Today Meg Macy is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Bear A Wee Grudge, her latest novel in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Cozy Mystery series.
Welcome, Meg. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series?
Bear A Wee Grudge is Book 5 of the “Shamelessly Adorable” Teddy Bear cozy mysteries, so yes! And my amateur sleuth, Sasha Silverman, is helping out with the very first Highland Fling that will include a Kilted 5K run, dancing, music, and even a Hurl-the-Haggis contest.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Every day I post photos of bears to share on my Facebook page. I noticed a kilted bear online and that sparked the idea of creating a Highland Fling event for my “cozy” village. Sasha has planned charity fundraisers or special parties in previous books, and I loved researching the festive food, games, and setting details. It’s always tougher to choose a murder victim for the plot! You don’t want to “off” a popular character, of course, so I chose a minor character who first appeared in Book 1, Bearly Departed. Teddy Hartman made trouble back then, and given the business rivalry between the Silver Bear Shop & Factory and Hartman’s Bears of the Heart, the guy had to bite the dust.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
Family is a major theme of this book and the entire series. After a nasty divorce, Sasha returned to Silver Hollow to manage the family business, joining her sister and uncle. After four books, she’s in a relationship with a woodcarving artist, Jay Kirby, who shares her belief that “family comes first.” And in Bear A Wee Grudge, the Silverman clan faces some major conflicts before the Fling even begins.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
First I start with their age and birthdate, which gives me an idea of their personality (using a handy dandy guide with both western and Chinese Zodiac traits.) I’m usually inspired by a film or television actor or actress to give me an idea of what they look like—not exactly, but it helps to watch their movements, voice, etc. Sasha resembles Emily Wickersham (formerly on NCIS), while Jay is modelled on Tom Mison (formerly on Sleepy Hollow.) I do enjoy Sasha’s grumpy Uncle Ross with his classic Thunderbird (turquoise interior) and his wife Aunt Eve who loves to wear 50s style fashions. It’s fun choosing outfits for her on Pinterest.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I researched the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory (although they moved from southeast Michigan to Missouri) and found photos of their shop, storage solutions, tours, etc. But I chose a Victorian-style former residence that Sasha’s dad renovated into the Silver Bear Shop, along with the former carriage house he expanded into a factory. Sasha and her sister also live in the shop’s back and upstairs rooms. I loved checking out photos to decorate the interior of their private rooms, plus the shop, via Pinterest. It’s great fun.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
For each book, I’ve researched social events, seasonal fashions, and the like. For example, in Bear Witness to Murder, with a fall OktoBear festival, I checked out costumes like dirndls and lederhosen. For Have Yourself A Beary Little Murder, I often attended Christmas parades and tree lighting ceremonies in small towns. And who doesn’t have a few interesting wedding stories? I added some details about dealing with a Bridezilla along with being a bridesmaid in Wedding Bear Blues. While I never attended a Highland Fling, I watched several YouTube videos about the various dances, music, and games like the caber toss or hammer throw. That added authenticity to the descriptions, along with researching various Scottish foods, for Bear A Wee Grudge.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
I hope readers enjoy the latest special event in Silver Hollow, along with trying to figure out who killed the Silver Bear Shop & Factory’s business rival. Sasha’s not about to let a murder ruin the Highland Fling!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!
You’re welcome, Meg. Thank you for answering my questions and good luck with Bear A Wee Grudge, your latest novel in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Cozy Mystery series.
The novel is available online at the following retailers:
About Meg Macy: Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close enough to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the setting of her “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mysteries for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries; two books, Wouldn’t It Be Deadly and Get Me to the Grave On Time were Agatha Award finalists for Best Historical. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. Meg loves reading historical and cozy mysteries, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.