Christmas Cracker: Why Did I Write It?

The protagonist in Christmas Cracker is Morgana  ‘Morg’  Mahoney, a wise-cracking, female private investigator.  Like there are not enough of them around in books already?  But she is not a clone of all the others, nor is the story the same setting and plot line as so many that have gone before.  I originally wrote the story in 1999, oh so many years ago.  I had read many detective novels through the years, but never one with a woman P.I.  Then I saw the movie V. I. Warshawski with Kathleen Turner.  I fell in love.  I admit that Kathleen Turner herself made her contribution to my fascination, but her witty, sarcastic lines were what bowled me over.  The critics didn’t care for the movie all that much, but I often disagree with them.  So Morg sprang, like Athena from Zeus, full grown from my mind.  I admit that I incorporated characteristics of women I have known through the years.  I have two sisters and no brothers.  The office of our small, family business had four or more women over the years and only one other man in it.  I trusted them far more than him.  A couple of them had wit and sarcasm to match Morg.  I like strong women (I married one) and it is from all those I have known that Morg, like Frankenstein’s creature, was created. However, those who contributed to her Morg existence are still alive and Morg is normally not homicidal.  She’s a lot better looking than the creature, too.

The next question is why set the tale in Northern England?  Having lived on the Isle of Man, which lies in the Irish Sea midway between Northern England and Ireland, I experienced much of what Morg did as far as both weather and ‘culture shock.’  As George Bernard Shaw may have said, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.”  In so many ways, that is true and Morg experiences that in Christmas Cracker as I did.  With cars alone, fenders are wings, bonnets are hoods, hoods are convertible tops, etc.  When my mechanic said he would ‘give me a tinkle in the morning,’ it was hard not to laugh.  Yet, the Brits enjoyed joking over these differences as much as I did.  I treasure my time there and would have no problem living there again. I cannot think of one person I met there who was not a pleasure to know. So, of course, Morg would go there and find many people like the ones I knew.  However, I am glad to say that I never met the villains she did.  That’s why it’s called fiction.

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