By George Cramer
The Mona Lisa Sisters is a tender journey into the making of a family. The novel is full of careful historical detail and the pleasure of European trains and cities and plenty of mystery to keep the pages turning, but the greatest delight is Lura Grisham herself.
– Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
An enrolled descendant of the Karuk Tribe of California, George Cramer, brings forty years’ investigative experience to crime and historical fiction. He holds an MFA-Creative Writing Program from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
George conducted and managed thousands of successful investigations throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. He kept his investigative skills honed by volunteering as a Missing Person’s investigator at the San Leandro, California Police Department.
In addition to the Public Safety Writers Association, George is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the California Writers Club. He is a contributing author to several anthologies and the Veteran’s Writing Project. Other than writing, his love is long-distance motorcycle riding his 2001 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic.
George’s debut novel, The Mona Lisa Sisters, was published in 2020.
When and how did you begin your writing journey? Before my sixty-eighth birthday, I was laid off from a fantastic job when H-P bought out Palm, Inc., beginning a journey through the world of age discrimination. One day, I saw a note about a writing class at the Dublin Senior Center—whose doors I swore never to cross. I took the class and fell in love with writing. Overcoming forty-five years of report writing was difficult. One day, the instructor randomly passed out photos to the class. “Take fifteen minutes and describe the scene.” I did not do as instructed. The second I saw the image of two young girls staring up at the Mona Lisa, I knew I was going to write a novel. In fifteen minutes, I had a rough sketch of what began an eight-year ride to The Mona Lisa Sisters.
I knew I needed help and formal training. For help, I joined the Tri-Valley Branch of the California Writers Club, followed by the Public Safety Writers Association. I went to the local community college for formal training, Las Positas, and pursued an English degree. I followed by the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for an MFA.
IAIA introduced me to a group of superlative authors and mentors. My cohort mentors were Ramona Ausubel, Ismet (Izzy) Prcic, and Marie-Helene Bertino. These fantastic people guided my writing throughout the program and remain in my life.
Thonie asked about projects and what book I’m reading. That’s tough. For pure enjoyment, I just reread Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. Two book clubs selected The Mona Lisa Sisters, so I’m reading eleven of the other books selected for the year. I’m reading a half-dozen other novels for a project I’m excited about.
When I began work on Mona Lisa, I set aside a thriller/police procedural spread over forty years, 1930 to mid-1970. I hope to have it published by the end of 2021. I’m also working my way through a crime trilogy. I never knew retirement would be so hectic.
The Mona Lisa Sisters is available through Amazon and the IAIA Book Store. You can reach me at email@example.com and visit my blog at https://gdcramer.com. If you stop by, please leave a comment and follow.
14 replies on “A Chat with Author George Cramer”
Well, George, that was great! I learned even more about you and your writing journey. Thanks for sharing.
Me, too! There’s so much to this guy. His book is next on my TBR list.
I learned more about your journey and it is very interesting. vb
Thanks for stopping by, Vicki.
It was great to “walk the walk” with you. Intereting the way you were led to write this story! .
George is very interesting, isn’t he?
George is not only an amazing and accomplished man, he’s one heck of a writer.
It’s always fun to learn more and more about a fellow author and member of PSWA. Great blog!
An interesting story of George’s journey to becoming an award-winning author! I’ve read The Mona Lisa Sisters and can highly recommend it. It is an enjoyable and read that will keep you reading it long onto the night!
Your writing journey is fascinating, George. You plunged in wholeheartedly. I look forward to reading The Mona Lisa Sisters.
George is an inspiration to me.
Great interview, George and Thonie! I came to writing after retiring from another career too, George, and I loved hearing your story. I’m looking forward to reading your book in our book club, and your next book sounds intriguing as well. Looking forward to talking to you later!
It’s interesting how ideas come about, and how mystery writers view the world differently. I have the book and I look forward to reading it.
I know you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for the comment!