Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. She and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. For now they’ve settled in Central Arizona, but won’t discount the possibility of another move in their future. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

2020 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Magpie: Magpie Muse MacKenzie

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Magpie: I was born and raised in Joshua, Arizona, a mining town of the late 1880s and early 1900s. When mining died, Joshua turned into a ghost town then a hippie haven, and now a tourist town hanging on the side of Spirit Mountain.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Magpie: The story takes place in modern day Joshua, but there is a 1960s story within the story that helps to solve the mystery.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Magpie: My parents came to Joshua with the first wave of hippie and artist settlers. My mother was well-known for her mystic talents. She died when I was twelve. My father mourned deeply, wallowing in alcohol. When I was fifteen, his relationship with a woman ended with her murder. My seventeen-year-old boyfriend disappeared the same day. No one was ever charged. A doppelganger for my missing boyfriend walks into my mercantile the same day skeleton remains are found in the ruins. The universe sent me a message…solve the decades old mystery or become the next victim.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Magpie: My father is suspected of the murder of his girlfriend and complicit in the disappearance of my boyfriend decades earlier. I have to clear him.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Magpie: Is it possible my father is guilty? I’ve become attached to Zac, the look-alike for my missing boyfriend. He’s younger than I am, and, well, he looks like Mark. The vibrations and déjà vu moments he’s experiencing are leading us down a dangerous path to discover the truth.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Magpie: Zac and I have come up with a sting operation to draw out the murderer. Hopefully, we can have each other’s backs and not fall victims.

Beverley: I s there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Magpie: I have an older brother and a younger sister who want their stories told. Although I didn’t inherit my mother’s gift, both of my siblings are mystics to some degree. Harlan and I have not gotten along since our mother died. He’s the older sibling, but I was left with the responsibility of keeping our family together. Elidor hasn’t lived in Joshua for many years, but she’s coming home.

Blurb for Secrets of the Ravine:

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim.

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so.

Using clues from her father’s past and Zack’s déjà vu moments, Magpie and Zack race to solve the mystery, avoid a murderous fate, and to discover their future…together.

Excerpt from Secrets of the Ravine:

Zac picked up the sack with the music box. “Are you the owner of this great store?”

“I am.” She returned his smile. “Magpie MacKenzie. And you are?”

“Zac Peartree. Is that your real name?”

Accustomed to his reaction, she gave her standard reply. “It’s a long story.”

“One I’m sure I’d enjoy hearing. Will you be working at your mercantile all weekend?”

She swallowed down the recurring flutter. “Mostly.”

“You all should have a drink at the Apparition Room tonight, the bar below the Copper Mountain Hotel down the block.” Phaedra finished stuffing paper around the sculpture for protection and then handed the box to the man with the redhead. “Our very own Magpie MacKenzie will be singing.”

Magpie scuffed a boot against her friend’s foot to quiet her.

“She’s on at eight.”

The blonde clapped her hands. “Great. Sounds fun.”

“I guess that means we’ll see you later, Magpie.” Zac followed his friends but peered over his shoulder with an unreadable expression before he disappeared out the door and into the chilly wind.

Slightly lightheaded, Magpie braced herself on the counter. “Honestly, Phaedra, I could—”

“Now, Mags, you haven’t been this tongue-tied over a guy in years.” She retrieved her purse from behind the counter where she’d set it when she came in. “I need to get going, and you need to enjoy the quivers that guy is giving you. I’d guess he’s only thirty or close to it, but what the hell, he’s hot. Every man should fill his jeans like that, not to mention his shoulders.” She stopped by the door. “You two looked at each other as if—”

“As if we know each other?”

“Know each other? I agree he bore a resemblance to Mark, but that’s all.”

“Really? Sacrebleu , Phaedra. When I stared into that face, I saw Mark…a soul…from twenty-eight years ago.” The soul of someone she’d loved.

Who might have been a murderer…or worse, murdered by my father .

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