Tea with M.E. Maki
Today I’m interviewing M.E. Maki, author of the new Caitlyn Jamison mystery Fatal Dose. This is the second in her series, and a delightful addition. Ms. Maki has a gift for writing characters, plot, and even a little romance that will keep you guessing until the end.
When did you first discover your love of mystery?
When I was about eight years old reading Trixie Belden mysteries. I also love to do puzzles – always have one in progress – and that is what a mystery is, putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
When did you decide to write your first book and what made you go for it?
I started my first book, An Unexpected Death in 2008. I stopped about a year later when I hit the “dreaded middle.” I picked it up again in the fall of 2014 with a new, younger, protagonist. I finished the book in November 2015. In 2008 I was upset with what was happening in our country (foreclosures, people losing their jobs), and I realized I could deal with those emotions by writing, because writing helps make sense of things. In 2015 I needed a challenge—could I get through that dreaded middle and finish a book?
I found the writing process to be fun and challenging, although the thought of publishing – actually putting, my thoughts and words out to the public, was frightening! I was pleasantly surprised when readers raved about the book. They loved the characters, and hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t ask how the next book is coming. So many readers said they couldn’t put it down.
The soon to be released Caitlyn Jamison mystery, Fatal Dose, is also set in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate, New York.
I have started research on the third Caitlyn Jamison mystery that will be set in the Chesapeake region of Virginia.
Are there any special rituals you have or places you go that inspire your writing?
I take a walk or swim laps in order to reinvigorate the brain cells. Exercise is a wonderful way to work out plot and character issues.
Where do your plot ideas come from?
The seed for each book was planted by something someone said. Other plot ideas come from news, periodical or newspaper articles, and just daily living.
Who is your favorite detective character (book, tv, or movie) and why?
Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) because she uses her brain, not guns and violence in order to catch the villain.
Tom Barnaby (Midsomer Murders) for the same reason.
Duncan Kincaid and Jemma James (Deborah Crombie books), because of character development and setting.
Who is your favorite mystery author and why?
Do I have to pick only one?
Elizabeth George (her early books) – She is an incredible writer and I like the way she works in social issues. She also knows her way around a thesaurus.
Louise Penny – Who doesn’t love Three Pines?
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Develop a case of Stick-to-it-iveness—in other words, keep writing.
Let your characters take over – they know the plot better than you do.
Determine your ultimate goal (mainstream publishing or self-publishing) and how you are going to get there.
Do your homework regarding publishing options, royalty payments, contracts, etc.
Be prepared to market your books – social media presence, book talks, book signings, etc.
Seek out an experienced/trusted editor, and educate yourself on the different types of editors.
Write the story you want to write.
Don’t listen to the editor on your shoulder.
Don’t get discouraged.
What would we find in your mug first thing in the morning? Tea? Coffee? Something else?
French roast coffee, black, especially Daybreak coffee from Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Where do you like to spend time with a good book?
Anywhere I can curl up!
If you were given an entirely free day, no responsibility or tasks, what would you spend the day doing?
Writing, reading and swimming.
Any guilty pleasures?
Ice cream with fudge sauce.
Tell us about an item on your bucket list.
Write an engaging and fun third novel – research has already begun.
Finish a family recipe book.
Publish another genealogy monograph.
If you like to read mysteries or know someone who does, check out An Unexpected Death: A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery, by M.E. Maki. This face-paced story is set in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York State. The story features protagonist Caitlyn Jamison, a graphic artist, making her way in the Washington, DC area. But when she learns of her cousin’s murder, she’s determined to see justice served. She leaves her comfortable life and travels to New York’s Finger Lakes region where she is faced with her estranged family and painful memories she had long since buried.
Enter Sheriff Ethan Ewing, who, against his better judgment, acquiesces to Caitlyn’s request to assist in the investigation, though neither expected to be confronted with another murder, environmental issues, politics and fraud as they worked together to solve an unexpected death. Find it here.
Graphic artist Caitlyn Jamison is back in scenic Riverview, New York, working on a winery photo shoot—and hoping to reconnect with Sheriff Ethan Ewing. But the sheriff has a serious situation on his hands: an undercover agent posing as a professor disappears on the same morning a college student is found dead. When Caitlyn learns the missing man is her friend’s uncle, and against Ethan’s wishes, she insists on helping with the investigation.
Meanwhile, Caitlyn’s Aunt Myra hears about a different kind of mystery from her friend, retired teacher Verna Adams. Verna is searching for her long-lost brother, who once lived on the abandoned road where the student’s body was discovered. As Riverview’s town historian uncovers the unsettling truth about Verna’s brother, Caitlyn and Ethan defy the town’s officials and keep their investigation going—with dangerous consequences. Find it here.
About the Author
Mary E. Maki grew up in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York where her stories are set. As the family historian, she enjoys researching her ancestors and sharing their stories. She is a member of the Central Virginia Sisters In Crime and the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Inklings Writing Group. She and her husband, Ray, live in Fredericksburg, VA. Visit the author at: Caitlynjamisonmysteries.blogspot.com and GrowingupinWillowCreek.blogspot.com.