Today I’m happy to welcome author Margaret Mizushima for an interview and talk about her latest book.
- What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I had been writing in different genres, pitching to agents at writing conferences, sending queries and requested manuscripts, but I kept getting rejections at every turn. A relative asked, why don’t you write a mystery? I loved mysteries but thought they would be very hard to write and didn’t know how to go about setting up the puzzle, planting clues, developing red herrings and the like. I attended mystery-writing workshops, read and studied my favorite mysteries, and began an outline. This education and study resulted in the first episode in my Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, Killing Trail, which gained me an agent and eventually a publishing contract.
- What is the worst/funniest/strangest thing an editor ever said to you?
During those years before I acquired an agent, I pitched to agents and editors at every writing conference I attended. One time, I pitched a historical manuscript to an editor who asked me if I had an agent. I told him I didn’t, but he was the only one at the conference that year who was interested in historical fiction. He said, “You sitting here in front of me is like a guppy talking to a shark.” My pitch session ended with that.
- What is your character’s favorite food?
When involved with a case investigation, Deputy Mattie Cobb lives on black coffee and energy bars. When she can though, she loves her foster mom’s green chili with pork, which she eats with homemade tortillas.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A deadly secret is buried in the Colorado high country–and murder is only the beginning in the seventh gripping installment of Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mysteries.
He was suspect number one–the man who tried to kill Deputy Mattie Cobb and may have killed her father thirty years earlier. But when Mattie and cold case detective Jim Hauck reach the Colorado state prison where they will finally get to interview him, he’s found dead in his cell. There’s only one clue: a map leading to Timber Creek and rugged Redstone Ridge.
Though she usually works with veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie’s K-9 partner Robo has just sired a litter of pups, who require special, time-consuming care at Cole’s clinic. Left to explore the map’s clue without him, Mattie and Robo journey into the burned forest surrounding Redstone Ridge. But before they can finish their search they’re called to help investigate the death of a young woman found in a campground filled with elk hunters. Identification of the deceased points to her having recently given birth, but the infant is nowhere to be found.
As a deadly storm descends upon the mountains, covering everything with a layer of ice and snow, Mattie and her team search for the missing newborn. The storm batters the area, taking its toll on the team and forcing the sheriff to call in reinforcements. When new evidence surfaces, they decide that finding the woman’s killer will lead them to her baby, making them even more desperate to solve the case.
Then Cole goes missing, stranded alone in the high country with a person that Mattie now suspects is the mastermind behind several murders, including her father’s. She and Robo take to the trail to find Cole–but the killer has a cold-blooded plan that threatens them all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. She serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, 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 @margmizu, and her website at www.margaretmizushima.com.
Friday, early October
Finally . . .
Today Deputy Mattie Cobb could interrogate the man who had once tried to kill her. She parked her K-9 unit outside the prison gates as she scanned cars that had already arrived. She leaned forward, fingers hovering over the key in the ignition, her stomach churning with a mixture of dread, anticipation, and yeah . . . some sort of deep satisfaction that she was about to meet face-to-face with the man who’d once tried to burn her alive.
And he would be left behind bars after her interrogation, while she would be free to walk away.
With hours left to go before regular visitation, there were very few vehicles for her to sort through. She was looking for Jim Hauck, a cold-case detective from San Diego who was investigating the shooting death of Douglas Wray, Mattie’s biological father. Her dad had been killed almost thirty years ago, and the case had never been solved. The circumstances around his death were complicated, most of the facts still hidden, and Mattie was determined to uncover the truth.
All the cars were empty. Hauck had said they should enter the prison together, so she assumed she’d arrived before him. She switched off the ignition and settled back in her seat as she glanced into the rearview mirror. Her German shepherd partner, Robo, heaved himself up from his cushion where he’d been sleeping and dropped his shoulders into a long stretch. His pink tongue curled and his sharp teeth glistened as he yawned until his throat squeaked.