Friday, October 7, 2016



Traveling secretary Hattie Davish is taking her singular talents to Washington D.C. to help Sir Arthur research his next book. But in the winding halls of the nation's capital, searching for the truth can sometimes lead to murder . . .

Hattie is in her element, digging through dusty basements, attics, and abandoned buildings, not to be denied until she fishes out that elusive fact. But her delightful explorations are dampened when she witnesses a carriage crash into a carp pond beneath the shadow of the Washington Monument. Alarmingly, one of the passengers flees the scene, leaving the other to drown. The incident only heightens tensions brought on by the much publicized arrival of "Coxey's Army," thousands of unemployed men converging on the capital for the first ever organized "march" on Washington. When one of the marchers is found murdered in the ensuing chaos, Hattie begins to suspect a sinister conspiracy is at hand. As she expands her investigations into the motives of murder and closes in on the trail of a killer, she is surprised and distraught to learn that her research will lead her straight to the highest level of government . . .


Anna, how did you get started writing?

I’ve been writing on and off my whole life. I wrote poems and short stories from elementary school through college. After that I focused more on technical writing than creative writing. It was only after my job was downsized several years ago, and I had the time, did I attempt to write a novel.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I love being immersed in the story so deeply that I forget that I’m writing and not simply watching the story evolve in front of my eyes.

Do you have a writing routine?
I write in the morning as soon as my daughter is off to school. I try to work until it is time to pick her up again. As my brain is mush after 4:00 or so, this works out nicely.

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wish I had connected with more with fellow published writers. When I first started the process, I did everything on my own. Much of the invaluable information and lessons I’ve since learned from other writers would have helped ease the way.

What’s more important – characters or plot?

Definitely characters. Great characters can drive a weak plot, but if a reader doesn’t like the characters, they won’t care about the plot, no matter how great it is.

How often do you read?
Every chance I get, which these days isn’t very often.

What books do you currently have published?
I have five books in the Hattie Davish Mystery series: A Lack of Temperance, Anything But Civil, A Sense of Entitlement, A Deceptive Homecoming and, the latest, A March to Remember.

Is writing your dream job?

Absolutely! When I was little I envisioned a scene from my future—I was in my study in my home on Beacon Hill, Boston, writing diligently at my typewriter (yes, I’m that old) with a Basset Hound at my feet. I am lucky enough to say I’ve had two of the three dreams come true! (I may someday still get to live on Beacon Hill!)

Beacon Hill is a dream of mine too. If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?

That’s an easy one-PBS. With few exceptions, it is the only television station I watch.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without (besides your phone)?
I never leave without a tissue, a packet of tissues, if I’ve planned ahead. I have allergies and am ALWAYS in need of tissues.

What’s your favorite beverage?
I have two favorites: tea and seltzer water. I prefer black tea but have tried and like a wide spectrum of different teas. I usually have a nice cuppa in the afternoon in one of my antique tea cups. Seltzer water is something I crave and drink plain throughout the day, every day.

What is your superpower?
I find things. Truly, if there is anything missing, lost, or misplaced in my household, I’m the one who finds it every time. And if there is a piece of information someone needs, I’m the go-to person. It helps that I’ve been trained as a biologist and a librarian. But inquiring minds beware. One cannot idly mention a need for information, for, like many with superpowers, I feel compelled to use my powers whether they asked for it or not! But fear not, I’m very careful to use it for good.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do (nothing lost, missing, or misplaced!)?
I love to binge watch BBC TV mysteries. I’m currently watching WPC56 about the first woman police constable in England’s West Midlands in 1956.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?

Of course! I think every writer “borrows” traits, good and bad, from people they know. And who else do they know better than themselves? (You don’t expect me to tell what they are though, do you?)

Of course . . . um . . . not! What’s your most visited Internet site?

When I’m writing, the site I visit the most is the Online Etymology Dictionary. I am constantly having to check whether a word or phrase is appropriate to my book’s time period.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

To be honest, one of my favorite quotes is one I wrote myself completely by mistake! It happened in the course of writing an essay in French for French Literature class in college. I wanted to use the word “regardless” but couldn’t remember the French translation. I wrote myself a note on a post-it and stuck it to my lamp. A friend came in while I was still writing and said, “Wow, that’s such a great quote. I love it!”  I had no idea what she was talking about and told her so. When she read the note out loud, I realized her wonderful mistake. It read: "Look Up Regardless." I’ve tried to take my own inadvertent words to heart ever since.

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
My first job out of college was training monkeys named Billy, Bob and Hank. Hank was by far my favorite. He never bit or scratched me once.

How do you like your pizza?

Growing up in Upstate New York, I definitely have a preference for traditional New York style (with mushrooms!). But who am I kidding? I’d eat almost any kind of pizza. In Montreal, I had some of the best “white” or garlic pizza and when I lived in Finland, I even ate pizza with corn and tuna fish on it!

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

A slideshow of all my family photos. I just checked and the picture was of my dog lounging by the fire pit in the backyard followed by a picture of my daughter “helping” me bake. Every picture makes me smile.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
Having to get through that first draft. It is always awful and such a chore. I love it when I’m finally done and can go back and fix everything!

What are you working on now?
I’m working on developing a new mystery series. Stay tuned to find out more.


Anna Loan-Wilsey, biologist, librarian, and author, writes the historical Hattie Davish Mystery series featuring a Victorian traveling secretary who solves crimes in every historic town she visits. The first in the series, A Lack of Temperance, set in 1890’s Eureka Springs, Arkansas, (an Amazon #1 bestseller) was followed by Anything But Civil (set in Galena, IL), A Sense of Entitlement (an iBook #1 bestseller set in Newport, RI), and A Deceptive Homecoming (set in St. Joseph, MO, Hattie’s hometown). A March to Remember finds Hattie caught up in the political intrigues surrounding Coxey’s Army and the first “march” on Washington, D.C. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her family where she is happily working on new mystery adventures.

Connect with Anna:
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Buy the book:
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