Margaret, it’s great to have you at Novel PASTimes today. Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?
Thank you for having me. The biggest surprise is that I’m not rich and famous. Seriously, I’m surprised by all the changes that have taken place since I started writing. I wrote my first book on a typewriter—remember those? I had to go to the printer and make copies before I could send out a manuscript. After standing in line at the post office to mail it, I then had to babysit the mailbox waiting for a response. Now I just push the “send” button. It’s that easy.
Please tell us something about your latest novel, Calico Spy.
Calico Spy is the third book in my Undercover Ladies series (the books stand alone so they don’t have to be read in order). Someone is killing off the Harvey Girls and undercover Pinkerton detective Katie Madison hopes to find the killer before the killer finds her—or before she burns down the restaurant trying.
Calico Spy is set in the Old West, in 1880 Kansas. What drew you to write about this time period and the location of your story?
It was necessary to set the story in Kansas in 1880 for historical accuracy. I originally wanted to set the book in Texas, but the timing didn’t work out. My heroine is working undercover at a Harvey House and the first Texas Harvey House wasn’t built until 1897. That posed a problem as Allan Pinkerton died in 1884 and his female detective division was disbanded when his sons took over.
Have you found there are similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
I read somewhere that every writer has but one theme and it’s written subconsciously. I didn’t think too much about that until my former agent pointed out the number of abandonment themes running through my stories. I prided myself on writing different themes so this was a shocker. It made me realize that I had issues in that department stemming from my childhood. This explains why I felt abandoned even when the goldfish died.
As I’m answering this question I’m thinking about Calico Spy and just realized there’s a very strong abandonment theme running through it having to do with the hero’s son. Oh, well, my next book, Left at the Altar isn’t about abandonment….uh…oops!
What drew you to writing historical novels?
We look forward to hearing more from Margaret Brownley tomorrow. Please enter the Rafflecopter drawing below for a print or ebook copy of Calico Spy with the following restrictions: Only open to US residents and you must be 18 years or older to enter. Thank you for your cooperation!