Mystery Scene Interviews Donna Andrews — Plus Holiday Gift Guides and Contagious Hair-Pulling

107cover250-1I just received the new issue of Mystery Scene, and was pleased to see Donna Andrews on the cover. Andrews is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters-in-Crime (particularly the Mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake, VA chapters (respectively), since she lives in Reston, Virginia), and she talks in an interview here about her career, her characters, and her plots and themes:

“I like to start with a situation that can give rise to two or more homicides. When stress and wacky behavior are involved there always will be someone who will take it way too seriously. When you throw a lot of people together, it’s a fertile way to kick off things. i like to create an interesting new world in which Meg [Langslow, her heroine] can play, where all the normal stress lines are exacerbated and it feels as if it could result in a life of crime.”

Sounds like the holidays? Speaking of: Andrews also has a new Christmas-themed book out, Six Geese A-Slaying, in which someone drives a stake through the heart of Santa. Season’s greetings to all.

ad880736lWhile I don’t myself have an article in the new Mystery Scene, there’s plenty of great reading material, including articles on Baroness Orczy (creator of the Scarlet Pimpernel), Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason), and Chicago writer Sean Chercover, winner of both the Shamus and the Gumshoe Award for his 2007 debut, Big City, Bad Blood. Plus, Kevin Burton Smith offers a holiday gift guide (in case you really want to get someone a Barney Fife tie).

issue_107Barney Fife, of course, makes a suitable segue to my own holiday guide in this month’s Metro magazine, where I invited North Carolina booksellers to offer their top suggestions for the gift-buying season. While some recommendations are North Carolina-centric, others will please even those far beyond the state’s borders, including Robert Olmstead’s Coal Black Horse, Joyce Hinnefeld’s In Hovering Flight, and two books by Leif Enger. Check out the full list online

Finally, I can’t find it in the dictionary, have never heard it before, and I wouldn’t have known what it meant except for the context, but I’m very impressed with the use of the word trichotillomania in conjunction with Jonathan Safran Foer’s agent. (I was pulling my own hair out trying to find a precise definition until wikipedia saved me.)

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