Monday, April 13, 2009

Mystery Mondays: Author Interview - Margot Kinberg

MysteryMondaysLogoWelcome to my first-ever author interview, which I'm thrilled to feature on Mystery Mondays! You might remember that I recently read and reviewed Publish or Perish, by Margot Kinberg. She was gracious enough to participate in my inaugural interview and I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better!

Margot Kinberg Photo
Hi Margot, can you tell us a little about your background? When did you decide to try your hand at writing a mystery?
I'm originally from Pennyslvania - I went to school there, too - and lived mostly in the Philadelphia area until we moved to Illinois, when my daughter was 6. After four year in Illinois, we moved to California, where we live now.

I've always loved reading, and, when I was a teenager, began to focus on mysteries, my favorite genre. I decided to try my own mystery a year and a half ago.

Who is/are your biggest influence(s)?

My biggest influences are Agatha Christie, Rita Mae Brown, Lilian Jackson Brown, and the late, great Tony Hillerman.

Publish or Perish coverWhere did you get the inspiration for Publish or Perish?

I've spent most of my working life on college campuses, and I've always loved them. I've always been fascinated by the people, the lifestyle, and the atmosphere. So I would say that I was inspired by my fondness for campuses.

What research did you have to do (if any) before writing this book?

I did a little research on some aspects of police procedure and the law.

Do you have a favorite character or scene you can share?

Hm...There are several characters I like - even the "unlikeable" ones - because to me, it's the people who make a mystery real. I'd say I really like the wife of Joel Williams (the sleuth in the novel). She's not a major character, but she keeps her husband grounded, adds insight and gives the story solid background support.

What do you find to be the easiest and hardest parts about writing? Do you ever experience writer’s block?

The easiest part about writing is figuring out who the characters will be and what happens to them. They almost create themselves, really. The hardest part is fitting all the pieces together so that the story not only makes sense, but is believable. Sometimes, too, I have to go back and make sure I've added enough to round the characters out.

I don't really get writer's block. What does happen, though, is that my full-time job sometimes makes it hard for me to spend as much time telling my stories as I wish I had.

Obviously you don’t have to say which one, but is Tilton University based on a real university?

It's funny you should ask that : ). Tilton isn't based on one particular university. It's more a composite of a few places I've been. Interestingly enough, too, as people have read the book, they've been kind enough to say that they were picturing their own undergraduate/graduate universities...

Do you still find time to read for pleasure? If so, whose books are your top picks?

I do read for pleasure. I think that's an important aspect of writing. I like different kinds of mysteries, too (as well as other genres). I always look forward to new Robin Cook mysteries. Also, try Kevin Hughes (Casualty Crossing, Just Another Shade of Blue), Laurien Berenson (the Melanie Travis mysteries are great!), and Dicey Deere (her Torrey Tunet series is nicely done). I also like Caroline Graham's Chief Inspector Barnaby series.

Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress? Will it be another mystery? Any idea when it will be published?

My current work-in-progress is, indeed, another mystery, also taking place at Tilton, and featuring Joel Williams. This one centers around the sudden death of a highly gifted undergraduate violinist. It features family wealth, an important music competition, a valuable Amati violin, and an infatuated fan. I'm hoping it will be published either late this year, or early next year.

Thanks, Melissa! This has been fun!!

Thank you for joining us Margot! I know I'm looking forward to reading more about Joel and his sleuthing in your next book!

And I encourage all of you reading this to give Publish or Perish a try and get to know Tilton University and its population!


  1. Great interview! I loved the review. The book seems very interesting.

  2. Great interview, Melissa! Was really interesting!

  3. What an interesting interview. I'm amazed that writers can manage a full time job along with their writing careers. Kudos to Margot Kinberg. Great questions for your inaugaral interview!!

  4. Thank you so much, everyone! It was fun to try my hand at an interview for a change, and I hope to have the opportunity to do it again.

    Bonnie--I know what you mean about the job + writing thing. Sometimes I feel like I can barely keep up with my blog and hold down my job!

  5. Great interview, Melissa! And thank you for taking the time to answer Melissa's questions, Margot. It's always interesting to look behind the scenes of a book and into an author's life.


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