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Our Town: Mystery novelist a would-be jazz pianist

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneWriter Todd Borg searches for a clue for his latest mystery thriller novel.
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Many people count sheep or drink warm milk when they can’t sleep in the middle of the night, but author Todd Borg goes over ways he can make his novels better. Borg’s daily focus is writing good stories and keeping his readers happy.

If anyone had asked him when he started college about becoming a novelist, it would have been the furthest thing from his mind. Although when he turned in his first college English paper, his teacher exempted him from freshman English. When he asked her why, she said, “Because you understand the principles, and you know how to write a sentence and construct a paragraph.”

He didn’t start writing until he was 28 years old.



Born in Minneapolis in 1953, Borg met his wife, Kit, when they both were attending the University of Minnesota; they have been married 34 years.

The Borgs were in the picture-framing business for 27 years in Minnesota and Tahoe, and Kit is an oil painter. In his earlier years, Borg was involved with a rock ‘n’ roll band ” he played the piano, sang and wrote songs.



His inspiration to write came about when he went to Hollywood to talk with music publishers. He discovered his songwriting didn’t meet the publishers’ needs ” so he switched to writing fiction.

The Borgs moved to South Lake Tahoe in 1990 because they love the Tahoe landscape and mountains, and they spend as much time outdoors as possible. They enjoy hiking and downhill skiing and especially like to cross-country ski in the moonlight. They came to Tahoe to experience winter but found they like the summers even better.

Todd and Kit owned and operated Borg & Night Master Framing at South Lake Tahoe until they sold the business two years ago so that Todd could concentrate on his writing. He has published five mystery thriller novels, all set in Tahoe, and he is working on the sixth.

The first, published in 2001, is titled “Tahoe Deathfall.” The other novels are “Tahoe Blowup,” “Tahoe Ice Grave,” “Tahoe Killshot” and “Tahoe Silence.” His protagonist, Owen McKenna, is a former homicide inspector with the San Francisco Police Department. McKenna’s sidekick is a Harlequin Great Dane named Spot.

Borg’s books are available at Artifacts in the Village Shopping Center and can be ordered from any bookstore and online. His Web site is http://www.toddborg.com.

Here are his answers to the Tribune’s questions:

“My wife’s Norwegian tacos. They are like a Mexican taco with a Norwegian twist because of her history.”

“I think America’s most pressing problem is unilateralism. We think we can do whatever we want without working with other countries. I think it’s a terrible problem to be isolationists. We need to cooperate with the rest of the world.”

“I have always been a voracious reader of mystery thrillers, and the book I’m currently reading is a mystery titled ‘Boundary Waters’ by William Kent Krueger. It is set in the boundary waters wilderness between Minnesota and Canada.”

“My favorite music is any recording of the late Oscar Peterson ” one of the world’s greatest jazz pianists.”

“I’d be a jazz pianist. I grew up a rock ‘n’ roller. I played piano in a garage band as welI as performed solo as a singer and songwriter, but I didn’t have the talent to be a jazz performer.”

“Stephen Hawking. He has been totally paralyzed for a very long time, and in spite of that he still does groundbreaking physics. In his spare time, he knocks off best-selling books. He is still teaching, even though he is a quadriplegic and can’t talk.”

“Abe Lincoln. He was brave enough to end the institution of slavery against huge protest. He made an incredibly difficult decision to emancipate the slaves and hold the country together throughout the Civil War. It took enormous guts, and it got him assassinated.”

“The Library Journal just came out with a list of their five best mysteries of 2007, and ‘Tahoe Silence’ was one of them.”

“It’s wonderful that history is filled with great people like Ghandi, Winston Churchill and Mother Theresa, but I have no illusions of what I am capable of. I’m happy if I can just entertain somebody with my novels.”

“I would take the 23 novels of John D. MacDonald’s ‘Travis McGee’ series. They are enormously entertaining with fascinating characters and gripping plots.”


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