Guest Chick: Margaret Mizushima

Please join us in welcoming back the fantastic Margaret Mizushima, author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries!


The Joys of Being a Veterinarian’s Wife

(or How Being a Vet’s Wife Inspired My Writing)

I’ve been married to a veterinarian for almost forty years. (No applause needed, but sometimes I do think I deserve a medal.) During this time I’ve learned to deal with countless interruptions in whatever we happen to be doing at any given moment.

Actually, it all started on our first date when we had to box up our dinner at a restaurant so that he could respond to an emergency call to repair a horribly maimed pony that had been attacked by a dog. I rode along with him and held the flashlight while he stitched the poor little horse back together. If that didn’t scare me away, I guess nothing will. (By the way, that pony survived.)

Even holidays haven’t been spared from interruption. One Christmas, our adult daughter brought her boyfriend home to meet us. True to form, my husband received an emergency call from a client whose pregnant bulldog had gone into labor and needed a C-section. Our entire family—with guest in tow—trooped up the road to our clinic to help. After delivering the puppies one by one, my husband handed each of us a wriggling, wet baby, which we wrapped in towels and rubbed vigorously to stimulate breathing. My daughter’s friend said it was the most memorable Christmas he’d ever had. For us, it was par for the course.

They say “Write What You Know” so when I decided to write a mystery series, I knew that one of the characters needed to be a vet. In real life, however, vets may solve medical mysteries, but rarely (or perhaps I should say almost never) are they involved in murder mysteries.  I decided that a veterinarian and a K-9 handler could make an interesting crime fighting duo—trio if you count the dog, and dogs should always be counted.

Soon three characters came to life: Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and Cole Walker, DVM. Cole is a newly divorced workaholic whose wife left town, leaving him alone to raise their two daughters. He faces a sharp learning curve for being a single parent as he struggles to keep up with his busy practice. When his teenaged daughter’s friend is murdered, Mattie and Robo come into their lives. They investigate the crime and try to track down the girl’s killer in the first book of the series, Killing Trail.

Mattie carries her own baggage, which she has been unpacking slowly over the past six books. An abusive father figure, her mother’s abandonment, and her subsequent time in foster care have left scars, making it difficult for Mattie to trust others; but the bond she has with Robo is working its magic. And so is the love that develops between Mattie and Cole. The latest episode, Hanging Falls, presents another murder case for this trio to investigate while it answers some questions about Mattie’s past.

The Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries are about family, mental health, the animal-human bond, friendship, and loving support. Cozy readers should be aware that these books are classified as police procedurals, although I call them “soft-boiled police procedurals with heart.” Each book presents a new case for Mattie and the reader to solve as a stand alone, but to get the full effect of the characters’ stories you might want to start at the beginning with book one. The seventh book, Striking Range, is set to release on September 7, 2021.

My life as a vet’s wife might have inspired my mystery series, but the books also feature plenty of law enforcement and K-9 work. Thanks to my husband and several K-9 handlers who’ve agreed to act as consultants, I have the information needed to keep the police and vet work real while I spin tales of murder and mayhem. I invite you to join Mattie, Robo, and Cole in these adventures.

What has inspired you in your endeavors, dear readers? And what questions do you have for Margaret?


Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Active within the writing community, Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women Writing the West. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her website at www.MargaretMizushima.com

41 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Margaret Mizushima

    1. Thanks so much for your interest and your comment, Carole! Many of these dogs come from Europe and have been trained in their home country’s language. There are different schools of thought about that once the dogs arrive here. One is to continue using the dogs language and train the handler to use their specific foreign language commands. But another opinion was offered by a trainer I shadowed who said that it was easier to retrain the dogs to follow English commands than it was to train the handlers in a foreign language. Ha! I don’t know about that, but found it interesting. Thanks in advance for your interest in the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Your series sounds wonderful, Margaret! And I love how your family is willing to drop everything to help an animal in need. That might be part your husband’s job, but it’s clear you all care, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Marla! Since our vet clinic is on our property, our daughters were raised both at home and at the clinic. We all do love our animals and have been blessed with this life. Our daughters, both adults now, continue to love their dogs and cats and adopt shelter pets and strays frequently. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I had read one out of order, but fell in love with the characters, so I’m now working my way back through the series beginning with book one. You already had me caught, but if you hadn’t, book one is so good that I would also have wanted to read the entire series. Excellent!

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  3. Welcome back, Margaret! I’ve seen your series everywhere (congrats on the latest!) and loved hearing about your initial inspiration.

    My question for you: What is the most memorable vet-related interruption you’ve experienced?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer! The most memorable? There have been so many. One of them, besides the first one mentioned above, was a time I had to drop everything to run anesthesia for my husband while he did an emergency gall bladder operation on a dog. It was a tricky surgery but for the most part, my role was just following his instructions for turning knobs on the machine so he could keep sterile field. In the middle of the surgery, my agent called, so we were doing business on the cellphone while Charlie worked on the dog. My agent was so impressed when she learned why we kept being interrupted! Fun times!

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Margaret! So thrilled to see you here. Your writing is so evocative. Even reading this, I feel like I’m in Colorado with you. Congrats on the new book! Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mark, thanks for visiting the blog and leaving a comment. I think the hardest times were when the kids were in school and my husband had to miss teacher meetings, concerts, games, or other events. But it the event wasn’t too short, he could usually get back in time for at least part of it. And he had plenty of family time, since he often took the kids and I with him if we were available to go along.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, dogs should ALWAYS be counted–I heartily agree!

    I so love Mattie, Robo, and Cole (especially Robo!), and always look forward to the next in your series. Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, my dear, and congrats on the upcoming book! Yay! Looking forward to seeing you again some day (sigh…) at LCC and Malice!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love this! It sounds like you’ve had some very memorable vet-assistant adventures…oh, the puppy story!

    Huge fan of this series…“soft-boiled police procedurals with heart” is such a perfect description. Mattie and Robo make a great team.

    Thank you so much for visiting us today, Margaret.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Now I’m envisioning those cute, wrinkly bulldog puppies — what a great Christmas memory! Congrats on the new book, and thanks for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment, Liz. We just watched the first season finale of All Creatures Great and Small on Masterpiece Theatre in which James and Helen went out into the highlands to deliver puppies the night before her wedding–to someone else… High suspense! 🙂 We really did enjoy the episode.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi Margaret, Your books sound amazing–can’t wait to read them! My cousin is a country vet (VT) and it’s rare that he’s had an uninterrupted Christmas or Thanksgiving family visit that I can remember. (Also, everyone wants to ask his advice on their own pets, lol. It’s a miracle he ever gets any food.) Loved the Xmas puppy story…and the little horse (sniff!) Thank you so much for visiting Chicks today and sharing your characters and this wonderful post with us.

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  9. So great to “meet” you. I don’t often binge read series, but yours is a delightful exception. So glad there’s going to be a #7, but September seems so far away. My husband is a Vietnam Vet and has a service dog, a yellow lab named Kirby. I was so taken with Robo that I decided to add a dog to the sequel to my novel. And of course he’s a yellow lab, named Kirby!

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    1. Nice to meet you too, Pam, and thank you for reading the books. I’m so glad that Robo inspired you to add Kirby to your next novel. I bet it will add another layer of depth. All best wishes to you, your husband, and the real Kirby!

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