Monday, July 20, 2015



Most people in the town of Rivershore, Michigan view Mary Harrington as a quiet widow whose only oddity is she spends a lot of time at the gym. Her son thinks it’s time for her to move into a retirement home. Two gang members think she’ll be an easy target. No one in Rivershore knows what Mary did in her younger years —really did— but the two gang members discover they’ve underestimated their victim, and Mary fears reverting to old habits may have jeopardized her future.


Maris, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I started writing in 1980. I like happy or satisfying endings, and even though, up to that time, I hadn’t been reading romances, I soon discovered that was the genre my stories fit. I also, realized, over time, that solving mysteries provided a satisfying ending, and since I enjoy reading mysteries and suspense novels, my romances began to veer toward romantic suspense and finally I decided to go to straight mystery with just a touch of romance.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favorite thing?
I love it when a story begins to come together. That’s usually around the 4th or 5th edit. My least favorite thing is the blank page; i.e., having to come up with the right words. I keep telling myself to remember Anne Lamott’s saying -- Sh#$ty First Draft -- but sometimes it’s difficult to get those words out of my head and onto paper. (I also hate marketing, but I don’t consider that to be writing.)

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird; The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd; all of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books and Dick Frances’s books. (Okay, I’ll admit it, I love horses.)

What do you do to market your book?
This year I have been actively marketing A Killer Past and another mystery I have out, Eat Crow and Die. I’ve been a guest blogger (thank you for allowing me to visit your site); I’ve asked for (and have received) reviews; I purchased an ad in Romantic Times and put an ad in our local boating newsletter; I put out my first newsletter; I put on a book launch party; I’ve been speaking at libraries, made Tray Cards I’ve given out, and was interviewed for our local newspaper. I think I’ve done more, but I can’t remember what right now.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
Other than my main characters, when I start writing, I have no idea who’s going to be in a story. I usually don’t even know who the villain will be until I’m halfway (or more) into the story. I create characters who have a motive, and somewhere along in the writing, I realize, “Oh my gosh, you did it, didn’t you?”

Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Oh, that’s easy. I love Mary Harrington. I wouldn’t want her background, but I’d love to be fluent in many languages, be sophisticated and physically fit. I’d love to have her wit and poise. How fun to have a past that no one knows anything about; to have people think they know me but really don’t.

What would your main character say about you?
Mary would probably scold me for not going to the gym regularly; she’d tell me I wouldn’t have back pain if I’d strengthen my core muscles. She’d probably tell me I should switch to drinking tea, but after a couple glasses of wine (white for her, red for me), we’d probably discover we had quite a bit in common.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Mary wasn’t inspired by real people but by Lara Croft and Nikita. My thoughts were: I wonder what they would be like in their 70s.

I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories? Who, and in what category do they fall?
Oh, I’m always wishing I’d thought fast enough to come back with a smart retort or brave enough to order someone off our property. I think that’s one reason I have a law enforcement figure in my mysteries. They have the authority to say and do what I never would. All of my main characters think faster than I do.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

It depends on when the criticism is applied. If I’m working on the book, trying to make it as good as I can, I love constructive criticism. I need others to point out things I’ve missed, over used, or wouldn’t fit the character. When my editor tells me something isn’t working, I’m usually ready to tell him to go jump (that’s when it’s good that I don’t always have a fast come back), but after a couple days of thinking about what he said, I usually agree; and finally when a reviewer (or any reader) slams a story I’ve written, it hurts. (Where’s that bottle of wine?)

Where’s home for you? 
I now live ¼ mile from Lake Michigan in southwest Michigan. I’m sitting here, looking out my window at sailboats and cruisers on the Black River. Spring, summer, and fall it’s paradise. In the winter, I’m in Florida, three miles from the Gulf of Mexico where I hunt for sharks’ teeth. It’s also paradise.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Walk my dog (I now have a miniature poodle. He’s quite a change from the Rhodesian Ridgeback I owned for 12 ½ years), I do yoga, go on the sailboat or dinghy with my husband, swim, and I’m active in several local organization.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a stand-alone suspense that takes place in Skagway, Alaska. I like this story. I hope it’s published.


Maris Soule has been writing for over 30 years. Prior to switching to mysteries, Soule had 25 category romances published and is a two-time RITA finalist. In addition to A Killer Past, Soule has three published mysteries in her P.J. Benson Mystery series (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, and Eat Crow and Die).

Born and raised in California, Soule was working on a master’s degree at U.C. Santa Barbara when a redhead with blue eyes talked her into switching from a Masters to a Mrs. He also talked her into moving to Michigan, where over the years they’ve raised two children and a slew of animals. The two now spend their summers near Lake Michigan and their winters in Florida.

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