Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Blog: Author Marja McGraw

The Socrates' Book Review Blog and The Socrates' Cozy Cafe Blog are happy to welcome author Marja McGraw to our happy home. She agreed to do a guest blog post and we're so happy she did. Marja is the author of two mystery series, The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries. Welcome Marja!

I Wish I’d Written that Book

I enjoy writing mysteries more than anything I’ve ever done before. Initially people called it my “hobby”, and I smiled politely while trying not to voice my thoughts. However, about the time my fifth book came out, those who knew me decided it wasn’t a hobby after all. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

However, I’m also an avid reader, or at least I was until I started writing. Now I don’t have enough time to read everything I’d like to. For purposes of this article though, I’m going to remain a reader.

Beginning with my mother’s Honey Bunch books, and moving on to the Oz books, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys books, and finally real honest-to-goodness adult books, I’ve enjoyed the freedom to go places and do things vicariously through the characters and the stories.

All that reading and all of those characters and storylines are what prompted me to write mysteries. Some of the ideas are so unique that when I finish a book I sit back and wish I’d written it.

Janet Evanovich is so funny. Mary Higgins Clark’s books are so polished. Tony Hillerman’s books gave me a whole new perspective on quietly waiting for things. I can’t wait for the next Dorothy Bodoin book to come out so I can see what her characters and the collies are up to. I love exploring the pyramids with Elizabeth Peters. Clive Cussler takes me on such wonderful adventures. And those authors are only the tip of the iceberg. I’m constantly finding new and lesser known authors to read.

When To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee came out, even though I’d never given a thought to writing a novel, I read the last page and wished I’d written that book. The characters were so real to me—Atticus, Jem and Scout. The storyline reminded me of what times and people were like in the thirties. (Even though I wasn’t even a sparkle in my mother’s eyes in the thirties, I’ve heard things.) And Boo Radley--oh, what a guy. I think every town has had someone whom people talked about and who was highly misunderstood. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the book. You’ll be glad you did.

Marley & Me by John Grogan made me laugh out loud, and then the story made me cry. I wish I’d written it because it was so entertaining. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t really quite believe the story and ended up with two yellow Labrador retrievers, Sugar and Murphy. Believe me, Grogan’s story was spot on. These dogs are half nuts, but I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

Sometimes I read one simple idea in a story--and wish I’d thought of it first. Oh well… I do my best.

If you like mysteries, and the idea of being stranded in a ghost town appeals to you, try Old Murders Never Die, by me (Marja McGraw). Maybe one day someone will read it and say, “I wish I’d written that.” One can always hope.

Yvonne, Thank you for letting me visit today. Thinking about all the books I’ve read makes me remember why I enjoy writing so much.

To find out more about Marja's books, check out her wonderful website...

Marja Mcraw Website

and check out her books...

Thank you so much for joining us, Marja!


  1. Like you, Marja, I have my favorite authors and wish I'd come up with the story idea, premise or that great one-liner first.

    The wonderful thing about reading other authors is it spurs us on to become better writers, and we write what we write because no one else can.

    I guarantee someone BESIDES ME has already said "I wish I'd written that" about your books!

  2. Yvonne, Thank you so much for inviting me to do a guest blog. What a great site!

  3. Ah, thanks Anne! I can say the same about your book, Frank,Incense and Muriel, because I enjoyed it so very much.

  4. Hi, Marja, as usual you've done a great job writing a most captivating post, just like your books.


  5. Thank you, Marilyn. I can say the same about your books. I'm just about to start the Bear book, and I'll probably end up thinking I wish I'd come up with your idea.

  6. Interestingly, I've never wished that I'd written someone else's book. This is food for thought. What I'm usually left with is a desire to improve my books with more enriched dialogue, vivid description and in-depth characters. Great blog post!

  7. Theresa, I can tell by your comment that I'm going to have to read one of your books. Thank you for stopping in.

  8. Hi Marja,

    You've named most of the authors I love, many who have shaped my own writing. Food for thought, are there books I wish I'd written. That makes me step back and think. I'm so embroiled in my own work, I've never considered this.

  9. Sometimes I'll read just a line in a book and think, "Now why didn't I say that?" It's all inspiring, although sometimes we don't realize it because we're enjoying the book so much. Thank you for stopping in, Lesley.

  10. You listed a a few authors I read. I hope one day an author will my books and not necessarily say, "I wish I'd written that." (which would be cool), but "I want to write something that good."

  11. Maybe that's the real point, Stephen, that I wish I'd written something that good--that I hope someone enjoys my books as much as I enjoyed some of the ones I mentioned. Thank you for stopping in.

  12. Your post made me think, Marja, about the books I wished I'd written...there are a lot. Good thoughtful post!


  13. Terrific guest post! She's a reader who became a writer (and now has less time to read!). There are so many books I wish I'd written, also, too numerous to tally!

    (P.S. Yvonne, I will "check out" your cozy mystery blog. The button is adorable!)

  14. Now I know why I enjoy your books - we read same authors and appreciate their individual "wish I wrote that" moments.

  15. Marja - Although I wanted to read Bogey Nights first, your other series sounds like something I'd enjoy too. I'm torn as to which to read first. LOL

  16. Madeline and Suko, I'm glad there are other who feel as I do.

    Jake, I'm so glad you enjoy my books, especially considering you read the "biggies", too.

    And, Yvonne, I have to admit that Old Murders Never Die is my favorite (so far), simply because it's such a different type of storyline and takes place in a ghost town. Although, if you enjoy things having to do with the forties, Bogey Nights is a blast.

    Thank you to everyone for stopping in today. This was a lot of fun.


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