Monday, September 19, 2016

Interview with M. S. Spencer, Author of Whirlwind Romance

What made you decide to be an author? Had to. Not an option.

What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? Best: making my own (long) hours and working in my underwear. Least: Realizing I haven’t been out of the house for twenty-three hours.

How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? Oh, my. I’ve been very lucky. As my bio says—rather archly, I admit—I’ve lived or traveled on 5 of the 7 continents, studied at way too many universities & acquired way too many diplomas, worked for the Senate, Interior, libraries, and non-profits. Lots of crazy experiences have wormed their way into my books (thank God, since I had nowhere else to put them). Someday I’ll figure out how to get my heroine into the bowels of Hoover Dam (true story).

Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? Absolutely! Great question. Too many times to count I’ve re-read a scene and realized the characters have grabbed the leash and galloped off in a totally different direction. I’ve learned to shrug and follow. The most obvious time was in Dear Philomena, when the heroine’s father turned up in Chapter Two with his own full set of problems smack in the middle of my beautiful murder mystery.

You’ve written 10 novels (and 1 story for an anthology) and are working on three more novels. What’s your favorite time management tip? Pretend that you live on some planet whose day is 2 hours longer than Earth’s.

Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? Both J. I usually have the setting and the last line set. Then I waste a lot of time working on scenarios that never make it into the story, and after that simply hours picking names and deciding on physical descriptions. Then I start to write.

If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
Edit your work so many times that your eyes wobble and you find yourself drooling—so often that you wake up in the middle of the night and rush to the laptop when you finally nab that elusive adjective that will make your work almost (but not quite) perfect.

Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote?
I need quiet to write (I get confused easily). I can’t even read other books while writing.  Or eat. I can, however, stare out the window, pace, and pick at imaginary bits of fluff on the desk.

Tell me more about Whirlwind Romance.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, jelly maker Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. There, Lacey finds herself faced with pirates, fanatical ideologues, and palace intrigue, not to mention the advances of three men, only one of whom she loves.

How about an excerpt from Whirlwind Romance? 

Tommy’s Tree House
 She climbed quietly, hand over hand. As she reached the last board, a soft, but menacing voice purred, “Well, my sweet, you’ve found me.”

Okay, here’s where we find out if he’s a bad guy. “Give me a hand up, will you?” Other than a slight intake of breath, he complied without a word.

Lacey’s head rose up over the floor to find a cubicle lit by a small pencil torch and cluttered with toy guns, candy bar wrappers, and crushed Dr Pepper cans. And Armand. Who took up most of the rest of the space. He still held her hand, but he had stopped pulling her. “Where did you plan to sit, on my lap?”

At least he’s toned down the threat level. “Or you could come down. I don’t think Tommy Forster allows uninvited guests in his palace.”

His jaw dropped. “Palace?” After a brief interval, he said, “Oh. I see. I can’t.”

“Can’t what?”

“Come down.”

“Why not?”

“I…I…think I reinjured the ankle. I can’t put any weight on it.”

Lacey toyed with the idea of leaving him there for little Tommy, but his mother would have been appalled. “All right, just a minute.” She climbed down and went back to her house, grabbed a coil of rope from the shed and sprinted back up the street.


“At your service.”

“I’m bringing up a rope. I want you to tie it to something, then you can shimmy down without using your feet.”

“Um, what about when I get to the ground?”

How much did he say he weighed? Twelve stone? Lacey calculated swiftly. Must be over a hundred sixty pounds. “I’ll try to ease you down.” She threw the coil into the darkness and backed down the tree.

A few minutes later the rope tumbled down and Armand emerged. “For the record, this was my worst sporting event in public school.” He held on for dear life and inched down the rope. Five minutes later he’d descended a foot.

“Come on, Armand—hurry it up.”

“I’m doing my best.” By dint of a lot of swearing and some wild swinging, Armand made it into Lacey’s waiting arms. He sat on the ground, legs splayed out in front, panting. “Now what?”

Lacey hadn’t really thought that far. If he’s a fugitive, I can’t trust him. And I have no way of contacting the police. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. “Er, I guess we’d better get you back home. Then you can tell me what this is all about.” He didn’t argue, but when he tried to stand, he fell over. She considered the situation. “What we need is some kind of transport. Like…like…what was that thing the Indians used?” Lacey cast about for the word.


“That’s it—aren’t you clever. A sort of triangular thingy to carry a wounded man. Made of logs and deerskins.” She stopped, not—as one might assume— due to the lack of readily available logs and skins, but to savor the picture in her mind. An injured warrior, lying spread-eagled before her—bare-chested, sexy, bravely enduring the pain. Wow.

Armand didn’t seem to notice her heightened color and pointed at the carport across the street. “Could we use that little red wagon?”

She followed his gaze. Story of my life—instead of Geronimo I get Ralphie. “That’ll do. Wait here.”

“Yes, I think I shall.” Armand kept a straight face. Lacey brought the little wagon to him, and he lay down in it, arms and legs hanging over the sides.

“You’ll have to lift up your extremities if this is going to work.”

And so, with Armand looking like an upside down turtle and Lacey with tears of laughter streaming down her face, they staggered along the road to her house.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet? 
Google +:

Amazon Author Page

Coming 2017: Lapses of Memory

Buy Links for Whirlwind Romance
Barnes & Noble:

M. S., thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.


  1. Thanks for having me Sharon. I look forward to comments (and paeans, should there be any!). M. S.