Interview and Giveaway
with author Maris Morton
Maris Morton is the author of the new novel, THE HERB GARDENER.
While this book is not the normal "cozy" mystery that I normally feature here, it is a very good story and a mystery that I feel you will all enjoy.
And thanks to Maris Morton's publisher I have a copy of
THE HERB GARDENER to giveaway to one lucky winner!
Please enter using RaffleCopter
at the end of the interview
LKBR: Hi Maris, Thank you for being here.
MM: My pleasure, Lisa
LKBR: Please tell us a bit about your book THE HERB GARDENER.
MM: Well, like most of my writing, it has its roots in my experience of living in rural Western Australia at a very formative period of my life. For most of that time I lived in a small country town, not too unlike my fictional town of Berricup, and formed friendships with many farmers, as well as the townspeople. I came to appreciate the country way of life — which I still follow, although in a different part of the country. I came to value the qualities of country people: their independence, adaptability, lack of pretension, courage and ingenuity.
As I’ve always been a devoted reader of crime fiction it was natural for me to try to write a mystery myself. I put together scraps of incidents, characters and places that I remember, and patchworked them into a story that I hope will entertain readers. My heroine, Joanna, is a contemporary version a very traditional character, someone with a quest; in Joanna’s case, she is seeking love, but to achieve it she has to overcome the monster that stands in her way.
LKBR: How did you come up with the idea of the story?
MM: Although I’m hooked on crime fiction, I’m not interested in turning out another police procedural, serial killer saga, spy story; or dealing with international crime or terrorism, enjoyable though many of these are. What I am interested in could be called domestic crime, the kind of bad deeds perpetrated by apparently normal people; the kind of crime that all too often goes undetected, and unpunished.
The theme of The Herb Gardener came from my experience of growing herbs myself — an interest that was fostered by my late mother, who used to send me bundles of herb plants to put in my garden. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but the characters, good and bad, evolved until they became dear to me. The teaching background of two of them comes from my own experience, and I did a good deal of research before I started writing, including spending time on the real farm that forms the background for the story.
LKBR: Will there be a follow up book to THE HERB GARDENER or do you feel the whole story ended at the close of the book?
MM: I don’t have any plans for taking those characters further, but you never know; I get very attached to them! My other novels (Portrait of the Artist as a Dead Man, and A Darker Music, plus the one I’m currently working on), feature the character Mary Lanyon, a young widow whose work as a temporary housekeeper takes her into a variety of situations, some of them dangerous.
LKBR: Are you currently working on a new book or do you have an idea you’re developing?
MM: My new book is called Meadowcroft, and concerns older people, some of whom are facing the realities of coming to the ends of their lives, a subject I can identify with as I’m getting there myself. One of my characters dies in suspicious circumstances, and Mary Lanyon has a hand in solving the mystery of who was to blame, and why. I also have another completed novel, The Sea Bird’s Egg, which is so far unpublished, alas!
LKBR: 2011 saw the debut of your first novel, A DARKER MUSIC. How did it feel when you first help that book in your hands?
MM: The biggest thrill was hearing that the manuscript had won the prestigious Scribe/CAL Prize for an unpublished manuscript, and would be published! After years of rejections from publishers and agents this was a magical moment.
LKBR: What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?
MM: I’m very curious, which has led me into some strange places and situations, not all of them good. Over the years I’ve worked in a wide variety of jobs, which has given me a wealth of experiences to draw on – a treasure for any writer. And when I’m not writing, or thinking about what’s going to happen next in my current story, I love gardening and cooking, looking after my chickens (and the cat), watching the changing light on Mount Warning and listening to the birds that inhabit the forest around me.
LKBR: It was such a pleasure to get to know more about you, Maris.
MM: Thank you for your interest, Lisa. I hope you enjoyed the book!
If you'd like to learn more about Maris, check out her website.
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