There’s no pussy-footing around murder …
It’s never too late to kick up your heels. Just ask Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–aka the Happy Hoofers. After posting a video of their tap-dancing routine on the Internet, the leggy ladies find themselves booked to perform on a Russian river cruise up the Volga from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
But when murder cuts in, the five fabulous friends find it’s not so easy to tap their troubles away. A crew member has been killed, and a passenger is missing. With a killer on board, the Hoofers need to watch their step. But with a little fancy footwork, these soft-shoe sleuths may get a leg up on a killer who’s cruising for a bruising…
Includes Travel Tips And Tasty Recipes
Please welcome author Mary McHugh to Brooke Blogs today. Thank you so much for stopping by and answering some questions, Mary! I enjoyed reading your answers, and I know my readers will, too.
1) Describe your writing space.
My writing space is a combination office, bedroom, storage place. I work at my computer at my desk. On the wall in front of me is a print of Renoir’s “Girl with a Watering Can,” which I love because it’s all flowers and sunshine and warmth. On another wall is a print of Vermeer’s “Woman with a Message.” I love looking at that painting and figuring out what she wrote in that message to her lover. Next to that is a large painting of the sand and water on Cape Cod my favorite place in the world, next to Paris. There’s a bookcase full of my favorite books and pictures of my daughter and son-in-law and their three sons, my husband and my brother. It’s a warm and friendly room and I love going there to write my new series of cozy mysteries about the Happy Hoofers.
2) What is your favorite part of the writing process? Your least favorite part?
My favorite part is being surprised at what my characters do, seemingly on their own. My Happy Hoofer series is about five gorgeous women in their fifties who dance on cruise ships, luxury trains and resorts and solve murders in between dances. Each of my heroines is very different from the others, and each of these novels is narrated by a different woman. Gini is a documentary film maker and says what she thinks no matter what; Tina is a magazine editor and the organizer of the group; Janice is an actress and director and doesn’t always think through what she does; Mary Louise is a housewife and mother hen to her friends; and Pat is a family therapist who is gay and a recovering alcoholic. I sit down to write about these women and they often take off on their own and do and say things I had no idea they were going to do and say. I love that!!!
My least favorite part is re-writing and re-writing and re-writing to get rid of repetitions, catching mistakes in the plot, making sure my heroines are true to their personalities. In short, fixing things.
3) Do you have any influence over your cover design?
My editor, bless her, always sends me the cover design and asks me if it’s ok, or if I have any changes to make, or any problems with it. Their art department is superb and I always love what they come up with. This is the cover for the first book in my Happy Hoofer series, which takes place on a cruise ship sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg:
4) Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
When I need a break, I play spider solitaire and free cell solitaire on my computer, and sometimes it’s hard to get back to writing. There’s something about moving those cards around and not thinking that’s renewing. (Or at least I tell myself that when I do it for an hour.)
5) What is your favorite drink and/or snack to have while you’re working?
I usually write after breakfast from nine to one and I try not to eat anything, but sometimes I sneak into the kitchen and eat a couple of these wonderful Afrika cookies that are rich and chocolaty but are only 20 calories each.
I mostly just drink water because I try to stay hydrated. I realize this sounds really dull, but I make up for it in the late afternoon with a glass of chardonnay as my reward for writing another 1000 words or so.
6) What would you be doing if you weren’t an author?
I’ve had several jobs as editors of national magazines. But if I had the chance to have a completely different job, I’d teach little children to love reading.
7) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love going into New York ( I live in New Jersey, so I go in all the time) and meeting friends for lunch, going to a movie or play, volunteering to record for the blind and dyslexic, going to a museum. I also love traveling whenever I get the chance, and my Happy Hoofer mysteries all take place in countries I’ve been to: A cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg in “Chorus Linies, Caviar and Corpses”; a train ride across northern Spain in “Flamenco, Flan and Fatalities;” the bateau mouche in Paris in “Cancans, Croissants and Caskets;” the Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro in “Bossa Novas, Bananas, and Bodies,”: and a castle in Scotland for the fifth novel which doesn’t have a name yet.
Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses by Mary McHugh is the first book in the Happy Hoofers Mystery series. I loved the characters Mary has created. Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini are fun and fabulous. I really like their different quirks that come together to make them all great friends. I enjoyed traveling on the Russian cruise ship with these ladies and learning more about tapping and traveling. The mystery was nicely paced and kept me guessing. I really liked this book and definitely want to read more in this funny series!
About the Author
Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.
She loves to tap dance and to travel – two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.
She lives in the New York area. Visit her at http://marymchugh.org/index.html
Enter below for your chance to win a paperback copy of Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses by Mary McHugh. Contest is open to US residents ages 18+ who are legally allowed to enter giveaways. Giveaway ends on 11/20/14 at 11:59PM EST and winner will be contacted via email. Be sure to visit back daily for daily entries. Good luck!
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