AUTHOR INTERVIEW; MJ O’Neill author of The Corpse Wore Stilettos


About the Author

As the owner of a boutique chocolate factory in Atlanta, MJ O’Neill loves to write lighthearted, romantic mysteries with a sweet twist. She has a degree in business communications from North Carolina State University. When she’s not spinning a sweet yarn or creating delicious confections, she spends time with her husband, their kids, a hyperactive cocker spaniel named Devo (after the band), a princess tabby cat named Twilight (before the book stole her name) and a collection of stray fish. The whole gang can be found tooling around the back roads of the South in their RV where MJ uses the downtime to hatch her next sweet plot.


 1)  SHOES? Are they a passion? I Love how you use the stilettos in in tittle and graphics. Please tell us about your first favorite pair of shoes as a kid.

A few years ago I wouldn’t have said that I was a “shoe” person. Then we went to move and I realized that 5 large packed boxes of nothing but shoes probably meant that I should be in Shoes Anonymous. Hi, my name is MJ and I am a shoe-a-holic. But my taste don’t run quite as extravagant as Kat’s. I’m an equal opportunity shoe hoarder and have never really met a pair of shoes that I didn’t like. I appreciate the practicality of hiking boots (that should also be allowed to be stylish) and now that I live in Hotlanta I own more pairs of sandals than is probably healthy for my pocket book.

Looking back, I have to say that my obsession started young. My first pair of coveted shoes were my black and white Mary Janes. We weren’t well off growing up and a new pair of shoes was a treat, so when my Grandma, who I didn’t see often, showed up for holiday with a pair of shiny new Mary Janes in tow, I was smitten.

2) What steered you to cozies? I am a huge Miss Marple fan, are you?

Oh my goodness, I love a good puzzle! I’m a severe dyslexic. Growing up, reading was extremely difficult. I fought it every step of the way. Until I stumbled onto Trixie Belden. Then I was in heaven and couldn’t get enough. As an adult, cozies were a good follow-on. I read voraciously now in all genres, but cozies usually have a nice mix of fun, family, mayhem, mystery and a real sense of place. It’s world building in a different way and I love to be immersed. Steamy romances are also a guilty pleasure.

3) Coffee, Tea or stronger when writing?

Haha. It depends on the phase, right? Tea for first ideation, coffee for deadlines, and whisky for editor edits. Seriously, though, (because coffee is serious business), I own a chocolate café. I make and consume an unhealthy amount of mochas. White chocolate for writers block, dark chocolate when I’m on a roll…

I recently participated in CozyMysteryMay Drink of choice was day 26 and I put together this collage of my drinking vice

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4) Are you a plotter or a pantser?

As a certified project manager (or a PiMP as my daughter says) I don’t understand pantsers. I know they are out there in the world. I have met many of them and they are all fine people except for the need not to plot. My character Kat definitely gets that from me – there should be outline and task lists and special notebooks where it can all be color coded and stored. My story boards are more like art.

Although, I will say, I’m a loose plotter. I think you have to be in mysteries in order to lay the ground work for clues.

5) Do you have a special writing corner?

Yes! And someday I hope get to actually write there. J Many days chapters get done while I’m waiting for chocolate to dry, so my laptop is set up on a counter at our chocolate shop. But my writing corners at home are both very lovely. One is on the screen porch and the other is a cozy corner in our bedroom that just for me that has a lovely yellow credenza.

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6) Do you write every day?

Yes and no. My life essentially has two seasons – Writing season and Chocolate Season. Chocolate season runs from about October through Mother’s Day. Not much writing happens then. Writing season is when no one wants chocolate. When I’m trying to complete a book, I try to write every day. I’ve learned it’s the best way for me to stay in the heads of my characters. When the two collide, like for my last set of edits, it can be a bit challenging to juggle it all.

7) Anything else you want to share with our visitors?

I’m in the process of completing the second installment in Kat’s adventure and am on the hunt for what this Sharp Dressed Corpse should include. If anyone has read the first book, I’d love to hear your ideas for what my next corpse is wearing. So far I’ve had nominations for the Corpse Wore a Tattoo, the Corpse Wore Armani, the Corpse Wore a Bow Tie and the Corpse Wore a Trench Coat. All fun options, but would love to hear from you!

Author Links

Website –

Twitter –@melindajONeill

Instagram – instagram#mjoneillauthor

Facebook – mj.oneill.52

Purchase Link – Amazon



corpse cover

About the Book

The Corpse Wore Stilettos
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Red Adept Publishing, LLC (April 30, 2019)
Print Length: 246 pages


Since Kat Waters’s father took a trip to the slammer on what she’s sure are trumped-up racketeering charges, life’s been tough. All their assets are frozen, and she’s down to the last few pairs of Jimmy Choos she can swap for rent. To keep her family out of the homeless shelter, the former socialite took a job at the local morgue—a job she’s about to lose when the body of a murder victim goes missing on her watch.


While Kat’s processing the latest victim in the prostitute serial killings, ex-Special Forces soldier Burns McPhee strolls in with an air of confidence, expecting access to the Jane Doe. While Burns tries to flirt his way into examining the latest victim, whom he thinks is connected to the death of his best friend, someone else steals the body right out from under them.


Dodging questions from the cops and kidnapping attempts from a body-snatching psycho, Kat and Burns forge a deal. He’ll clear her name and keep her safe if she gets him information on her peculiar coworkers, one of whom he’s certain is involved with the body heist. But digging up secrets can lead to a lower life expectancy. The unlikely team will need all their talents not to end up as the morgue’s next clients while they hunt for a murderer, the missing corpse, and a pair of diamond-studded stilettos.