Magna cum Murder

crime writing festival

October 29-31, 2010

Upcoming Events
Magna cum Murder
Message from Jim Huang
2010 Magna Program Schedule
Join our Facebook group!
McM logo

Sponsored by
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana

Magna cum Murder
Kathryn Kennison, Director

Steering Committee
Jama Kehoe Bigger
Austin Lugar
Nancy Lindley
Diane Watters
Kenny Jones
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List!
TWO WEEKS until 2010 Magna cum Murder! 

Our Author Spotlight shines on William Kent Krueger!
Q:  For some people describing a location is very difficult, but you make it appear effortless. How do you approach this type of prose?

First of all, I make sure that I know the area I'm writing about pretty well.  When I'm researching a place, I try to absorb as much of the essence as possible-sights, sounds, smells, temperatures, textures.  Then, when I write, I sink myself into the re-imagining of it, drawing on those elements that most stand out for me, trying to be both succinct and creative in the descriptions I use.  I've been at this so long, it's kind of second nature to me now.

Q: Vermilion Drift is your 10th Cork O'Connor book. How do you think you've changed as a writer and how the series has changed since your debut, Iron Lake?

Vermilion cover

I hope I'm a better writer, more assured.  But, honestly, I still worry tremendously about the quality of the prose, the believability of the story, the solidness of the motives, the humanity of the characters.  I think I tend to create suspense in a greater variety of ways these days, not just relying on putting someone in danger.  As for the series, I think it's matured well.  I believe it still has a lot of narrative drive and energy, and even those folks who've been reading me from the beginning can still anticipate being surprised by what Cork and the rest of the folks in Tamarack County find themselves involved in.

Q: What was the last great book you've read?

Two fine books in the genre: Tin Roof Blowdown, by James Lee Burke, and Still Life, by Louise Penny.

Q: What are you looking forward to about this year's Magna cum Murder?

It's been a while since I've been able to attend Magna, and I'm so looking forward to reconnecting with the folks in Muncie - Kathryn and Jama and the rest of the gang, who always do such a great job of putting this conference together.

Q: What's your own message to all mystery authors and fans?

"Don't miss this year's Magna or the goblins'll get you!  And if they don't, I will!"

Message from Jim Huang

Mystery lovers to gather in Muncie, October 29-31!

For the sixteenth time, mystery lovers from all over will gather in Muncie, Indiana to celebrate our genre.  I'm really looking forward to this year's event, October 29 - 31.

Magna has always been a little different from other mystery conventions.  The difference starts with Kathryn Kennison, whose gracious hospitality makes us all feel welcome and at home.  Though Magna has included its share of stellar authors -- Charles Todd headlines this year -- to me Magna has never been about long list of big name writers. Instead, Magna is about the conversations we're able to have, the opportunity get to know each other and to truly explore every aspect of the mystery novel. Maybe it's Magna's academic setting. Maybe it's Magna's less frentic pace.  Most likely, it's the way Kathryn and her crew create just the right atmosphere for us to laugh and learn together.

For ten years, I volunteered to be part of that crew, serving as Magna's program director.  This year, Austin Lugar takes over that role, and I'm eager to see what he cooks up for us.  I'm also looking forward to attending as a "civilian" this year, though I will hawking books from my publishing company (

But mostly I'm looking forward to seeing lots of the many friends I've made through the years in Muncie and at The Mystery Company.

I hope you've made your plans to attend; if not, it's not too late.  Visit for complete details.

See you there soon!

-- Jim

p.s. Interestingly enough, while Magna appears to be a relatively expensive event to attend, it's not bad compared to others.  Click here for a cost analysis run by the folks at Love is Murder.

2010 Magna Program Schedule now on website

The Program Schedule is now available. We may need to tweak it a bit before the festival. Click here to check it out!
Join our new Facebook group!

Find us on Facebook
Follow Magna cum Murder on Facebook! Just type "Magna cum Murder" into the Search box.

Go to our web site or click HERE.

And remember, Magna is Halloween weekend, so pack your favorite costume and wear it to the Saturday evening banquet!

Forward to a Friend