Today I was ask to do a guest post for BOOK BLOGGERS INTERNATIONAL, so I’m thrilled to be here to write about one of my very favorite genres: cozy mysteries!
I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries — those fun reads that catch you and draw you in, but are never too scary or violent or cruel. I’m also a big fan of mysteries that take place long ago. The MAGGIE HOPE series by Susan Elia MacNeal is a wonderful series of novels, following the adventures of Maggie Hope, a WWII code breaker and British government worker. Maggie has all sorts of interesting things happen to her, all the while dealing with blossoming (and withering) romances, friends and relationships with interesting people, a unique family situation that could call for a flow chart while reading, and her own beloved cat.
The first book in the series is called MR. CHURCHILL’S SECRETARY. Here’s the overview from Penguin Books:
I never grow tired of Maggie adventures and I find Susan’s research to be startlingly in depth and on target.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Susan MacNeal a few questions. I am friends with her on Facebook and enjoy her posts (we actually have sons the same age with similar interests as well). Susan was gracious enough to send me some insider info that I can share with you readers about how she came to write about Maggie Hopeand her adventures.
1) How did you come up with the idea for Maggie Hope and the series?
Actually, I can thank the Muppets for the Maggie Hope series! Let me explain—my husband is a puppeteer for Sesame Street and the Jim Henson company, and he starred as Bear in the Disney Channel show Bear in the Big Blue House. Well, it was huge in London, so we got to travel there.
Our first night, we met a friend at a pub and he very kindly brought a copy of Time Out London and flipped it open to an ad for the Churchill War Rooms, saying, “Despite what you Yanks might think, World War II didn’t start with Pearl Harbor. Maybe you should go and take a look.”
Considering myself challenged, I set out the next day, through a horrible snow storm (I’m from Buffalo, so it didn’t slow me down).
The museum, set in the underground, concrete-ceiling-protected bunker from which Winston Churchill and his staff ran World War II, looked much as it did during the war. Walking the same hallways that the Prime Minister himself trof was awe-inspiring. And it was a catalist for writing the book. I knew I had to write about the people of the War Rooms, a woman working in the War Rooms—and specifically a young woman, working as a secretary, in the War Rooms.
2) How did you research each novel (as they are meticulously researched!)?
Well, I love to travel to the places in question and do as much first-hand research as I can. I also love to talk to people who lived through World War II. I was privledged to correspond with Mrs. Elizabeth Layton Nel, who was one of Churchill’s wartime secretaries. And one of my friends and editors is a woman who lived through the Blitz in London as a child. Then there are books, of course (first person accounts are best), documentaries, and newspapers and magazines from the time. I love to research!
3) How many books do you plan to have in the series?
Well, THE QUEEN’S ACCOMPLICE (Maggie Hope #6) is just out and made the USA Today- and Publishers Weekly-bestseller lists, as well as a finalist in Goodreads Best Books of 2016 best mystery/thriller catagory. I’m just now finishing up THE PARIS SPY, the next book in the series, slated for publication in summer ’17. And I’m under contract for books #8 and #9 with Penguin Random House. Love writing these books and have lots and lots of stories to tell!
THANK YOU, Susan, for answering my questions!
The Maggie Hope titles are:
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
Princess Elizabeth’s Spy (my favorite!)
His Majesty’s Hope
The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent
Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante
The Queen’s Accomplice
All available from Penguin Random House Books!
Thank you for letting me guest post today at Book Bloggers International. Please stop by my blog at Beth’s Book-Nook Blog: http://www.drbethnolan.wordpress.com
or find me on Twitter at @BethsBookBlog and on Litsy at BethsBookBlog!