Mar Preston is the indie multiple award-winning author of seven police procedurals, six writing craft books, and many short stories.
Her whodunit mysteries celebrate the mean streets of Santa Monica and a fictional California mountain village. She is a writing teacher and editor, a very amateur actress, and a comedy skit writer. She now lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s national capital.
By Accident is the 5th in a series about a Santa Monica Police Department cop working homicide. The Santa Monica Police Department is composed of 233 sworn police officers and 250 civilian staff members. The 8-square mile city on the Pacific Ocean edge of the Los Angeles sprawl generates a lot of heat and excitement.
By Accident may be the last in the series about my Santa Monica cop that I’ve come to know so well. I’m just too far away now for the scents and sounds of the city to reach me. I moved back home to Canada after a 50-year hiatus in California just in time for Covid-19. I’ll always be tempted to write another because interesting things happen in Santa Monica that give me ideas.
Santa Monica’s beaches and luxury hotels are tourist destinations for millions of international travelers, and they are the targets of crime. The city is also called “The Home of the Homeless.” Homeless people like sunshine and beaches as much as anyone else, and a felon on the run can’t flee from trouble any further west.
It’s also the home of about 100,000 residents, most of them ordinary dog-petting citizens. But Santa Monica is more known for celebrity sightings and drunken starlet wrecks in Lamborghinis on the Pacific Ocean Highway. I had my nose down some nasty rat holes in previous books researching international crime, genocide, and female mutilation. By Accident? I did my research while waiting for the hairstylist reading People magazine, Us, supermarket tabloids, and watching Entertainment TV. For a time, I knew who was doing whom and how.
I’ve been fascinated for a long time watching smirking celebrities stroll out of the courtroom … if the case even gets that far. In By Accident, the celebrity couple gets it, and they get it good. I’m grateful to Sgt. Bill Lewis (Ret.) of the Oxnard Police Department for a chase and capture ending I never could have dreamed up myself.
Here’s a link to the Santa Monica Police Department series and a very different series featuring a homicide detective in the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
Mar shooting the ARB-15 at the Writers Police Academy.
You can contact Mar at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar is a very talented writer and teacher. I highly recommend her books, which she thoroughly researches and writes with an elegant style. She also a very nice lady and I hope our paths cross again at a future conference. Stay strong, Mar.
Mar is a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, a wonderful writer, and delightful person. I’ve read a couple of her books, and can highly recommend them. Well written, great plots, and filled with wonderful characters!
Thank you for this blog post about your writing journey and your past research – including very interesting resources. Your series sounds like the kind of story I like to read – especially because it operates through class divide and privilege.
I sneak in a lot of social commentary in my books. I write about things that make me mad that I can do very little about.
When I first heard about Alec Baldwin and that mess I thought aha! Another celebrity. Is he going to walk out of the courtroom smirking. Now I’ve come to have a little sympathy for him.
I would imagine a lot of you have discussed this thoroughly.
Your books sound interesting. It’s probably easier to imagine crime taking place in Santa Monica than in Ottawa, but I’ll bet there are a few criminals even in Canada.
I’m so looking forward to reading Mar’s books. I met her several years ago at the Public Safety Writers Conference and loved her goofy sense of humor immediately. Thanks for this lovely interview, George and Mar!
Hi Mar! So lovely to hear about you and the book. I look forward to reading it, and will anticipate the new series set in Ottawa!
Thanks to you to George. Alway interesting posts!
Mar has been a friend of mine a long time–dating back to when she lived in the mountains off the 5. We are fellow Sisters in Crime, members of PSWA, and it’s been too long since I’ve seen her in person.
Glad you’re doing well and engaged with everything going on around us these days! Good to hear from you, so glad we met at PSWA.
I enjoyed reading the interview and getting to know you.