Sisters in Crime New England: Q&A with Mary Feliz


By Kathryn Gandek-Tighe

(This blog post originally appeared 8/8/19 on the Blog of Sisters in Crime New England at :

What’s a California writer doing as a member of the SinC-New England chapter? New England feels like home to Mary Feliz with family and friends in Maine. On September 24, you can find her at the Curtis Memorial Library’s Mystery Author event in Brunswick, Maine. We’ve asked her to answer our questions about writing and her newest book, Cliff Hanger, that was released in July.


Writers usually hate writing book summaries. Will you share with us your real book blurb or one you wish you could have used? 


Here’s the real one written by my publisher: When a hang-gliding stranger is found fatally injured in the cliffs above Monterey Bay, the investigation into his death becomes a cluttered mess. Professional organizer Maggie McDonald must sort the clues to catch a coastal killer before her family becomes a target . . .
Maggie has her work cut out for her helping Renée Alvarez organize her property management office. Though the condominium complex boasts a prime location on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, aging buildings and the high-maintenance tenants have Renée run ragged. But Maggie’s efforts are complicated when her sons attempt to rescue a badly injured man who crashed his ultra-light on the coastal cliffs.
Despite their efforts to save him, the man dies. Maggie's family members become the prime suspects in a murder investigation and the target of a lawsuit. Her instincts say something’s out of place, but solving a murder won’t be easy. Maggie still needs to manage her business, the pushy press, and unwanted interest from criminal elements. Controlling chaos is her specialty, but with this killer’s crime wave, Maggie may be left hanging . . .

The more succinct and perhaps more truthful one is: Mary Feliz writes about the place her heart lives. 


What excited you most about writing this story?


Sharing my joy in the flora, fauna, and settings that surround my home and that make our area completely different from any portrait of our state featured on television or in the movies.


Who is your favorite character and why?


Munchkin, the mastiff, is my favorite character. He wandered into the plot of the first book as an abandoned flea-ridden pup and refused to leave. In book three, he spots the most important clues. And though he never says anything, he makes his opinions known.


Is there a setting in your book that you would like to visit? 

I love Monterey Bay and its environs so much that I moved here full time. While it has its busy cities and tourist attractions, I’m mesmerized by the ocean and wetlands and the myriad of indigenous and endangered species it supports. In fact, I recently became a Certified California Naturalist. The training covers the “greatest hits” of our state’s natural world” and immersing myself in the course was the thrill of a lifetime. I’m a nature geek.


What meal and drink do you think would pair well with your book? 

It would be a locavore’s dream with ingredients sourced from within a five-mile radius: A crisp Coastal chardonnay, line-caught salmon, artichokes, fresh spinach salad, roasted cauliflower, and the sweetest possible Watsonville strawberries for dessert.


Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mystery series featuring a California professional organizer. Her debut novel Address to Die For was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus. Cliff Hanger is her fifth book. Mary lives near the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Visit her at

Mary Feliz