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 12, a tale about her dog complete with primitive illustrations. The “reviews” were generally positive.
Her literary aspirations were put on hold, however, in her third year at the University of Michigan, when her creative writing instructor told her she would never be a writer because she had nothing to say. Instead she turned to journalism, earning a master’s degree, but various editors for whom she freelanced noticed her unfortunate tendency to embellish the facts in order to make the pieces more interesting.
In the early 1970s, having moved to California, Ms. 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, which then canceled its mystery list. Four more years passed before St. Martin’s Press accepted the second McCone novel, Ask the Cards a Question.