Interview & Giveaway: The Spinster's Fortune by Mary Kendall

Happy FriYAY, everyone! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting Mary Kendall who is currently on Blog Tour for The Spinster's Fortune! It's getting fabulous reviews and I can't wait to read it! I hope you enjoy getting to know Mary and be sure to enter to win a paperback copy of the book!

Hello Mary and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Spinster’s Fortune!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

My formative years were spent growing up in old (and haunted) houses. This really sparked my imagination in a way that has never stopped. I earned degrees in history related fields and worked as an historian for many years but always dabbled with writing on the side. Once my youngest (of three) kids was in school, my time freed up enough for me to go deeper with the writing. Now, ten years later, I guess I am in my fourth or fifth act with actually getting published!

What inspired you to write The Spinster’s Fortune?

I have researched family history for many years. It was a lot more difficult in pre-Internet days but now, with the internet, there is so much more easily accessible. In researching my paternal grandfather, I found a photograph of him in a newspaper article about the real life spinster that the story is based on. The photograph was a big find for me but then the story that went with it took me down the rabbit hole. It is essentially the framework for the novel.

What research did you undertake when writing The Spinster’s Fortune?

In addition to all the newspaper articles that were written about the actual real life event, I also delved into all that was pertinent to that time period in that locale, i.e. Washington, D.C. in the 1920s.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Margaret and her husband, Keith, take a day out in Maryland horse country for a steeple chase event. It is not necessarily a pivotal or momentous point in the novel but I really enjoyed coming up with the depiction of this day and writing all the details to set the tone and the scene.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The final scene with Blanche was difficult because it was a poignant yet fitting and necessary end.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think probably from the time I learned how to read (B is for Betsy in the first grade, age six). But I remember being complimented by my fourth grade teacher on a story I wrote. He said something along the lines of: “You should be a writer.” That little nugget of encouragement always stayed with me.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I have a semi-full house with teenagers so my writing has to fit in where it can. It may be just a fifteen minute block of time or it may be several hours. But, if not actively writing, I have ideas rolling around and percolating in my brain somewhere pretty much all the time. And scribbled notes all over the place.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

When I wrote and was unsuccessful in getting published, the struggle was kind of a “if a tree falls in the forest…” situation. It was easy to get sucked into the mentality of why I am doing this at all if no one will ever “hear” it. Getting published has been such a validation to overcome that effect. I will always be grateful to my publishers for that along with everything else.

Who are your writing inspirations?

So, so many. Being a reader on a heavy diet of weekly book intake, I have been influenced and inspired by countless authors. I cut my teeth on Gothic suspense/thriller/romance genres with writers such as Barbara Michaels, Victoria Holt, and Phyllis Whitney, among others. I moved into mystery genres after that with Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. I then was drawn to early twentieth century American novelists like F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway. Later, it was fiction with a dark Southern gothic kick like Flannery O’Connor.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I am going to go with Gone with the Wind at age twelve. (But I think I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond at a younger age than that?)

What is the last historical novel you read?

Every time I tell myself I am not going to read any more historical fiction about World War II, I pick up one that looks intriguing and get sucked in again. I guess it’s just an endless fount for good historical fiction? So…Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse.

What are three things people may not know about you?

My DNA shows up as 100% British Isles. I have yet to figure this out… because I have researched my family and found full German great grandparents/ancestors.

I drink my coffee black…and my tea!

I lived on an island off the North Carolina coast only accessible by boat the summer I turned 21.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

My chosen genre, historical mystery, appeals to me due to my upbringing. From an early age, I lived in old historic houses that my family worked on restoring. These were places that were filled with things that went bump in the night and were rife with mysterious stories of Revolutionary War chapel rooms and Civil War hospitals. One even came with its own family graveyard. My imagination became primed and ready for writing historical mysteries.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

I am drawn most to the era that I wrote about in The Spinster’s Fortune: the early twentieth century. It is so compelling to me because of all the rapid changes that occurred during that period, political and social.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I am a yoga instructor (on hiatus due to the pandemic) so yoga is a daily part of my life. I also love to walk/hike whenever and wherever possible.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I have three manuscripts that I am currently juggling that are all complete but in various stages of development. My most recent is a change for me as it is not historical fiction. It is a present day mystery but revolves around a very strange real-life archeological find in the Williamsburg, Virginia area dating from the 1800s: a “witch bottle”. The story kind of springs up and around this bizarre find. So…not historical mystery per se but strongly rooted in history.

That sounds fascinating! Thank you so much for spensing time with us today! Congrats on all of the book love for The Spinster's Fortune!

The Spinster's Fortune by Mary Kendall

Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Darkstroke Books
Paperback & eBook; 227 pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

Moonlit alleys, shadowy tunnels, and buried secrets…

Summer of 1929.

Of supposed unsound mind without a penny to her name, Blanche Magruder lies alone in a home for the aged and infirm.

Meanwhile, her house, a crumbled ruin in the heart of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., is pillaged nightly by thieves looking for treasure rumored to be hidden there.

A distant niece, Margaret O’Keefe, is tapped as executor and soon becomes embroiled in the hunt for recovering monies, taking it on as a welcome escape from her financial and marital woes.

As Margaret discovers caches in unlikely spots throughout the house, family mysteries begin to unravel. She questions whether Aunt Blanche is an insane fool or a daring genius, yet Margaret must also wrangle with her own hidden truths.

Pressed towards a convergence of their pasts and presents, the two women must ultimately face down a fateful discovery in order to rectify their lives.

Shrouded in gothic undertones and dark artifice, THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE is a tale that takes the reader on a strange journey through tangled webs of family deceit. But where does it end?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Mary Kendall lived in old (and haunted) houses growing up which sparked a life-long interest in history and story-telling. She earned degrees in history related fields and worked as an historian for many years. Her fiction writing is heavily influenced by the past which she believes is never really dead and buried.

Fueled by black coffee and a possible sprinkling of Celtic fairy dust, she tends to find inspiration in odd places and sometimes while kneading bread dough.

The author currently resides in Maryland with her family (husband, three kids, barn cat and the occasional backyard hen) who put up with her mad scribbling at inconvenient hours.

THE SPINSTER’S FORTUNE , a mystery set in Georgetown, Washington DC, is her debut novel and is a twisty, tangled dive into a web of family deception murky with gothic undertones.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 22
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Probably at the Library

Wednesday, June 23
Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes

Thursday, June 24
Review at Two Bookish Babes
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, June 25
Interview at Passages to the Past

Saturday, June 26
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, June 27
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Review at Booking With Janelle

Monday, June 28
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, June 29
Review at Bookworlder


Enter to win a paperback copy of The Spinster's Fortune by Mary Kendall!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on June 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Spinster's Fortune

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