Marcia James, author of hot, humorous romances
 
 

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The James Gang


THE JAMES GANG

February James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of “James” in their names or in their books. My February James Gang interviewee is New York Times bestselling mystery author, Dean James, aka Miranda James!

1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?

James is my real last name. I picked Miranda, first because it is the name of one of my favorite Shakespearean heroines in one of my favorite plays, The Tempest. I know something of the background of the family name. With Ancestry.com, I have been able to trace my father’s family back to medieval England. I come from many generations of farmers.

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

I write cozy mysteries, also known as traditional mysteries. My work is greatly influenced by writers such as Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Elizabeth Peters.

3. Tell us about your latest release.

The new book, The Silence of the Library, which was out on January 28th, is the fifth in my “Cat in the Stacks” series. These books feature widowed librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel. In the latest story, Charlie is assisting the public library in his hometown, Athena, Mississippi, in setting up an exhibit on juvenile mysteries for National Library Week. Charlie is a big fan of these books, including Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Judy Bolton, and others, and he inherited a large collection of them from his Aunt Dottie. Charlie and the library director, Teresa Farmer, are thrilled to discover that Electra Barnes Cartwright, author of the “Veronica Thane” series, is still alive and lives nearby. Mrs. Cartwright will soon be turning one hundred, but she agrees to participate in an event for National Library Week. When news of this leaks out, collectors converge on Athena, and before long, one of them turns up dead.

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

The core theme in my books is family. Charlie has an adult son and daughter, both of whom become part of the series after the first book. In the South, where the books are set, family is fundamental to everything, and most, if not all, of these books have something to do with family in some way.

5. Do you have favorite characters in your books and why?

My main character, Charlie, is definitely a favorite. He probably shares more of my personality than any of the other series characters I’ve written, but he is also different in some ways. I feel comfortable in his “skin” and in his “voice” when I write. I also adore his sidekick, Diesel, the Maine Coon. They are wonderful cats, and Diesel is fun to write.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Books and reading have been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember. I love the opportunity to tell stories that people can enjoy, stories that help distract them from the strains and stresses of the everyday, the way that my favorite writers have always done for me.

7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

I have received the Agatha and Macavity Awards for non-fiction that I co-wrote with my friend Jean Swanson, along with a couple of Edgar nominations, and I’m proud of that. Also my first published short story was nominated for both the Agatha and Macavity Awards. The most exciting thing, however, is that, with the “Cat in the Stacks” series, I finally became a New York Times bestseller. I still have to pinch myself from time to time to believe it has actually happened.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

Mainly through my website and Facebook. On Facebook, I have a personal page, along with pages for my alter ego, Miranda James and for Diesel.

9. What is your next project?

Right now, I’m working on the first book in a new series that is a spin-off of the “Cat in the Stacks” books. The title is Bless Her Dead Little Heart, and if all goes as planned, it will be out in October. Once that’s done, I’ll start work on the sixth Charlie and Diesel book.

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

Here is one of my all-time favorites, from Robert Browning’s “Epilogue to Asolando”:

“One who never turned his back but marched breast forward,
Never doubted clouds would break,
Never dreamed, tho' right were worsted, wrong would triumph,
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better,
Sleep to wake.”

 

Thank you, Dean! My March James Gang interviewee will be multi-published author, Tracy Cooper-Posey, who has a book featuring a “St. James” hero perfect for the James Gang!

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