Interview with Marianne Harden, Author of Malicious Mischief and Giveaway

Malicious Mischief by Marianne Harden is the first in the Rylie Keyes mystery series.

Today, Harden is visiting my readers to talk about her path to publication, and there’s a giveaway.

But first, here’s a little bit about the book:

Is it strange to have the unemployment office on speed dial? Not for twenty-four-year-old college dropout Rylie Keyes. Her current job at a small retirement home is worlds more important than all her past gigs, though: if she loses this job, she won’t be able to stop the forced sale of her grandfather’s home, a house that has been in the family for ages. However, to keep her job she must figure out the truth behind the death of a senior citizen who was found murdered while in her care. Explain that one, Miss Keyes.

The victim was thought to be a penniless man with a silly grudge against Rylie. However, his enemies will do whatever it takes to keep their part in his murder secret.

Forced to dust off the PI training she needs to keep hidden from her ex-detective grandfather, Rylie must juggle the attentions of two sexy police officers who both excite and fluster her. And as she trudges through the case, she has no idea that along the way she might win, or lose, a little piece of her heart.

Please also check out the book trailer:

Without further ado, here’s the interview with Harden on her path to publication:

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing one genre or another on and off since late 1999 or early 2000. Or was it early 1999? I dunno. The same estrogen that gave me breasts and wider hips is robbing my brain of memory thanks to menopause. What was the question again? Oh yeah, the amount of time I’ve been writing. It’s been years and years and years.

Why did you start writing?

The sweet smell of success, the mind-boggling wealth, the respect of publishers, thousands upon thousands of happy readers—hahahaha—then I woke up.

Is there a favorite place you like to write?

My fourth-floor office overlooking Mt. Rainier. I know the view by heart. It’s imprinted on my brain; that is until menopause strips me of it. Damn dwindling estrogen.

What moves you to write?

I’m not much for confrontations, though the abovementioned menopause is changing that a bit. Oh, hello, testosterone. What injustice do you wish to rant about today? This shift in my disposition has been both freeing and disturbing at the same time. However, my M.O has not changed that much. I am peace loving, but many in the world are aggressive. And the aggressors, they are winning. So I write about them, exposing what I believe is wrong, unfair or nasty, and I do so with humor, always with humor because to do otherwise would be too painful.

Are you published?

Yes, with Entangled Publishing.

How did you sell your book to your publisher, directly or via an agent.

Publishing is more backbreaking and lonelier than it looks. I knew I didn’t want to go it alone, so when I finished Malicious Mischief in 2009, I sent out over two hundred queries, but the rejections were quick and numerous. I gave up for a year. A chance to live in Europe distracted me and filled my time, managing to pull me away from writing altogether. Then in 2011, and at the insistence of a friend, I queried again, sending out only two this time. Both hit. I signed with my agent in February of 2011. I’ve never looked back. We’re a team.

How long did it take you to write, sell and release your book?

Malicious Mischief took nine months to write, ten months to sell, and twenty-two months to release due to changes when Entangled Publishing integrated with Macmillan Publishing.

Describe your worst rejection letter.

That’s easy. I remember the letter well and the undue accusation. The agent sent me an email accusing me of submitting to him twice, saying I changed the title of the book to try to slip it past him. He said he didn’t like my story the first time and didn’t like it now.

Describe your best rejection letter.

Another easy one. She called me from New York. She was very kind, and I sensed she wanted to give me better news. Her voice was apologetic, hesitant, and solemn. She paused before she spoke, lingering over her words. She said she thought long and hard over her decision not to offer representation. She felt the mystery market was currently too tight for debut authors.

What is the most difficult part of the publishing industry?

Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. It’s overly time consuming.

What advice would you give to new writers starting out?

Don’t do it. There I said it. This business is brutal. However, take note of the next question.

If you could do anything differently, what would it be?

Steer clear of cynics and naysayers.

About the Author:

Marianne Harden loves a good laugh. So much so, she cannot stop humor from spilling into her books. Over the years she has backpacked through the wilds of Australia, explored the exotics of Asia, soaked up the sun in the Caribbean, and delighted in the historic riches of Europe. Her goals in life are simple: do more good than harm and someday master the do-not-mess-with-me look. She divides her time between Switzerland and Washington State where she lives with her husband and two children. Please visit her Website, Twitter, and Facebook.

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  1. Interesting interview. That does sound like a really horrible rejection letter!
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