Interview: Author ‘Sheila Connolly’ Talks Her New Book Murder At The Mansion

I had a long and varied career before becoming a writer. I’ve been an art historian, an investment banker in San Francisco and Philadelphia, a non-profit fundraiser, and a professional genealogist. Now that I’m a writer, it seems that everything that came before was research for future books. I’ve used almost everything I’ve ever done in one book or another. But I don’t rely only on the past: I love learning new skills (on behalf of my characters), like how to grow apples or manage a pub in Ireland, or communicate with the ghosts of my departed ancestors.

When I’m not writing, I love to travel, I can fix almost anything around an old house, and I’m passionate about history and genealogy, especially when they’re intertwined. Vital statistics: Married (to my first and only husband), with one child (who is pursuing her own dream in another state in both play-writing and croissant-baking), and three cats. I live in a Victorian home in eastern Massachusetts that always needs fixing. Over the course of my life, I’ve lived in seven states, nineteen towns, and two foreign countries. I’m a Mayflower descendant and the grandchild of Irish immigrants, which makes me a true mongrel American. Check out her website here and Twitter. And recently I’ve fulfilled one of my own dreams: I bought a cottage in Ireland. You can listen below.

Katherine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheford, Maryland. Fifteen years later she’s got a degree in hospitality management and a great job at a high-end boutique hotel in Baltimore. Until, that is, the hotel is acquired by a chain, and she’s laid off. When Kate’s high school best friend calls with a mysterious invitation to come talk with the town leaders of Asheford, she agrees to make the trip, curious about where this new opportunity might lead.

Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they’ve decided that Kate’s skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker―Kate’s high school nemesis.

But a few days later, while touring the mansion, Kate stumbles over a body―and it’s none other than Cordelia. Kate finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the old house, which itself is full of long-hidden mysteries. Kate must clear her name and save her town―before she ends up in hot water.

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