freezing. But it spit snow all day long.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

MARY: Believe it or not, you might even see someone in shorts. Minnesotans are hardy and the slightest glimpse of the sun or warmth and they shed clothes.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

MARY: Buy flowers for yourself, light candles, read good books, sit in front of the fire, write a poem or two. Write a novel for that matter. It’s a good time to get work done.

MLM: March has strong connections with Ireland, which is steeped in mysticism. What about you, are you steeped in mysticism? Do you believe in leprechauns and the like, or at least enjoy the tales of them? Why or why not? Are there any mystical beings with ties to Ireland that you really enjoy?

MARY: I like the spirit of the people. I’ve been to Ireland many times and have felt so at home there—the people like to talk, they love to tell stories. I fit right in.

MLM: What is your view on March? Does it come in like a lion and exit like a lamb? Do you feel that March is really the time of rebirth, even though many flowers and trees might not start budding until April in northern parts of the world? Why or why not?

MARY: We still have three feet of snow on the ground—so I’m hoping it will go out like a lamb.

MLM: If you could go anywhere in Ireland, where would you go and why?

MARY: I have loved Galway, but if I went again I’d visit Donegal, which is where the Logues are from.

MLM: On that note, we’ll end our interview for this week. Thank you so much for joining us this week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Featured Author - Mary Logue! - Part 1

The first time I took on an actual writing project that was my own and not schoolwork was the summer after sixth grade. By this time I was an avid reader. I read on the bus, I read in the lunchroom, I read when I was supposed to be sleeping, my pillow was piled so high with books I’m not sure how I slept. I had even mastered the skill of walking down the hall reading. I was a nerdball reader. Reading was my drug of choice. I especially liked mysteries—Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden. I had read them all.

I decided it was time to try my hand at such a mystery. It just so happened at this same time that someone for some reason had given me a whole pile of Hamm’s Beer coasters. I have no idea why. But they were fairly large about seven inches across and round and relatively thin. While the Hamm’s beer bear danced on one side of the coasters, the other side was empty so I decided to write on them. I guess you could call this my first ream of paper.

I started writing about two mysterious things from my own life: one was a path that someone had made with a jeep around the pond that I lived on, I always wondered about it. And the other was a piece of paper that appeared to be adoption papers that I had found while walking around my neighborhood. I took these two ideas and put them together. I didn’t get too far on this book, maybe a chapter or two, but it set the stage. It primed the pump. It did all those clich├ęd things that a start is supposed to do. And I remember the feeling of mastery and control I had in creating a world. A mysterious path around a pond and adoption papers—what could they mean? I’ve been stealing ideas from my own life ever since.

I think most writers have one story they keep telling over and over again. My basic story is about a girl/woman who is lost in the woods and has to survive by using what is around her—berries, nuts, the kindness of animals. It’s about getting lost and then finding yourself again. I think my whole Claire Watkins mystery series is about a woman who gets lost in her life and by moving to the country and finding a way to live, she also finds a home.