SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: As many of you know, THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT came out at the beginning of this month! (Number 10 on the New York Times bestseller list, woo hoo!)
Also, Miss Edna is now out of the hospital. She's resting comfortably at home and thanks you all for your good wishes. One of the things she wants to learn to do during her recovery is learn to use the computer, so with luck, she'll be able to interact in person!
And I've been busy doing book events in Pittsburgh, Houston, and New York. And going to Philadelphia, Ann Arbor for more book tour fun. And maybe Charlotte, for research.
For the most part, I'm pretty good at writing while traveling. First, beyond keeping up with the schedule, your down time is your own. (As opposed to at home: "Mommy, can you get me the (fill in the blank)?" "Miss Susan, when you have a moment...." and "Uh, honey....")
I work happily on planes, trains and autos (just need an electrical outlet) and I loooooove to work in hotel rooms. (The silence — oh, the blessed silence!)
And so, even though I've been on the road, talking about THE PRIME MINISTER'S SECRET AGENT (Maggie Hope #4), I've also been writing MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE (Maggie Hope #5).
Since the new book is just out and I don't want to give away any spoilers by quoting from the next one, I'm going to talk a little about the characters we'll see in MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE.
The book opens with our old friends from MR. CHURCHILL'S SECRETARY — Maggie Hope, David Greene, John Stirling, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill — now reunited in Washington D.C. just after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Having Maggie return back to the U.S. has been great fun to write, as has been having the Brits be the "fish out of water" characters for a change.
Of course they meet President Roosevelt and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt.
And OF COURSE they meet Fala, the President's dog.
Maggie will go on to meet a character inspired by Pauli Murray. She's pressuring Eleanor Roosevelt to use her influence on staying the execution of a black man, inspired by Odell Waller. Needless to say, this doesn't go over well with certain Southerners who have secret ties with the KKK — and when bodies start piling up, Maggie and Mrs. Roosevelt investigate....
Meanwhile, there's a subplot where Walt Disney makes more than a cameo (he and the Disney Studio were heavily involved in war work for the U.S. government — not just propaganda films, but also animated instructional films for the armed forces, designing icons, logos, etc.) Disney's seen here with RAF pilot turned British spy, turned children's novelist Roald Dahl (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, et al.)
We'll also see how Maggie's half-sister, Elise Hess, does as she's granted a temporary leave from the Ravensbrück concentration camp and returns to see her father in Berlin.
And we'll continue to follow the story of Clara Hess. (That's all I'm going to say — anything else would give some big surprises away.)
I'm so excited about this book — Maggie's first line is "I'm back!" — and so she is.
Literally, back in the U.S. for the first time since 1937.
But she's also figuratively back — in that she's recovered (more or less) from her battle with the Black Dog of depression. Not only is she back to the Maggie we know from past books, but she's ready to start her next adventure — this time, in America.
Wonder Woman made her debut in December of 1941,
the same month Maggie returns to the U.S.