Mystery Mondays: Rosemary McCracken Safe in Safe Harbor?

While Rosemary McCracken will tell you her main protagonist is much nicer than she is, don’t believe it. Rosemary is a generous author who supports other authors.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.13.30 PMSAFE HARBOR  had me biting my nails and kept me up late at night, and BLACK WATER kept the suspenseful ride going. The books are a must read – if you haven’t read them already. Let’s welcome Rosemary…

Interview with Rosemary McCracken


Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based fiction and journalist. Safe Harbor, the first novel in her Pat Tierney mystery series, was shortlisted for Britain’s Debut Dagger Award in 2010. It was published by Imajin Books in 2012, followed by Black Water in 2013. “The Sweetheart Scamster,” a Pat Tierney short story in the anthology, Thirteen, was a finalist for a 2014 Derringer Award.

Jack Batten, The Toronto Star’s crime fiction reviewer, calls Pat “a hugely attractive sleuth figure.”

What was the inspiration for the character of Pat Tierney?

As a journalist, I’ve written about personal finance and the financial services industry for the past 20 years. For these articles, I interview financial advisors and investment managers. I attend their conferences. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have.

And when I was looking for a central character for a mystery series, Pat Tierney appeared full-blown in my mind. She has the traits of the people I admire most in the industry. She cares about her clients. She’s a champion of small investors. She has sleepless nights when markets are down.

Who is the most complex character in your novels?

Pat Tierney is undoubtedly the most complex character in the series. She’s committed to restoring law, order and harmony in each book, but she also has a whack of family problems to deal with. In Safe Harbor, she learns that that her late husband had another woman in his life and fathered a child with her who is now seven.

Are there characters in your books who are similar to yourself?

Some readers think Pat Tierney is me, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pat is a financial advisor, while I’m a journalist. She’s a mother who spends a lot of time worrying about her family; I don’t have children. She’s also a much nicer person than I am: kind, compassionate and always tries to do the right thing. Pat is definitely not me. But she is a person I’d like to be.

Your mysteries have appeared on Amazon’s top financial thriller list. What’s the draw of a financial thriller?

Easy money is always alluring. We’ve all fantasized about what our lives would be like if we won a big lottery prize or received a surprise inheritance. Money we didn’t have to work hard for. Most of us are content to keep these thoughts as fantasies. But there are some people who aren’t.

What are you currently working on?

I’m in the home stretch of writing the third Pat Tierney mystery, which opens three months after the conclusion of Black Water. Like Black Water, it is set in Canadian cottage country, in a fictitious community that bears a very strong resemblance to the real Haliburton Highlands north of Toronto where I have a summer home.

Which author has influenced your work the most, and why?

Veteran Canadian mystery author Gail Bowen has been a wonderful influence. Gail read an excerpt from an early draft of the Safe Harbor manuscript and suggested that I use a first-person narrator instead of third-person. “The reader has to be inside Pat Tierney’s head all the way through this book,” she said. Gail was absolutely correct! As soon as I started rewriting the manuscript in first person, I knew it was the right way to go.

What’s your fiction writing schedule like?

Ideally, I’d like to sit down at my computer every morning around nine and write for three or four hours. No rituals to get in the mood, just bum-in-the-chair. If I experience a bout of writers’ block, I’ll write character profiles during that time. Or try taking the story in different directions…winging it, having a character in the chapter do something crazy and unplanned. This type of exercise often loosens the block, and it sometimes produces useful material.

But that’s the ideal situation. In reality, my “other work,” journalism, often interferes. I may have a morning interview scheduled or I may need to prepare for an interview later in the day. I just write off those days for writing fiction, and try to get in my chair by 9 a.m. the following day.

What lessons did you learn as a pre-published author?

Never give up. And take advantage of every opportunity to get work published. I entered writing contests, attended conferences and networked with other writers. And I had to learn not to let negative comments about my work get me down. Negative comments are often just sour grapes.

Do you have any ideas for a movie adaptation of Safe Harbor

I’d like to see Nicole Kidman play Pat Tierney in movie versions of the books. George Clooney can take the role of Pat’s beau, Devon Shaughnessy.

How can people connect with you?

They can visit my website at and my blog at

And follow me on Twitter at And on Facebook at

Where can readers find your books? 

Safe Harbor is on and

Black Water is on and

Synopsis of Safe Harbor and Black Water:

Safe Harbor, the first Pat Tierney mystery, opens when a visitor to Pat’s Toronto office tells Pat that her late husband fathered a child who is now seven years old. Stunned by the announcement, Pat is even more surprised when the visitor bolts from the office, leaving young Tommy behind. When Tommy’s mother is murdered the following day, police say that the boy may be the killer’s next victim. In a race to protect Tommy, Pat uncovers a deadly scheme involving illegal immigrants, trafficking in human body parts and money laundering.

Black Water takes Pat to cottage country north of Toronto when her daughter asks for help finding her missing sweetheart, Jamie Collins. Pat heads out to the rural community where Jamie grew up and where an elderly man was recently murdered. Pat’s search for Jamie takes her through a maze of fraud, drugs, bikers and murder.

Next week I have the pleasure of hosting Alison Bruce, author of mystery, historical and romantic suspense.


10 thoughts on “Mystery Mondays: Rosemary McCracken Safe in Safe Harbor?

  1. As someone who has read Rosemary’s Pat Tierney books (and a couple of her short stories) I eagerly await book 3. I also identify with Rosemary’s best laid plans. As a freelance journalist/editor, some days all the good intentions in the world don’t make it to sitting down and writing fiction. I sometimes wonder, though, if I had that ideal world, would I use the time wisely, or fritter it away? Sometimes the more deadlines I have, the more effective I am!

    Liked by 1 person

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