M. K. Graff
Hello, M. K. Graff, what should I call you?
1. My Name is: Marni Graff
2. Which country are you from?
3. Do you prefer to read a particular genre?
I review crime books, so that makes up the bulk of my reading. I’m partial to police procedurals and psychological thrillers, darker than what I write.
4. Do you write in the same genre? If not which one?
I do write mysteries, a mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural over two series, so my reading is also helping me keep up with the curve of what’s popular with readers.
5. Have you always written and what got you started professionally?
I knew I wanted to writer from an early age and wrote everything from poetry to essays during a 30 year nursing career. I studied various forms and experimented, did journalism during that period for a nursing journal. By the time I was ready to change careers and write full time, I’d settled on mysteries because that’s what I enjoy reading the most. During that turnover period, I wrote interview articles for “Mystery Review” magazine and learned from many of the authors whose work I read. Good training!
6. How many books have you published?
I have four in The Nora Tierney English Series and one in the newer Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. I’m writing the second one in the Trudy series right now, and then will go back to Nora #5 and continue to alternate them. I’m also co-author of a non-fiction primer on finding your writing group, Writing in a Changing World.
7.Which one would you like to tell us about?
The Golden Hour: Nora Tierney is an American writer living in England who’s left the magazine job that took her to the UK to write children’s books. Nora feels she and her young son are being stalked, at the same time her partner, DI Declan Barnes, is investigating the death of a young art conservator at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. How the two threads intersect provide the twisted plot.
Ausma Khan says the books is “…A meditation on love, loss and motherhood, The Golden Hour blends touchingly real domesticity with tongue-in-cheek humor, as the backdrop to a tale of art theft, germ warfare, and international conspiracy…Add to this is a wonderful sense of place—Bath, Brighton and Oxford are vividly rendered and charmingly true to life. Come for the crackling mystery, stay for the steady companionship of debonair detective Declan Barnes and feisty heroine, Nora Tierney, who offers warmth and smarts in equal measure.”
8. Why did you write this book book and what is it about?
What makes The Golden Hour different from the first three Nora Tierney mysteries is that I deliberately decided to take a darker turn with it. First, I didn’t want followers of the series to feel they were always reading the same book. And second, I felt I wanted to do something different to stretch myself as a writer. In the first 3 Nora’s and in the first Trudy, I’ve been exploring something that fascinates me: what makes a seemingly normal person feel it’s reasonable to cross that line and commit murder? What motivates a person to convince themselves to do that?
But in The Golden Hour, readers know up front who’s the bad guy. This one is not a Whodunit? but more of a Cantheystophim? A psychopath has launched a plan to take down the people of Great Britain, whom he loathes. He has the financial resources and contacts to make this happen, too, but his anger blinds him to how far people will go to protect those they love.
This is the first time I’ve written a psychopath, and to my surprise, I had great fun creating the evil Viktor Garanin. Readers learn the roots of why Viktor has hatched his plan. The theme revolves around ‘what is family?’ and who composes it as we take risks to make that happen.
10. What would you like your next book to be on?
The next book will be a Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, and is titled Death of an Heiress. Trudy has what was my favorite real nursing job during that career, working as a medical consultant for a NY movie studio. It’s the series my mentor, P D James, insisted I write, as she felt readers love a behind-the-scenes look at jobs they don’t know a lot about. The first in the series, Death Unscripted, is dedicated to her.
In the second, Trudy is working on a television film being shot at the famed Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side, familiar to most people who are not New Yorkers as the place where John Lennon lived and died. In fact, Yoko Ono still lives there. In the story, the actress Trudy’s hired to watch over is in the early stages of a difficult pregnancy when she disappears. In reality The Dakota does not allow filming, but in Trudy’s world they do.
11. If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?
I’d always go back to England. My husband and I will be there for two weeks this summer (2018) for setting research for me for the next two Nora books, mainly in Cambridge and Cornwall. I try to get there every other year, and sometimes attend St Hilda’s Mystery and Crime Conference in Oxford, the longest running conference of its kind in the UK. When I visit England, I feel as if I’m coming home and I used to joke that I’d lived there in another life. Then this Christmas my husband got us DNA kits. I always thought I was half German and half Italian in my roots. I am 17% of each of those, but to my enormous surprise, I am 20% British!
12. Is there anything you can share about yourself or your work that not many people know?
I’ve already told you I was a nurse before writing full time, which surprises many people. I read 2-3 books a week for my crime review blog, but when not reading or writing, I’m wrapped up in my two pups. My husband and I love dogs, and currently have two Australian Labradoodles, Seamus and Fiona. They wrestle and play together, sleep entwined, and have the sweetest nature. I highly recommend this breed, and they don’t shed!
13. What is your favourite foreign food?
That’s a tough one. With my Italian heritage, I’m fond of pastas and pizzas and tend to go there first. But I also like Greek and Mexican. I’ll even eat Indian. Must I choose?
14. Have you ever accidentally called your spose/partner by the name of a character in your latest book and if so what was his or her reaction?
While I haven’t called Doc by a character name, we did get into a bit of difference over a male character. In the first Nora book, The Blue Virgin, Nora is close to her illustrator, Simon Ramsey, who loves her. But she’s just ended an engagement, only to have the fiancé die a few days later in a plane crash; three weeks later she finds she’s pregnant. So her emotions are all over the place. When she meets DI Declan Barnes, sparks fly but she’s in no place to start a relationship.
In further books once it became clear that Nora and Simon would be loving friends but nothing more than that, Doc read the first draft and told me I’d gotten it wrong, that Nora had to end up with Simon! I finally said to him: “You must think Simon is modeled on you, but he’s not!” He’s since gotten over it . . .
You will be able to read more about M. K. Graff’s The Golden Hour on this blog when I have finished the review (soon).
You will be able to access details of M. K. Graff’s The Golden Hour on this site when the relevant page goes up (soon).