Share this
Like us on facebook
For the latest news and reviews.




For the latest additions to the Usual Questions project, and other posts about writing see the Facebook page:


Wendy Hornsby

answers the Usual Questions

As a second grader, American author Wendy Hornsby's inspiration was Jo Marsh from Little Women.

A history teacher and life-long writer, Wendy Hornsby is the Edgar Award winning author of the Maggie MacGowen mysteries.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Writing is a very solitary undertaking. It is always a lift to get out among readers and to hear what their interests are, and generally what's on their minds. This affects my work in that I come away encouraged to keep writing.

Wendy Hornsby, photo courtesy of the author

Wendy Hornsby

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I can think of several, but a letter I received from a homicide detective about eighteen years ago stands out. The detective thanked me for writing respectfully, and honestly, about policemen. That was the beginning of a great friendship. I could always call him for help with police procedures. Very sadly, he passed away very suddenly about a year ago, but he lives for me as a character in my last four Maggie MacGowen books.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Certainly Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett had enormous influence on me. But I think that books by Margaret Millar have been more influential than any others. Her stories addressed the landscape and the cultural diversity of California with great realism and compassion.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

I recently retired from teaching and moved 500 miles away from my longtime home with my husband. As we went through the search for a new home in a new area we might as well have been alone on a spaceship. And we had a lovely time. I choose him.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Except for the occasional laughs I might get from their generally cringe-worthy pronouncements, I can't imagine much worse than being stuck with the company of a Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh or their ilk.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

A good word processing program, a well-stocked e-reader, great red wine, and above mentioned spouse, who just handed me a glass of very nice red wine.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I'm hard at work on the next Maggie MacGowen book. What I would like to achieve most at the moment is the work's last page. Seriously, though, what is most important for me to achieve is a story well-told that gives the reader something to think about both while the book is being read, and after it has been finished. I love to hear that someone has read a book more than once, or that it kept them awake all night. In the end, the most important thing I want to achieve is writing a book someone enjoys reading.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Most writers write because they must. The process of writing is highly satisfying and maddening in about equal measure. I get great satisfaction sometimes from merely writing a single wonderful phrase, or finding exactly the right word.

submitted by Wendy Hornsby

November 25, 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Los Angeles, California, USA
Resides: The California Mother Lode (Sierra foothills)
Edgar Allan Poe Award, Readers' Choice Award, Grand Prix de littérature policiere, Critics' Choice Award
nominated for Anthony Award, Prix Du Roman D'Adventures
Maggie MacGowen books
Nine Sons: Collected Mysteries

Web site:


For posts about Melbourne events, places, news, reviews, giveaways, see our Facebook Page: