Q&A With Mary Winters

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Q&A With Mary Winters 

Mary Winter is the author of Murder In Postscript & the sequel coming out in 2024 Murder In Masquerade. Both books are historical mysteries. Under the pen name Mary Angela, Mary writes cozy mysteries. 


Q: So, Mary, would you like to talk about both of your books Murder In Postscript & Murder in Masquerade? 

A: I’d love to, Bianca! Thanks for the opportunity. Both Murder in Postscript and Murder in Masquerade feature Amelia Amesbury, a widowed countess with a nom de plume. Secretly, she pens the popular Lady Agony advice column, giving her opinion on everything from stubborn freckles to stubborn suitors. But when a reader writes about witnessing a murder in Murder in Postscript, Amelia decides she must find out the culprit. She becomes involved in a murder again in Murder in Masquerade when Simon Bainbridge’s sister writes to Lady Agony for relationship advice. After the sister’s suitor is murdered at the theatre, however, advice turns into ferreting out the culprit, and once again, she and Simon must bring the murderer to justice. 

Q: Mary, you write cozy mysteries and historical mysteries under two different names. Do you enjoy writing cozy mysteries or historical mysteries more and why?

A: I don’t enjoy one genre over the other. I love them both! Historical mysteries take longer to write because of the research component. But I love delving into the era and especially into agony columns, which are like today’s advice columns. I could read them all day without it feeling like research at all!

Q: You’ve been to London England which inspired you to write your historical mysteries. Where is your favorite place or places in London that you’ve been to? 

A: I loved my trip to England, and I hope to go back soon. Some of my favorite places were Westminster Abbey, Tower of London (and the ravens!), St. James’s Park, and Harrods. The food shops in the store were amazing. Outside of London, we enjoyed Plymouth, Bath, and Agatha Christie’s vacation home, Greenway, in Devon. Exploring the grounds was a dream come true!

Q: What is the research process like when writing historical mysteries?

A: I have a general knowledge of the era from reading books about the period in college, but I’m always adding to that knowledge. I read agony columns from Victorian penny papers to keep Lady Agony’s responses fresh, which start each chapter of the book. They are delightful but also hard to find because inexpensive papers and magazines aren’t always archived, let alone digitized. I also research information specific to the book, for instance, the theatre in Murder in Masquerade. Oftentimes, I will read articles, or an additional book related to an item of interest. Even in the middle of writing, I might have to stop and find an answer to a question or look up a dress or custom. My reference books are never far from my computer!

Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write great historical and cozy mystery books?

A: Read as much as you can of the genre. Know your readers’ expectations and try to meet them. Also, join a professional organization for mystery writers such as Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. They are great resources for writers at all stages of their careers.  

Q: Are you currently writing the sequels to Murder In Postscript & Murder in Masquerade? 

A: Yes! I am writing Murder in Season, which is the third book in the Lady of Letters series. I’m thrilled to have another opportunity to spend time with Amelia and her friends. It will be published in the summer of 2025.

Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to Murder In Postscript & Murder in Masquerade? Who would be your dream cast to play the characters? The entertainment industry needs more original content again and it wouldn’t hurt them to get more great books. I could see PBS Masterpiece doing this show. 

A: Thank you, Bianca! I think they would be wonderful additions to PBS Masterpiece, too. I haven’t had any offers, but I would certainly welcome all!

My dream cast would be Emma Watson as Amelia, Benedict Cumberbatch as Simon (although he is older than Simon), and Maggie Smith as Tabitha.  They would be a fun group to watch on the screen!

Q: What advice would you give anyone on how to deal with negative critiques whether it’s online trolls, negative reviews & family and friends who don’t support their writing goals?

A:  Writing is a deeply personal act, so I can’t pretend bad reviews don’t affect me. They do. But I have a couple of ways writers can deal with them. First, learn from mistakes. No one is perfect; there is no such thing as a perfect book either. If a review points out a mistake, get better—not bitter. Second, go read the bad reviews of your favorite authors. You’ll soon find even your most-treasured reads get criticized. And you won’t feel so bad about your own work!