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Category: Let’s Get Personal: Author Interviews

Idaho Author Guest Post: Jane Munro

Today, a fellow Idaho Author, Jane Munro, tells us why she is a mystery writer. See her bio and more about her books below. Read and review to support local Idaho authors!

BookCoverImageWhy am I a Mystery Writer?

Anybody who’s already a writer knows the answer to that question. There are probably as many answers as there are writers. As for the genre…I write what I love to read.

I’ve always loved mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and the Hardy Boys. Then I graduated to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers. I know, I’m dating myself here. Now there’s Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell.

People always compare me to that other pathologist who writes, now what’s her name? I say I don’t know, because I don’t know of any other mystery series written by a pathologist. But I know they’re thinking of Patricia Cornwell, who isn’t a pathologist, but a reporter.  I suspect that Kay Scarpetta is based on Marcella Fierro, the real chief medical examiner in Richmond VA.

What I want is for those people to be thinking of me when they ask that question.book cover

But I digress.

I can’t say exactly when I started wanting to write. I imagine I thought it would be something to keep me busy after I retired. Doctors have a way of working well into their seventies, and then when they retire they die. I don’t want to work into my seventies, and I don’t want to die, either.
I didn’t actually start writing until my husband gave me a word processor in 1992. I started writing Murder Under the Microscope then. I finished it in 2002, and sent it to an agent I had met at Murder in the Grove in Boise that year. She liked it, but said she couldn’t sell it. She said it needed a subplot. So I put in a subplot (Robbie) and sent it back. No dice. She chewed me out for making Toni such a wimp. So I fixed that and sent it back. Still no dice. I gave up.

bookcover Too Much BloodIn 2007, I had been divorced for 3 years and was introduced to a gentleman with whom I’m still keeping company today. He nagged me unmercifully until I went online, picked a publisher by the close-your-eyes -and-point method, and sent them Murder Under the Microscope.

And here we are. There are now 3 Toni Day mysteries out there, one more in the final stages of publication, and a 5th one in the works. I’m addicted. I never travel without my laptop. I look at every adventure as a possible plot for a mystery. The sixth Toni Day mystery may very well take place on a cruise ship.

Friends are always giving me suggestions for plots. My 4th book is called Death by Autopsy because my BFF said I had to write a book with that title, and I had to come up with a plot that fits it. It was a challenge, but I did it. Then I had to edit it, and that completely changed the second half of the book. I’m hoping to have it out in about a month.

Now I’m going through the same struggle with the next book. I have an idea for a story. I know who’s going to get murdered, but not who the murderer will be. That will become clear as I write. I hope.

Exciting, isn’t it?

And that’s why I write mysteries.

munjan015_4x5 300 dpi0002Jane Bennett Munro, M.D., is a hospital based pathologist who has been involved in forensic cases during the course of her thirty-five year career. She also spent 8 years on the Idaho State Board of Medicine and was chairman 1997-1999. Now semi-retired, she lives in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she enjoys music, gardening, scuba diving, and skiing. She is the author of Murder Under the Microscope, winner of an IPPY Award, and Too Much Blood.

 

TOO MUCH BLOOD

Pathologist Toni Day returns in this gory tale of a sleazy lawyer and his scam involving the doctors at Perrine Memorial Hospital, in which their earnings go directly into his hedge fund via an offshore leasing company, avoiding taxation. That is, until the economy takes its worst dive since 1929, and Jay Braithwaite Burke’s hedge fund is revealed as a Ponzi scheme. The Feds move in. Jay declares bankruptcy and disappears, only to reappear two months later, dead in his car in the middle of the snowy interstate.

At autopsy, Toni discovers that Jay bled to death. Shortly thereafter, Jay’s partner also bleeds to death. Jay’s widow and four children are kept on the move by a series of house fires, and soon everybody ends up at Toni’s house. Toni’s life is already complicated enough; her work schedule is brutal, and she fears that her husband, Hal, is having an affair. In the meantime, a mysterious illness casts a bloody pall over the Christmas season. Toni must use all her pathological expertise to keep her loved ones from a similar fate, and in so doing nearly comes to a bloody end herself.

GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM

A new administrator is hired to ease the transition when overcrowded and landlocked Perrine Memorial Hospital is bought out by a behemoth hospital system that covers much of the Pacific Northwest and promises to build a new hospital in Twin Falls. But Marcus Manning, a good ole boy with roots in Twin Falls, far from making anything easier, manages to earn the enmity of medical staff and employees alike as he ruthlessly goes about eliminating anyone who might oppose him in his quest to become not only CEO of Perrine Memorial, but CEO of the entire system.

Unwisely, he starts his campaign with pathologist Toni Day, who blows the whistle on Marcus’s twisted campaign of lies, blackmail and sexual abuse until the medical staff finally considers firing him, but is saved the trouble by someone with a more permanent solution … of cyanide.

Toni, as one of the prime suspects, is forced to solve the mystery of Marcus’s murder to keep herself out of jail, and as she delves further into the private lives of those involved in Marcus’s life, finds herself forced to kill in order to save her life and finally learn the truth.

MURDER UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

“There was a dead body in my office. It wasn’t mine, and I didn’t put it there.”

Dr. Antoinette Day, a young and successful pathologist in a small rural hospital, had no idea what she was in for when a beautiful female general surgeon came to the hospital to fill in for a colleague recovering from a heart attack.

The newcomer makes Toni’s life a living hell while taking every opportunity to discredit her with her other medical colleagues. When the surgeon is conveniently murdered, Toni is the obvious suspect, especially since the body is found in her office.

Now Toni finds herself in the position of having to solve the murder to keep from being convicted of it herself. The last thing she needs is to have a former boyfriend show up and start stalking her and threatening her husband.

Stubbornly, Toni continues to delve into the mysteries surrounding the deceased and soon finds that it’s not just her freedom that’s at stake, but her life.

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The Flashback

honda-cb-750-chopperThirteen years ago. October 13, 2000.

I rounded a corner. A Toyota pickup turned left in front of me, and I hit it at 45 mph. I ruined my bike, a CB750 I was lovingly restoring, and the freshly painted gas tank I’d just picked up and installed.

Broke the front forks and the triple-trees. Bent the front rim.

Shattered my right thumb, dislocated my shoulder, and got a nice piece of road rash on my right shin that would bother me for years. Still does from time to time. No one is sure why.

I was asleep October 12th–asleep at the wheel of life. The next day I woke up.

Thirteen years ago this coming Christmas day, I asked my wife to marry me, after we dated for almost two years. I told her she would have to wait until I was ready. She did. We married the following July.

102_1752In October 2009 we separated for six months.  In March of 2010 I was 40 years old and napping again. By April, I was awake. We nearly divorced, so when we reconciled, we rededicated our vows. We said I do again. That summer, I got serious.

I’m a writer. Always have been. A dabbler though, a pretender. This time the shit got real.

Did I want to be a writer for real? Did I like the idea of being a writer or actually writing? It was time to shit or quit: I woke up

and up

and up.

Book Cover 1A collection of short stories. Broken Bones. The wisdom at the time. If you are going to be an Indie writer, release a collection of your short work before your novel.

Check.

Write other stuff. Write what you know. Hundreds of articles on Motorcycle Maintenance for eHow.

Check.

Research and write new stuff.

Tons of articles for the now evolving Suite 101. Stuff I knew. Didn’t know, but researched.

Check.

Edit. Use your talents and hone your own work.

Check.

museum cautionCreate your own job. Oh, yes. Found research and papers that needed to be written. Found technology to do it better. Learned. Geology. History. Hydrology. Environmental science. Use these to write short films, do fun projects.

Check.

Three published novels now. That long ago scene on the motorcycle written into Temptation. Two more in the hopper, one complete one nearly so.

Check.

All the boxes checked. On the way to a career. A career, not a job I hate yet tolerate. Not something of fleeting interest. Writer. Editor. Researcher. Doing what I love. Five year plan: I’ll be working at home.

Check.

Prison Walls2April 2013. Wife wakes up. Hates her job. Geographically we are in the wrong place for this to happen. It’s not the right time. My plans, my career is taking off. But we have to move.

New location. New opportunities for me. For both of us. Five year plan, accelerated. I look around my home office, look at my keyboard, typing this. Dream realized. Opportunity knocked, we answered.

Awake.

cigarLast night, a strange show. Pins and surgery for the man on the screen. Suddenly I feel it again, beneath the scar on my right thumb. My shoulder aches. I see the hospital. Feel the pain, the need for drugs to quiet it. Rub my fingers along the lumps that were once protruding pins. Remember the physical therapy. It is a flashback. Suddenly I crave nicotine, a cigarette, a cigar, something. If I had one in the house last night, if it had not been so dreadfully cold … I might have ventured out, bought a pack. Or two. A new lighter.

A flashback. It takes time to pass. My nerves calm. My hands steady.

I’m awake.

Awake.

If it had not been for that day, if I had not woken up when I did …

The music starts and I begin to type, the words flowing faster as I pen the final scenes of my newest novel, the last in a series.

Confession.

The flashback is over.

Wake up. Before someone, something

wakes you.

tll2013

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The Answers You Are Looking For

I have a Facebook Event! We are celebrating the re-release of Redemption and Temptation. Are you part of it? You may find some of the answers you are looking for here. 

What the hell is that? Well, I have no clue, but it sounded like fun, so I jumped in. Part of the fun is author trivia, so this post is your landing zone: start here, and you may find the answers (and prizes) you are looking for. Not the droids, the prizes!


My current labor of love is a fundraiser for Boston Children’s Hospital. Half or the royalties from my story “The Angel” in Happily Ever Afterlife published by Untold Press gets donated. We also have t-shirts for sale. If you click here, you can donate directly. So what inspired the story? Read here.

I’m finishing up a novel titled Confession. It is the third in the Samuel Elijah Johnson series. The first two books will be re-released next Wednesday November 27th, just prior to Thanksgiving. Something happens on Thanksgiving every few years. If you are friends with me check out my Facebook profile here. We aren’t friends yet? Send me a request, and like my author page here.

The first two novels have brand new covers. They were designed by a fan, Natalie Collins and are designed to improve series branding. Follow this link to see the old and new covers side by side.

Recently I wrote a standalone novel not related to this series, titled Stray Ally. A strange accident on the freeway, accusations of murder, and an encounter in the Idaho wilderness all propel Todd Clarke into a new friendship with a dog named Sparky. But Sparky is no ordinary dog, and there is more going on than he could have imagined. A military commander he once investigated for Aryan activity and links to domestic terrorism is after him, and he’s not sure why until another chance encounter gives him the answer.

With Sparky and the help of a few friends will he be able to figure out the Colonel’s plan and stop him in time? All Clarke knows for sure it that none of it would be possible without the help of his Stray Ally.

This novel will be published next spring by Tirgearr Publishing.

I am not just an author. I also work as an editor. I work for Tirgearr as Senior Editor, and will be the managing editor for a series coming next year. It’s an erotic romance genre. What’s the difference between erotica and erotic romance? The focus on character development and story of course. You will have to stay tuned for the details coming soon!

Until recently, I worked at a museum, designing exhibits, doing archival work, digitization of records, and many other duties. Click here to like the museum on Facebook, and find out the area I lived in before moving to Boise. I still do research for the museum, and am writing and producing a documentary for them this year. Watch the trailer here.

I love music: listening to it while I write and edit. I listen to a wide range. I used to play several instruments. I learned piano as a kid, moved on to the saxophone in high school, and even attempted to learn guitar when I was in college at Boise State University. I wasn’t any good.

I can dance though. And I do like to play the air drums. My favorite albums to air drum to this year are; Blue October Sway and Daft Punk Random Access Memories. Want to see a video of me air drumming? Well, okay. If I must. Click here. Just kidding. Click here.

My wife’s hobbies include playing an instrument and photography. Recently we combined the two to create and image that Natalie used for the rear cover of the print version of Temptation. See that image here.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and the Event.  Did you win?

Links to Troy’s other work: Broken Bones on  Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, and Kobo. Redemption on Smashwords or Amazon. Temptation on Smashwords or Amazon. They are both coming soon to Nook and Kobo. Satanarium (co-authored with Poppet) hereDragonthologyTwisted Tales , Happily Ever Afterlife, Twist of Fate, , and EFD 1.

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