Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Interview with Margaret Dumas

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is titled Murder in the Balcony. It’s the second in the Movie Palace Mysteries
series. The first was Murder at the Palace.
Prior to the Movie Palace Mysteries I’d published two other mysteries and one non-mystery.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I usually start out with thinking about something that I’d like to do with my life, but that for one reason or another (meaning: I’m a great big chicken) I haven’t. My first mystery series was set in a small theatrical company and for the Movie Palace series I set it in a classic movie theater.

I’m a huge classic movie fan, so creating a character who thinks in terms of Bette Davis quotes seemed like a good fit. And I’ve set all my books in San Francisco. It’s my adopted city and I think it’s a great background for just about anything to happen.

For a review of Murder at the Palace, click here

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy?
I think I’d love hanging out with classic movie people and programming a theater with the kinds of movies I love. I think I would not enjoy my character’s personal life — she was very publicly dumped by her movie-star husband and had to endure way too much attention from the press and social media. On the upside, there’s this new guy she’s just met in San Francisco...

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
I model my character on who I wish I could be. I write in the first person, so some of my voice comes through, but my character is gutsier, more confident, and definitely thinner than I am.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Persist! Think of the process, not of the goal, and write regularly. The muse has an easier time finding you if you’re parked in front of your keyboard.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Sandra Bullock. No question. Sandy…call me!

Who is your favorite author?
Yikes, do we have that kind of time? I read widely, in all kinds of genres, so I’m going to go with my all time favorites, which are probably everyone’s favorites — Jane Austin and Louisa May Alcott. I know! So predictable! If we’re talking about people who are still writing, I always look forward to something new from Elinor Lipman or Cathleen Schine.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Okay, I’ve been thinking about classic movies even more than usual lately, so I’m thinking movie stars. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, even though they’d probably spend the night sniping at each other. Rosalind Russell for sure. And then I'd round it out with Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck. Now that I’m planning it I have no idea what to serve, beyond martinis. Lots and lots of martinis.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
It seems pretty clear that I’d like to run a classic movie theater. Let me know if you hear of one that has an opening!


Carole Price said...

Great answers, Margaret! Am currently reading your book.

Nancy Cole Silverman said...

Margaret, your enthusiasm for theater leaps from the pages, and I know I’m gong to adore your second as much as I did the first. Congratulations.