Kathy: You write the Quilting Mystery series, but do you quilt yourself? If so, how did you learn?
MM: Yes, I've been a quilter for almost 40 years. I am mostly self-taught, but did learn a lot along the way from fellow quilters. I've also taken a few workshops on special techniques, but for the most part-like anything else-my skills come from practice, practice, practice.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite quilting pattern?
MM: Although I admire fabric artists who have taken quilting to a whole new level with mixed media and applique, I LOVE traditional patterns and piecing. The geometrics intrigue me, like looking through a kaleidoscope. The possible combinations of shapes and colors is endless.
Kathy: Knot in my Backyard brings baseball to Martha Rose. Are you a fan of the game?
MM: I was when my granddaughters were in a softball league. I think sports are so important for children, especially because of the current epidemic of youth obesity. But I regret to say that adult competition does not interest me.
Kathy: Martha and her neighbors are faced with an unsightly addition to their neighborhood. Have you ever had to deal with a similar issue?
MM: Yes! Although purely fiction, the book was inspired by events that happened around my own neighborhood.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
MM: For years I quilted every day, all day long. That left little time for reading, so I started listening to books on tape. I got hooked on mysteries because I love solving puzzles and piecing things together.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
MM: I once contributed a chapter to a book on Jewish mysticism. I also have an unfinished memoir.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
MM: I feel most comfortable writing about what I know. So I chose settings that I was familiar with, and modeled most of my characters after people I knew. I believe that Jewish women are underrepresented in cozy fiction, so I wanted to introduce a heroine that was familiar to me, but novel to a lot of readers.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
MM: Well, I love all my characters for their quirkiness and core values. I have special fun with the villains. But I'd have to say that Martha is my favorite, with all her faults. I know her so well.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
MM: Each story has been inspired by a specific experience of mine or of someone I know. That's not to say that each story is a true reporting of an event, but a jumping off point for my imagination.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
MM: I have to laugh at myself now, but a few years ago I thought writing books would be a great way to supplement my retirement income. I have since learned that unless you write blockbuster best sellers that are made into movies, the income from writing cozy mysteries is, well, modest. Meanwhile, I got hooked on the idea that people enjoy my books, so as long as I have readers I will publish.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
MM: Only four? Martha Grimes, James Patterson, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and St. Paul.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
MM: W Is ForWasted by Sue Grafton
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
MM: Well, the obvious one is quilting. The surprising one is playing hidden object computer games. Again, it's an activity that involves solving puzzles and piecing clues together.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
MM: Coffee, tea, Persian cucumbers and olive oil.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
MM: Yes. Book 3 in the series, Gone But Knot Forgotten, will be published next September. I'm currently working on book 4. I'd like to do a book a year in the series.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
MM: Oh my gosh, letting my imagination take me to places I've never gone before. I love being in Martha's world where I have the power to make anything happen.