G.M. Malliet channels Agatha Christie in her second mystery featuring Anglican priest Max Tudor, A Fatal Winter: A Max Tudor Novel.
How did growing up in a military family set the stage for your writing career?
A military upbringing is perfect for a writer, although each child adapts differently to being uprooted and replanted every three years. I was the only child of somewhat older parents, very shy, a poster child for bookworms everywhere. It was on some levels rather a confusing way to grow up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to understand there were four seasons, because in rapid succession I lived in tropical climates (Hawaii), desert climates (New Mexico), and mountain climates (Colorado). That is why the Max Tudor novels go by season.
How did you get started in the genre?
I always knew I wanted to write a traditional mystery—no torture or gore, the puzzle type of book. But I couldn’t get an agent for my first book, Death of a Cozy Writer , because no one thought they could place it. Barbara Moore at Midnight Ink took it on when I truly had run out of options—God bless her and them. Back then, the early 2000s, there were only two or three publishers that would look at unagented, over-the-transom submissions, and I think they’ve all pulled up their drawbridges now.
How did you wind up at Minotaur with your first Max Tudor book, Wicked Autumn?
Louise Penny took Death of a Cozy Writer, put it into the hands of Andy Martin, the publisher at Minotaur, and said, “You must publish this author.” It was as simple and as miraculous as that. Even after my success with Midnight Ink, I’d been turned down by every agent in New York, several other states, and even one from a foreign country. Finally, Marcia Talley, who writes the Hannah Ives mysteries, contacted her agent, Vicky Bijur, and got Vicky to take me on and submit Wicked Autumn  to Minotaur. I was, in the end, sort of foisted on people all over New York. That’s how “easy” it is to break into this business.
What gave you the idea of making Tudor ex-MI5?
People tend to think I made him up out of whole cloth, but there are many priests who got “the call” later in life, and some who even juggle the two careers. I know a man who was an analyst with the CIA and left to become an Episcopal priest. After 9/11, because of his Middle East experience and his knowledge of Farsi, they asked him to come back. He now does both—I’ve never been clear on how he organizes his time, but it must make for an interesting day.