Interview with M.A.R. Unger

Why is Matti James a forensic facial reconstruction artist?
Back in 1989 headlines were made on America’s Most Wanted. Because of an age-progressed clay bust, multiple murder John List was arrested after 18 years on the run. I was hooked on forensic facial reconstruction from that day on. It is a mixture of science and art, no two reconstructions of a skull will have the same results. Take King Tut, for example. I swear one rendition makes him look like Barbra Streisand….forgive me, Barbra.

For Matti James, I decided to use Karen Taylor’s 2-D technique, because I have a background in drawing and painting. Also I don’t like the results of computer-based reconstructions.
Why is the story set outside of Las Vegas?
Not everything happens in Vegas, baby. I chose a suburban city that borders on the desert and Las Vegas. It’s second to Las Vegas in population. Mountains surround it. I think you can tell that I spend a lot of time photographing the mountains and desert.
Have you ever met anyone like Joe Chauncey?
Smart readers wouldn’t ask.
How do you approach cover design?
For Bits and Pieces, I wanted something striking that would have..well…bits of a skull. Believe it or not, on Halloween I took a skull model and went into the desert (near the setting of Matti's house), dug a partial hole, and started taking photos. Back at the computer, I decided to do slices of the photo. One turned out looking like a knife as well as a skull. That was it!
Where did you get the idea for Bits and Pieces?
It came from a newscast I heard while driving on the I-15 near Las Vegas. The reporter alleged that rather than contacting authorities and delaying the project, some local contractors simply disposed of human remains. EUREKA! I added a twist.
What do you read for pleasure?
Oh, my. I'm always researching background. I read books on forensics, criminology…to relax I read anything by Stephen Hawking and try to figure out what he's saying. Love history and archaeology and anything dealing with American Indian art/history/culture.
Why are your crime scene people called CSAs?
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and that of the City of Henderson use the job title of Crime Scene Analyst. These individuals work in the Crime Scene Investigations unit or bureaus of a larger Criminalist Division. Calling them CSIs was popularized by the TV series. While the analysts may wear CSI logos, the initials refer to the unit.
Published 2014-12-05.
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Books by This Author

Bits and Pieces
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,340. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014 by The von Raesfeld Agency. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Forensic artist Matti James seeks change when she moves to Henderson, NV. She adopts a dog that digs up human remains, joins a women’s mystery club intent on solving cold cases, and learns her neighbors have ties to the Russian Mafia. Add two resident Inbetweeners who are not exactly alive and Matti’s life becomes decidedly different.