7 March 2021

Special Guest interview with Mary Kendall, Author of The Spinster's Fortune


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

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...

I'm pleased to welcome author Mary Kendall to The Writing Desk:

Tell us about your latest book 

The Spinster's Fortune is an historical mystery set in Washington, D.C. in 1929. It’s an intriguing tale of an elderly woman, Blanche, who, for unknown reasons, has hidden her family’s fortune in strange places throughout her decaying house in the neighborhood, Georgetown. 

It is up to her niece, Margaret, to figure out where these hiding spots are and, in the process, start to unravel mysteries about this aunt’s life. Along the way, Margaret begins to make discoveries about her own life and the changes that need to happen. The novel was inspired by real life events and one of the two main protagonists, Blanche, is based on a real person.

What is your preferred writing routine? 

In a perfect world, I would sit “butt in chair” right upon waking with some strong black coffee and write for a couple hours. I believe there is a thin veil between sleep and waking and tapping into that bit of the subconscious is the ideal time for me to write. This “ideal” routine rarely happens unfortunately. Instead, I fit my writing in when the rest of my life allows. 

It may be just a fifteen minute block of time or it may be several hours depending on my day. So, while not actively writing, the story is usually rolling around in my brain somewhere and I might even be scribbling notes here and there. Another important piece for me is to walk at least once a day where I can let my mind drift to figure things out. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

If you want to be a writer, the main thing you have to do is….write! Just dive in and start doing it. Also, this is a game for long haulers. Give up any illusions of best seller lists and over-night success. If that happens, great. But the real reason to keep writing? The love of writing.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books? 

I am brand new to the social media writer’s thing but I have been working on developing all the usual channels: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, among others. I am still experimenting so I can’t tell you yet what the best way is. I can say that I am most drawn to and comfortable with using Instagram---right now anyway. All the platforms seem to be ever changing so there’s that as a factor.

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research 

In the United States, yellow taxis came into play in Chicago as a mode of transport in the early 1900s. I assumed they were ubiquitous around the country. But I discovered that in Washington, D.C., the setting of my novel, cabs were actually associated with the Black and White Taxi Company and were….black and white in color. Yellow cabs did not appear in D.C. until 1931 which is after my novel takes place. So I learned something unexpected and made that change to my novel accordingly.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing? 

One of the final scenes was difficult for me to write as I found it very poignant and touching because it is something we all must face eventually. (I do not want to give it away by saying any more.)

What are you planning to write next? 

My current work in progress 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.

Mary Kendall 

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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 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, her debut novel, is twisty tale of family deception murky with gothic undertones with a release date of 6 April 2021. Find out more on Mary’s website at www.marykendallauthor.com Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @MaryLavin49

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