Sunday, November 25, 2012

Author Molly MacRae invited me to take part in a "blog roll" on Nov 28, so here goes. Each author answers 10 questions and then lists links to other participating authors at the end.

What’s the working title of your book?
The Bootlegger’s Nephew

Where did the idea for it come from?

It came from my interest in local history and a deep fascination with Prohibition. Actually, the story was supposed to be about archaeology during its “Wild West” days before it became an academic discipline, but Prohibition took over. The novel is set in Champaign County, Illinois, where I currently live, but I changed the name of my hometown from Champaign-Urbana to Big Grove.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Good question! I can’t think of an actress, but a dancer from Urbana Country Dancers has the perfect 1923 face for my youngest character, Anna Maria Junker. She looks like she could step into Flapper dress and be completely at home.

What’s the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An Illinois physician uses his knowledge of local geography and archaeology to catch a killer and break up a gang of bootleggers during Prohibition.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This book was published by Hilliard and Harris in February 2012. It is available as a trade paperback and Kindle edition at Amazon.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

At least two years. My day job as an archaeologist at the University of Illinois kept interfering…

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Jeanne Dams’ Hilda Johansson series set in South Bend, Indiana about 100 years ago.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My work at the Illinois Archaeological Survey was the original inspiration. My older colleagues tell such great stories about early Midwestern archaeology—all true. One of my favorites was about William Mac Adams, a famous amateur archaeologist and newspaperman during the late 1800s. When he died from falling into a creek while drunk, his wife celebrated by burning all his papers.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Bootleggers Nephew is a complete departure from my four published Lisa Donahue archaeological mysteries. The characters, Illinois Junker and his German wife, Martha Junker, took over my imagination along with their feisty nineteen-year-old daughter Anna. The research on the dress, language, speakeasies, and the gazillion ways to make and transport bad booze during the 1920s fascinated me. When my publisher turned down my request to include the non-fiction research as a supplement at the back of the mystery, we compromised by including a short glossary of 1920s slang at the front of the book. Then I published the Supplement as a free pdf download on my website:

Now follow these links to some of my favorite authors:
Molly MacRae, author of Wilder Rumors, Lawn Order, and Last Wool and Testament, as well as several short stories in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Go to for her post on Amy Alessio's blog, and Molly's author website is here.

David Ingram, winner of the Robert L. Fish Award for his 2011 short story "A Good Man of business," published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Read all about him and follow his posts at: