Jen: Today we welcome M.S. Spencer to Romancing the Book. M.S., please share a short bio with us, including links to where you can be found online.
M.S.: Thanks so much for having me here at Romancing the Book. I hope your readers enjoy the excerpt from my latest romantic suspense, Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, as well as my interview. I’d like to offer a pdf of any one of my first four novels to the reader who suggests an intriguing place to find a dead body.
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent.
Ms. Spencer has published five best selling contemporary romance novels. Lost in His Arms is set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a CIA fixer had his hands full. In Lost and Found we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine for the husband who disappeared. Losers Keepers is a tale of love, lust and treachery set on the island of Chincoteague. Triptych tells of jealousy and intrigue high above the Potomac River. Her latest release is Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders, in which Milo Everhart, artist, meets her match in lawyer Tristram Brodie on the battleground of the old munitions factory turned art center called the Torpedo Factory.
You can reach her at:
Jen: Please tell us about your latest release.
M.S.: My latest release takes place in Old Town Alexandria, an historic cobblestoned city on the Potomac River in Virginia. It follows the adventures of several artists at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. A munitions factory on the waterfront dating from 1918, the Center lay derelict after World War II, until an intrepid band of local ladies convinced the city to lease it to them. Opening September 15, 1974, today it houses 82 studios, the Art League, the Friends of the Torpedo Factory, and an Archaeology center. To learn more about the history of the Torpedo Factory, click this link: http://www.torpedofactory.org/
Waiting out the rain, Milo Everhart takes stock of her widowhood and the handsome man standing in the door to the bar. Little does she know she will meet that man again and again under both passionate and terrifying circumstances.
Tristram Brody waits for his date, too conscious of the beautiful woman sitting by the door. Little does he know that she will hate him for trying to destroy her beloved art center, and even suspect him of murder. Nor that she will be drawn inevitably into his arms.
Little does either of them suspect they will be embroiled in not one, but two murders, in which the fate of the Torpedo Factory, an art center housed in an old munitions factory on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria, will be decided.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine? Any “must-haves” while you’re working?
M.S.: Routine? Absolutely. My routine consists of breakfast, toilette, checking email and any other social media site I can think of, standing up, sitting down, leaning forward, lolling back, allowing a finger to hover over the Documents, clicking on WIPs…and then starting the routine over again. It’s amazing that I get any writing done at all.
Must-have’s? There’s my amulet, and my personal trainer, and of course the diamond tiara…Oh, did you mean actual stuff? Sure, must-haves include my coffee, my fuzzy slippers (for winter), my flip-flops (for summer), my window looking on the park, and enough time to waste before getting down to work.
Jen: What 4 people have been the biggest influence on your writing? If you could tell them something, what would it be?
M.S.: My friend Andrea is a born editor, able to reorder and revivify any passage you’ve been giving last rites to. She is equally at home perfecting a log line (25 words or less) and a 65,000-word novel. Her only fault is that she doesn’t appear to understand that me and my writing should take precedence over her family, her job and her life.
Both parents also contributed to my growth as a writer, but in nearly opposite ways. My mother loved to read–anything, anywhere, any time. From her came my addiction to reading, which opened my horizons to beyond even my own imagination, gave me an extensive vocabulary and broad-based knowledge, and set me on a path to a lifetime of learning. My father was the writer. He bequeathed the irresistible urge to put my own words on paper.
Jane Austen of course provided the model for perfect prose, to which I can only aspire.
What can I say to all four, except “Thank you?”
Jen: What’s next for you?
M.S.: I’m glad you asked! I’m putting the final touches on two really fun novels. Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine, a Sarasota Romance is due for release in January from Secret Cravings Publishing. It’s set on the Gulf coast of Florida, and involves Russian gangsters, sea turtles, smuggling, big fish, pigs, and all kinds of other weird stuff. Oh, and romance. Lots of romance. And sex.
My second, “Lapses of Memory” (working title) is a story within a story of a couple who meet every few years on a plane. Journalists, they become embroiled in all kinds of international crises, from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese Civil war. Along the way they get to fly in whatever latest aircraft is available. The story is intertwined with the contemporary romantic troubles of the heroine’s daughter, who must choose between a reserved American and a mercurial Frenchman.