About M. S. Spencer:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or visited countries in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a Diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has four more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
What inspires you to write?
A kernel of memory, an image flashing across my mind screen, a setting I’d like to have my characters revel in. I’ll start with the last line (always so romantic) and work back. Research lends a hand as well—for example, one of my suspense/murder mysteries, The Mason’s Mark (2nd edition slated for release from The Wild Rose Press this year) is set in the Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. While researching masonry I came across a terrific scandal involving an Italian scam artist who set up a Masonic lodge to further his shady deals and Fascist goals. That led me to a black ops group of former U.S. soldiers supposedly left in Europe after World War II to thwart communist takeovers. Cool stuff! Then because this lodge was George Washington’s, I studied his life as a Mason—and glory be!—discovered “lost” papers. I know you’re wondering, but yes, I managed to incorporate it all into the romance.
Tell us about your writing process.
Unlike many of my colleagues, I write in fits and spurts, sometimes only in paragraph increments. My day usually includes 3 solid meals and a cocktail or two—oh, you meant my work day. My study is the lanai of my Florida bungalow and overlooks a lovely garden and fountain, through which I can watch the gentle raccoons overturning my flower pots and eating my birdseed. I’ll write feverishly just before noon and again between five and six o’clock. You’d think I get very little done, but I’m on my fourteenth release and three more novels are incubating. As to the outliner/pantser–I don’t do storyboards or outlines or anything that takes time away from the actual writing.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’d talk to them if they’d ever listen, but nooo. Do they ever ask for my advice? Do they ever call? Ever write? Once I’ve named them (a long complex process that usually isn’t complete until the third chapter) they’re off and running. Sometimes they even bring their little friends into the story without my permission.
What advice would you give other writers?
Persevere. Write. Submit, submit, submit. And most important, take any and all advice to heart, especially from your editor. You’re not, after all, writing for yourself, are you? So you want to know that your story is understood and appreciated.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Back in 2008 when I had finally polished a work enough to consider submitting it, e-book publishing was just taking off. Submission on-line was easier and less stressful, and response time so much shorter that it seemed sensible to go that path. Plus I figured that the next generation of readers would be more used to reading a screen than a page. Turns out I was right. I’m glad I went with a publisher however, rather than self-publishing. It really helps to have experienced, knowledgeable people helping you.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Wonderful–especially romance. Ebooks are definitely in, but I don’t see print going away anytime soon. Many of my readers prefer the paperback.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Romantic suspense, Murder mystery, Cozy mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.