by Sandra Murphy
& Lorie Lewis Ham
This week we have the pleasure of reviewing Andrew MacRae’s first mystery novel Murder Misdirected, interviewing Andrew, and at the end of this post is a chance to win a copy of the book.
The Kid has just returned from Louisiana where he first kept Fast Eddie company and then stood as sole mourner at Eddie’s funeral. It’s what you do for the man who mentored you, pretty much raised you and made you who you are today. It also cost a lot of money The Kid didn’t have so he borrowed from the people who charge high rates, rather insist on getting their money back and don’t bother with reporting to the credit bureau.
So, what’s a flat-broke pickpocket to do? The Kid goes to the nearest convention center and gets to work. It’s a good day, plenty of out of towners to choose from and The Kid fills his gimme bag with wallets hidden from view by convention literature. To add to the score, he shares a cab to the airport and lifts the last wallet of the day. He should’ve quit while he was ahead.
It seems the last mark wasn’t such a good person, in fact, much worse than an ordinary but exceptionally talented pickpocket like The Kid. Now The Kid’s hanging out with the wrong sort of people—the Feds—the cops and a diamond merchant. They’re all on the hunt for the missing ten million dollar’s worth of diamonds that should have been with the guy in the cab. Did The Kid lift those too?
Add in his stripper ex-girlfriend Lynn, a sweet hooker maybe named Darlene, Mel the friendly cop, Barbara and Tom from the bookstore (and Junior the store cat), a mysterious Russian mobster and The Kid’s got his hands full of much more than other people’s wallets.
Luckily, he’s not just quick with his hands but his brain too and he soon figures out the location of the missing diamonds and just who the baddest guy really is.
This book is full of characters you’d really like to meet and hang out with—while hanging onto your wallet of course. The ending ties up a lot of loose ends but I hope that doesn’t mean this is a stand-alone book. I’d love to visit with The Kid, Lynn, Barbara, Mel, Tom and Junior again.
Interview with Andrew MacRae
Lorie: How long have you been writing?
Andrew: I’ve wanted to be a writer pretty much all my life. I took a stab at it when in my 20s and working in a warehouse. I’d come home and type on my little manual Olivetti every night. Never sold anything but did receive a few nice rejections.
Lorie: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? A little about it?
Andrew: Murder Misdirected was released by Mainly Murder Press this past June. It’s the story of a pickpocket who one day picks the wrong pocket and finds himself on the run.
Lorie: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not what else have you written?
Andrew: I grew up reading Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and have always written mysteries as well as a smattering of science fiction and historical stories.
Lorie: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Andrew: In a writing workshop we were given a ten-minute writing assignment describing someone getting dressed in the morning. I decided the person was a pickpocket and had a special suit with hidden pockets. I started writing and didn’t stop until three months and fifty thousand words later!
Lorie: Tell me a little about the setting and main character for your book.
Andrew: Murder Misdirected takes place in a city that could be San Francisco but isn’t specified. The Kid, as he is known on the street, is a thirty-something master pickpocket and book lover.
Lorie: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Andrew: I try to write the kind of stories I like to read. My greatest reward is when someone finishes a story of mine and says, “That’s a nice story.”
Lorie: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Andrew: I usually write in the evenings, often at a local coffee house.
Lorie: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Andrew: I don’t begin with an outline; I simply blast through the first draft, letting the situation and the characters take control. After that I make notes on hardcopy versions to help me fix logic and plot holes (such as two sunsets in the same day or having it rain outside one window and a sunny day outside another.)
Lorie: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Andrew: I wish I had the discipline to write early in the morning.
Lorie: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Andrew: I couldn’t get a nibble from anyone when I first finished my novel and went a couple of years that way. Then I took it through a rigorous critique process and rewrote quite a bit of it as a result. To my surprise, the rewritten version was accepted by the first publisher to whom to submitted it.
Lorie: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Andrew: I didn’t open the email from Mainly Murder Press for at least an hour as I didn’t want to read a stock rejection. When I finally did read it I was quite over the moon and sent a text message too.
Lorie: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Andrew: Not really, but I have found book signings to be incredibly fun to do.
Lorie: Future writing goals?
Andrew: I’m getting ready to write a sequel to my novel, a daunting task.
Lorie: Writing heroes?
Andrew: Robert A. Heinlein, Dick Francis, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Bill Shakespeare.
Lorie: What kind of research do you do?
Andrew: I love doing research to the point that it can interfere with getting the writing done. Google is my primary tool these days, including using StreetView to check out locations almost anywhere in the world.
Lorie: What do you read?
Andrew: Mysteries, science fiction, classics and non fiction.
Lorie: Favorite TV or movies?
Andrew: I gave up watching television several years ago in order to have more time to write (and read). Once a month I host the discussion and showing of a classic movie at a local venue–I basically love them all.
Lorie: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers/
Andrew: Don’t talk about your story as that can kill the inspiration. Instead, write it down and keep writing it down until it’s done. Also, find a critique group that fits you.
Lorie: How do you feel about the growing popularity of e-books?
Andrew: I love my Kindle and love that the barriers to publishing have fallen.
Lorie: Anything you would like to add?
Andrew: A favorite quote by Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing. I love having written.”
Lorie: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Andrew: I have had a number of poems published in various literary journals.
Lorie: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
Andrew: I am on FaceBook too much for my own good and, of course I have a website.
Lorie: How do you compete in an overcrowded market?
Andrew: By keeping an active presence online, membership in Sisters in Crime, book reviews I write for Suspense Magazine and by writing and (hopefully) publishing frequently. (watch for a short story by Andrew here in KRL soon)
To enter to win a copy of Murder Misdirected, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Misdirected”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 26, 2013. U.S. residents only.