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April 17, 2013

How Aggie Mundeen Popped into Nancy’s Head

NGW: I was writing a serious suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, about Meredith Laughlin, a graduate student facing a life-threatening dilemma. Why did you pick that time to pop into my head, Aggie?

Aggie: Meredith needed a friend.

NGW: Somebody with whom to share problems? Somebody to help her?

Aggie: Somebody with a sense of humor. Meredith is too serious.

NGW: Of course, she’s serious. Her world disintegrates. Her life is in danger. You showed up in the middle of my writing Meredith’s novel to be funny?

Aggie: To lighten things up.

NGW: You appeared in my head making wisecracks about Meredith’s problems, about her outlook, about her husband, even about her professors ….

Aggie: Yep. I was right there with Meredith in those classes at University of the Holy Trinity.

NGW: You showed up in class wearing a warm-up and sneakers. With hair like a Brillo pad. Giving the professor a ‘show-me-something’ look.

Aggie: The kids needed a role model.

NGW: You made me chuckle, sitting there like you owned the place.

Aggie: You needed to loosen up.

NGW: You made it hard for me to keep ratcheting up suspense in Meredith’s story.

Aggie: You needed contrast. Dark moments versus light. Scary versus comic … stuff like that.

NGW: Wait a minute. I’m the writer here.

Aggie: I got in your head, didn’t I? You needed me.

NGW: You made it hard to focus on Meredith. I’d be agonizing over how she could get out of her predicament, and you’d do something to make me laugh.

Yeah …. I enjoyed that.

NGW: My husband thought I was crazy.
Aggie: You share an office with your husband? That’s really crazy.
NGW: I’d be chuckling at my computer screen, and he’d ask me what was so funny. I’d say, “Aggie did something hilarious.”

Aggie: That’s one way to get him out of the office.

NGW: I got so tickled at you, I could barely stay serious long enough to finish Nine Days to Evil.

Aggie: You made it, though. It’s a better book, thanks to me.

NGW: By the time I finished Meredith’s story, Nine Days to Evil, you’d taken over my consciousness to the point where I knew I had to write about you.

Aggie: And you knew that one book from my point of view wouldn’t be enough.

NGW: I figured you would demand your own series.

Aggie: If you hadn’t promised me that, I’d never have let you finish Meredith’s book.

NGW: I realized that. So Aggie Mundeen’s first two mystery capers are out. Fit to Be Dead was a Lefty Award Finalist for best humorous mystery of 2012. Dang Near Dead has been released.

Aggie: I like those books. You’re getting to know me, and I’m getting to know Detective Sam Vanderhoven better and better. I really like that part.

NGW: Meredith’s still your friend … she’s in both your books.

Aggie: Yep. You and I appreciate her more. Thanks to me.

NGW: But you still want to be the main character?

Aggie: You bet. Now that their dude ranch vacation has ended and summer is over, Aggie and Meredith will be back at University of the Holy Trinity. I really want to learn about telomeres and biomarkers. Scientists think they might affect aging. I have to relay this vital information to my readers.

For your column.

Aggie: Naturally. I’ll talk Meredith into taking the course with me.

NGW: Naturally.
Aggie: Professor Carmody is going to teach it.

NGW: You had serious trouble with him in Fit to Be Dead.

I thought he’d kick me out of school. In Dang Near Dead, the stuffed moose hanging in the dining hall reminded me of Carmody … something about the animal’s dull eyes. Anyway, I need to learn about telomeres and biomarkers, so Carmody will just have to deal with me again.

He’d probably like to strangle you.

Aggie: There’s always conflict in mysteries. Especially when I’m around.

NGW: What about Detective Sam? You and he have plenty of conflicts.

We get along better now. He’s beginning to trust me. Mostly.

NGW: That’s the first step. If you want him to love you.

Aggie: …. I guess you could put it like that.

NGW: What will happen next between you and Sam?

Aggie: Why don’t you work on my next story? You’ll find out. When it’s time ….

___Nancy’s conversation with Aggie originally appeared in King’s River Life.

A review of Fit to Be Dead and interview is at


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