A native of the Detroit area, Marcia Muller grew up in a house full of books and self-published three copies of her first novel at age twelve, a tale about her dog complete with primitive illustrations. The "reviews" were generally positive.
Muller earned her masters degree in journalism after a creative writing instructor told her she would never be a writer because she had nothing to say. In the early 1970s, having moved to California, Muller found herself unemployable and began experimenting with mystery novels, because they were what she liked to read. After three manuscripts and five years of rejection, Edwin of the Iron Shoes, the first novel featuring San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone, was published by David McKay Company, who then cancelled their mystery list. Four more years passed before St. Martin's Press accepted the second McCone novel, Ask the Cards a Question.
In the ensuing thirty-some years, Muller has authored over 35 novels--three of them in collaboration with husband Bill Pronzini--seven short-story collections, and numerous nonfiction articles. Together she and Pronzini have edited a dozen anthologies and a nonfiction book on the mystery genre. In 2005 Muller was named a Grand Master by Mystery Writers of America, the organizations highest award. Pronzini was named Grand Master in 2008, making them the only living couple to share the award (the other being Margaret Millar ad Ross Macdonald). The Mulzinis, as friends call them, live in Sonoma County, California, in yet another house full of books.
From the author's website
This biography was last updated on 12/19/2010.
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Marcia Muller talks about her heroine Sharon McCone
Since Sharon McCone works in San Francisco, was it
hard to get the flavor of the city in the books?
It's extremely easy to get the flavor of the city because San Francisco is a place that lends itself to description. It's the city of many small enclaves; each with distinctive flavor. When I write about it, the city becomes a secondary character in the novel.
Did you read a lot of Dashiell Hammett before you wrote about a San Francisco detective?
I read the Maltese Falcon. The primary influence on my fiction was the Santa Barbara writer Ross Macdonald. There were interesting parallels between my life and his. We both have advanced degrees from the University of Michigan. Neither of us is a native Californian. He described the state beautifully and I felt he brought a fresh perception to it because of it being something new to him.
In 'Both Ends of the Night', Sharon went to a lot of places. Was it tough doing the research for so many locations?
It's a pleasure doing research. I travel to all the locations with camera and tape ...
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