I’d like to tell you something about the author, Jess McConkey, but she was a bit of a mystery to me going into this interview. Her official bio is just two sentences — “Jess McConkey is an award-winning writer of short fiction. She lives in a small Iowa town and is currently working on her next novel.” That only told me that she may be in the witness protection program.

Then I found out the truth: Jess McConkey is the pen name of Shirley Damsgaard, who is already an established author, the creator of the Ophelia and Abby mystery series, which includes The SeventhWitch and The Witch’s Grave.

So here’s what we’ll do. I’ll talk to Shirley as Jess in the first half of the interview and then Shirley as Shirley after the break. It’s got to be less confusing than when I interviewed the dog who wrote those “Dog On It” mystery stories under the name of “Spencer Quinn.”

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