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Monday, February 7, 2022


Today we sit down for a chat with YA and adult mystery author M. E. Roche. Learn more about her and her books at her website.  

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?

Like many authors, I thought about writing long before I actually set pen to paper. When I began to take it seriously, it was probably close to eight years before I was published. With my first two novels, I worked with a subsidy publisher. I eventually re-published those two and my last two with Amazon, where I’ll be publishing the upcoming ones.


Where do you write?

I write at a desktop in my study, preferably in the early morning.


Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?

I write in silence.


How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?

My favorite books have always been mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew. It was only much later that I came upon those student nurse mysteries popular in the 1950’s and up—Cherry Ames and Sue Barton to name two. Not finding anything written for young readers after those series and knowing that nursing had certainly changed (being an RN myself), I first set out to do an update. My first three young adult novels introduced my principal character, Nora Brady—a student nurse—to a nurse’s role in a nursing home, a hospital, and then a pediatric hospital in another country. As Nora worked with law enforcement to solve crimes in her past, she then moved into that profession herself, which is where my latest adult novel begins. 


Real settings or fictional towns?

While I’ve made my characters and locations fictious, they are primarily based in the small coastal towns of northern California, and undoubtedly bear some resemblance to some people I may have met at some point in time. 


What’s your quirkiest quirk?

I’m not sure if I’d call it a quirk, but I definitely tend to leap before I think at times, which is what I oftentimes see my character Nora doing!


If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?

If I could have written any book, it would be Anne Morrow Lindberg’s Gift from the Sea. It’s one of my favorites and one that I have given many times as a gift with its message of women needing to take care of themselves. I love her use of different shells to depict the stages in a woman’s life, and like her, I love being by the water.


Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?

I don’t wish for any. I think most of us try to do the best we can at all times; sometimes we do better than other times, but regrets are a waste of energy.


What was the worst job you’ve ever held?

My first job out of high school was as a nurses’ aide (although I don’t remember ever seeing a nurse) caring for patients in the basement of a nursing home. I’m ashamed to say I only lasted three days. 


What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

Too many to count. I love the old fairy tales, The Little Prince, Stephen King’s On Writing, William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways, and most recently, Robert Dugoni’s The World Played Chess.


You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?

I would want water, cheese, and books.


Ocean or mountains?

I will always choose the ocean over the mountains.


City girl/guy or country girl/guy?

 I am definitely a city girl, although I have managed to live in the country when needing to do so. At one point in time, I moved from the center of Boston to a rural area in western Massachusetts, where it took me weeks to get used to the quiet—no arguing outside my window or sirens careening by at all hours!


What’s on the horizon for you?

I have two future Nora Brady mysteries in the works, and I’d like to try another stand-alone. I also have a hybrid historical/mystery releasing this month and a paranormal mystery this summer.


The South Spit Murders

A Nora Brady Mystery


It's the early morning hours on a rainy night, when the sound of gunshots is reported by a trawler crossing the bar from the bay into the ocean. Nora Brady, a detective with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department, is called to the south spit—that remote strip of land separating the Pacific Ocean from Williams Bay. Three murder victims, with no apparent connection, have been discovered near a lone campsite.


The subsequent investigation by Nora and her partner, Sam Duffy, provide a number of possible suspects, but each one seems to lack sufficient motive. Their investigation involves the full spectrum of local life—from the seedier areas of town to those in the most affluent, in which the recently deceased Terence Markam appears to have been a major force. Hostility, greed, jealousy or the desire to protect a loved one seems to drive each of the suspects to act. The outcome of those actions leaves one to wonder if everything has ended as it should.  


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M. E. Roche said...

Thanks for this great opportunity to appear on your blog, Lois! You really make it look special and it's appreciated!

Lois Winston said...

You're welcome, M.E. Come back any time!