Interview with M. Ruth Myers, author of DON’T DARE A DAME, Finalist for the Shamus Award

Why do you write?

MYERS: I write because I have to. It’s too painful not to. Writing is who I am – which I don’t think is especially healthy. Even when I want to tear my hair out because my scene or pacing isn’t working, I’d rather write a book than win the lottery.

When do you write?

MYERS: Whenever I can. At some points in my life I was able to keep a regular schedule of six hours a day, five days a week. Right now I count myself lucky to get in 15 hours a week. Real life has a rotten way of making demands.

Where do you write?

MYERS: I’ve always been fortunate to have a private writing space. In Nebraska, it was an unheated attic that was freezing in winter & broiling in summer. Mostly I’ve had an actual, civilized room. In my current study, as well as the previous one, I enjoy the utter hedonism of wall of bookshelves.

For some time now, I’ve written my novels on a laptop computer that is not connected to anything else. I step over to the desktop computer with printer and internet connections for all other purposes. Somehow I like the magic of the novels not sharing bytes or electrons or whatever with other work.

What do you write?

MYERS: I write the Maggie Sullivan mysteries, a series featuring a woman private eye with great legs who keeps a gin bottle in her desk and a Smith & Wesson under her seat. The series follows her, and the city of Dayton, OH, from the waning years of the Great Depression through the end of WWII. I’ve also written books that aren’t in the series, and will probably be a repeat offender.

How do you write?

MYERS: I’m a plodder and a plotter. I like to have a sense of my opening scene and my climax scene before I write the first word. In addition, I need to have some key plot points in between so I know the book will really hang together. I may throw some out and add others, but that’s how it starts. Then I use index cards and a flow chart to check the flow of the story and test for rising and falling action. It sounds more anal than it really is. There’s plenty of room for spontaneity.

Tell me about your books and where they can be found.

MYERS: I did nine books with New York houses. The last, a thriller titled (not by me) A TOUCH OF MAGIC, is the only one I’ve reissued as an ebook. I hope to bring out my first novel, which was classic romantic suspense, as an ebook within the year. In between were assorted types which are out of print but available used from various sources.

Tell me what you’re working on.

MYERS: I’m currently working on the fourth Maggie Sullivan. It starts with hanky-panky with jewelry in a hotel safe, but quickly leads to murder and attempted murder. Maggie wouldn’t mind getting through a case without broken ribs or stitches somewhere, but we’ll have to see.

Tell me something funny.

MYERS: I’d love to, but I broke my funny-bone tripping over a misplaced comma.


My first novel, a romantic-suspense novel set in Peru, was published by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan in 1979. Since then I’ve had more than a dozen novels published in assorted genres. They’ve been translated into various languages, optioned for film and condensed for magazine publication.

Early on, I wanted to write more mysteries, specifically a series with a woman P.I. The traditional publishers I worked for kept telling me there just wasn’t enough market for that sort of book. Finally I took a long break from fiction writing. Then I decided to do the Maggie Sullivan mysteries. On my own. I’ve never regretted it.

I was born in Warrensburg, MO, moved to Cheyenne, WY, with my mother and grandmother when I was eight, and returned to Missouri to earn a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Prior to novel writing, I was a reporter for city dailies in Michigan and Ohio.

My infinitely patient husband and I live in Ohio, and we have one grown daughter.

M. Ruth Myers
author of the Maggie Sullivan mysteries & other novels




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