Ruth Moose's debut mystery, winner of the 2013 Malice Domestic First Best Traditional Mystery from St. Martin's Press, 2014.
1. When did you begin writing? Why?
My grandfather was a Baptist preacher and one of my earliest memories was watching him write sermons with a leaky fountain. When he left his desk, I picked up his pen and "wrote" all over his sermon. I was severely scolded, maybe even spanked, but I knew even then I loved to write.
2. When and why did you begin writing mysteries?
As a short story writer I had trouble plotting (I still do). Doris Betts, my first creative writing teacher at UNC, told me to write a mystery to teach myself to plot.
3. Are you writing a series or a stand alone? Explain your basic idea for your series.
I simply wrote a book.
4.Tell us about your journey to publication with this book.
Doing it at the Dixie Dew was written in l987 on a Kaypro word processor, converted to a Dell, then later to an Apple. In 2013 I entered it in the Malice Domestic competition at St. Martin's Press and it won, was published 2014.
5. Why did you choose to write about the topic, community, issues you chose?
I love small towns, the South. This is what I know.
6.How have you found it to be published? Share that experience.
I've published 3 collections of short stories, 6 books of poetry and nobody much noticed. A novel gets attention. And reviews. I have been so pleased and proud to have "readers" and glowing e-mails.
7. Comments from readers/reviewers.
Wonderful comments from people who liked my characters, wanted to live in my mythical town. People who want more of these imaginary people.
8. What other books have you published?
My collections of short stories have been published by university and small presses. St. Andrews University published The Wreath Ribbon Quilt and Other Stories. August House published Dreaming in Color and Main Street Press published Neighbors and Other Strangers.
9. Do you have a work in progress now? Is it part of a series?
Wedding Bell Blues is the sequel to Dixie Dew and it's to be out from St. Martin's in 2015.
10.Do you belong to Sisters in Crime?
Yes, I am a member, and I find the local chapter supportive. It's an organization that really promotes work by women writers.
11. Is it a benefit to go to mystery conference like Malice Domestic?
Yes, you meet great people/readers and writers.
12. What else can you say about your books?
Reviewers have said Dixie Dew was "laugh out loud" and more humorous than frightening. I see such odd and unusual things in everyday life that beg to be included in fiction. The new book has some even funnier events, yet there is always an underlying theme of social concerns and life in a small Southern town, with unusual characters. I never plot out a book, but work for character as in my short stories, then let the characters become the story.
Doing It at the Dixie Dew is Ruth Moose’s first novel. It was published by St. Martin’s Press in May 2014, after she won the $10,000 Malice Domestic First Best Traditional Mystery award in 2013. In the past forty years she has published 1200 poems, short stories, book reviews, and columns. She has three collections of short stories: The Wreath Ribbon Quilt, Dreaming in Color, and Neighbors and Other Strangers. She has had her work published in Holland, South Africa, England, and Denmark as well as all over the U.S. Of her six collections of poetry, the most recent is The Librarian and other Poems. She received a MacDowell fellowship, and in 2009, a prestigious Chapman fellowship for teaching. Originally from Albemarle, she now lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where she continues to write and teach since her retirement from the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Creative Writing Department in 2010. With an authentic Southern voice, her characters resonate the humor and tragedy of everyday lives.