Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
M. S. Spencer. I’m from all over—born in New York state, lived in Maryland, France, Morocco, Boston, Egypt, Turkey, Chicago, Washington, DC, Virginia, and Florida. I write cozy murder mystery and romantic suspense.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
Like most writers, I began to write as soon as my chubby baby fingers could hold a crayon. I wrote all the time—from poetry to academic papers, to stories. Until my house flooded, I had journals going back decades. I wrote my first novel in the 1990s which never saw the light of day because my beloved husband threw out the only copy by mistake. I managed to get published in 2009—mainly because the submission process had gone from the expensive and laborious snail mail process to online. Yes, I’m that lazy. Ten years later, my thirteenth has just been released.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance, released October 30 from the Wild Rose Press.
In its final draft is Mrs. Spinney’s Secret, a mystery romance set in Maine—in the same town as The Penhallow Train Incident. I am not much into series, but I love the denizens of Penhallow and Amity Landing so much I had to let them live on in a new story.
The working title is Mrs. Spinney’s Secret. The story opens with Cassidy Jane Beauvoir, proprietor of Mindful Books and chairman of the Board of Overseers of Amity Landing, confronted with a Hollywood cabal that wants to make a movie in her tiny village. Her objections are overridden by the townspeople, and her initial misgivings must vie with a growing attraction to the film’s director Jasper MacEwan. Unfortunately, both the movie and their romance are hindered by a series of incidents—some fatal, some simply painful. The two must set aside both their differences and their romance to search for answers not only to the mystery, but to the whereabouts of a long lost hoard of English gold.
What is the most challenging part of writing romance?
I write mystery romances, so I have to juggle both the romance and the puzzle. I suppose it gives my hero and heroine something to do besides smooch 😊. The hardest part is probably coming up with new ways to describe the first kiss.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
I usually start with a setting as inspiration, but often something I’ve come across in surfing the internet factors in. In The Mason’s Mark, I read about a world-class charlatan who was a renegade Freemason. Since my setting was Old Town Alexandria and the George Washington Masonic Memorial, it was easy to weave in a tale of intrigue, espionage, and treasure. Most of my settings are familiar to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do massive amounts of background research to back up my memory and ensure authenticity.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you?
I would advise aspiring authors to read as much good literature as they can—not pulp-fiction, drug-store dime novels, but the classics. Only well-written stories can build your vocabulary, understanding of character development, grammar and spelling skills, and style. I totally disagree with people who think it doesn’t matter what you read as long as you’re reading. A diet of literary junk only makes your mind fat and sloppy.
What do you love the most about the month of November?
I love the cool, crisp air! It energizes you. Of course, this November in Florida is warmer than usual, but I happened to be in Maine at the peak of fall color, so I got my fix.
Any last words before we go into the speed round?
I hope people will go to my author page—here at LoveRomanceReads and elsewhere—and discover the very wide range of stories and settings I’ve written.
Here are links to some of them:
City, suburb, or small-town? Small town.
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate? Dark, bittersweet chocolate.
Vampire, werewolf, demon or angel? Angel.
Wine, whiskey or punch? Jack Daniels, thank you very much.
Leather, lace, or silk? Silk.
Cats, dogs, or exotics? Exotics—I love snakes!
Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before she even sets her suitcase down, she's confronted with a murder victim. In a research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue, all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.
More About M.S. Spencer
M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, has published thirteen romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.