The University of Minnesota Crookston held a book talk with award-winning Minnesota author Marcie R. Rendon October 18 inside the Fournet Building’s atrium. Rendon spoke about her crime fiction series, which includes Murder on the Red River, Girl Gone Missing, and Sinister Graves, and participated in a Q&A session plus book sales and signing at the event.
Rendon was named a McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artist in 2020, and her creative work in theater, fiction, and nonfiction has received critical acclaim. Her current series based in the Red River Valley features protagonist Cash Blackbear, a young Ojibwe woman whose visions and grit help her solve brutal crimes in the 1970s.
U of M Crookston Senior Vice Chancellor Rosemary Johnsen said she picked up Rendon’s series during her first summer on campus and has been recommending it to people ever since.
“To have her speaking in Crookston about her three-book Red River Valley mystery series was a special opportunity for us,” Johnsen shared. “An event like this was a fun way to bring us, the community and campus, together in learning and conversation.”
During the book discussion, Rendon discussed the publication process and what inspired her thrilling crime fiction books. She also talked about being an author who is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation and what that has been like for her. Rendon read excerpts from each of the three books from her crime fiction series to the audience and answered questions afterward.
“Back when I started writing I was a single mom with three kids so a lot of my writing was packed in my head when I was doing dishes, running kids here and there, doing this, doing that, and this still happens,” Rendon shared with the audience when asked about the development of her characters. “I’m not plotting in the way that many writers work, I’m kind of running the story around in my head, and then when I sit down it just sort of all comes out.”
Earlier at the event, Rendon told guests she got her start writing for local and national magazines and then, after a discussion with Dr. Debbie Reese of Nambe Pueblo, who is co-editor of the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature, Reese told her to try Cinco Puntos Press out of El Paso, Texas. After Rendon sent the press the manuscript of Murder on the Red River, to her surprise, she got a contract back.
The Rendon book talk event was presented by the U of M Crookston Office of Academic Affairs and Office of Outreach & Engagement.