Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Murder In Devon - An Interview with Maggi Andersen

This week my guest is multi-published romance author Maggi Andersen. Her newest book, Murder In Devon, is a solidly entertaining story, and I was so glad that I had the chance to read it while preparing for this post. I liked the main character, Casey, and thought it was very well-paced and suspenseful. I'm excited to introduce Maggi, so she can tell you more about this book and writing in general.

      LR: So how long did you live in London? :) For a girl from Sydney, you did an amazing job of creating a realistic setting.

MA: I have a good friend in England, in Richmond actually, which features in the book. I visited her for short stays of about six weeks at a time. That gave me enough time to travel around the country. Years of reading books set in England helped as well.

      LR: As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the pacing of the story, the way events were spread out over weeks to months. It felt real to me. So many books seem to try to cram a lifetime into 72 hours and I end up more exhausted than the characters. What's your strategy for organizing a story so that events unfold at such a realistic pace?

MA: I don’t have a strategy. I have a timeline in my head I suppose and try to make it clear on the page. I like to write a few quiet reflective scenes in among the action scenes, where a reader has time to consider what has happened and what might happen next. That gives an idea of time passing. I don’t enjoy full on exhausting pace from beginning to end. I realize that many people do though.

:     LR: You clearly know a lot about art history and how WWII changed so much. Is that your background, or did you have to do a lot of research? And how did/do you approach research when you’re preparing to write?

MA: My mother was an award winning artist and I grew up with the smell of oil paint and books on art filling the shelves. After studying fine arts at university I became interested in art history. I tried painting too, but found I sadly hadn’t inherited my mother’s talent. I prefer to paint scenes with words. Reading my father’s thrillers as a teenager sparked an interest in the Nazis and WWII. After watching a neo-Nazi march in Munich on television it occurred to me that an evil group could be gaining strength and planning to cause chaos in the world. I wrote a synopsis for the book just before September 11.   

      LR: Describe the perfect writing environment. Do you like quiet or music or a certain chair, or do you like to write in a coffee shop? What’s the best place for you to create?
MA: I marvel that writers can produce work in a coffee shop, I’d be far too distracted. I have my corner in the house, a small study area off the kitchen. My research library is growing daily, crowding me out, and I might have to move to a larger area in the house soon. I often write with Fox News on in the background. Music can put me in the right mood for a scene, but I prefer to write without it playing in the background.

      LR: Okay, so an on-line friend of mine from Melbourne wrote a blog post recently about the wonders of Vanilla Slice. Do they make that in Sydney, and if so, where’s your favorite place to get Vanilla Slice (or other fave desert) and coffee?

MA: I love vanilla slices! There’s an award winning French bakery in my small town which makes superb ones. It’s one of my favorites along with black forest cake, and I also love a good apple pie with cream. These are delights I seldom indulge in these days. I put on weight just looking at them. We have a fabulous coffee shop here called Elephant Boy. The walls are lined with old books and pictures of India at the turn of the last century. Very charismatic. I may be able to write there now that I think of it. The coffee is excellent. What a temptation!

      LR: What’s next for Maggie Andersen? Historical? Contemporary? How do you decide?

     MA:  A reader asked if I planned to write a historical spy series and I thought it a good idea so that’s my next project. My first book: A Baron in Her Bed comes out in September. Regency spies and romance is a lot of fun to write. I’m submitting another romantic suspense to Black Opal Books soon. It’s set in Ireland and outback Australia.

      LR: Aussie-rules football or American? ;)
MA: I have to confess knowing little about either, but American football is fantastic to watch.

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Amy. 

And thank you for posting, Maggi! It's been fun.

She wants the truth, but it may cost her more than she thinks...

An ex-patriot-American living in England, magazine reporter Casey Rowan wakes to find one best friend murdered and another seriously injured. Casey is determined to find the killer, despite running afoul of the detective in charge of the case—a blue-eyed Scot named Rod Carlisle, who considers her a prime suspect. As Casey gets closer to the truth, losing her heart to the sexy cop isn’t the only thing she risks. Now her life is danger, too.

He wants her, but he may have to choose between love and duty...

Rod has no patience with civilians who interfere in police matters, even hot little numbers like Casey. Though he tries to keep things professional, Casey’s beauty and spunk are hard to resist. He warns her that what she’s doing is dangerous, but he only succeeds in alienating her. She refuses to listen and goes off on her own with disastrous results. Now Rod’s in a race to find the killer before the woman he loves becomes the next victim.


“Are you with me, Ms. Rowan?” The words pulled Casey’s attention back into the room. She took a sip of cold, sweet tea from the mug. Someone’s hand reached for her cup, and she moved her gaze up to a pair of concerned blue eyes.
“Ms. Casey Rowan? I’m Detective Chief Inspector Carlisle, of the Devon and Cornwall Police.” He squatted beside her. “I realize you’re in shock. Is there someone I can call?”
She bit her lip hard, needing to feel something. She wanted to scream and cry, but a cold vacuum seeped through her insides, and a sharp pain at the back of her throat sealed the scream inside. She’d stayed by Tessa’s side until they’d taken her away. Don was gone too, packed into an airless body
bag, zipped up tight. “I have to go with Tessa,” she begged him. “Will you take me to the hospital, Inspector...”
“Carlisle, Ms. Rowan. There’s no point in going to the hospital right now. And you can’t stay here. Is there somewhere we can take you?”
“I have to know if Tessa is going to be alright.”
“The hospital will ring you.” He looked down at her left hand, where she clutched her mobile so tightly her knuckles were bloodless.
“Is there somewhere you’d like to go, Ms. Rowan?”
Casey shook her head. The tears flowed and eased the pain in her throat a little. She sniffed and wiped them away with the sleeve of her dressing gown. “Someone has to take care of Soc.” She struggled to gain a hold on herself, not recognizing the strange, high-pitched voice.
“Who’s Soc?” A policewoman came to stand beside the man.
“Socrates is Don’s cat.”
“I see.” The policeman stood and spoke into the policewoman’s ear. Casey didn’t try to listen, her attention drawn to another policeman securing tape to the sitting room door. A fourth packed away his video camera. Be careful of their things, she wanted to say, pick up the cup I dropped.
The blue-eyed man left the room.
“Come on, love.” The policewoman took Casey’s arm.
“Now, don’t you go worrying about the puss. We’ll find someone to take care of him. First, we’ll go up and get dressed.
Detective Chief Inspector Carlisle has found somewhere for you to stay.”
Casey opened her mouth to protest. “Right near the hospital.”
She shivered and wondered if she’d ever feel warm again.


Maggi Andersen lives in the countryside outside Sydney, Australia, with her lawyer husband and their cat. Her study overlooks the creek at the bottom of the garden where ducks gather. Chickens peck around the yard and cockatoos call from the trees. After gaining a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, and raising three children, Maggi now indulges her passion for writing.
She writes in several genres, contemporary and historical romances, mysteries and young adult novels. You’ll find adventure and elements of danger in everyone.
More information on her website: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com


  1. Thank you for inviting me to your lovely blog, Liv, and asking such great questions.

  2. Well thank you, Maggi. You can come back & visit any time.

  3. Great interview! I love art history as well...took a few classes back in undergrad! Look forward to reading Murder in Devon!

  4. Thanks for swinging by, Leslie. I can totally recommend Murder In Devon. You're going to live it.

  5. Hi Maggie. Great interview.

    Bev Irwin / Kendra Jmes

  6. Read this excerpt before and re-reading it just jinxed my memory of how much I loved it then. Now I have to get this book.

  7. Thanks L R, art history is indeed fascinating!

  8. Thanks Zrinka and Bev for coming by and leaving a comment!

  9. Thanks for the interview post. From the comments this is a book I'll have to read.

  10. Great interview Liv and a wonderful author discovery for me. Being from Sydney perhaps Maggie knows more about league than AFL ??? ;)