Magical Misfits Mystery, Book 1
Date Published: 1 July 2020
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust, Denver, Colorado
Myrtle’s aunt is dead—murdered—and she has inherited the Witch’s Retreat, a Bed and Breakfast in the idyllic village of Avebury. Filled with outrageous characters, the old house hides a mystery under its eaves. Everybody is a suspect: Alan, the blue-eyed police constable; Chris, the proverbial dark and handsome stranger; Myrtle’s curvy cousin Daisy; and even Tiddles, the flatulent cat. As Myrtle takes on the mantle of amateur sleuth, she bumbles along in search of answers, digging deeper and deeper among the tangled roots of her family’s history. The secrets she uncovers are more shocking than death: a hidden magical relic, a coven of amateur witches eager to gather her into the fold, and modern witch hunters on the prowl.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I love planning my novels – the characters, the settings, the clues and red herrings, what conflict my poor protagonists will encounter. Mapping out all these bits is just so much fun. Writing I love as well, but it can get hard at times when the characters don't do what I want them to do (mine are very independent and always try to run away with the plot). Plus, I'm very mindful of the tension, and I don't want to give my readers "saggy middles". Which means I have to come up with additional ideas, not included in the planning. Which in turn messes with my plans. But hey, that's what edits are for – to kick everything into touch. It might sound odd, but I love editing. I love fixing plot holes, adding additional layers to characters, re-arranging the action and, ultimately, to polish the language.
The one thing I hate is proofreading. It's mind-boggling, very, very detailed and completely uncreative. Everything that came before is essentially part of the creative process. Proofreading for me is capital punishment. I can do it, of course, and I know how important proofreading is to create a clean manuscript. Unfortunately, it's just super hard as well.
What songs are most played on your iPod?
Haven't got one. I stream things like Audiomachine, Ivan Torrent, Hans Zimmer. One of my favourites is a German group "Schiller". Generally, I look for epic, inspiring and pretty dramatic pieces that can lift me up and away.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Absolutely! They're a must. It's impossible to spot all inconsistencies and anticipate all reader reactions. Having more pairs of eyes on the story will make it more rounded, more realistic, and also more impactful. I'm part of two critique groups, and I post my first drafts for free on Wattpad. That gets me great feedback from real readers.
What book are you reading now?
I recently re-read the entire set of Regency Romances written by Georgette Heyer. They are outdated now, but still charming. Otherwise, I mainly read mysteries or urban fantasies. Up next is probably Jodi Taylor's time travel series. Not a mystery, but wonderfully gripping fantasy.
How did you start your writing career?
I'm a communication specialist and have been writing Marketing and PR content all my life. Novel writing I started six years ago when I discovered Wattpad. Publishing there is easy, and I won two awards for my texts. Eventually, I wanted more, wanted to succeed with a traditionally published novel. It's a process that takes time – I've spent two years now working with my editor on getting this novel up to standards. But the effort was more than worth it!
Tell us about your next release.
Good news – In My Attic is part of a series. Even better news – I'm currently editing the sequel, and the third novel exists as a draft. So, there will be more. I love reading series, and I love writing them. If I find characters I like, I want to know more about them, want to see how their world develops, how things are getting on. In My Attic is standalone; Aunt Eve's murder gets solved. But while the story arc is completed, the novel also starts an arc for the series, which will unfold in the books to come. Myrtle will get to solve more murders, that's most important, but she will also have to grapple with her magical gift. And, of course, there's romance…
Speaking of romance, I also have written two romantic mysteries. So, if you start “In My Attic”, you’ll find I got a lot more up my sleeve.
About the Author
LINA HANSEN has been a freelance travel journalist, teacher, bellydancer, postal clerk and science communication specialist stranded in the space sector. Numbed by factoid technical texts, she set out to write the stories she loves to read— cozy and romantic mysteries with a dollop of humour and a magical twist. After living and working in the UK, Lina, her husband, and their feline companion now share a home in the foothills of Castle Frankenstein. Lina is a double Watty Award Winner, Featured Author, and a Wattpad Star.