Categorized | Writer's Profiles

Grant Spradling

Long-time Mérida resident Grant Spradling is the author of three books:

  • From High in the Mulberry Tree (2005)
  • Maya Sacrifice (2012)
  • Palenque Murder: Death at the Maya Ruins (2013)

He is also the author of a number of short stories.

Your last two books, Maya Sacrifice and your most recent, Palenque Murder: Death at the Maya Ruins, feature the same three unwitting detectives, David Ward, Quincy Brewster, and Margaret Pendleton. How did you settle on these three?

A. I think Hemingway said, write about what you know. Well, I pretty well know David. Although all the characters are fictitious or at least fictionalized, David looks a lot me. He lived in Key West and in Mérida.

A very close friend of mine was a Quincy-like character, wealthy, opera librettist and huge. He was dead by the time I started Maya Sacrifice; still he spoke his lines as if he were in the room with me—one of the joys of writing.

Margaret is a composite. I have known women with one or the other of Margaret’s characteristics. As I wrote, she became as alive to me as Quincy.

Your last book, Palenque Murder: Death at the Maya Ruins is a murder mystery set both in Mexico and Florida, rife with unsavory characters and ancient mysteries. Did you do a lot of historical research?

Palenque Murder by Grant SpradlingA. Oh my, yes! Fascinated with the Maya culture, I started writing Maya Sacrifice. I read about everything written in English I could find about the Maya. I ordered back issues of National Geographic dealing with the Maya dating back to 1929. Even when writing fiction, I think it is the author’s responsibility to be as accurate with geography and history as possible.

For Palenque Murder, I traveled by bus to Xalapa where my murder victim started out and then followed his route to Palenque.I imagined myself my protagonist, viewed through his eyes the countryside, Tlacotalpan, Coatzacoalcos and Villahermosa. He remembers Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory takes place in Tabasco. By-the-way, The Power and the Glory is in the library and a must for one deeply interested in Mexico.

Q. Are you working on a new book?

A. Yep! It is a prequel to my other books. The working title is David Goes Home. I would like to note, that, while some of the characters in my books are gay—write about what you know—the focus of my books is not alternate life-styles or sexuality. Except for this book which is about a boy growing up gay in a small Bible Belt town, my books are simply adventures in which some of the characters are gay.

Hamaca Press has agreed to publish David Goes Home as it did Palenque Murder. Hamaca Press is a god-send to us Mérida writers.

This will be my last long work as my novels have required several years to research, write and edit. I’m going on 86 and somewhat realistic. From now of I shall stick with shorter works.

Grant’s books are available for purchase at MEL.


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