Saturday, October 17, 2015

What We're Writing: Susan Works on Three Books at Once

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Hello, lovely readers! What am I writing? What am I not writing? Or promoting? Or editing? Or researching? Or....

Let me explain.

MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE, the fifth book in the Maggie Hope series, is coming out on October 27 (yay!), so I'm doing interviews and writing articles and blog posts for that. 

Here's a bit about MRS. R. :

In this latest riveting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal, England’s most daring spy, Maggie Hope, travels across the pond to America, where a looming scandal poses a grave threat to the White House and the Allied cause.
December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States’ entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt’s inner circle—as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.

The reviews so far have been great! 

Publishers Weekly calls it "MacNeal’s enthralling fifth Maggie Hope mystery." 

RT Book Review made it a Top Pick and says: "Bestseller MacNeal continues the Maggie Hope Mystery series with another winner filled both with fact and marvelous fiction." 

Kirkus says: "MacNeal paints an engrossing portrait of a country on the verge of war, with many laws suspended and prejudice rife—a world not that much different from today."

And Booklist states, "The indomitable Maggie [is] in top form."

I'm also gearing up for the MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE author tour, which will roll through Fairway, KS; Washington, D.C.; Wellesley, MA; and Newburyport, MA. Here are the dates and details:

Tuesday, October 27 – FAIRWAY, KS
Talk & Signing
Rainy Day Books
2706 W 53rd St.

Fairway, KS 66205

Wednesday, October 28 –  WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Talk & Signing
International Spy Museum
800 F St., NW

Washington, DC 20004

Thursday, October 29  –  WELLESLEY, MA
Talk & Signing
Wellesley Books
82 Central St.

Wellesley, MA 02482

And one reading with our brilliant Hank!

Friday, October 30  — NEWBURYPORT, MA
5:30 PM
Jabberwocky Bookshop
Join the award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan and NYT Bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal for an evening of conversation, book signings, wine and cheese!

Hope to see you and meet in person!

Also — just received notes back from my editor at Random House on the book I just turned in — THE QUEEN'S CONSPIRATOR (aka the "Blackout Ripper" novel) — so I'm working on edits and rewriting some sections. It's due in the beginning of November, to which I say, after a week at Bouchercon and the tour coming up, "HA!"

And then, because my seventh Maggie Hope book is due next fall (which will be here before you know it), I'm starting by researching the setting and time — Paris, in the spring of 1942. I'm reading and watching documentaries about Coco Chanel (including Hal Vaughn's troubling tome, SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY: Coco Chanel's Secret War), Serge Lifar, and the Paris OpĂ©ra Ballet right now. As well as researching the build-up to the infamous Vel' d'Hiv roundup of over 13,000 Parisian Jews, including over 400 children, which happened in July of '42.

And then — in real life — there's Kiddo's Halloween costume, and what he wants to go as seems to change daily.....

On a more somber note, on October 20 we mark the one-year anniversary of Miss Edna's death.

Thus, I have no short-term memory, am drinking lots of coffee, and trying desperately to keep my head above water....

All good thoughts and prayers appreciated.... And if I forget something, mea culpa and I promise to have my head back in the game come November!


  1. I can't wait to read "Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante!"

    Maggie, Paris, and Coco Chanel . . . that sounds like a truly great story!

    You certainly do have a busy, busy schedule . . . hope your book tour is a great success and hurray for coffee!!!

  2. Thank you, Joan! No matter what you always get the fist post in! : )

    Hurray for coffee, yes!

  3. That's a hefty to-do list, Susan!! Stay healthy!!

  4. Thank you, FChurch... And it's coming on the heels of Bouchercon.... Trying to get lots of sleep, eat right and exercise.... Of course, I'm also planning an FDR vs. Churchill Martini Party to celebrate the book's release.... I'll be blogging about it for Jungle Reds!

  5. Whoa... You know, this looks SO great! We should all have martini parties to celebrate!

  6. I love your books beyond all love--and cannot wait to see you!

    As you can see from this:

    Yes, we HAVE to take care of ourselves a bit more. Water water water. Sleep. xoxooo See you soon!

  7. Congratulations on all this news Susan! I love that you're signing at the Spy Museum--brilliant!

  8. I will bar tend any book party happily, you guys....

    Or create a special cocktail for any book....

  9. ps Hallie, we are having cocktails to celebrate Hank AND Susan tomorrow at Mystery Lovers Kitchen--you must all stop over!

  10. I want to come to your Churchill martini party, Susan! What fun!

    Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidant is fabulous, and I can't wait for the Blackout Ripper AND Paris and Coco Chanel. So stay well (water, water, lots of rest and lots of water...) and post lots of pics from your events. We will be with you in spirit if we can't come in person!

  11. I can't wait for the new book(s), Susan! Your Maggie Hope books are hard to put down. I wish you were coming to CT!

  12. Keep taking deep breaths, Susan and remember to enjoy every moment. No doubt Miss Edna is right there with you. Maybe for book 7, your book tour will take you to California!

    Congratulations on all fronts. So looking forward to Mrs. R's Confidant.


  13. I love that you will appear at the Spy Museum in DC!! My Lord, though, you are juggling a LOT!!

    Bless my youngest grandchild who said to her Mommy, "I'll either be a penguin or Snow White -- we have those costumes, right?" The other dramas over this "holiday" should be the plot of a murder mystery! (But I suppose killing off all the little kids would not be very nice?)

    Anyway, keep up the great work!

  14. Thank you, you guys! (Off to get more water....)

    Yes, and please stop by Mystery Lovers Kitchen tomorrow — there will be cocktails recipes from both Hank and me — mine is a riff on the fruity Old Fashioneds that Mrs. Roosevelt sometimes let FDR make for her. We quite enjoyed a few last night... (For research! And I had to get Lucy photos!) Here's the address:

  15. The latest book (Mrs. Roosevelt...) is terrific! I was fortunate to get to read it early.
    I don't know how any of your do it, but I am very thankful that you do!

  16. Bring on the books! Martini party... oh yes. Would be lovely.

    I just finished His Majesty's Hope and getting ready to read The Prime Minister's Secret Agent... love Susan Duerden's reading style. Elegant and mysterious.

    See you in Mystery Lovers Kitchen, tomorrow! Sounds like fun.

  17. Susan, I am counting the days until Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante comes out! Oh how I wish I could be at the Spy Museum when you appear there. What fun that would be! You certainly have a lot going on now, but it's all so fascinating. The research you've mentioned makes me want to join in and read some of your Coco Chanel sources. Of course with the backlog of reading I have, that won't happen. Luckily, I will benefit from your research when I read your novel with it. I hope all the joy in your life will help soften the blow of the anniversary of Miss Edna's passing, but, of course, it's bound to be sad that she is no longer here. I am looking forward to hearing (and hopefully seeing) what Mattie chooses for his Halloween costume. It's sure to be fun.

    I am so happy that we finally met, Susan, in Raleigh. My only disappointment is that we didn't get to spend some time together, and I realized that, while I clicked a picture of you and Kristopher, I failed to get a picture of you and me. Next year, I'll set all of that right. In our brief meeting, you were as wonderful, gracious, and lovely as I knew you would be.

    Going to try to remember to stop by Mystery Lovers Kitchen tomorrow for cocktail recipes from Hank and Susan. Much love to both of you in your pending publications.

  18. Looking forward! And remember that I'm here whenever you need me! A sweep through the Bay Area seems in order. You've tried only one of Berkeley's good restaurants - there are lots more waiting for you. Deep sympathy on Miss Edna's anniversary. But you do have good memories to console you - and even make you laugh at times. Treasure them. Hugs. Phyllis

  19. I'm sorry I missed you at Bouchercon, Susan. I don't drink much these days, but I love reading the cocktail descriptions. Can I indulge vicariously?

  20. I can't wait to read all the upcoming Maggie Hope books. They all sound so interesting. Sending positive thoughts and prayers from Texas your way, Susan. It was great to see you at Bouchercon. Best of luck with your book tour.

  21. Mary Sutton, I'm so sorry that we didn't meet up at Bouchercon in Raleigh. Next year, I'm going to double check and see who all on here is attending.

  22. What a wonderful schedule! Rich and vibrant. So looking forward to the upcoming Maggie Hope. It's a delicious series and, speaking as a history major, always true to period and events.