Colleen J. Shogan is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Lethal Legacies, her latest novel in the Washington Whodunit series.
Welcome, Colleen. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too. “Lethal Legacies” is the eighth mystery in the Washington Whodunit series. It features a congressional chief of staff, Kit Marshall, who solves mysteries in our nation’s capital. In this instalment, Kit is balancing the demands of organizing a city-wide celebration of American history with investigating two high-profile murders. Solving the crimes takes her to Georgetown University, the Smithsonian African American Museum, and even the White House!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from? I work in a historic house on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. and I wanted to write a story that would take Kit off Capitol Hill and into other famous sites across the city.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it? There’s a lot about the history of Washington, D.C. in this story and there’s a fair amount about the history of slavery in our nation’s capital. My colleagues at the White House Historical Association have been writing about this topic for several years and I wanted to incorporate some of their insights into my latest novel.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them? I like writing the scenes between Kit and her best friend Meg. They are very different characters, yet they remain the closest of confidantes and friends. Also, Meg likes to act crazy sometimes, and it’s always fun to write an unpredictable character.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about? It’s easy for me, because these are the places that I visit regularly. I can include minor details that others might not know about. For me, that’s important in my writing. I could never second-guess those nuances. I want my readers to feel like they’ve actually visited Washington, D.C. if they read one of my books.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel? If I am uncertain about the origins of a setting or a person I reference in the book, I make sure to research it. The good news is that there is so much information online these days, it’s not hard to do. I frequently use the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, and National Archives websites for assistance – they are great resources, and they are digitizing more materials every day.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book? This is a fast-paced book and if you like to learn about American history, you’re in for a real treat.
Thanks for answering my questions, Colleen, and good luck with Lethal Legacies, the latest book in the Washington Whodunit series.
Readers can learn more about Colleen and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Colleen J. Shogan: Colleen has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at several universities and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is currently the Senior Vice President of the White House Historical Association.
Colleen is a member of Sisters in Crime. “Stabbing in the Senate” was awarded the Next Generation Indie prize for Best Mystery in 2016. “Homicide in the House” was a 2017 finalist for the RONE Award for Best Mystery. “Calamity at the Continental Club” was a 2018 finalist in the “best cozy mystery” at Killer Nashville. “Larceny at the Library” won the 2021 IPPY bronze medal for mystery. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.