Spring in East Tennessee is normally the most beautiful of seasons, a time of growth and renewal.  Residents of tiny Park County are shocked when it is also a time for murder.

When a snake-handling preacher is murdered with his own snakes, Sheriff Tony Abernathy and his wife, Theo, a quilt shop owner are thrown into the search for a killer. From the beginning of the investigation, it seems like an unlikely choice of weapons.  Why kill a man few people even knew existed?

The trouble has just begun.  Soon the entire sheriff's department is fighting rising water, more deaths and illegal drugs. 

Theo aides Tony's search as she runs her shop, designs a mystery quilt (pattern included) and is mom to their two young sons. 

Read it on KINDLE or NOOK

or NOW available on audio from: Murder by Serpents: The Mystery Quilt (Audible Audio Edition): Barbara Graham, Charlie James: Books


June 20, 2014 Bernina of Billings, Billings Montana 11:00AM to 1:00PM

June 21, 2014 Summer Writers Roundup, Billings Public Library, 10:30AM to 4:30PM

June 28,2014 Sheep Camp Quilts, Shoshoni, WY 11:00AM to 2:00PM

August 7, 2014 Ault Public Library, Ault, CO 7:00PM

September 11-13, 2014 Yellowstone Quilt Fest, Cody, WY all day

November 13-16,  2014 Bouchercon, Long Beach, CA




How did you get hooked on mysteries?

My life in literary crime began with the Hardy Boys.  I would purloin (a word learned from reading Poe) my older brother's latest Hardy Boy adventure and read it by flashlight under the covers.  Many of my friends were readers of Nancy Drew but I found her less exciting.  I did have a terrible childhood crush on Frank Hardy.  I'm not sure I realized I was reading fiction.  Never the sharpest tack in the box, I still remember the devastation I felt when learning my other hero, Roy Rogers was an actor and I was not watching a documentary. 

Are you working on other books?

MURDER BY ARTIFACT: The Murder Quilt  released November 18, 2009

MURDER BY MUSIC: The Wedding Quilt released November 11, 2011

MURDER BY VEGETABLE: The Baby Quilt released October 19, 2012

MURDER BY SUNLIGHT: The Charity Quilt releases October 23, 2013

Do you like writing or quilting better?

Yes.  If one is going really well and the other is not, I love the one going well.  There are parts of each process that are discouraging and irritating.  Since I'm basically lazy, I don't like tossing out chapters of "really great writing" and I don't like unsewing either.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Write this quotation from Elbert Hubbard on a piece of paper and hang it where you can see it while you write.  "There is no failure except in no longer trying."  Seriously.  I have been writing and receiving rejection letters for decades.  Most writers experience a progression of increasingly more complimentary rejections until there is finally a "yes". Very few writers achieve immediate success.  Attend conferences, read books on technique, join a critique group if you can.  Many are geared specifically for particular types of writing--fiction, nonfiction, mystery, westerns etc. 

Did you always want to write?

I always wanted to tell stories.  It didn't begin as a thought of writing books.  I'm not sure when I realized books are written by people and not dropped from the sky.  Like many aspiring writers, I encountered "the cruel teacher" at an impressionable age and did not attempt writing for many years after that.  Even through those years, I made mental notes and daydreamed stories.

You don't live in Tennessee--why use it for the setting?

For several reasons.   It is a state with a wealth of history and incredible beauty.  Perhaps there is even a genetic link to it as my great-great something grandparents lived there before migrating to Texas.  I lived there for four years and it was during that time I started writing again, although not this series.  MURDER BY SERPENTS is  the first book I have written set in Park County.

Where is Park County, Tennessee?

It's in my head.  Seriously, there isn't a Park County.  One of the most fun parts of writing fiction is creating geography, history, people and events.  My Park County is a tiny triangular wedge bordered by Blount County, Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Silersville is the only town with a name and it is too small for its own police force.  Another bit of "trivia"--the original name for the county was Parker--so named for the founder's wife, Mary Parker.  The county was so small, only "Park" would fit on any map.

Only for Murder by Serpents--Why snakes?  I'm scared of snakes.

Me too.  I had to do my research with one hand over my eyes. They really freak me out.  My mother trained me to panic at the very idea of seeing one.  She did a really good job of it too.  If only I had learned to keep my room clean instead.   Seriously, there is just no way to completely leave them out of this book but I promise they keep a low profile.