Monday, January 26, 2015

Scene of the Crime with Annette Mahon!

It's been a while since I've had an author interview, so I'm very happy to start off 2015 by sharing this interview with Annette Mahon, whom I've met and spoken with more than once at my favorite bookstore, The Poisoned Pen. Annette lives in Scottsdale where she writes the St. Rose Quilting Bee series featuring Maggie Browne and a group of friends who get together to quilt and solve the occasional murder. Annette also makes quilts, and you can get a real sense of that as you read her mysteries. 

Annette Mahon
Because I know how you like to do a bit of research on the authors you read, I've done some of my own so I can share a few links with you. Feel free to use them to learn more about Annette and to get in touch with her to say hello.

You know what I'm going to say now that I've shared all those links, don't you? It's time to get to the fun part: the interview!

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

I've always been a reader--I can't ever remember not reading. One of the first books I owned was a (child's version) of Grimms' Fairy Tales and I absolutely loved it. I can still remember the cover--shiny paper, with a forest pictured. When I first started writing romances, I used to explain that I'd always loved fairy tales and romance books are more or less adult fairy tales. After all, we women continue to read them and look for that happily ever after even after we're happily married ourselves. I still love fairy tales and have a complete Brothers Grimm (adult version) on my bookshelf. I still enjoy reading them. They captured my fancy as a child so there may be a hint of nostalgia there.

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

 In my spare time, I read and I quilt. My love of quilting is the reason I try to include quilts in so many of my books. Even before I started the St. Rose Quilting Bee Mysteries, I had two romances set in a quilt store in Hawai`i (Above the Rainbow and Chase Your Dream), and another two romances with a "magic" quilt that helped each new owner find her one true love (Dolphin Dreams and Holiday Dreams).

I also knit and embroider and am currently knitting a baby blanket for a new grandchild. I love needlework of all kinds. Applique, especially Hawaiian quilting, is my favorite and I usually have a Hawaiian quilt top in the works that I can pick up whenever I have a spare moment. It's why I couldn't wait to take my amateur sleuth quilters to Hawai`i for a Hawaiian quilt seminar (St. Rose Goes Hawaiian). I wanted to share my love of that particular type of quilting. 

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.) 

Devastation Trail now
That's a tough one, as almost all the good spots are in the Big Island guidebooks. But a special place is in Volcanoes National Park. (That's not quite in my hometown, but it's a short drive.) It's called Devastation Trail but was given that name back in 1959 or 1960 when it really was a wooden trail in a field of lava desolation. Nature has taken it back now, and it's a young forest with ohi`a trees and ferns. It's very quiet and peaceful and you can hear the calls of the native birds. It's a special place and I think you get that feeling when you visit there. It may be even more special for me because I actually saw the original trail as a teenager. Seeing the difference now shows how remarkable and resilient nature can be.

Devastation Trail then

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

Andie Macdowell
I'm not much of a movie person, and I'm terrible at names, so I don't know that I'm up on actors. Maybe that woman who plays the judge in the Cedar Cove series. She has the same dark curly hair that I have. I looked it up--her name is Andie McDowell. I'd love to have her play me. 

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

I have a lot, but my all time favorite is probably Miss Marple. I'm sure my fondness for her helped inspire my group of senior sleuths in the St. Rose Quilting Bee mysteries.

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?

The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I chose that one not only because I love the series, but it made such an impact on the entire world. The Harry Potter books are responsible for getting so many children to read, to love reading, and not to be intimidated by a thick book. As a former children's librarian, that's something near and dear to my heart.

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 got off the phone with that first editor, I remember bouncing all over the house, so excited I couldn't keep still.

Actually, I don't recall the first time I saw my books on a bookstore shelf, because my hardcover publishers (Thomas Bouregy/Avalon Books originally, and Five Star/Gale/Cengage now) sell mainly to the library market, and Montlake sells mainly online. The books only rarely make it to bookstore shelves. I do remember seeing my first book on a library shelf--it was at the Glendale Public Library, the Velma Teague Branch. I was so excited; I felt very special. It was a lifelong dream to write a book and see it in the library.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

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? 

I'm the person in the background trying to be a good mother, wife, and friend, doing what she can to help. Hmm, that sounds rather old-fashioned and a lot like Melanie in Gone with the Wind. :-/  Oh, and I probably have a book or some needlework in my hands. Of course, I wish I was Miss Marple, knitting quietly while solving the mysteries the police can't quite solve.

Available Now!

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

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. Love your choice of bookstore - my favorite also. Even though I live in Texas, The Poisoned Pen is the best. I'll be on the lookout for your books, Annette. I don't quilt myself, but had two grandmothers who did. And I love books that include quilting. Have gobbled up all the ones that Jennifer Chiaverini wrote. Yay! A new quilt book author. :-)

    1. Thank you so much, Kay. I have a quilt that goes with each book. The one on the cover of Bright Hopes is my daughter's wedding quilt.

  2. Great bookstore. I just found out about Poisoned Pen Press. Is the book store the same company?

    Fantastic it.

    I wish I could quilt.

    ENJOY your week.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

    1. Both the Poisoned Pen and the press are wonderful. Barbara Peters owns the bookstore and she and her husband run the Press. Rob is in charge and Barbara is chief editor.

  3. Thank you, Cathy for your good wishes and for the beautifully done post. The quilt frame you show is the type my church group uses for our group quilt that we raffle each year. The style described in the books is different. I'm just tickled by your comments because you really get exactly what I'm trying to do in my books. Thank you again.

    1. You're more than welcome, Annette. Reading your books is so much fun!

  4. Very interesting interview. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I enjoy Annette's books.

    1. Thank you, Anna. A very nice compliment, coming from you.

    2. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, Anna!

  5. So glad to see Scene of the Crime again, have missed it and reading about the new to me authors you interview. Always interesting.

    1. Yes, I need to get back in the habit of doing this feature, don't I?


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