Today I'm pleased to welcome author Mary Ann Jacobs, whose debut cozy mystery recently launched. Congratulations, Mary Ann! Thank you for sharing your time with us.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I read all the series books, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames Student Nurse, Charlotte's Web, The Babysitters’ Club. Charlotte’s Web was always my favorite and still is.
Charlotte's Web -- such a beautiful story.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
I enjoy spy novels and mysteries.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
After getting a degree in English, I realized that I actually enjoyed writing papers. After that, I had many causes and wrote essays about whatever cause I was passionate about. While teaching grade school, I discovered the poetry of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutski and realized I loved poetry. Thus began my poetry writing career. I didn’t know I wanted to write books until Covid hit, and I decided to try writing a book as my Writing Therapy to keep from going crazy because of the isolation.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
I always felt proud of the essays I wrote, especially when some of them were published. I also wrote my first children’s book, but looking back on it, it was a disaster.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
In fiction, characters just pop into my mind, and I create scenes for them. In poetry, I like to observe and create poems from my observations.
I think it's wonderful that you write poetry. Do you know, I "Invented" a hashtag: #theworldneedsmorepoetry?
6) What’s your writing space like?
A very cluttered desk with numerous projects in different piles – not the model workplace for anyone.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
I grab snatches of time in my busy schedule to write.
8) Time to talk about your new book, Don't Mess with Me (rubbing hands together). How did you come up with the idea for the series? Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
After immersing myself in cozy mysteries to relieve stress during Covid, I decided to try my hand at a cozy mystery. I love strong women protagonists, so I created a widow, modeled after many widows I know who have carried on after the death of a spouse. For Sadie, I modeled her after my Lebanese aunts who were very strong women.
Once I had my two strong women, it was time to create the Super Sleuths and the ensemble of characters who would populate this group.
Tidbits – I am a city girl. Visiting my daughter in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, I was introduced to festivals and small-town living. This became my setting.
It all sounds wonderful!
9) Now let’s hear about the book. The recipes in the book came from my grandmother who taught my mother how to make Lebanese food. My mom was English and Austrian so before she could marry my Lebanese father, she stayed for a week with his mother and learned to cook the ethnic food. Interestingly, she became one of the best cooks in the family.
Mmm. I love this! I'm half-Lebanese, mom's side, and my husband is from Lebanon. Fabulous cuisine -- good for body and soul!
10) I comprehend that you’ve just recently published a book. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
Oh yes. I have written a collection of modern fables for children, a book on how to write poetry with sample poems and instructions on how to create poems. I just got notice that two more of my poems will be published in an anthology in May. I have several picture books I’m marketing, and last, but not least, if the Berkshire Mystery Series is to carry on, I need to finish book two. I am about a third of the way through.
You are busy!
11) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I just need a week alone in a cabin somewhere to finish all I have started. It’s hard to find time to write and even harder to find time to market what I have written.
Thank you again for joining us today, Mary Ann. Congratulations again on your new release! Wishing you all the best!
Sheriff Houtman, who left Boston to have a more peaceful career, finds himself faced with two murders and a kidnapping. He is challenged by a band of amateur sleuths who doubt his competence. Will his conclusions hold, or will he have to admit defeat? Unfortunately, Sheriff Houtman’s judgement is impaired because of his infatuation with Sadie, and his immediate suspicion of a homeless teen that Robin and Sadie befriended.
Robin George narrates the story. She is a widow with a young son who moves to the Berkshires after her beloved husband died. Her bookstore, Bookworms, and Sweet Indulgences, her best friend Sadie’s restaurant, become the hubs for Robin’s amateur detective group where they plan how to solve the local crimes and exonerate Billy, the Sheriff’s main suspect.
Will they prove the Sheriff wrong?
Excerpt from Don't Mess With Me by Mary Ann Jacobs
The Sheriff, losing his normally calm demeanor, confronted Fergusson, “Are you aware that someone was murdered last night? Not only are we investigating a murder, but we also are looking for a vandal and a robber. I suppose you think a little noise is more important than all that. You are a self-centered so and so,” sputtered the Sheriff.
Shaking, Sheriff Houtman turned around and said to the rest of us, “I’ll get back to all you later. One crime at a time. I better get back to the station and check out this rumor of arson. Let’s hope my deputy has turned up some evidence. Houtman then rushed for the exit.
I thought, “Wow, he really went off on Fergusson. I wonder why. But the Sheriff is a coward to just leave without even a comment about Billy’s interrogation. I’m worried that Houtman has already tried and convicted Billy in his own snap-judgement mind.”
Fergusson shouted at Sheriff Houtman’s fleeing figure. Fuming, Fergusson left the shop, banging the door behind him.
Billy came back with his head down and his hands stuffed in his pockets. Gone was his cocky attitude. Whatever Houtman said to him seemed to have broken his spirit.
“I’m really sorry, Ms. George, that I crashed through your door and made such a commotion,” said a subdued Billy.
Worried, Sadie went to Billy, and they found a secluded corner of the store and sat and talked. At least he seemed to be open to Sadie’s questioning.
To Contact Mary Ann:
Website FB Twitter Amazon
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.