Black Mountain, Henderson, NV

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​​Q.  What’s the best thing about writing?
A.  Always wondering which way a character will lead me. Better yet, when a scene doesn’t work the way I thought it would, I can delete it and start over with new ideas or a new approach.  Don’t you wish life worked like that?

Q.  How do you deal with writer’s block?
A.  I have a hard time NOT writing. As proof, I have post-it notes and pieces of notebook paper in various rooms of my house. Some of those notes were written at 2AM, when an idea woke me. Now, if only I could read my handwriting.

Q.  Do you have anything in common with Matti James.
A.  We’re both tall.

Q.  Aside from Matti, who’s your favorite character.
A. That’s hard. I love writing Abby, Jack, gruff McClure, and Joe. Each has a different personality. Abby’s delightfully flaky, means well, but has her own agenda. Jack’s a jokester with hidden qualities that  become evident over time. McClure’s all business, but he has a soft spot for Matti and can bend the rules. Joe comes from a world of espionage and intrigue. We’re never sure what to believe. Hate to say it, but he’s based, in part, on the real thing.

Q.  Which villain was the most twisted?
A.  If I tell you that, you’ll know “who done it.”

Q.   Is there a story behind Linda Marabelli’s green Lamborghini?
A.  I was in a photography club at the time. Our assignment was “hot.” So, being married to a “car guy,” we went to a Lamborghini dealer to take pictures. There it was—electric green, ZOOM ZOOM! Since then, I’ve seen one in the area where I live. I’m afraid to look at the driver. Could it be Linda?

Q.  How did you come up with the idea of “Inbetweeners?”
A.  Hmm. Matti reconstructs faces from skulls. I thought it would be great if one talked to her while she handled it. Then, I broadened the idea to include Abby.  A s the reader soon learns, not all voices from the other side are insightful.

Q.  Will all of the series be set in the  Las  Vegas Valley?

A.  Most will, but look for segments of the fifth book to take place in the Canadian Rockies..

Q.  Who is your favorite author?
A.  I read so much technical information, it’s often hard to break away for pleasure. Despite writing mysteries, I have to say my all-time favorite author is Toni Morrison. Of her books, I like Sula the best. From the start, she has the ability to describe a place as it reflects the people who live there. Then she goes for the jugular, using images outsiders see of these people that hide the painful reality. Classic Morrison.


Q. In Expendable, there's a lot of information about the Chernobyl disaster, is it true?

A. Yes.


Q. Expendable. What was the hardest part to write?

A. Making sure  I did not refer to the President as "he" or  "she."


Q. In Cathy's World, is the body farm a real place?

A.  It's based on two actual locations, neither in California. The responses to it are different from the forensic anthropologist, detective, and Matti.


Q. Cathy's World: I love the descriptions in  Banff. They seem so real. Have you been there?

A. Yes. The Canadian Rockies are one of my favorite places. I go every few  years.


Q.  I see a photo of Black Mountain on your website. Is that the place you write about in your books?

A.  Yes. The view is from the southwestern sector of Henderson, Nevada. Black Mountain is part of a chain of about eleven extinct volcanoes on the eastern side of the Las Vegas Valley. The taller mountains like Mt. Charleston are on the western side of Las Vegas.

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​M. A. R. UNGER