Giveaway Ends 10/14
What does it mean to you to be called an author?
Being an author means that I get to share my stories and characters with readers. That’s humbling, exciting, and a little nerve-wracking!
Which book are we talking about today?
I’m thrilled to tell you about THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE, which will be published by Level Best Books on September 20, 2022.
Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?
In THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE, young widow Becca Parcell and former British POW Daniel Alloway take on their second mission for General George Washington. They find themselves in Philadelphia masquerading as a married couple as they track down the traitors who are flooding the colony with counterfeit money.
But their straightforward mission is upended when Becca comes face-to-face with a half-remembered figure from her past, who is arrested for murdering one of their primary suspects in the counterfeiting ring.
With time running out—and their faux marriage breaking apart—Becca and Daniel find themselves searching for a hate-driven villain who’s ready to kill again
What inspired the idea for this book?
The more I learn about the American Revolution, the more like the present it feels to me. That’s the inspiration for my series, though each book is driven by my characters’ strengths, weaknesses and desires.
Our country was just as divided then as it seems to be now. Historians believe that, south of New England, perhaps only 50% of the country supported independence during the war.
England really was printing and distributing fake money here to upend the economy and increase colonists’ distrust of our own government. The economy was, in fact, in shambles, inflation was out of control, and Congress was powerless to do anything.
Race was an issue then, too. The first state law in North America limiting slavery went into effect in Pennsylvania just as my story opens. That law plays an important role in one character’s life.
Finally, a historian told me that 18th century men and women would never be permitted any privacy if they weren’t married or if they didn’t have a family relationship. That prohibition leads Becca and Daniel to masquerade as newlyweds. How else could they possibly find the privacy they’d need to share information and work together in that time and place? But their marriage masquerade also brings them closer and forces them to grapple with their growing feelings for each other.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
I learned about the Ladies Association of Philadelphia. The group’s name may be quaint, but its members did an awesome job of raising money for the all-but-bankrupt Continental Army. Its founder, Esther Reed, is a character in THE TURNCOAT’S WIDOW, and the group plays an important role in the plot.
Tell us about a favorite character from the book.
I have a soft spot for Benjamin Franklin’s (actual) daughter, Sally Franklin Bache, who becomes Becca’s sidekick in THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE. Drawings of Sally suggest that she bore a striking resemblance to her father, but the historical record of her life is sparse. She was a Patriot, she could read and write at a time when most women couldn’t, and she adored her famous father. She was also an enthusiastic member of the actual Ladies Association of Philadelphia.
How do you define success as an author?
I was humbled when my first book was nominated for several mystery fiction awards, including the Agatha Award and the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award.
But what really makes me feel like a success is hearing from someone who’s taken the time to let me know they enjoyed reading my book. That never gets old.
What made you say to yourself, “Today, I will publish.”?
I backed into writing and publishing my first book, step by step or, to quote author Annie Lamott, bird by bird.
Looking back, I can see that I was looking for something new, something that felt like an adventure, when our only child went off to college.
At the time, all I knew was that there was a lot less laundry to do when I got home from work … and that I missed our son like crazy.
I started Googling “writing classes” and took one. I wrote one scene, then the next. (Words really do add up.) I wrote nights and weekends while working fulltime.
After I wrote about 50 pages, I submitted the partial rough draft to the critique program that the New York chapter of the Mystery Writers of America runs. The response was so encouraging that I kept writing.
I attended a writers conference here and there (pre-Covid) and met other writers, agents and publishers. I still remember my introduction to the women who own Level Best Books at one of those conferences. They took me and my book on and became my publishers.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
I always wanted to be an author, but that wish had to wait until I “met” just the right characters – Becca and Daniel – and they told me their story.
How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?
If I get stuck writing a chapter, I move on to an entirely different scene. Usually, that’s enough to shake off writer’s block. When I return to the initial scene later that day or the next day, I can usually fill in the missing pieces.
But sometimes writer’s block means my story needs to go in a different direction. So I do try to understand what it is about the scene that’s giving me trouble.
What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Keep writing! Don’t start editing your manuscript before you complete a first draft. You can’t know all the things you’ll need to revise until you get a good view of the whole enchilada.
What are you working on in the near future?
I’m working on book three in my series, THE PARIS MISTRESS, which takes place in Paris and Versailles at the very end of the American Revolution and a few years before the French Revolution.
What has been your favorite reader feedback?
My friend and her dad exchange books on a pretty regular basis. She called to tell me that her father arrived at her house a few weeks ago, pulled my first book out of his bag, and handed it to her, saying. “I thought you’d like this. I did.” He didn’t know that she and I were friends. It was indirect reader feedback, and I loved it.
How do you interact with your readers?
Which of your books would you recommend to readers new to your work?
Readers can enjoy THE COUNTERFEIT WIFE without reading THE TURNCOAT’S WIDOW first. But they might want to start with THE TURNCOAT’S WIDOW, since it introduces my main characters.
Who is your favorite author?
Charles Dickens is one of my favorite authors. He created entire worlds and populated them with fabulous characters in the most dramatic, dire circumstances. His novels may be considered literature with a capital “L” now, but they were printed in newspapers in installments back in the day. He sure told a hell of a yarn.
I can’t compare myself to Charles Dickens. Nope. Just can’t. But I do strive to create the type of all-encompassing world that makes me fall into the stories he creates.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading an advance copy of Mariah Fredericks’s great new book, THE LINDBERGH NANNY, about the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s baby. It’ll be out in November.
What is the first book that you remember reading?
I swear I remember my mother reading Winnie the Pooh to me when I was a toddler. Nancy Drew mysteries were the first books I recall reading myself.
Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?
When not cheering for the NY Mets, you can find me laughing with friends, eating way too much Moose Track ice cream, or hiking with my husband.
Name three fun facts about you or your work.
-I only write barefoot.
-I can tap dance.
-My main character, Becca, and I are terrible liars. That’s a real problem for Becca, who’s stuck living a lie as she pretends to be a newlywed while searching for traitors in revolutionary Philadelphia.
What would your dream library look like?
My dream library would look like a castle and smell like old books and fresh coffee. Each room would hold floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, contain comfortable chairs and feature an endless supply of fresh coffee, my favorite beverage. I might never leave.
If you could have lunch with 3 authors, who would they be?
I’d invite Mary Shelley, William Shakespeare and Charlaine Harris to lunch at a dimly lit, expensive steak joint in midtown Manhattan.
After a drink or two, I’d ask Mary Shelley how the heck she came up with Doctor Frankenstein’s monster. At that point, Shakespeare would probably muscle into the conversation with some can-you-top-this author talk about how his most outrageous characters came to be. Given that Charlaine Harris created Sookie Stackhouse and the Southern Vampire Mysteries, I don’t think she’d have any trouble holding her own with that bunch.
Which book would open a secret room for you?
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe would be my pick. The children in that story step into a secret room, too, and into another world.
What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?
I’m great to have around in a real emergency. The worse things get, the calmer I appear (not my normal state, mind you).
If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
That’s an easy one. I’d be an astronaut. I’ve always wanted to see Earth and the moon from space.
If you had your own talk show, what would the topic be?
I do have a talk show! I co-host Guns, Knives & Lipstick, a Podcast featuring conversation with other mystery writers. https://anchor.fm/gkl One of our first guests, Texas pharmacist Lucy Zahray, aka The Poison Lady, answered our questions about poisons that mystery writers might want to use to kill off their next (fictional!) victim.
The Counterfeit Wife
by Mally Becker
September 19 – October 14, 2022
Virtual Book Tour
Philadelphia, June 1780. George Washington’s two least likely spies return, masquerading as husband and wife as they search for traitors in Philadelphia.
Months have passed since young widow Becca Parcell and former printer Daniel Alloway foiled a plot that threatened the new nation. But independence is still a distant dream, and General Washington can’t afford more unrest, not with food prices rising daily and the value of money falling just as fast.
At the General’s request, Becca and Daniel travel to Philadelphia to track down traitors who are flooding the city with counterfeit money. Searching for clues, Becca befriends the wealthiest women in town, the members of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, while Daniel seeks information from the city’s printers.
But their straightforward mission quickly grows personal and deadly as a half-remembered woman from Becca’s childhood is arrested for murdering one of the suspected counterfeiters.
With time running out – and their faux marriage breaking apart – Becca and Daniel find themselves searching for a hate-driven villain who’s ready to kill again.
Praise for The Counterfeit Wife:
“The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker has it all — adventure, romance and deceit … [w]ith smooth-as-ice prose and pitch-perfect dialogue.”
Tina deBellegarde, Agatha- and Derringer-nominated author of the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series
“The Counterfeit Wife is a not-to-be-missed adventure that gives new meaning to rebel and loyalist, spy and spouse.”
Lori Robbins, award-winning author of the On Pointe and Masterclass Mystery series
“As the young country struggles for independence, so does Becca, and she will have you turning pages well into the night … I highly recommended The Counterfeit Wife and I’m already anxious for the third of the series.”
Eileen Harrison Sanchez, award-winning author of Freedom Lessons—A Novel
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 300
Series: A Revolutionary War Mystery
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Mally Becker combines her love of history and crime fiction in mysteries that feature strong, independent heroines. She is the Agatha Award-nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow, which Kirkus Reviews called, “A compelling tale… with charming main characters.” Her first novel was also named a Silver Falchion finalist and a CIBA “Mystery & Mayhem” finalist.
A member of the board of MWA-NY, Mally was an attorney until becoming a full-time writer and an instructor at The Writers Circle Workshops. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Mally and her husband live in New Jersey, where they raised their wonderful son and spend as much time as they can hiking and kayaking.
Catch Up With Mally Becker:
BookBub – @mallybecker
Instagram – @mallybeckerwrites
Twitter – @mally_becker
Facebook – @mallybeckerauthor
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!
09/19 Showcase @ BOOK REVIEWS by LINDA MOORE
09/20 Guest post @ The Mystery Section
09/21 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
09/26 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
09/27 Showcase @ Nesies Place
09/30 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
10/03 Showcase @ Im All About Books
10/04 Interview @ Cozy Up With Kathy
10/05 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
10/06 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
10/07 Review @ Cozy Up With Kathy
10/08 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
10/11 Interview @ I Read What You Write
10/11 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
10/12 Interview @ Urban Book Reviews
10/13 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty
10/14 Review @ The Page Ladies
10/20 Review @ The Book Connection
10/25 Review @ Urban Book Reviews
10/26 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres