Hello everyone! I’m using my normal posting date to introduce the second of our two new The Writers in Residence bloggers. Maggie King will tell her story in her own words. Happy reading!
My Writing Journey: Condensed Version, by Maggie King
Like many young girls I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew and the Dana Girls. I’ll never forget the day my mother brought home The Hidden Staircase after a trip to the P.M. Bookshop in Plainfield, New Jersey.
In sixth grade I started writing my own girl detective mystery and would read the latest chapter to my friends while walking home from school. They enjoyed my creative efforts (they would have told me otherwise; I have no doubt). I wish I still had those stories, for posterity.
(WOW! We wish you’d saved those early mysteries too! A middle grade treasure!)
Alas, I drifted away from writing, and it took a few decades to get back to it. I joined my first mystery book group in Santa Clarita, California in 1993. Aside from Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, I’d read few works by other mystery authors, and I was ready to discover them. Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Jill Churchill, Robert Crais are just of the few who became my favorites.
The women in the book group were lovely—almost too lovely. I hadn’t yet started my writing career, but I knew I was on my way when the what-if scenarios came to me unbidden—
What if these women weren’t really so nice?
What if this was all for show and they harbored secrets, agendas, hatreds?
But it wasn’t until 1996 when I moved to Virginia and took a creative writing course at the University of Virginia that I started writing in earnest. I didn’t forget those nice women—or were they?—from the Santa Clarita book group. I gave them backstories and they became the story prototypes for Murder at the Book Group, my debut mystery featuring Hazel Rose.
Two more mysteries in the Hazel Rose Book Group series followed, along with seven short stories. So far, all are set in Virginia.
Like many mystery writers, I have a strong need to see justice done and set the world right. Mysteries are the perfect vehicle for that. I serve conventional justice in my novels, but my short stories tend to be morally ambiguous, and the justice may be of the vigilante variety. I’m a law-abiding citizen, but sometimes I wonder if justice is better served outside the boundaries of the law. That’s why I write. It keeps me out of prison and my victim(s) safe. And I can create interesting characters I’d never want to know off the page.
It’s unlikely that I’ll ever solve a mystery—and I have no desire to—but my sleuths can do anything. Just like Nancy Drew.
When I’m not writing, I take courses (including writing) at Lifelong Learning, work out at the gym, walk, cook, indulge my overly indulged cats, and come up with ways to save money.
(Please share some of those ways to save money in the comments, Maggie!)
Photo: Maggie with Morris
See Maggie’s newest book, Laughing Can Kill You, at Bookshop.org
For this book as well as all her others, see her Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Maggie-King/e/B00HR6MPOO
Thanks Maggie! We can’t wait to read your first posting, February 15, 2023! Meanwhile, readers can check out Maggie’s BIO under the “ABOUT” button at the top of the page.