Interview: Janet Rudolph

Janet RudolphIn the mystery community, Janet Rudolph is virtually everywhere.  A tireless proselytizer and devotee of mystery fiction, she’s the editor of Mystery Reader’s Journal as well as the executrix of the annual Macavity Awards.  She runs a weekly—yes, I said weekly—book club and is, in short, one of the finest ambassadors mystery fiction has to offer.   I thought it was past time to ask her a few questions.

Q: Can you talk about how you started your book club?  What makes it unique?

A: I think our book group is unique because we are the longest running weekly mystery group in the U.S. We’ve been meeting for 35+ years, September-June, every Tuesday night. I began “the group” by teaching mystery fiction at UC Extension in the mid-70s as a way of supplementing my meager grad school income (non-existent income, actually). I first started by teaching Women in Science Fiction, but quickly turned to something much closer to my heart—The Female Sleuth. Our original class wanted more, as did I, and I expanded the offerings to a class on Agatha Christie, Women Mystery Writers, Religious Mystery Fiction, Art Mysteries and more. I also expanded locations to UC Santa Cruz, St. Mary’s College, the Graduate Theological Union, SF State and some other institutions and organizations. We always met weekly, so when I decided to have a more informal setting—my home—it seemed only natural to continue to meet weekly. Back then we read and discussed two books a week. Now we only read one. Still that’s a lot of reading. I’m thematic in my thinking, so the first 20+ years I ran 10 weekly sessions on themes, mostly, such as New York Mysteries, medical mysteries, food mysteries (a favorite), religious mysteries, etc. Over the years we’ve had people drop out and people join, people die and people move, but we still have many in the group who have been in it for over 25 years. read more

Author Interview: Steve Hamilton

Steve Hamilton has visited the store since his first novel, A Cold Day in Paradise, was published in 1998.  Since then he’s been loyal, kind, and funny, and he’s long been a favorite with our customers. He is our bestselling author. We love his Michigan-centric series and look forward to every novel – I was happy to have the chance to ask him a few questions.

steve-hamiltonQ: One of the things I like best about your books is the way you use dialogue to tell the story.  Do you kind of think in dialogue?  Is that the way storytelling comes to you?  read more

Author Interview: William Kent Krueger

I’ve known Kent since he invited himself to the store when his first novel, Iron Lake, was published in 1998. As long as I’ve known him, I’ve been a fan of his work. His new novel, Ordinary Grace, is an extraordinary leap – a deepening of previous work. It was a pure delight to read.

Q: One of the things I found most interesting about this book was the voice. While it’s set in 1961, it doesn’t in any way seem like a period piece or an historical novel. How personal to you are the memories of 1961 in small town Minnesota? read more

Author Interview: G.M. Malliet

Last year’s Wicked Autumn by G.M Maillet was a break out bestseller for us – I was delighted when I discovered that the second book in the series would be a Christmas book.  Malliet has a love for the English village mystery, a love that’s revealed in her writing.  She graciously agreed to an interview, and a few of the questions are from friend/customer/reader Linda Kimmel (LK in the body of the interview).

Q:  Obviously you are a devotee of the golden age British mystery – Christie, Allingham, Marsh, Sayers, etc.  Though you seem to reference Christie/Poirot most often, I have to tell you I am reminded most of Marsh.   In Overture to Death, Marsh describes her vicar character as having a head “like a Roman Coin”.  You’ve updated and made your vicar resemble Hugh Grant instead of a Roman, but he’s certainly a dish.  Can you talk about that a little bit? read more

Author Interview: Eleanor Kuhns

Eleanor Kuhns is the author of A Simple Murder, set in a 1700’s Shaker community.  This is her first novel.

Q: Your book won the MWA/Minotaur contest.  Can you talk about that experience a little bit?

A: I think my first reaction was disbelief. I’d been writing short stories for a long time but with very mixed success. When my mystery was accepted (and Minotaur was the first publisher I sent it to) I spent about two weeks after hearing I’d won expecting a phone call telling me it had been a mistake. Attending the awards ceremony was a dream come true. And it gave me another goal to shoot for: winning an Edgar. read more

Author Interview: Elizabeth Hand

Q: First of all, what led you to add mysteries to your list of literary accomplishments? William Gibson has also moved from speculative fiction into the contemporary thriller. Do you see some kind of a trend?

A: I don’t know that it’s a trend; maybe more a kind of artistic serendipity. Several people have told me that Available Dark reminds them of Gibson’s recent work, which surprised me — I admire Gibson immensely but didn’t really see any similarities until they were pointed out. I guess perhaps we share an apocalyptic view of The Way We Live Now, and a perception of 21st century cities as bell jars for global culture. read more

Author Interview: Elly Griffiths

I’m such a big, geeky fan of Elly Griffiths – whose most recent book, The Janus Stone, was on our 2011 favorites list – that I was more than delighted when she agreed to an interview.  Her latest Ruth Galloway novel, The House at Sea’s End, come out this month, with the 5th in the series due in the spring.  There’s a spoiler in the interview if you haven’t read the first novel. Otherwise, enjoy an interview with one of my favorite new authors.

Q: First off, the obvious – why archaeology?  Do you have an expertise, or just an interest? read more