musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The Write Spot: Susan Elia MacNeal

I'm absolutely thrilled to have New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal as my guest for this special edition of The Write Spot. She's sharing a few of her favourite writing spots and introducing The Queen's Accomplice, the new book in her Maggie Hope mystery series, released October 4th.

Thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Queen's Accomplice and savoured every minute of it. As with all the Maggie Hope books, The Queen's Accomplice is first and foremost a terrific story – thought provoking, involving, meticulously researched, and elegantly told. (Read my five-star review, here.) I'm already feeling impatient for the next instalment and, with the news that Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) has bought the rights to the entire Maggie Hope series, I'm hoping we'll soon see Maggie on the big screen, too. How exciting!

A bit about the author: Susan Elia MacNeal lives in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn with her husband and young son. When asked about her background, she says, "I grew up in Buffalo, New York (Blizzards! Chicken wings! Sabres!) and went to Nardin Academy, which is an all-girls Catholic school. I then went to Wellesley College, where I majored in English, and cross-registered for classes at MIT. Did the Radcliff Publishing Course at Harvard (a six-week summer book and magazine intensive), and was able to get a coveted paid internship at Random House. From there, I worked my way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, until I landed my dream publishing job, as an associate editor and staff writer at Dance Magazine. It's been a wonderful "full circle" for me that the Maggie Hope series is being published by Random House, where I first interned."

Welcome, Susan. Tell us what makes 'The Write Spot' for you.

I live in New York City and so, once my son was born eleven years ago, I didn’t have an office/spare bedroom anymore. So, typically, I’m at home and writing at my desk in the dining room – or, more likely, slouched on a sofa or even in bed (hey, at least there’s a door for the bedroom, which is key to privacy and quiet!). I've tried several different New York City writing spaces (The Writers Room, Paragraph) and while they’ve been lovely, there's nothing that beats writing at home in your pjs. So I continue to couch write, usually with five-year-old tabby cat, Lola, nearby. Other options are the library, various local cafes (I'm partial to one called Cocoa Bar), and the apartments of friends who are out-of-town. And I've written on trains, planes, and automobiles, literally!

Here's my desk – the pale pink juxtaposes nicely with the chart I made of The Queen's Accomplice's Blackout Beast's murder victims and Jack the Ripper's victims, right? The postcard is of the puppet show Punch and Judy, an image I used throughout the novel.

Here a stack of books on my desk – research for the sixth book in the series. I really use my desk more for stashing things than writing.

Lola on the couch with me, as I try to edit. "Why don't you pet me, instead? Look, I'll make it easy by sitting on your manuscript!"

Lola again. Everyone's a book critic.

This is the ceiling of the gorgeous public library where I work sometimes.

Here's the view of Manhattan from a friend's penthouse balcony. We take care of their cats and rabbits while they're at their country house, so sometimes I'll work up there.

Working on a train. Love the train. I work on trains, planes, and automobiles.Trains are the best, though.

So many inspiring writing spots! I love that Manhattan view. Other than your computer or laptop, what's the one thing you couldn't be without in your Write Spot?

Coffee. A nice mug of coffee. Or at least water. That's really about it! I'm pretty low-maintenance.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing the sixth book in the Maggie Hope series, The Paris Spy (August 2017).

Can't wait! Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My web site is and I'm on social media at the following sites. Come say hello!

Twitter: @SusanMacNeal

I also blog with six other mystery writers on Jungle Red Writers, which has been described as "The View, with bodies." It's a great place for mystery and thriller fans.

Thanks so much for visiting The Write Spot, Susan, it's been a real pleasure!

The Queen's Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal is available now from your favourite bookseller.

Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
England, 1942. The Nazis' relentless Blitz may have paused, but London's nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper's crimes. What's more, he's targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill's spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed "the Blackout Beast." A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.
Buy the book from your independent bookseller or from...

Subscribe to stillpoint – You'll receive email notification when a new blog is posted, no more than once a week and absolutely no spam, I promise!

About The Write Spot:
I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's backstage photos from my favourite play, a peek into the kitchen where a chef is working her culinary magic, or simply a glimpse through an uncurtained window into a stranger's private world, there's an undeniable thrill of discovery, a sense of secrets shared. It's no surprise, then, that I'm immensely curious about where other writers do their work.  I first blogged about it in this post about my own 'write spot' and so enjoyed the comments, I was inspired to launch a regular feature here at stillpoint. Join me as I discover the many and varied places where writers write.

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


At 11:47 am, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Susan, Love the revolving door of Write Spaces and, of course, Lola. Best of luck with sales. :)

At 2:34 pm, Blogger Sandy Cody said...

I love the Maggie Hope books and enjoyed seeing the write spot in which they're created. Lolo reminds me of my Missy, both in looks and in the editorial help she offers.
Thanks for posting, Cheryl.

At 6:36 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

Love the photo of Lola as critic - fantastic! Like to hear you sometimes write in bed in your pjs which is what I often do.Looking forward to getting to know Maggie Hope and your series.


Post a Comment

<< Home