The First Time I Read . . . Welcome Marion Moore Hill


I often wished I had kept in contact with my high school English teacher to thank her for introducing me to Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. I was fascinated by Miss Havisham never changing out of her wedding dress; wedding cake never removed from the table; clocks stopped at twenty minutes to nine. The idea of the heartbroken, lonely spinster, isolating herself in her mansion for the rest of her life inspired me to read more Dickens novels. My guest today, Marion Moore Hill, was inspired by Dickens too.

The first time I read Charles Dickens was for a class assignment in high school senior English, to read and write a paper about A Tale of Two Cities. I liked that book and enjoyed the way the author wove details of his characters’ lives together with the actual historical events. In junior college, when I read Great Expectations for another English class, I became truly hooked on Dickens. I read several of his novels on my own the following summer, including Barnaby Rudge, The Pickwick Papers, and The Old Curiosity Shop, and have since read the rest, including the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens delights me, mostly because of his ability to create distinctive, memorable characters who live on in my memory long after I have finished reading a particular story.
In my own fiction, although I do try to invent interesting plots, much of my focus is on character creation.  It’s the characters that make any work of fiction come alive for me, and I believe many other readers feel the same. For a writer who writes a series of related novels, it’s especially important that the protagonist and other continuing characters be people who can grow and change with their adventures from book to book. Those characters not only don’t bore me to tears by the time I’m writing the third installment in a series, but I’m eager to get back to them with each new book, because—even though they come out of my own head—they can still surprise me.
I think such characters become real to readers also, so that they gladly welcome these “book people” into their lives multiple times.

Marion Moore Hill writes two series of mysteries. Her most recent novel is Cook the Books, third in the Scrappy Librarian Mysteries, which began with Bookmarked for Murder and continued with Death Books a Return. In each, intrepid (aka nosy) Oklahoma librarian Juanita Wills solves crimes with her research skills and knowledge of fellow townspeople. In the Deadly Past Mysteries, history buff Millie Kirchner solves contemporary crimes revolving around various Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin in Deadly Will and Thomas Jefferson in Deadly Design. Hill holds the B.S. Degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and the M.A. degree from Stanford University.  She has been a college teacher of English and journalism, a legal secretary, and a newspaper reporter, and also owned a gourmet/ethnic grocery in Durant, OK. Hill volunteered as an adult-literacy tutor for Durant Literacy Council for 20 years, experience she drew on for the plot of Cook the Books.
COOK THE BOOKS finds intrepid (aka nosy) Oklahoma public librarian Juanita Wills investigating the murder of husband and father Bobby Riek, after he dies from consuming a tainted cupcake in the lunch his wife Tracy had packed. Though the young widow’s the obvious suspect, Juanita is certain her likable, though secretive, adult-literacy student is innocent. If Bobby’s wife didn’t do him in, who did? A co-worker at the big-box hardware store where he was employed? Or his “best friend,” who openly coveted Tracy for himself? Or someone in the fundamentalist church the Rieks attended? COOK draws on author Marion Moore Hill’s 20 years of experience as a volunteer literacy tutor in Durant, OK, and is the third in her Scrappy Librarian Mysteries series.

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