Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ruth Moose Gives Two Readings Saturday: Charlotte and Cornelius

Ruth Moose

Oh, winning is such sweet revenge, especially when you hear a story like former Charlottean Ruth Moose's. Moose wrote the first draft of  a mystery novel, "Doing It at the Dixie Dew," 25 years ago on a Kaypro computer in a house she and her late husband built deep in the woods of  the Uwharrie
Mountains. Each summer, free from her job as a reference librarian at Pfeiffer College in Meisenheimer, she tinkered with the manuscript, then submitted it to the first Malice Domestic Competition. She didn't win, but she was named a finalist, and an editor there suggested revisions.
But Moose was too busy, and she shoved the manuscript into a drawer.
Meanwhile, she won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and went on to publish three collections of short stories and six of poetry.
Years later, retired from 15 years of teaching creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill, she tackled the novel again and submitted it once more to the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. Bingo. This time she won.
Over the years, Moose had been bringing  the manuscript to the monthly sessions of a writers' group that met at the old Poplar Street Books in Charlotte's Fourth Ward. In her acknowledgments at the back of "Dixie Dew," she doesn't forget that group: "This is not to thank the members of my long-ago Charlotte writers' group who disliked this manuscript from word one."
"Doing It at the Dixie Dew" is a cozy mystery set in the fictional town of Littleboro, N.C., where Beth McKenzie attempts to turn an old Southern mansion into a bed-and-breakfast. Her first guest is murdered, and three days later a young priest is found strangled in his chapel.
She'll read from her novel at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Cornelius Public Library, 21105 Catawba Avenue, Cornelius, and again at 2 p.m. Saturday at Park Road Books, Park Road Shopping Center, Charlotte.
Moose will also appear on D.G. Martin's "Book Watch" at noon on UNC-TV on June 15.