Interview with Michaela MacColl, Author of Nobody’s Secret

imagesCAVTYJWPMichaela MacColl studied multidisciplinary history at Vassar College and Yale University, which turns out to be the perfect degree for writing historical fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and three extremely large cats in Connecticut. To learn more about her work, please visit 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Albany NY.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing about 12 years ago. I was traveling with my young kids in Italy and trying to get them interested in the places we were seeing (with poor results). I started to think about writing historical fiction about particular places. My goals and style evolved – but I still consider setting to be an important “character” in my work.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I hate this question! I wish I was more disciplined than I am. I basically write to deadlines. I have a wonderful critique group who meet weekly. That’s my impetus most weeks. Of course now I have contracts and deadlines with my publishers. But guilt is usually my driver!

What is this book about?

Nobody’s Secret is a literary mystery starring Emily Dickinson. I started with the premise that Emily might be a brilliant natural detective – she’s a born observer (just read her poems about nature) and she questions authority. She feels passionately about life and knows how to mourn death. I knew that if I gave her something to care about, a mystery to solve and an injustice to right, she would never ever stop.

What inspired you to write it?nobody

It’s based on a poem, “I’m Nobody, Who are You? Are you Nobody too?” It’s one of my favorites of hers. The poem seems to sum up all her frustration with being the daughter of a important person when all she wants is anonymity. When she meets a handsome stranger, who also desires anonymity, they are immediately attracted to each other. Mr. Nobody, as Emily calls him, is just the kind of hero that Emily might fall in love with.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Well, I loved writing Emily. It’s such a daunting task to try and write a character based on a true person – particularly a brilliant writer like Emily. But once I found a voice for her that I liked, it was easy! On the other hand, I was a little bit in love with Mr. Nobody.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

When I had the idea to write a literary mystery with Emily Dickinson, I first envisioned a series of books with her as my “detective.” To be honest, I was hoping to cut down on the amount of research I had to do with every book. I pitched the idea to my very very smart editor, Victoria Rock. She responded by suggesting that Emily might not be sustainable as a series – but what did I think of a series of mysteries about different writers, with their own settings, time periods and of course literary style. In other words, four times the research!

I’ve finished the next one already, a novel about the Bronte sisters. And as she usually is, Victoria was right. It was a delight to learn about these writers and immerse myself in their work. Hopefully readers will find the idea as fun as I do.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

There is a really fun trailer for Nobody’s Secret. You can find it on my website,

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

It was a long time between starting to write in 2000 before being published in 2010 (to be fair, I sold the book in late 2008). You have to be stubborn and keep writing. And reading. Consistent writing and reading is the best way to improve your craft.

Back to Bataan – New YA Novel Coming in July from Jerome Charyn

I’ve been a fan of Jerome Charyn’s work for a while. Right now I am reading one of his older books, Blue Eyes, which has recently been released in a Kindle version. Today I am pleased to announce that Charyn’s latest book, a young adult novel entitled, Back to Bataan, will be released on July 1st.

Hiding out in Riverside Park after lashing out at the boy who stole his girlfriend, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, a charismatic ex-convict. You can add the book to your to-read list on Goodreads at

Visit Charyn online at

For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

st_nickcoverCome enjoy the newly expanded and illustrated version of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone.

Last year I reviewed the original version of this book at The Book Connection.  When I heard the author had revised the story and had the book illustrated, I certainly wanted to read the new version.  For the Love of St. Nick  is the story of two young boys coping with the loss of their mother, who died giving birth to the youngest boy, Johnny.   Due to complications during childbirth, Johnny is often sick.  When the boys’ father, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in northern Michigan, the family must survive military life as they dwell in an old hunter’s cabin on Lake Huron. 

When the boys’ father must leave a few weeks before Christmas to fulfill a secret mission for the United States Military, the boys are surprised by a chance encounter with the saint who they have been praying to for their father’s safe return.

All that I said in my original review holds true for this new version.  This book is filled with human emotions:  loss, fear and uncertainty, and most of all separation from those you love.  Though the boys have Mrs. Pennington to watch over them, they are nervous when the Commander goes away right before Christmas.  Tiger, the older brother and narrator of the story,  knows this is a serious mission, and even though the Commander’s friends promise to bring him home safely, Tiger interprets  his father’s actions–especially those on the night before he leaves–to indicate even the Commander is unsure of what could happen.

I mentioned the lovely cover art in my first review, and truly no online picture can do it justice.  You have to see the beauty of the cover up close.  Add to that the exquisite black and white illustrations found inside this copy and you have a beautiful story that is complimented by striking visuals. 

Anyone who loves the magic of Christmas will enjoy For the Love of St. Nick!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1439227608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439227602
  • SRP:  $12.99

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