Q&A with Molly MacRae
1) In LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT, the first
book in your Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series, the
protagonist Kath Rutledge joins a quirky fiber and
needlework group called T.G.I.F. — Thank Goodness
It’s Fiber. Do you do fiber crafts in your spare
time? If so, do you have a group of friends that you do
Yarns and flosses and fabrics call to me! And once upon a
time, when I had spare time, I did a lot of embroidery and I
sewed everything from baby clothes to backpacks to a
bridesmaid dress to a teepee. I’ve been taught to knit
so many times it’s embarrassing, but last year, thanks
to a patient friend, I think it finally stuck. I wish I had
more time for needlework these days, but I do belong to a
wonderful group of local fiber artists and I’m able to
get my fiber fix by drooling over their projects.
2) LAST WOOL AND TESTAMENT also features
Geneva, a ghost sidekick with a fun, spunky personality who
helps Kath Rutledge solve the murder mystery. Have you ever
seen a ghost yourself?
I’m a lot like Kath. I don’t think I believe in
ghosts. But . . . when I was six or seven, I was convinced I
saw two. Neither was scary, even though one of them —
wearing a fedora, believe it or not — walked into my
bedroom and into my closet. And even though I don’t
think I believe in ghosts and haven’t seen one in half
a century or so, I can tell a very convincing story about
hearing ghosts. But that wasn’t your question
so you’ll just have to wonder.
3) The series is set in the town of Blue Plum,
Tennessee, and the place seems so real it practically jumps
off the page. Is Blue Plum a real place? Is there a town
it’s modeled after?
Thank you for saying that. Blue Plum is completely real in
my own head, so it’s nice to know other people feel
that way, too. It isn’t real, but it is real bits and
pieces from all my favorite towns near where we lived in
northeast Tennessee. Most of it is Jonesborough,
Tennessee’s oldest town. I was director of the history
museum there for seven years and Jonesborough is a place
dear to my heart. The name Blue Plum I stole from Johnson
City, Tennessee. Johnson City has changed its name enough
times over the years I thought it might not miss a small one.
4) Can you share a little bit about your writing
process? Where and when do you like to write?
I’m lucky enough to have characters who enjoy talking
to each other and don’t seem to mind if I eavesdrop,
so I just sit back and take notes. It’s easy. (I
wish!) My characters do talk to each other, and I do take
notes, but I also set myself a daily word goal. When I reach
the goal, I’m done for the day. The next day I revise
the previous day’s words and go forward from there.
Eventually it all adds up to a book. So easy! Where do I
write? Mostly at my desk on a computer at home, but also in
a notebook on my walk to and from work and on a computer at
work over lunch.
5) Who are your favorite authors? Do you have a
favorite book or genre that you like reading the most?
You’re asking that of a librarian and former
bookseller. Favorite authors and books are to me as shoes or
hats are to people with fashion sense and who don’t
crawl around on the floor at their day jobs. I have
different favorites for different occasions and way too many
for every occasion. I do gravitate toward mysteries, though,
and I have a special fondness for the comic novels of P.G.
Wodehouse. One of my greatest treasures is a letter
Wodehouse wrote to me.
6) In your spare time—if you have
any!—what other hobbies do you enjoy?
Looking for spare time is kind of like a hobby, isn’t
it? When I find it, I do the New York Times Sunday crossword
puzzle (I’m an addict and I’m good!) and I cook.
I’ve been cooking since my mother gave me a miniature
baking set before I could read. I put myself through school
cooking in a campus bar & grill and a dorm with two thousand
students — making things like eighty gallons of
spaghetti sauce at a time. These days I cook vegetarian. Not
just brown rice and beans, vegetarian, though. WOW
vegetarian with eye-popping and taste bud-dazzling flavors.
If you want recommendations for great vegetarian cookbooks,
or a few good recipes, let me know.
7) 7. Can you give us a sneak peak at what is in
store for the next Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery?
Sheep! Kath and some of the TGIF members take a field trip
to a sheep farm to learn hand-painted dyeing techniques.
But, as you might guess, another type of dying interrupts
them and Kath and her friends—and the
ghost—scramble to unravel the new mystery. Kath learns
more about the ghost and she might, just might have been out
on a date. She isn’t sure and I’m not telling.