Ross Tarry, Mystery Writer, on Writing

Please welcome today, Ross Tarry, author of four mysteries, and more to come. Ross talks about why writers write. Check below for Ross's upcoming appearances and book signings.


Hello. My name is Ross.

I'm a writer.

Sounds like a greeting in a dependency program, doesn't it? Try to quit, though, and you find just how necessary writing is in your life.

I actually tried once. For about three months. I quit everything associated with writing. I avoided my office. I quit reading, going to libraries. Everything.

It lasted about two months.

There is something about writing that is a need. It's more than thinking up a plot or story or creating interesting characters, though it is also those. It is something inside you that needs to come out, something that needs to be expressed. Could it be we, as writers, living in this shallow world, need to show that there is more to us than what is seen. More to us than what we seem?

My passion for writing blossomed 25 years ago. Maybe it was something of a mid-life crisis. I know it had a lot to do with when my daughter began first grade. My wife worked during the day as an analyst at Norwest Bank. I worked afternoons for the Burlington Northern Railroad. As a result, I was our daughter's primary caregiver during the day. So when I discovered I was alone with no daughter to care for, I did what every mother or father is supposed to do: I slid into deep depression.

A good friend suggested I think through my life. Was there anything I really wanted to do that I hadn't been able to do? A hobby or avocation?

Yes! Write! I had about ten pages of a novel plot I had put together a number of years before. It was rolled and wrapped in up in rubber bands and thrown up overhead in the garage. Thus was born Spirits of Ojos de Agua. Set in Mexico. Which later became Eye of the Serpent.

Of Mourning Doves and Heroes followed. A murder mystery. Anyway, it started as a formula murder mystery. I soon found, however, that to satisfy this inner need to express myself, I needed sub-plots and relationships with interesting characters and so it turned into more of a mainstream mystery and an exploration of a late in life romance.

For Whipoorwill, I returned to Mexico. Something holds me to that part of the world.

What have I learned from my writing? Other than the practical knowledge gained from necessary research? That one must treasure solitude for one thing, And, that it does take a certain Gift. And we need to honor that Gift Giver by using that gift. But, writing is also craft. By studying the craft, using that gift, and practice, we can become successful by however you measure success.

But mostly, I think, I've gained a deeper understanding and acceptance of myself. And I can count that as a measure of my success.

Ross Tarry


I am now retired and live with my wife in Mounds View, Minnesota. I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Michigan and later moved to Minneapolis Minnesota where I have lived since 1970.

I had been a closet writer for many years writing plot lines, character biography's, and scenes then storing my musing in the bottom drawer of an old desk, hoping to some day write a novel.

In 1994 I discovered Maureen LaJoy, the founder of The Center for Developing Writers, and joined her writing class. A small woman, she loomed large in my eyes and in the eyes of her students and she soon became the biggest influence in my life. My mentor.

Maureen often ended her class with one phrase and it's amazing to me now how powerful an effect it had on me, and I'm sure on her other students as well. That phrase: "I give you permission to write." What an awesome gift that was.
Ross has several upcoming appearances:
  • Friday, November 19, 5:30 p.m. Ross and four other authors will appear at the Maple Grove Borders bookstore, located in The Shoppes at Arbor Lake. Please join him for an evening of book talk and book signings. A great time to get the gift of an author-signed book for the book-lover on your list!
  • Sunday, December 5, 1 to 5 p.m. The Maple Grove Arts Center, 7916 Main Street, Maple Grove. Book signing with live music.
  • Tuesday, January 25, 1 p.m. Author Talk at Plymouth Creek Center

Ross's Books:

Eye of the Serpent

Sometimes love can be so great, so powerful, as to over shadow all other realities. Dominic Garcia, a young American archeologist, finds himself drawn to the ancient Mayan site of Ojos de Agua in southern Mexico by an energy much older than himself. There is also another draw. A woman who’s passion is justice. A strong, single minded woman who leads him into a world of deceit, deception and the violence of a blossoming revolution. And along the way he learns that having something to live for means having something worth dying for.

Last Cry of the Whipoorwill

Jersey Wilkes knows Baja Mexico and the Sea of Cortez like the back of his hand. He also believes his simple, uncomplicated life as captain of his boat Whipoorwill will go on forever, and it did until a woman from his past showed up in Los Cruces. Charmin Gotti is on what could be a risky mission to locate her husband and she needs his help. Jersey reluctantly agrees and soon discovers his chances of surviving the mission are slightly greater than surviving Charmin Gotti.

Of Mourning Doves and Heroes

In the small tight-knit town of Lawrence a paraplegic is found dead. Was it an accident or was it murder? The daughter of the town's only law officer, fifty-nine year old Titus Closson, is forced off the road and nearly killed. Titus, who has been contemplating retirement, is forced to put his planes aside to catch a killer and save his daughter's life.

Cardinal Red

When a woman is killed in his office by a hired assassin, retired homicide detective turned private-eye Vic Pittaro is charged by the victim's husband to find out who hired the killer and why.  When he discovers family secrets that threaten an influential family, the case turns personal and leaves behind a string of dead bodies.


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