Vickie, here. I’m thrilled to welcome today’s Guest Chick, Molly MacRae! Molly is special to me, in that she was the very first cozy author I ever stalked! I was at O’Hare Airport in Chicago about to board the plane to attend my very first Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland. I had just bought a coffee and was making my way to the gate when I spotted Molly walk past me headed to the same gate. I was pretty sure it was her, but I’d only seen pictures of her in her books and on Facebook. I walked over and sat beside her with an empty seat between us. She was talking to author Sarah Wisseman, and I didn’t want to interrupt. After a couple of minutes, she looked forward and I worked up the courage to say, “Excuse me, are you Molly MacRae?! She said it was the first time she’d be randomly recognized in public and it was the first time I’d run into an author I had read and admired. She and Sarah were very kind to a very newbie author and we chatted and rode the shuttle together from the airport to the hotel. Welcome, Molly – so excited to have you visiting us on Chicks!
Molly will do a giveaway – a signed copy of the fifth book (just out!) in her Highland Bookshop Mysteries, Argyles and Arsenic, U.S. only, or an e-book to anywhere at all. One lucky winner will be drawn from the comment section below. Take it away, Molly!
I’m recently back home from Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland, and Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Both mystery conferences were fabulous and full—full of face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) greetings and meetings, shared pandemic stories, and lots of good talk about writing and reading mysteries.
The time leading up to Malice and Left Coast was full, too. Full of emotions, worries, and questions. Would I remember how to pack a suitcase? Would I manage to sound even remotely intelligent on a panel in front of an audience? Could I make myself talk to strangers? Would I recognize friends and remember names? Would I freak out and spend all my time in the hotel room? Could I find my way to Albuquerque and Bethesda?
Albuquerque wasn’t a problem. My husband and I hopped in the car and drove from Illinois across Missouri, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle and on into New Mexico. It was a long trip, but easy enough, and for part of the way we followed Route 66 (and had a few kicks). Flying to Bethesda by myself gave me the jitters, though. Not the flying part; the part about landing in Washington D.C. and finding my way to the Metro, getting on the right train, getting off at the right stop, and finding the hotel all while juggling luggage. What if I freaked out and ended up in Alexandria instead of Bethesda?
At some point just short of hyperventilating, I realized my pre-conference nerves had me feeling the same way I do every time I start writing a new book. It doesn’t matter that seventeen of my books, plus short stories, are published or will be soon. The emotions, worries, and questions threaten to undo me every single time I start again. Need proof? Look at the parallels:
Would I remember how to pack a suitcase? = Will I be able to plot and plan a coherent story?
Would I manage to sound even remotely intelligent on a panel in front of an audience? = How can I possibly write another whole book that holds together and satisfies readers?
Could I make myself talk to strangers? = A new book needs new characters. Who are these strangers?
Would I recognize friends and remember names? = Theme, plot, subplots, and all those new characters – so many details to keep track of!
Would I freak out and spend all my time in the hotel room? = Will I freak out and spend all my time dusting or cleaning closets instead of writing? Oh, please, no.
Could I find my way to Albuquerque and Bethesda? = Can I navigate my way through this new story and eventually type THE END?
So what’s a traveler/writer to do? How do you make all those questions, whether they’re about a conference or a new book, turn out happily ever after? Your mileage may vary, but for me it’s to sit down, breath calmly, and prepare—look at maps, do the research, take notes, make plans, stay focused, get ready, get excited, and go!
The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. If you ask her, she’ll tell you no, she didn’t do any experiments with arsenic for the most recent title in the series. Molly also writes the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, and as Margaret Welch writes books for Annie’s Fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and she’s a winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Visit Molly at mollymacrae.com.
How do you handle pre-travel worries and new project jitters? Did you attend Malice or Left Coast Crime recently (or ever)? If so, did you stalk Molly or any of the Chicks? (Just curious!) Please share in comments. And remember one lucky commenter will be drawn by Molly to win a signed copy of Argyles and Arsenic (U.S. only) or an e-book copy anywhere in the world!
**CONGRATS to commenter Carol DeBaradinis (nani1953)! She is the winner of the book giveaway. Molly has contacted her and a copy of Argyles and Arsenic is now on its way to her!