Monday, July 13, 2015

Scene of the Crime with Author M.L. Rowland!

It's been a while since I've shared any author interviews here on the blog, so I thought it was time I corrected that oversight. I like learning about authors whose books I've enjoyed reading , and I know from emails you've sent me that you've enjoyed them, too.

This week we're going to get to know M.L. Rowland a bit better. She is the author of a series featuring Gracie Kinkaid, a volunteer for the Timber Creek Search and Rescue in southern California. I've really been impressed by this series, in particular with Gracie and with the scenes involving search and rescue. Rowland knows her stuff, and has created a winning main character and action that can have you on the edge of your seat. There are two books in the series so far-- Zero-Degree Murder and Murder Off the Beaten Path-- with the third, Murder on the Horizon, being released on August 4. 

M.L. Rowland
For those of you who are familiar with my author interviews, you know that I always provide ways for you to connect withvthe featured author. Here they are:

Now let's get to the fun part: the interview!


What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

The first book I remember reading (as opposed to being read to or looking at the pictures) is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods.  I’m sure one reason the book resonated with me was I identified with Laura, in that book a little girl—spunky, adventurous, outdoorsy, occasionally getting to trouble. I have a familiarity and fondness for that character and the entire book series that have stayed with me my entire life.  The entire series was written from the heart. The books are down-to-earth, made even more amazing and enjoyable because they were based on real-life experiences.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time? 

I sing in a community choir from September through May.  My husband, Mark, and I are very active in our church. During the summer I work outdoors landscaping and gardening; during the winter, I work on rehabbing the inside of our house. I love to travel, in particular exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Wright's Meyer May House in Heritage Hill
Most of the great things about my hometown—Grand Rapids, Michigan—are probably in the guide books: the vibrant downtown area, the enormous annual ArtPrize art competition, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, dubbed one of “the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences.” But I think one of the most special things about Grand Rapids (which I’m not sure is found in the guidebooks) is Heritage Hill--a National Register of Historic Places district brimming with historic homes, some of them true architectural wonders, including a Frank Lloyd Wright. 

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Natalie Portman
It would have to be someone very active or physical, and it would all depend on which part of my life was being portrayed, but dreaming big (huge),  I’d love Natalie Portman (who wouldn’t?).

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Is it too easy to say Gracie Kinkaid? Seriously, I’m a big fan of Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon. Also Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Dick Francis’ Sid Halley. 

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

A lot of favorite books and authors came to mind: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.   And, of course, any of Jane Austen’s books. But since I can only choose one, I’d say Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, a masterpiece which I read for the first time at age thirteen and several times since. The writing is rich and textured, the plot(s), characters, history, and languages complex and awe-inspiring, its overall cultural impact rather staggering.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

When I first was offered a three-book contract with Penguin, my husband and I were owners of a campground on a river in Colorado and in the throes of the busy summer season. When I told my husband about the offer, he gave me a hug and said, "Congratulations!” Then I went back to managing the campground. The first time I saw a book of mine on a bookstore shelf was when a friend posted a picture of Zero-Degree Murder on the shelf of a Barnes and Noble on Facebook. I felt elated. And, yes, proud.  

Name one thing on your bucket list. 

My bucket list is mostly a travel bucket list, a list of places I want to visit or things I want to see or do. First on the list: snorkeling with whale sharks.  

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

The Book Haven, Salida, Colorado
Our local brick-and-mortar bookstore, The Book Haven, in Salida, Colorado.

An extremely reliable source tells you that a thinly disguised you is a character in a book that's currently high up on the New York Times Bestseller List. What kind of character do you think you are?

Available August 4!
In a word, ‘active.’ I like to be doing--seeing, exploring, learning, experiencing. I guess you could say I’m one who’s not afraid to get her hands and feet (and entire body?) dirty. 


Thank you so much for spending this time with us! It was a pleasure to get to know you a little better!

I'm really looking forward to reading Murder on the Horizon; the very best of luck with its release.

May your book sales do nothing but increase! 



  1. Wonderful interview. So glad you revived this blog feature. It's fascinating to learn about the secret lives of authors. Wanting to go snorkling with a whale shark is about as far from my experience -- or wanting to -- as I can imagine. But it's so interesting that this writer wants to do that!

    1. I'm certainly glad you enjoyed the interview, Kathy. When I first read that she wanted to do that, I thought, "WOW!" Part of me wouldn't mind doing it either... and another part most definitely would!

  2. Thanks for the interview. I have enjoyed this series. I wasn't aware that a new book was coming out in August. I just pre-ordered it. I like the search and rescue portion of the books too which kind of surprised me. These books have given me a new appreciation for the search and rescue teams that daily put their lives on the line. I had never thought about the skills needed and had somewhat taken the work for granted.

    1. Yes, I'd taken them a bit for granted as well, Lynn. Rowland is not only entertaining us, she's enlightening us, too.


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