A Conversation with Mary Angela Author of Midnight Spells Murder

To catch this killer, Zo will have to risk much more than just her reputation . . . — Midnight Spells Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?

I love to read, garden, and bake. I’m married and have two daughters, Madeline and Maisie. We love to come up with new recipes for my books.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Keep writing! The hardest part is finishing the first book. Without a writing contract, there’s nothing pushing you toward the finish line. You have to be your own cheerleader. Also, join a professional group, and find out as much as you can about revising, polishing, and submitting your work. 

What is your author spirit animal?

Such an intriguing question! In fact, I was so intrigued by it, I googled “spirit animals” and took a quiz. It said my spirit animal is an owl, which is perfect. I love owls.

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose? 

Ooh, I love that idea. The book would be Come Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie. It’s one of my favorite autobiographies about her life with her second husband Max Mallowan. I think books do tell us how to live in many ways. They also allow us to live different lives and, in some ways, secret lives because they are imaginary and separate from our real lives.

What inspired the idea for your book? 

Spirit Canyon is the name of the fictional town in the Happy Camper series, so I thought Halloween would be the perfect time of year for Midnight Spells Murder

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?

I learned a lot about witches, including the history of the word and why we associate witches with “bad” people.

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together? 

Zo and I would go antiquing together, and Jules and I would have a drink at her store, Spirits & Spirits. Hattie, the town librarian, would invite me to one of the book groups she hosts, which would be so much fun! 

How do you define success as an author? 

For me, success is about contentment. Writing the best book or short story I can makes me happy. 

What do you look for in a story as a reader?

I love strong settings as well as eclectic settings. I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life, but I enjoy traveling. I don’t get to travel as often as I would like, however, so traveling with a book is my next favorite thing. 

Spirit Canyon’s annual Spirit Spooktacular weekend is on, and for local amateur sleuth Zo Jones, it’s boomtime for business at her Happy Camper gift shop . . . until a murderer drops in for a browse.

To celebrate Halloween at the Happy Camper, Zo schedules a talk by successful author and self-proclaimed witch Marianne Morgan. Although Marianne’s benign brand of witchcraft is more about feminine empowerment than black magic, her presence is still not welcomed by everyone. Then on a midnight stroll home, Zo spots what seems to be a new Halloween decoration propped up outside the Happy Camper. What she finds is not a mannequin but a dead Marianne, her lifeless body dressed in traditional witch’s garb. But why would someone send this good witch back to the spirit world permanently?

Soon Zo realizes that plenty of folks have motives for murdering Marianne. What’s worse, nosy TV newsman Justin Castle plans to broadcast a report associating Marianne’s murder with the Happy Camper. Zo calls on her partner in sleuthing, local forest ranger Max Harrington, to help her find the culprit before Justin’s report airs. Otherwise Zo’s business just might go bust. But to catch this killer, Zo will have to risk much more than just her reputation . . .

Purchase Links  – Amazon – iTunes – Google – Kobo – B&N

Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.

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