Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chatting with Molly MacRae

Hi Molly!  How fun to chat with you today! 
Thanks for inviting me!

Let’s start with an easy one--how long have you been writing? 

Writing fiction, about thirty years. Writing fiction seriously, twenty six years. Getting paid for writing fiction, twenty four years.

What inspired you to pick up the pen (or sit down at the computer) one day and create characters that capture the imagination? 

Stories are magic and I’ve always wanted to be a magician.

Are you a fiber and needle artist? If so, which of the needle crafts do you like best? 

If I had more spare time, I’d be more of a fiber and needle artist than I am. Years ago I did a lot of cross stitch. These days I’m more interested in knitting and needle felting and someday I want to make a whole zoo of little tiny felted and knitted animals.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s your take on this? 

Well, it’s more glamorous than working in a towel factory or behind the counter at a delicatessen, both of which I’ve done. And if by glamorous they mean getting up at five every morning and writing until it’s time to go to my fulltime day job, writing on my lunch hour, going back to work, then coming home to make supper and write again until it’s time for bed, then yes – my life as an author is extremely glamorous!  The real glamour clincher, though, is that I get to set my own dress code while writing. Blue jeans? Yep. Pajamas with little Scotties all over them? Why not? Not a bad job at all.

Are Larry and Maggie, the kitties from LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT based on any kitties in your life? 

That’s an interesting question. Larry, yes; Maggie, no. I’ve never met a cat that treated me the way Maggie treats Kath. In fact, that was hard to write because I felt so sorry for Kath. Larry is a combination of three kitties, though. 1) Blackie, who appeared on our back steps half dead and looking as though he’d stuck his paw in an electrical outlet, poor guy. We took him in and he turned into a very handsome, sweet guy. 2) A charming stray gentleman cat we met in California who walked up to me, leapt into my arms, and purred up a storm. Larry gets his moustache from him. My husband snapped a picture and that’s the happy guy in my author photo. 3) Neko, who is sitting in my lap right now. He’s orange, like Larry. He was being “raised” by a fraternity down the street from us. When he decided to relocate to our house he was skin and bones. It took months of cosseting before he could meow. He’s leading a very pampered life now.

You managed an independent book store.  What was the best part of managing and working in a book store?  

Being surrounded by books and people who love them.

I for one wish the trend would change and there would be more independents. 

Me too. I keep hearing they might have a place again in the coming years. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

What is the most glamorous thing you’ve done as an author?

I’ve won a couple of awards for my writing and received them at banquets. That kind of thing blows my mind to the point where I know I don’t look glamorous – more like dorky and stunned – but the occasion and the surroundings feel glamorous.  

If you could be one of the members of “the posse” who would it be and why?

I kind of like being the one who gets to play around with their lives! But if you’re making me choose, I think I’ll have to say Kath – provided she gets her life her life settled down a bit. Do you think that’s likely to happen? 

Looking over the past year, what has been the best moment for you in your writing career?

Hearing from readers who like the book. That is so amazing to me. So very nice.

What do you enjoy doing with your spare time, your non-writing time? 

Try new recipes. I love to cook.

If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for lunch, who would it be and what would you eat?

I would invite P.G. Wodehouse and we would have Moroccan sweet potato salad for lunch with gooseberry pie for dessert.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?

I just finished the edits for Dyeing Wishes, the sequel to Last Wool and Testament. It has sheep in it and dyeing and, of course, dying. It comes out in July. And now I’m heavily into writing the third book in the series. It’s called (tentatively) Spinning in Her Grave. It takes place during Blue Plum Preserves, which is the town’s heritage festival. In each of the books, Kath learns more about Geneva and there’s a bit of romance developing. With who? Hmm, you’ll have to wait for that answer.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

If you’ve never been to upper east Tennessee, where the series is set, you should go. It’s a gorgeous corner of the world and a great place to visit.

Thank you for taking some time with us today! 

Thank you for having me. Good questions!

The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” Molly is the author of Last Wool and Testament, first book in the new Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries from Penguin/NAL, which won the 2013 Lovey Award for Best Paranormal, Sci-fi, or Horror Novel. Dyeing Wishes, second in the series, comes out in July 2013. Molly is also the author Lawn Order and Wilder Rumors, mystery novels set, like the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, in the upper east corner of Tennessee. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. She won the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction in 2000. Molly has been the director of a history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town, and the manager of an independent bookstore. After twenty years in the beautiful hills and hollows of Tennessee, Molly and her family live in Champaign, Illinois, where you can find her in the children’s department of the public library. You can also find her at Vintage Cookbooks & Crafts on the first Monday each month, at Killer Characters on the 23rd of each month, on Facebook and Pinterest, or at


Miss Missy recently interviewed Maggie and Larry, two kitties from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series and Larry is running a contest for a copy of Molly's July release Dyeing Wishes. Stop by and leave a Haiku for Larry and be entered to win! 

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