1963: Maggie is born. LBJ becomes president shortly thereafter. The landscape of American politics changes forever. Coincidence?
1969: Mets win World Series. Maggie’s family welcomes a new baby, the fourth in line to the family fortune. Maggie must admit that this new baby is the cutest of all of the children.
1976: Maggie graduates from St. Catherine’s School with top honors. Ok, not really. Nuns don’t believe in honors. But they were excellent teachers and to this day, Maggie can diagram any sentence you can throw at her. America celebrates its bicentennial. Maggie still can’t spell bicentennial.
Later in 1976: Maggie begins her high school education at Immaculate Heart Academy with one hundred and sixty-four other brogue-wearing, plaid-skirted geeky teen-aged girls. Maggie does not outgrow this stage. Maggie is schooled in Jersey rock—Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Maggie thought the “Boss” referred to her boss at the convent where she worked–Sister Bartholemew– and wondered why so many of her classmates knew who she was.
1978: Maggie attends summer school after failing geometry. (The rest of the report card had straight As. Thank you for asking.) Thankfully, left-brained best friend, Eileen, tutors her for the entire summer, helping Maggie score a 70 (the lowest grade you could get and pass) on the geometry Regents and freeing her from a lifetime of summer school.
1981: Maggie plays Aunt Eller in high school production of “Oklahoma,” landing the role when it was determined that she wasn’t petite enough to play the lead. (Screw you, director man.) Tap-dances her way into the hearts of Bergen County residents and high school students alike. Maggie scores an almost perfect 800 on the English portion of her SATs and nearly fails the Math portion. Thank goodness for that 200 points for signing one’s name to the test. Classmate Sue S. thanks Maggie for using the word “coagulate” repeatedly throughout senior year…it turns out to be a word on the vocabulary section of the test.
Later in 1981: Maggie attends Manhattan College, a college known for its business and engineering programs (see “1981—SAT score debacle” above) and is enrolled in developmental math, where she is charged with adding and subtracting roman numerals for an entire semester. Maggie earns herself a D and cries every day she crosses the Tappan Zee Bridge on her way to school.
Even later in 1981: Maggie sees a yellow bus parked at the curb by campus and determines that it goes to the “sister” school of Manhattan College—the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She decides to check it out, unbeknownst to her parents, who are thrilled that she is attending Manhattan College (but not so much with the developmental math grade). Hears angels singing as she departs the bus and sees the castle that houses the Admissions office at CMSV…she is home.
1982: Maggie begins her sophomore year of college at CMSV. Meets Dea, Trixie, and Susan, who become her lifelong friends and the basis for certain characters in the Alison Bergeron Murder 101 series. Woof!
1983/1984: Maggie decides to double major in English and French, not really too serious about the French part. She takes many French classes, and only through the grace of God and her professor, Mme. M, does she do as well as she does. Meets cute boy-next-door, Jim, who “tutors” her, resulting in many years later, Maggie telling her children to go play in the “factory” instead of the “pool” while on a trip to Quebec. (Trust me, they’re very close in pronunciation. And the children had a wonderful time making cheese in the cheese factory.)
1985: Maggie graduates without top honors (but close enough) from CMSV and barely has removed her cap and gown before she’s on the bus to her job as an editorial assistant to Mr. English at Macmillan Publishing Company. Mr. English hires Maggie because she laughs at his jokes during the interview but can’t use a computer worth a damn. She decides that commuting isn’t really for her and attempts to find an apartment in Manhattan that she can afford on $13,000 a year. Maggie continues to commute from her childhood home for a year and a half and to love Jim with all her heart.
1986: Maggie moves back to the Bronx, courtesy of her father’s generosity, and lives there for two years. She doesn’t make a single friend with the exception of Kitty, her octogenarian next-door neighbor. Kitty’s old but sassy. Fortunately, Jim visits often and relieves the hours of boredom that come from living in a bedroom community when you’re in your early twenties. Oh, and the Mets win the World Series again!
1987: Nothing of note happens to Maggie. She screws up at work occasionally/probably, but fortunately, is a hit with her bosses and manages to keep her job.
1988: Jim proposes to Maggie, who heartily accepts. Maybe a little too heartily.
1989: Maggie and Jim get married and embark on a disastrous honeymoon south of the border. Maggie ingests a parasite and spends most of her time in the bathroom. For two weeks. Jim buys stock in Charmin.
1990-1994: Work, work, and more work. A few promotions along the way. People make a lot of money in the stock market and many of them become “yuppies.” Maggie is still in publishing, so this isn’t an issue. Publishing goes all math-y, and Maggie panics. What happened to the books and the authors? What is a “bottom line” anyway? A P&L? Anyone? Does it have anything to do with math? And what does it have to do with publishing good books?
1994: Maggie and Jim celebrate the birth of child #1. Maggie decides that sleeplessness is not an option and trains child #1 to begin sleeping through the night at six weeks. She is hailed as a genius by her friends and pediatrician alike. Oh, and the Rangers win the Stanley Cup!
1995-1998: More work and less play. Maggie becomes an editor and begins to travel like a flight attendant on speed. She decides she hates traveling. She eats a lot of meals in airports and hotel rooms. Cries all the time, particularly because she has to leave child #1. Maggie quits and never regrets it.
1999: Child #2 comes along. Isn’t so receptive to Maggie’s innovative sleep-through-the-night program. Spits up constantly. Maggie and Jim replace all the wall-to-wall carpeting in the house with hardwood floors. Maggie starts freelancing, otherwise known as “whoring around for work.” Decides she will do anything short of actually sleeping with the authors she has to manage. Reconsiders that during a dry spell.
2000-2005: Maggie enjoys a successful freelance career. She decides, as a significant birthday approaches, to write about the woman who has been living in her head for a couple of decades. She names her “Alison Bergeron.” Finishes two books and shops around for a literary agent who might find Alison as endearing as Maggie does. Someone does—the lovely Deborah—who is told, when she calls to tell Maggie that she has sold the first two books, that Maggie is taking a nap and can’t come to the phone. (Thanks, child #1!) Fortunately, Deborah calls back and gives Maggie the good news that the Murder 101 series has been born. The wonderful Kelley is her editor at St. Martin’s/Minotaur. Maggie decides she likes anything that has “saint” in its name.
2005-2008: Maggie hits a little bump in the road and battles malignant melanoma, not once, but twice. Meets the most wonderful team of cancer professionals the world over at NYU and embarks on a journey of heartbreak, miracles, and full remission. Becomes convinced that angels really do walk among us. Continues writing, completing three books in the series while undergoing surgery, treatment, and radiation. Decides that writing really can save your life. Books are published in subsequent years and it seems like people like them, they really like them!
2009: Maggie decides after having looked after her health for several years, it’s time to turn her attention to the books and some self-promotion. So begins the great “Self-Promotion Tour of 2009.” The jury is still out on whether or not it is successful but she meets a lot of very wonderful and dedicated mystery fans and fellow authors.
2010: Maggie continues to work at her day job as a freelance college textbook editor while continuing to write the Alison Bergeron series. THIRD DEGREE is published.
2011: Maggie continues to work at her day job as a freelance college textbook editor while continuing to write the Alison Bergeron series (sense a pattern here?)… but wait! She starts mulling over an idea about a single mom living in a small village with a very dark secret. Hint: it’s not her pumpkin bread recipe. Maeve Conlon is born and Maggie begins work on a proposal for a new series, one that is acquired by Minotaur Books. The first, still untitled book will be published in fall 2013. Oh, and PHYSICAL EDUCATION, book six in the Murder 101 series is published.
2012: Maggie continues to work… ok, you get the drift. She writes the still-untitled Maeve Conlon book and is still flummoxed as to what to call it. As the year comes to a close, she is informed that she has “graduated” to once-a-year CT scans, news that is met with great joy and a little wine drinking. Ok, a lot of wine drinking. And the story continues…
2013: The untitled thriller about Maeve Conlon becomes ONCE UPON A LIE and is scheduled for a December 2013 release date. Early comments have been positive, though one of Maggie’s friends is now terrified of her because of the subject matter of the book.