Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have decided they are gypsies at heart, splitting their time between Central Arizona and the RV life. 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 and there’s a story behind my name. My brother and sister also have my mother’s maiden name for a middle name. I was born a month early, and my parents hadn’t decided on a name yet. My birth certificate was filed as Baby Muse Mackenzie. 

So, everyone called me Baby. Days before my fifth birthday, I had a sit down with my parents. I was too old to be called Baby. I was not a baby. They’d become fond of the name, but I threw such a hissy-fit and pouted so they had to relent. A couple of days later, I came in with an armload of my treasures I’d collected from around town and dumped them on the front porch, in front of my father who sat having a toke. ‘ That’s it’ , he says and lifts me up. ‘ Let’s go see your mother .’ As we’re walking to my mom’s café/bookstore, he told me about a bird found where he was born in Washington. He described a beautiful black and white bird who is very curious. When we got to my mother’s bookstore, he announced he’d found the perfect name. Magpie.

My mother wasn’t sure she liked me being named after a thieving bird. Dad explained magpies are overly curious, and it isn’t their intention to steal. When he put it to her that I flitted around town collecting other people’s castoffs, she had to acquiesce. I loved the idea of being named after a bird. That was that.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Magpie: Joshua, Arizona, an 1800s mining town, turned ghost town, turned 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: Present day, but there are scenes from the 60’s as seen from my father’s point of view in my story. These memories are critical in solving the mystery.

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

Magpie: My mother was a mystic and renowned in Joshua. She died when I was twelve. My father took it hard, turned to alcohol, and eventually kept company with a less than respectful woman. The woman was murdered in our kitchen when I was fifteen. On the same day, my teenage boyfriend disappeared. Now, they’ve found a skeleton in The Ravine, and a tourist walks into Joshua who looks like the missing teen.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Magpie: Now that the bones have been found, buried with one of my father’s knives, he’s bound to be a suspect. I’m out to prove he didn’t murder his girlfriend or the person in the grave.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Magpie: I’ve long suspected my father did murder his girlfriend and had something to do with my boyfriend’s disappearance. But I know whatever he did was to protect me, and I’d come to peace with that. Now, I’m worried he’ll be found guilty. And the young man, Zac, who shakes my very core by his resemblance to my teen love, is experiencing d éjà vu moments and other feelings that make him believe he is somehow connected to the missing teen. Am I attracted to this man because of who he looks like or who he is?

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Magpie: Zac and I have a plan to prove my father’s innocence. As far as my attraction to Zac, I’m going to live in the moment and worry about the outcome after we find the real murderer.

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

Magpie: Although I didn’t inherit any of my mother’s mystical gifts, my brother, Harlan, and my sister, Elidor did. Their stories will be quite intriguing and filled with mystery and suspense.

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.

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