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Frequently Asked Questions

First FAQs that all writers get asked:

Where do you get your ideas? 
From the world around me. They fall in my lap, literally, when I read the paper. Bodies floating in the river, people gambling all their money away, stupid people doing stupid things in funny and dramatic ways. They float in the conversation around me. I was in a bakery when I heard a teenaged boy say to a girl: “Well, it was like dancing with an alien,” I went home with the book forming in my mind. From my own concerns and thebissues I would like to examine more closely: land development, community involvement, women’s rights. How to look at these without it being a diatribe.

 What is your writing schedule?
I have none, but I am very steady. When I am really cranking on a book, I try to write three pages every day. Because I live with another writer, I don’t need to explain what I’m doing. He’s writing every day too. Weekends aren’t any different for us, except maybe we go to the farmer’s market. I tend to write more in the mornings than I used to, but I think that’s just because I’m getting older.   Let’s put it this way: I spend a lot of my time in my office and I have learned to give myself credit for all the writing work I do as I go for a walk and think about my book, drive down along the Mississippi and think about what I’m working on, wake up in the middle of the night and figure out the next chapter.

Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list here. But first and foremost, Pete Hautman. I’ve read all his books.  
Then onto all my friends, who I valiantly try to keep up with as they publish constantly. 

The mystery writers I depend on tend to be the early hard-boileds: Hammet, MacDonald, Chandler, with Ross Thomas thrown in; and many of the women British writers: Frances Fyfield, Minette Walters, Josephine Tey, with Elizabeth George thrown in (I know she’s not British, but she wants to be). 

Favorite poets: Rumi, Ruth Stone, Yehuda Amichai, Anna Swir, Anna Akmatova, and bless them all.

Some favorite books: Daniel Martin by John Fowles, The Farmer by Jim Harrison, Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry, Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong, Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. I’d say Jane Austen, but she’s so in she’s out.

FAQs Specific to Me:

How can you write poetry and mysteries at the same time?
Poetry is my base. Since all writing is word-play and image-making, I rely on the basics of what I’ve learned writing poetry to create the much larger world of my mysteries. In both I’m trying to understand the world we live in and give a chunk of it to my readers. I’m interested in how we live together and what place murder has in our communities. I think of my poems often as distillations.  In my mysteries, I’m also trying to hone in on what concentrated emotion would cause someone to take another’s life.

Why did you set your mysteries in a small town along the Mississippi River?
Because I love it. Because it’s a microcosm. I love the landscape of the rugged bluffs and secret coulees, the constancy of the water, the ever-changing seasons. Because I never tire of it.  Because I know it as well as I will ever know one place on earth.

What’s it like living with another writer?
A constant joy, sometimes interrupted with moments of pain and irritation. Pete is my best critic and my harshest. He feeds me and tells me to keep going. I make the bed and rub his head. We make our way together in the world.

Read Mary's Reviews

"Logue captures the biting cold of a Wisconsin winter as Claire follows a trail of clues to a very dangerous denouement. Sure to appeal to Logue's fans and readers who enjoy regional Midwestern mysteries." —Library Journal

"Mary Logue has long been one of my favorite writers, and this book is no exception to her streak of terrific writing. She may be one of the more readable authors on the planet. What I love about Logue’s books are her great way with character and light hand with prose, while at the same time telling a kick ass story. She’s also wonderful with the double back, the red herring, and the use of several threads which all tie together. The clarity and precision with which Logue tells a story perhaps reveals her other talent, which is writing poetry. The crispness and believability of both her characters and setting are pretty much unmatched at the moment." —Aunt Agatha’s Books

As she investigates, Claire ponders her own relationship with boyfriend Rich. After the death of her husband many years ago, she has been hesitant to remarry. The freezing weather echoes the relationships in this story. Some are frozen, while others, previously icy, show signs of thawing. A satisfying entry in a consistently entertaining series. —Booklist

"This book is also a grim look at the horrible work methamphetamines have done to rural America. The ripple effects of the drug are both obvious and long term, but what is perhaps more remarkable, this isn’t a polemic. It’s a great story with an anti drug message included - but also included is some stuff about family loyalty, trust, friendship, and being a teenager, something Logue seems to remember very clearly. This is a book I had trouble putting down - not just because of the structure, but because of the characters and what happens to them as the story moves forward. If you haven’t read Mary Logue before, you’re in for a treat." – Aunt Agatha's Books

“Fine writing, a charming setting and an attractive and intelligent heroine add up to a satisfying and pleasurable read.” - Publishers Weekly

“We are pleased as punch that local mystery novelist and poet Mary Logue is back between boards with a bona-fide Claire Watkins mystery…. What we love about Logue is the importance of place, and how her real-life summer home in the Wisconsin bluff country is the secret muse of this particular work.  There may be local novelists who score higher on the New York Times bestseller lists, but we consider Logue and her partner Pete Hautman the reigning royalty of Minnesota murder mysteries.” - The Rake

“Logue’s excellent writing, insights into human character and well-wrought plot makes this book…worth welcoming.” - San Antonio Express-News

“Logue’s characters are likeable, down-to-earth types.  Her novel is filled with suspense, and she takes readers back to the old crime in a creepily effective way.  The ending shocks and saddens.  This is the fourth in a series that keeps getting stronger.  If only Logue would write faster.”
- Romantic Times

“Mary Logue, author of Poison Heart, has written a winner!  This is my first Claire Watkins mystery — but it will not be my last…. Her unique plot is filled with well-developed characters that have interesting and multi-layered relationships.  It is real life in a novel…Mary Logue writes a feel-good mystery with characters you’ll love and a few you’ll love to absolutely despise!  Poison Heart is a wonderful ride-a-long with Claire Watkins.” - Armchair Interviews

“Ms. Logue’s spare crisp prose, sense of place, and rich, sensitively drawn character create an engrossing tale of a sociopath, and the suspense of wondering where, when and to whom her fury might next be directed. …Each time I hunker down to read Mary Logue’s books, I’m on vacation in a part of the country I will never physically visit, but feel I know.  I never tired of the widowed Deputy Sheriff… and her small Wisconsin town of St. Antoine seated on the Mississippi River.”
- Mystery Scene

“Logue’s fans who have followed Claire’s evolution from big-city policewoman to small-town cop and from widow to contented girlfriend will by cheered by her resilience and continuing crime-solving adventures.” - Publishers Weekly

“Poison Heart is a fabulous police procedural… Readers of the series and newcomers will appreciate this intriguing rural investigative tale that contains the usual Mary Logue twists to compel her audience into a one-sitting read.” - The Midwest Book Review

“Logue knows how to create suspense.  Where she truly stands out, however, is in her depiction of relationships: complex bonds between lovers, spouses, siblings, and parents and their children…. Logue vividly points out that small-town life is not immune to big-time problems.” - Booklist

“A compelling story of greed and evil… Logue’s descriptions of farm community life…are dead on and evocative.  I’d visit Fort St. Antoine again.” - Rocky Mountain News

“Logue’s latest, Poison Heart, delivers a satisfying mystery—about a pyromaniac/serial poisoner—that benefits from Logue’s restrained storytelling and her delineation of ordinary small-town folk…. She’s, in a word, believable.” - Milwaukee Magazine



BOOKS: Hand Work, Mid-List Press, Minneapolis, 2009  Meticulous Attachment, Mid-List Press, Minneapolis, 2005
 Settling, Mid-List Press, Minneapolis, 1997 
Discriminating Evidence, Mid-List Press, Minneapolis, 1990

MAGAZINES (Partial list): 
"Crisp," "Practice," and "Occupied," Heliotrope, Shady, New York, 2004 
"Rain," The Bloomsbury Review, Denver, September/October 2003 
"Vase," Water-Stone, St. Paul, Fall 2003
"Bowl," "Love," and "Top of the Barn," Minneapolis, North Stone Review, 2002
"Capturing Yellow," Heliotrope, Shady, New York, Winter 2001
"Wind," Minnesota River Review, Mankato, Minnesota, Winter 1997
"A Comfort," Minnesota Monthly, Minneapolis, September, 1995
"Forgetting a Life," Poetlink, Brooklyn, 1995
"Small Wish," The James White Review, Minneapolis, 1988
"Unreturned Caresses," ""Hitting Snow," "A Narrow Road," and "A Song in Killeshandra," Milkweed Chronicle, Minneapolis, 1986
"An Answer to Sunstroke," Gilt Edge, Missoula, Montana, 1985
"Sweet Oranges" and "Snow," Luna Tack 7, West Branch, Iowa, 1985
"Field Notes," Yellow Silk, Albany, California, 1984
"The Uncoupling" and "The Fish Are Drowning," Scape,  New York, 1983
"Watermelon in Florence," Calyx, Corvallis, Oregon, 1979
"Father and Daughters" and "Sheriff," Dacotah Territory, Fargo, North Dakota, 1979
"I was Everwhere," trans. of Vicente Huidobro, Invisible City, San Francisco, 1976
"A Mask," Minnesota Daily, Minneapolis, June 18, 1974


BOOKS: Frozen Stiff, Tyrus Books, Madison, WI 2010  Point No Point, Bleak House Books, Madison, WI, 2008  Maiden Rock, Bleak House Books, Madison, WI, 2007
Poison Heart, Ballantine, New York, 2005
Bone Harvest, Ballantine, New York, 2004
Glare Ice, Walker, New York, 2001
Dark Coulee, Walker, New York, 2000
Blood Country, Walker, New York, 1999
Still Explosion, Seal Press, Seattle, 1993
Red Lake  of the  Heart, Dell Publishing, New York, 1987 

“The Royal Couple,” Full House, Putnam, 2007
“Blasted,” Twin Cities Noir, Akashic Press, 2006
“Loon Lodge,” Silence of the Loons, Norton Press, 2005
"Boundary Waters" Stiller's Pond, New Rivers Press, 1988
"Snow," Believing Everything, Holy Cow! Press, 1980

“Facing the Sun,” City Pages, Minneapolis, 1990
“Lake Creature,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1987
“Father’s Garden,” The Warm Journal, Minneapolis, 1987
“The Thing,” Alaska Quarterly Review, Anchorage, 1985
“Time to be There,” Minnesota Monthly, Minneapolis, 1985


“Flower Powered: The Hooked Rugs of Lulu Myers,” Rug Hooking magazine, Nov. 2007
“Small Turnout, Big Vote,” New York Times, February 17, 2004
“Quilting a Novel,” American Quilter Magazine, 1993
“Writing about the Mysteries of Life,” The View, 1992
“Two Cities as One,” Hungry Mind Review, 1991

Courthouses of Minnesota, photographs by Doug Ohman, Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, 2006
Halfway Home: A Granddaughter’s Biography, Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, 1996
A House in the Country, Midnight Sales Press, Minneapolis, 1994

Children’s Books


Doppelganger, Bloodwater Mystery Series, Putnam, 2008 Skullduggery, Bloodwater Mystery series, Putnam, 2007
Snatched, Bloodwater Mystery series, Putnam, 2006
Dancing with an Alien, HarperCollins, New York, 2000
Trust: The Story of Helen Keller, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1998
Fantasy: The Story of Walt Disney, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1998
Bella’s Mystery Deck, Mindware, Mpls, 1997
Forgiveness: The Story of Mahatma Gandhi, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1996
Love: The Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1996
An Eyeful of Mysteries, Mindware, Mpls, 1996
The Haunting of Hunter House, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1993
The Missing Statue of Minnehaha, The Child’s World, Mpls, 1993

French Translations

BOOKS: The Wolf Who Loved Music, Creative Company, 2004
The Farm, Creative Company, 1999
Twenty-four children's books from the "J'aime Lire" reading series by Bayard Presse for The Child's World
Two books from the Encyclopedia de Benjamin for The Creative Company


Hungry Mind Review, Village Voice, Minnesota Monthly, WARM Journal, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Minneapolis Star Tribune


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