Author M.C. Halliday Tells All

January 23, 2008 | Interviews

ST: Hi, MC Halliday, welcome and thank you for visiting with us this week.
MC: Sloane, it’s my pleasure! Many thanks for asking me here.

ST: Tell us about yourself.
MC: Originally from the UK, I now live in colonial country. My cottage is snugly nestled in a mountain valley at the edge of a forest. It’s peaceful here, with bird songs when it isn’t raining and croaking frogs when it is! I like to garden using both wild and cultivated flowering plants, bushes and trees. I’m a fair carpenter and an artist in a variety of mediums. I also dabble in photography and use some of my photos in creating my book videos.

ST: Your latest novel, A BRIBE AGAINST THE INNOCENT, is out. Let’s show everyone your intriguing cover.


ST: It looks to be an exciting read. Please tell us about it.
MC: The Detective Inspector Octavia Cambridge series feature a middle-aged Inspector with the London Met. These are noir psychological mysteries containing romantic elements. Also, they are knife sharp, shocking who-dun-its!

A BRIBE AGAINST THE INNOCENT was nominated for Best Mystery Novel at the 2007 P&E Readers Polls. This is brief description of BRIBE:
Remarkably, the methods of a recent murder match a bizarre murder twenty years ago. The latest victim proves to be an enigma and Inspector Cambridge has only an old photograph to advance her investigation. As the enquiry progresses, hideous secrets are revealed that led to suicide and murder.

ST: How did you come up with the story lines?
MC: BRIBE came about as I wanted to read a mystery featuring a woman in her mid-forties, dealing not only with her detective job but everything else in her life. So, I decided to write one with the notion of a series. In each subsequent book, more is revealed about Octavia and we see her trying to cope with her dear mother suffering from progressive dementia, and attempting to make the right decision about romance midst a murder enquiry. I also wanted to create really unusual murders and reveal more information about likely suspects, so I devote a chapter delving into each person of interest.

ST: And where and can we buy the books you have out and your upcoming book, THE KING’S DAUGHTER ?

MC: Dark Eden Press is my publisher for the Victorian Courtesan’s Memoirs trilogy.
I CAME UP STAIRS is out now from Dark Eden Press.


Dark Eden Press is my publisher also, for the DI Octavia Cambridge Mystery series:

A LION FROM THE FOREST is scheduled for March release:


Samhain Publishing has scheduled THE KING’S DAUGHTER for release on February 5th:

This is a fantasy romance that takes place in medieval Eire. A dark sorcerer is secretly spinning a web of black spells around the King’s daughter. To achieve happiness and attain her destiny as woman and witch, the maiden must conquer evil and ultimately face her own terrible blunders.

ST: How did you and your publishers come together?
MC: After years of rejection that my tales did not agree with accepted romance formula or my writing was ‘too different’, I submitted to epublishers where far more chances are taken with concept and style. Here, I would like to make special mention of Dark Eden Press. The publisher contracted my tales as they hold a belief in distinctive voice and unique style. Without them, most of my books would still be simply manuscripts.

ST: What made you decide to be a writer, and specifically, why noir detective mysteries along with historicals? The genres seem worlds apart.
MC: I suppose my answer to why I became a writer is the same as other authors; I felt it in me from a young age and had notebooks filled with my scribbling. Then I needed to give it up and make my way in the ‘real’ world until I could not deny my truest desire.

Why different genres? I enjoy exploring the lives of women through the ages, almost becoming the heroine in my mind’s eye. My aim is to convey the language and style of the period to evoke the feeling of being immersed in a particular time.

The Victorian Courtesan trilogy begins in the 1860’s and I wished to capture the era in the heroine’s view of her world and chose to write the memoirs in first person.

My noir contemporary detective mysteries are a huge challenge, requiring not only a complex plot of horrendous murder and the unraveling of clues, but I have chosen to explore each character intimately in alternate chapters beginning with the Prologue. This entails finding the most meaningful moment in their lives and how it has impacted on who they became, then weaving this into mystery. DI Octavia Cambridge is featured in the first chapter and every second chapter after, ending with the Epilogue. I use the differences in speech in my mysteries also, to convey individuality to the characters.

“The King’s Daughter” is written, where possible, using words and phrasing from Middle English to capture the essence of 1000 AD. I attempted to write the tale without modern words and found most from before the 12th century are still in use, only the spelling has changed or the root meaning has altered slightly.

ST: How long have you been writing?
MC: Give or take, seven years…I took a year off about four years ago as my submissions were either rejected or the publisher folded and I needed some time to regroup. It helped a great deal just to garden or paint, and curl up with a book. Eventually, I became inspired once again.

ST: How many books have you written?
MC: Written or accepted for publication? You see, I wrote a few contemporary romance suspense novels and one farcical tale of an odd detective firm before penning two Detective Inspector Octavia Cambridge Mysteries and plotting two more. Then I penned THE KING’S DAUGHTER. When that book was completed, I was compelled to write A Victorian Courtesan’s Memoirs. Again, the Prologue came to me, this time in the voice of the heroine that became the first book, I CAME UP STAIRS. Before I was half finished the lengthy novel, I knew her tale would become a trilogy.

ST: Which is your favorite and why?
MC: Each heroine is my favorite! They possess incredible strengths and dire weaknesses, but seek to overcome their troubles and find love. The path of life is not easy for any of us and although there may be smooth trails, my heroines often find the road terribly rutted and lose their way. It is the bravery required to keep going that I adore finding in each woman.

ST: Your books are wonderful. I’m happy to say that I’m the proud owner of several of your books and love everyone of them. I also bought some as Christmas gifts for friends. Looks like you need to get back to work, M.C. We’ll catch up with you in the morning if you’re available.
MC: I’ll be here!

ST: Until then…

Happy Writing!

Add A Comment

6 Responses to “Author M.C. Halliday Tells All”

  1. Savannah Chase Says:

    What a great interview with an amazing author. Mc is a true talent and I look forward to her future books.

  2. Deb Says:

    Slone & MC What an fantastic interview.
    MC is a marvelous author. Can not wait to read this second book. I adored the first.

  3. Jude Mason Says:

    MC, I’m loving this: getting to know you and your books. This is an awesome review, and I’ll be back for more.

  4. Cathie Says:

    Hi SLoan, Hi MC.
    I’m dearly enjoying I CAME UPSTAIRS. Just so absorbing of a read that I’m going back to it shortly! I am so looking forward to getting the mysteries and the two upcoming releases!

    MC sounds like a beautiful place for you to write (and read!).

    Can you tell us what authors either from the past or present that has inspired you to be a writer?

    Knowing we all have many favorite authors and keeper books, can you just name one historical or fantasy (my favorites right now) that you’d recommend to others?

  5. MC Halliday Says:

    Thank you so much for the praise, Savannah and Deb. It means a lot to me!

    And Jude, it’s great to know you’ll be back to find out more.

  6. MC Halliday Says:

    Hi Cathie,

    It’s lovely to see you stopped by and I truly appreciate your wish to read my other books. And you’re so right, my setting is idyllic for writing and reading!

    In answer to your first question, there actually wasn’t an author who inspired me to try my hand at writing. It was more of deep desire (as you shall read in today’s interview installment) that I finally could not ignore.

    As for fantasy on my keeper shelf, I would have to recommend Mary Stewart’s THE CRYSTAL CAVE. It was first published in 1970 and I loved it so much, I bought the hard copy. There are 3 books that follow TCC, continuing the life of Merlin but The Crystal Cave is my favourite.

    Thank you so much Cathie, for mentioning your enjoyment of my historical!