Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Visit with M S Spencer

Every once in a while, another author stops by to hang out. They might search for the tequila or some other form of adult libation, check out what's on the stereo or paw through my collection of books, seeking inspiration. Inevitably, they get comfortable and share a few insights.

Today is no exception. Author M S Spencer wandered in.  I have had the opportunity to read three of her previous mystery novels and found each one enjoyable.  

Before we get to your book, let’s learn a bit about you.  Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
Where am I from? Hmm. That's a toughie. I was born in upstate New York near the St. Lawrence Seaway, but moved six months later (well, my parents moved—I went along for the ride). We spent three years in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, then went halfway around the world to live in Turkey. Two years later we returned to Maryland and only moved twice more before heading to Paris for three years, then on to Morocco. Back to Maryland for high school until college drew me to the Hudson Valley; then Egypt; then Cambridge, MA, then Chicago, then Turkey, and finally back to DC. I'm skipping over the summers and have forgotten maybe one or two moves, but you get the gist. So, to answer your question, I'm not exactly sure where I'm from.
As I like to say, I've been writing since I could hold a crayon in my tiny, stubby fingers.

What authors have had an influence on your own writing efforts?
From adolescence on I read almost exclusively British writers—Austen, Waugh, the Brontes, Hardy—and I've been told my style has a pronounced English taste. I read little modern American fiction and still don't like it much. Either it's too melodramatic like (Hemingway) or too angst-driven (Tyler etc.). If a book is considered a classic, I'll read it. I figure it wouldn't be a classic if it weren't good (the exception being Dickens—gawd, he's dull).  I also loved the dark, intricate writings of Conrad and Anne Rice.

Do you have a specific time or routine that you try to follow when it comes to writing?
Seven days a week I get up early, take a long walk, then go back to bed. About nine, I'll get my breakfast, watch news (I'm a CSpan junkie), then hit the laptop. I'll get into my stride just before knocking off for lunch, then it's downhill from there until about five when I get another spurt of energy. I have an awful feeling I only get inspired when it's nearing a meal time…

What’s the title of your latest work and what is it about?
Whirlwind Romance came out September 2. It's a full-length romantic suspense novel (M/F, 3 flames). Here's the blurb:

 In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken far from civilization to a tiny, remarkable island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin, a small, but proud young boy named Inigo, and a cadre of extraordinary characters, Lacey and Armand must confront pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical paradise to its former serenity and find lasting happiness.
Buy Links:

Who is the one character you’ve created that you are the proudest of?
Are you kidding? You do know they're listening? [She says loudly]: "I love them all equally."

Many authors picture their works as a movie. What character would you play?
I'd love to be Tessa Diamond, heroine of Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine. She's tall, willowy, and has long, glistening black hair. Plus she's very calm and sure of herself. Which is why they'd never cast me as her. I'd fit better as Milo Everhart from Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders (You knew I'd say that). We first meet her in a paint-covered smock with smudges on her face and it goes downhill from there. 

Yes, there is something about the character Milo which has captured my imagination. Are you working on another book?  What’s it about?
I sure am. I'm on the second draft of a funny, sweet murder mystery set in Maine, tentatively entitled The Penhallow Train Incident.  Rachel Tinker, director of the Penhallow Historical Society, meets her match in Griffin Tate, a curmudgeonly retired professor. Together they wade through a scene awash in red herrings to solve not one, but three murders. If, in fact, they are murders. Along the way they deal with ancient rumors, ancient crime, and ancient tragedy, as they grope nearer and nearer to love in the small coastal town of Penhallow, Maine.
      Somehow Solomon and the Queen of Sheba weasel themselves into the story. Don't ask me how—it's typical of my muse to sneak stuff in when I'm distracted.

What are you reading now?
Besides your wonderful book, Devious? I'm reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, about the Revolutionary Generation, and a fascinating book about American restauranteurs by Patric Kuh entitled The Last Days of Haute Cuisine.

Provide any links for the book, your blog, website, and the cover art.
I'd love to hear from readers:

Thanks for stopping by.  Now put down the tequila and get back to work.  


  1. A good and interesting interview. I just recently visited NY and enjoyed my stay. Wishing you all the best with the book.

  2. Oops--forgot to comment! No way to type with a glass in each hand I guess (jk). Thanks for having me--hope your readers enjoy my little adventure into memoir. MS

  3. Wonderful to get to know you better MS. :) I wish you the best with your books!!