Today on Writer’s Wednesday we welcome Rachel McMillan, author of Murder at the Flamingo.
Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Murder at the Flamingo! Congratulations to Nicky Heim who won a copy of Joanne Bischof’s Sons of Blackbird Mountain! Note: This post contains affiliate links.
What was Your Favourite Book as a Child?
This is very hard because I was such a prolific reader. I can tell you that Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene had a massive influence on my imagination since I was 10 years old. It not only was the gateway to my love for classical music, it inspired trips to Vienna and now I am finishing my second Vienna-set romance ( to be released in September) based on my trips there and time spent there inspired by my love of the city: that root is from Thoene’s book.
I also re-read The Diary of Anne Frank so often in grades 3-4 that my teacher gave me the personal copy from our classroom library because I had “earned it” (his words) from the amount of times I signed it out.
I know that I went through a long period of time when I was very young believing that if I looked hard enough in the backyards of the neighboring houses of my small Ontario town that I would find The Secret Garden.
What Book did you read that first made you want to be an author?
I cannot pinpoint a certain book because I was always writing and creating stories. I don’t necessarily attribute that to one book; rather a lifelong imagination and necessity to escape into my mind. I grew up as a pastor’s kid in a small town suffering from social anxiety, so stories became my lifeline. I will, again, shout out to Vienna Prelude because it was the first book I read that introduced me to Christian Fiction as a genre. I had no idea before then that books were written just for “church people” (as my young mind described them).
What was the last book you read just for fun?
The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland. I read it last week in one sitting on a plane on route to the American Library Association Conference in New Orleans. I had just turned in a manuscript to an editor and it had long been on my TBR list for 2018 and I had a long stretch of time in the air between Toronto and Louisiana. I will read anything with a bookish theme: especially if it has a whiff of romance. Or, ALLLLL the romance (this book had ALLLL the romance)
What books are currently on your nightstand?
I am wide and eclectic reader who will read anything in any genre. I also have the bad habit of requesting SO many books at once at the library that I am overwhelmed when they all come in. Next up:
City of Lies (the first in a new mystery series) by Victoria Thompson who has a penchant for the shadows and gaslit streets of Victorian London
Belleweather (a split-time by one of the pioneers in the genre and a personal and perennial favorite…) by Susanna Kearsley … extra excited because it has a Canadian flavor and I love reading about my country’s history.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy: A YA novel by Mackenzi Lee. Her voice is so arresting and distinctive and I love tales of female empowerment. If you can weave me into a story’s spell by the first paragraph, I am yours forever. Lee does this effortlessly.
Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman: I discovered Blankman when I read Prisoner of Night and Fog and its luminous sequel featuring a heroine of Hitler’s circle who crosses paths with a Jewish journalist in the late 1930s. Traitor Angels features author John Milton’s daughter and a dashing Italian scientist. With plenty of Paradise Lost references and a beautiful historical setting, I knew it would be up my alley. Also, I love watching authors embrace different genres and periods and showing off their wide ranges.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber keeps popping up on the social media feeds of many of my friends and favorite authors. I am hoping it spins me into a fantastical and romantic realm. I am deeply moved by startling fictional showcases of imagination.
What upcoming release are you most looking forward to?
Can I cheat? I have a few. I am a huuuuge Lynn Austin fan. Probably the world’s biggest Lynn Austin fan (true story: I joined Twitter years ago just to see if I could get #LynnAustin to get trending). Legacy of Mercy which releases this Fall is by far my most anticipated release. I am a huge fan of Anna Lee Huber who writes a luscious historical mystery series set in 19th Century Scotland but also, lately, a new series (pubbed by Kensington) that takes readers to post-war Europe. Her new Verity Kent mystery, Treacherous is the Night marries history, romance and mystery in Belgium ( a country I spent time in just this past year) and I cannot wait. I am also on the edge of my seat for a new Kate Breslin book: Far Side of the Sea. Breslin marries classical tropes that conjure the spirit of The Phantom of the Opera and The Scarlet Pimpernel (to name a few) with a devastatingly beautiful historical sensibility. I lose myself in her writing.
More about Murder at the Flamingo
“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”
Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square. When he meets his cousin’s “right-hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.
Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.
When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.