Mystery Thriller Week Interview: Mahrie G.Reid

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How old you when you wrote your first story?

I was less than ten years old and loved nancy Drew and other similar books. I was also fascinated with Tancook Island so I wrote a book called: Pam and Penny and the Mystery on Tancook Island. I still have, thanks to my mother’s habit of keeping things. Interestingly enough, the characters were twins and the story on an island. I went on to have twin daughter, town grandchildren and my current series is on an island partly on the real Tancook Island.

“Everything you have done has fueled you writing”. I read this on your Amazon page. Do you think that or do you have another series in mind? Where would it be located?

I have two series in mind, both spin offs from Caleb’s cove. Ones tentatively called The Bucket List Mysteries and would star Uncle Lem and  also Sam Logan’s aunt. Mary Morrison. the other one would have paranormal elements and might be Natalie Parker’s ongoing story. I’m not sure yet. Additionally, I recently found a fully planned, middle grade mystery “under the bed,” It might end up as book one day too. Adam from Came Home Too Late would make an ideal main character.

Which career, aside from writing did you enjoy the most?

That’s a tough question. I liked different aspects in different jobs. I did, and still do, love teaching. Learning new concepts, analyzing and reformatting to explain to others is fun. My time as a real estate appraiser was while I had teens at home. The flexibility is offered fit my lifestyle and to be honest, it was the one that paid the most money. However, the ten years I was a marriage commissioner and performed wedding ceremonies was probably the most our e fun. who doesn’t love a wedding, even if the bride and groom are tattoo-covered bikers, or the wedding party roars across the river to the little island they’ve put you on, on racing quads?

Where do you write from?

I write books about people finding their way, themselves and what is important to them. I’ve always felt I’m on a journey and I’ve learned so much over the years. I love it when my characters realize how strong they are, how smart, how valued they are in the community. At times, they find family they didn’t know they had. This line of though generates both internal and external plots.

In Came Home Dead, Devon has to reach inside to find out who she really is. In Came Home to a Killing, Kelsey finds father she never knew about and in Came Home Too Late, Emily finds a whole community after years of solitary living. The book in progress in Came Home From the Grave. A lot of finding goes on in this one.

Sometimes fellow writers send out a call for a write-a-thon at a Starbucks or such and I’ll go along and write a scene or two there. A different location and the collective energy of others who are writing gives a real boost to the creative process.

 How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

My husband is my number one supporter even though he never reads fiction, not even mine. He takes great delight in teasing in public. He’ll say he’s not sure what I’m saying is true. “She’s a fiction writer, you know. You have to watch out.” And then I get a hug.

My kids (all adults) cheer me on. One of my daughters designed my first web page.

Most of all I’ve had mega support from my writing community. I am founding member of a writing group focused on craft and writer support. Alberta Romance WRiters Association started with all romance writers but, after thirty years, we include writers in almost all genres.

The workshops and discussion keep us all up to date on markets, processes and always encourage us to keep our craft skills growing. The challenge/critique groups (3 or 4 similar writers) offer ongoing, individual support and advice for the specific manuscript I have in progress. We also have support and training to help people with the technical side of putting a book up on Amazon and other places.

The group and the members have bee the main reason I’ve come as far as I have as a writer.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Stories come first. Even in my blog I often tell stories. My mother was a wonderful story teller and I would see people listen attentively, laugh uproariously or cough to hide tears. She was a great role  model. And the stories in books I rad build my world when I was a kid. Writing stories for others has always seemed like the perfect job to me.

Are your characters based on people you know or have met? Do they just ‘come to you’?

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I don’t base entire characters on real people  although characteristics I’ve seen along the way make into the character composite for my stories. I start with a premise—sometimes external, sometimes internal to a character—and build on it as the story expands.

I ask question like:

-What skill does this character need, does she have it and where did she get it?

-Why is this guy in law enforcement? Why does catching a certain type of bad guy 

matter to him?

-And the characters dredge up answers from deep in my brain.

That means that it all “just come to me” I suppose.

How much research do you do for your books?

A lot of research, from geographical items to weather charts to the psychology of a killer and information on the careers of my character. The internet is so handy. Instead of going to the library like used to 30 years ago and spending days looking of just the right information in books. I can search and find dozens of articles in just minutes. I bring the relevant ones and keep them in my “bible” for each book.

I lived in the same province (Novia Scotia) as Caleb’s Cove and visited friends and family, teachers and boats and more in the specific area over my whole life. I also went back in 2013 for a month and asked question, took hundreds of photos and soaked up the atmosphere. For me setting is a character in its own right.

I am researching for the 2018 book which will be a historical for Canada’ s150th anniversary. the publisher is adamant that the history and setting be strictly correct. I’ve already read over a dozen books or museum document for it. Research sometimes is more fun than getting down to the writing.

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

That’s a question that is time sensitive. Since I started writing when the only avenue was traditional publishing. I’d say that the thing that surprised me most was that the publisher had the final say on the title. Additionally, the length of time to get published traditionally (three to five years from acceptance to book-o-the-shelf) was a shock. With Indie or Hybrid publishing you have a good shot at picking your own titles and have much more control over times.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Obituaries have so much factual data. I found out she writing the ones of my parents that ll the predeceased and surviving family get an appearance. As fa as the more ambiguous items, I’d like to have it say that I made people laugh. I supported them and gave them hope and that I loved my fellow humans generously. On my tombstone: Do It Now —She did!

Contact Mahrie at:img_0315

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