Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sorts of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.
Today I’m welcoming to the tearoom Mary Kendall to chat about her book THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE. Welcome to the tearoom. What beverage are you drinking?
I would love a cup of Typhoo tea if you can manage it—it’s hard to find over on my side of the pond. (No need for cream or sugar.)
Here in the tearoom we try to keep our guests happy. Now we have our refreshments, let me ask when you first begun your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
My chosen genre, historical mystery, was really chosen for me by my upbringing. From an early age, I lived in old historic houses and farms that my father attempted to restore. These were places that were filled with things that went bump in the night and rife with mysterious stories of Revolutionary war chapel rooms and Civil War hospitals. One even came with its own family graveyard. My imagination became primed and ready.
Tell us a little about latest writing project. Is it a new idea, or one you have been mulling over for some time?
My current novel, THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE, has been in the making for over six years. It has been through many rounds of drafts, many rounds of editing and over 100 rejections. Yet here we are.
Over a hundred rejections. That was tough going, Mary. How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
I have about six novels in the hopper. Only unfinished in the sense that they never found a home.
Do you write a synopsis first, write the first chapter, or let the characters lead you?
I start off my writing with a germ of an idea that I scribble notes about and then maybe some scenes that will later fall in at some point. I am the classic pantser but, along the way, I begin to corral things and think about what chapters should come next. But, overall, it is the characters that lead the way.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE is based on real life events and one of the two main protagonists, Blanche, was a real person.
Did you uncover things about yourself while writing your books? Whether that be a long forgotten memory, a positive experience etc.
Absolutely! For me this is one of the biggest benefits of writing. The things that rise to the surface through the process that had been buried deep or totally forgotten. I consider it almost a form of meditation.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am writing under a pen name for a pretty simple reason: there was a famous twentieth century Irish author with my real life name. Imposter syndrome can feel bad enough as it is!
How do you select the names of your characters? Do you know everything about them before you start writing their story?
Names of characters tend to pop up in my mind quickly mainly because I will be in the flow of writing and do not want to be interrupted to stop and pick through names so I just go with what pops up.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The finale which I find quite poignant. But I do not want to say anymore and give it away.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
First drafts of novels for me take from six months to a year. But then the process can go on for some time (another year?) to go through all the drafts that may be needed.
Moonlit alleys, shadowy tunnels, and buried secrets…
Summer of 1929.
Of supposed unsound mind without a penny to her name, Blanche Magruder lies alone in a home for the aged and infirm. Meanwhile, her house, a crumbled ruin in the heart of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., is pillaged nightly by thieves looking for treasure rumored to be hidden there. A distant niece, Margaret O’Keefe, is tapped as executor and soon becomes embroiled in the hunt for recovering monies, taking it on as a welcome escape from her financial and marital woes.
As Margaret discovers caches in unlikely spots throughout the house, family mysteries begin to unravel. She questions whether Aunt Blanche is an insane fool or a daring genius, yet Margaret must also wrangle with her own hidden truths. Pressed towards a convergence of their pasts and presents, the two women must ultimately face down a fateful discovery in order to rectify their lives. Shrouded in gothic undertones and dark artifice, THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE is a tale that takes the reader on a strange journey through tangled webs of family deceit. But where does it end?
Thank you for joining me, Mary. If you would like to find out more please click on the link below:
Mary’s Webpage: http://www.marykendallauthor.com/
If you want to find out more about Clubhouse Members’ Books, don’t forget to check out the Clubhouse Bookshops too.