Margaret Mizushima’s passions have led her on a winding path from speech pathologist to business owner, and finally to the author of a series of award-winning mysteries incorporating her love of words, dogs, rural life, and crime fiction.
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Timber Creek K-9 mysteries are set in a small town in the Rocky Mountains, not unlike her home on a ranch outside Wellington, Colorado which she shares with her veterinarian husband, Charlie Mizushima. He owns and operates the Community Veterinary Clinic and collaborates with Margaret on technical animal issues and sometimes the development of plots for her stories. The couple has two grown daughters.
Margaret developed an interest in speech when she volunteered to tutor an intelligent boy with cerebral palsy who was unable to speak, while she was in high school. She went on to earn degrees in the field and work in an acute care hospital before opening her own rehabilitation agency which she operated for 10 years.
Born in Kansas and growing up on ranches in Texas and Colorado, Margaret had always loved the outdoors as well as reading whatever she could get her hands on. She is especially drawn to mysteries and crime fiction.
After she closed her speech rehabilitation business, she embarked on a different path making use of her love of language in a new way. She decided to become a writer. To that end she took courses, attended conferences and decided, that because of her love of crime fiction, mysteries might be the best path for her to take.
She had always wanted to write about a veterinarian. Together, she and Charlie came up with an idea that developed into the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries Series. It took Margaret five years to complete and polish Killing Trail, the first in the series. When she shared her work with a representative of Crooked Lane Publishing at a writers’ conference in 2015, she found herself with a New York publisher.
She has been writing a book a year ever since, fulfilling an ongoing contract with her publisher. “It took me five years to write the first one and then I had six months to produce Stalking Ground.”
Hunting Hour and Burning Ridge followed. On November 12, Tracking Gamewill hit the book shelves. Number six, Hanging Falls,is in the works and due for publication in fall, 2020.
Margaret’s schedule is cut out for her. She travels a good bit attending conferences and promoting her work but for much of the year she maintains a strict writing schedule. She’s at her computer by 9 a.m. and spends three to four hours a day writing. She doesn’t begin creating a draft until she has identified the crime to be committed and the opening and closing scenes.
I’m constantly thinking about plot, she says. “I dream about it.” It is important to her to develop her original idea for the book into a theme and to weave it into the actions and character development for the important players in the story. Each book features Mattie Cobb, deputy sheriff, her narcotics detection dog, Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker as the main characters. Robo is always heavily involved in unearthing evidence and solving the mystery. Margaret has learned about narcotics detection dogs from Kathleen Donnelley whose company, Sherlock Hounds, trains dogs to sniff out narcotics and gun powder.
In addition to having a loyal following of dog-lover readers, Margaret has received several honors for her work and is the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year, selected by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is active in the writing community and serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.
Tracking Gameis available for pre-order at online booksellers and at Firehouse Books in Fort Collins.