Interviewing Author James Musgrave

  1. Tell me about yourself?


I’m a retired college educator who began my Portia of the Pacific series while caring for my wife, Ellen, who was dying from Lewy Body Dementia. She was always a prolific reader, and she loved historical mysteries, so I began my series to entertain and read to her. Even when she couldn’t process the content any longer, she still smiled and nodded at me as I read to her, which gave me more inspiration to continue.

2.What are your favorite books to read?


I go back and forth in time. Hermann Hesse, Margaret Atwood, Rachel Kushner (her book The Mars Room is awesome), and Denis Johnson. Of course, I’m constantly reading other historical mystery authors, mainly to keep up with what they’re doing.


3. When did you decide you were going to write a book?


When I was teaching, and I was approached to write a non-fiction book on how to write for the “new” digital marketplace in the 1990s. Harcourt-Brace published it, The Digital Scribe: A Writer’s Guide to Electronic Media.

4. How did you come up with the name of your book?

From the bible’s story of Salome, and her Dance of the Seven Veils, which led to the prophet John the Baptist losing his head.


“Dancing” serves as a symbolic backdrop for the entire mystery. I was interested because there are Christian and other religions that forbid dancing, especially by women, and I wondered why.

5. What are you working on for 2021


I’m testing the new market for serials at Amazon’s Kindle Vella Program. My effort is a Biblical-type Fantasy and SciFi called The Night Visitors about Lilith (the Dark Eve), who returns to Earth to take it over, along with her contingent of Succubae and Incubi.


I’m also crafting mystery #7 in the Portia of the Pacific series.

6. How long have you been writing?


30 years.

7.What advice would you give other authors?


Read a lot. Enter your work in respected contests. Never give up if you believe in your work.

8. Where can people find you online?

9. What is your favorite coffee drink?


Grind-it-at-home Mayan beans, with a few natural honey plops.

10. What is your favorite coffee shop?


A private shop called The Living Room, off College Avenue, in San Diego.

11. Do you plan on making a new book in the future?


Please see above.

12. How many books have you written?


At least 35. All of my mysteries in the Portia of the Pacific and Detective Pat O’Malley series were vetted and accepted by the American Library Association’s Independent Author Program and, where public library patrons throughout California can enjoy digital versions of my books online.

13 Did you go to college to be a writer?


Yes. And teacher.