Story Behind the Story: Lady Rample Steps Out by Shéa MacLeod

by EilisFlynn

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, is an editor and writer. Find her on social media.

March 31, 2021

Apparently, when you dream a book, you should write it! Shéa MacLeod did just that, with a protagonist, Lady Rample, who burst from a midnight reverie as did Pallas Athena from Zeus. You might want to get into your head just as MacLeod did, because what she transmuted from dream to manuscript was a fun jazz-era English detective who was all parts Katharine Hepburn, no parts stodgy, and every bit feel-good solver of murders. (Or maybe solver of feel-good murders. Or both.)  If what’s in your head is anything like what’s in MacLeod’s, by all means, get it down on paper!

Lady Rample Mysteries feature Shéa MacLeod’s character from a dream.

What’s the theme behind your story?

I rarely have a conscious theme when writing. I simply start out to tell a fun story and somewhere along the way a theme sort of weaves itself in. If Lady Rample Steps Out had a theme, it’s about friendship, acceptance, and the wages of greed. 

What’s the logline?

When Lady Rample steps out, murder steps in.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea for this series occurred to you?

I was dreaming. No, literally! I dreamed the character and two of the titles. It was incredibly clear, and I woke up just knowing I had to write about this woman’s adventures. It was about a year later that I put out the first book. 

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

As I mentioned, the main character, Lady Rample, appeared to me in a dream. She looked like Katharine Hepburn when she was young. She had zero forks to give, a cocktail in one hand, and a smirk on her lips. I’m not sure much has changed since then, except she does have more of a propensity for a bit of klutziness now and then. Other characters like Aunt Butty (of the crazy hats) came along later as I thought about the people who would occupy this woman’s inner circle. They wouldn’t be usual or ordinary. They would be quirky and a bit odd and thoroughly wonderful. 

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I love the story and I doubt I would do anything differently if I had the chance. I’m not the sort of person who dwells on stories already told—I’m too busy writing the next one! Besides, the beauty of a long-running series is that I can explore different aspects of personality, different characters, different experiences, and different locations. If I didn’t spend enough time on something as I wanted, I have the chance in the next book. It never gets boring!

Who would play the leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal?

Well, since Katharine Hepburn is out, and so is Cary Grant (who would have played her best friend, Chaz), I shall have to search among contemporary actors! I think Evan Rachel Wood (although a bit young) would make a marvelous Lady Rample. Dame Judi Dench could play her eccentric, hat-loving Aunt Butty, and Dame Helen Mirren would be Aunt Butty’s BFF, Louise Pennyfather. Meanwhile, Lady R’s best friend Chaz would be played by Harry Lloyd, and her paramour, jazz musician Hale Davis, by Idris Elba.

What else do you want readers to know?

The Lady Rample Mysteries are set in 1930s London during the jazz era. Be prepared for lots of afternoon tea, vintage cocktails, lovely parties, madcap capers, and the occasional feel-good murder.


Shéa MacLeod is the author of over 65 titles including the popular cozy mystery series, Lady Rample Mysteries, and the bestselling urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, Sunwalker Saga. She has dreamed of writing novels since before she could hold a crayon. She totally blames her mother.

She resides in the leafy green hills outside Portland, Oregon, where she indulges in her fondness for strong coffee, Hopepunk, lemon curd, and dragons. She can usually be found at her desk dreaming of creative ways to off her characters. She quite loves a feel-good murder. Fictionally speaking, of course.

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