Meg Macy is the author of Bear Witness to Murder. In addition to her passion for mysteries, Meg also enjoys historical fiction, gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting. Here’s the story behind her new Teddy Bear Mystery.
“Each book has a bear-themed event,” Meg said. “In Book 1, Bearly Departed, the village held its annual teddy bear picnic that my protagonist Sasha’s dad first began after he founded the Silver Bear Shop & Factory. In Book 2, Bear Witness to Murder, I created an ‘Okto-bear’ Fest with a dance contest, music, beer and food. There are also a few other events — a teddy bear tea party for parents and kids, plus a village sidewalk display like the 1999 ‘Cows on Parade’ in Chicago. Being an artist, I had fun inventing creative designs and names for my ‘Parade of Bears’.”
Meg also said she believes one of the issues behind the book is, at least indirectly, bullying. “Sasha had a rival from high school, Holly Parker, who made life difficult ten or twelve years ago, and returns to the village to open a new shop — but in direct competition with Sasha’s family teddy bear shop. Holly’s shop also competes with the bookstore owned by Sasha’s cousin. A double whammy — and while Holly feigns innocence, she certainly has a secret agenda that comes into play in this second book of the series.”
Meg is a big fan of mysteries and has read widely since childhood, including the Boxcar Children, the Happy Hollisters, Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, as well as many other contemporary authors. She said, “I love coming up with my own plots and hope to please readers as much as authors have pleased me while reading their books.”
No childhood teddy bear?
“I never had a teddy bear as a child – just Jerry the Mouse from the Tom and Jerry cartoon. On a trip to England with my sister, I bought a Paddington bear at Harrods. I loved it! That started my collection, which is quite large now. My mom, other family and friends all gave me bears; oddly enough, even with so many in the house, my daughter preferred her ‘Velveteen Rabbit’ that she named Bun. I love dressing up my bears, displaying several around the house at holidays or every day. But I never got the chance to visit the Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory, about an hour and a half away from where I live, before the company moved to Missouri. Rats! Wish I’d done that. So when a friend suggested writing a cozy series with teddy bears, I figured that would be perfect to recreate the idea of a shop and factory in a small town.”
As a child, Meg’s family went to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan each summer. Greenfield Village features eighty acres with a historical museum, original and re-created buildings from famous Americans, plus shops for crafts like glass-blowing, blacksmithing, and pottery making.
“I loved every minute we spent there, despite my siblings being bored,” Meg said. “The steam train, while not authentic, helped fuel my research much later when I began writing my first western mystery. I’m a big fan of history, and still love touring historical homes and other museums all around the country. I also loved researching President Roosevelt, who inspired the American toy maker Morris Michtom to create the first teddy bear. I had no idea the President loathed the nickname ‘Teddy’! But being a good sport, he approved the toy and posed with it for photographs.”