An attorney by day and author by night, Stephanie McCarthy has made a lively career out of writing about the dead. A paranormal enthusiast, she published her first book, Haunted Peoria, in 2009, and earlier this year, debuted her comedy-of-manners mystery novel, Murder Actually. McCarthy holds a B.A. in English literature from Southern Illinois University, as well as a J.D. from the SIU School of Law. She lives in Peoria with her husband, Tim, and three children: David, Madeline and Nathan. Besides uncovering new material for her books, she is always on the hunt for evidence of paranormal activity—as well as fat-free nachos. Learn more at stephaniemccarthyauthor.com.

  1. Three words that best describe me: Driven, caring and creative.
     
  2. Which talent would you most like to have? To write like F. Scott Fitzgerald… only without all the booze.
     
  3. Childhood dream job: Hunting the Loch Ness Monster.
     
  4. Who are your favorite writers? Dorothy Sayers, Barbara Pym, Anita Brookner, Muriel Spark, David Lodge, Agatha Christie, Nick Hornby, P.G. Wodehouse, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham. How many was that? I just went back and noticed they’re all British. I guess I should add “Anglophile” to my list of self-descriptors.
     
  5. At what time of day do you feel your best? 9:37am. I’m fully awake and haven’t hit my 11am slump. Plus, I’m allowed to have a Diet Coke after 9.
     
  6. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Selling your soul for a job.
     
  7. What was your first job? DQ. See also: “lowest depth of misery.”
     
  8. Do you collect anything unique? Time-Life Books’ Foods of the World series circa 1969. What? Everyone has those? In that case, no, nothing unique.
     
  9. What book do you think everyone should read? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s amazing.
     
  10. How do you unwind after a long day? Play “Bowl Soccer” with my son (it’s complicated), or play “Mom, Do This” with my daughter (fairly simple, usually I’m just patting my head). a&s