Manhattan in Miniature

As part of the editorial team for The Big Thrill magazine, and member of Thriller Writers InternationalI had the honor of interviewing, Camille Minichino for the magazine’s June edition.

Camille has written more than 20 mystery novels, and she also writes as: Margaret Grace and Jean Flowers.

A retired physicist, she’s married to her webmaster, loves writing, but misses her He-Ne laser.

As Margaret Grace, she writes the Miniature Mysteries, featuring miniaturist GERALDINE PORTER and her 11-year-old granddaughter, Maddie. The 8th in the series, MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE.

 

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Gerry Porter who provides magical experiences for his granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair.

Gerry and his granddaughter get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too.

But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California.

 

 

 

Chatting with Margaret Grace:

What draws you to the mystery genre?

The darkness. Even the coziest mystery has an element of the darker side of life. I write light, but I read dark. I can’t stay in the light too long.

Your book cover has a snow globe on it, which attracted me right away as I collect snow globes. Tell us the significance of the snow globe with relation to the plot and/or characters.

I love snow globes, also. Maddie, Gerry Porter’s 11-year-old granddaughter, is obsessed with souvenirs of New York City. She’s given this special one by an NYPD detective.

That would be such a special gift for a child who loves the whimsical elements of a snow globe and especially one, portraying a magical city like New York. What do you think readers will enjoy about the protagonist Gerry Porter?

Gerry is a miniaturist, specializing not in museum-quality pieces, but in “found objects”— turning toothpaste tube caps into lampshades, for example. Every book in the series has tips at the end for making minis.

I’m sure the reader will feel more connected to the characters and story line because of the time you took to provide tips for making mini’s. For those who are not familiar with the world of craft fairs, what is a SuperKraft manager?

SuperKrafts is a fictional chain crafts store; Gerry’s friend Bebe manages the one in her town, and is thus invited to a big NYC show.

What did you most enjoy when creating Maddie, Gerry Porter’s granddaughter?

I gave her the childhood I never had — what fun is that?

That sounds like a lot of fun, living through a child’s eyes and experiences, providing an enriching experience for all readers so they too can escape into a childhood different from their own.

What is the most interesting tidbit you can share, regarding research for your books?

Recently, a male reader alerted me to the fact that I never have men miniaturists in the books. I’m fixing that in Book 9 (fall 2016), MATRIMONY IN MINIATURE, in which a guy joins Gerry’s crafts group.

What is the hardest part when writing a mystery? Planting red herrings? Ensuring the reader doesn’t guess who the villain is?

Yes, all of that. To make things easier, I belong to several critique groups and have many beta readers — I count on them to keep me honest. In a cozy especially, convincing the reader that, yes, the lady who hems your skirts or runs the cupcake shop, will always rush to solve a murder.

That’s what I think make cozy mysteries so unique and fun to read. Placing ordinary people in extraordinary situations and watching them pull from their unique strengths and capabilities, and sleuthing to solve a crime.

What do you hope readers will come away with after reading MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE?

A greater appreciation of New York, my favorite city, a good time with people who are smart and interesting, and the satisfaction of justice served.

New York is one of my favorite places to visit as well, and it sounds like your offering in MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE will sweep readers into a world filled with an imaginative plot, interesting characters and twists and turns for a mystery, I’m sure readers will enjoy trying to solve. 

Thank you for taking time for sharing your thoughts on writing MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE and sharing a few snippets from your novel.

Meet Gerry & Maddie from MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE in the following snippets:

I needed a new refrigerator; there was no doubt about that. But I didn’t expect to have so many choices. I stood in the appliance section of the store. Should I buy the tall white two-door or a similar style in black with an ice maker?

I was also attracted to a French window arrangement in a wood-like shade, and the bottom-drawer-freezer stainless steel model next to it.

I had already ruled out the old-fashioned one-door in avocado green . . . In the end, I decided to buy them all, including a boxy yellow throwback with its motor on top that had fallen behind the others.

You could never have enough appliances to fill all your dollhouses or miniature room boxes.

***

Our cab came to a jerky halt in front of The Lex and we tumbled out.

“What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?” Maddie asked the doorman who helped us over the curb. “Are we ever going to get snow?”

“Maybe tonight,” he said.

“You always say that,” Maddie said.

I thought I saw a red blush creep up the doorman’s face.

Or it might have been the cold.

***

I still felt a little jet-lagged and tired enough to grab a few minutes of sleep. If a cab could be a phone booth, why not a bed?

We were traveling slowly enough in midtown rush hour traffic. I scrunched down a bit, got comfortable, head back, legs stretched out as far as possible, volume turned to zero on the video display in front of me, then . . .Crunch!

Praise for MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE

“Grace weaves the two plot lines seamlessly and gives the reader a loving tour of New York City highlights along the way. You don’t have to love miniatures or Manhattan to enjoy this book — just love a good mystery.” Amazon Reviewer.

“Gerry is a person I would be happy to spend time with touring New York City which she knows so well. A great series, with tips for miniaturizing.” Goodreads Reviewer.

 

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