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Hidden Legacy
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From Ireland to Virginia, rags to riches, riddles and romance

Title: Hidden Legacy
Author: Margaret Hodapp

Publisher: PublishAmerica; (November 25, 2003)

Genre: Historical Romance

ISBN: 1413711545

Paperback; 192pp

ISBN: 1413711545



Rating: Highly Recommended


May 2, 2004
Tessa is married to Sean O'Donnell, an abusive man by nature, who one night becomes stinking drunk and is killed by thieves leaving Tessa to make a new life for herself.
Sean's brother had given him a one-way ticket to America prior to his death. Tessa takes her chance and the ticket then boards the ship. Here she meets and befriends Melissa Duncan, a wealthy woman who suffers from TB. Melissa readily shares her stately room with Tessa, as well as other information regarding her family. 


Having worsened, upon their arrival to the Americas, Melissa dies. Tessa then assumes Melissa's identity and heads for Uncle George's estate. But Tessa soon discovers Melissa's uncle has passed away just prior to their arrival, as well as the neighbor, Sarah, who had been caring for Uncle George.


Tessa having moved into the estate in need of groceries and money goes to work for the town grocer. Meanwhile Sarah's husband who had been scheming and plotting in order to obtain rights to the estate, sets out to prove Tessa is a fake and hopefully gain control of the property.


Amazingly enough, Sarah suddenly reappears giving Tessa a series of clues to claim her inheritance. Will Tessa find what she needs before the estate is auctioned off?


Hidden Legacy is well written, and contains humor, suspense, drama, and romance all wrapped into one dramatic story. The book is a rags to riches tale with a smooth flow, not dragging the heart of the book. Nice twists and believable characters help keep the story interesting. Hidden Legacy is an enjoyable and easy to read novel that is great for readers sixteen and up.


Reviewed by Sherry Kruegel


An Interview with Margaret Hodapp



To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?


My heroine in "Hidden Legacy" is mid-forties and Irish. She has an abusive husband who is murdered by thugs as he comes home from the pub in their village. Tessa finds a boarding pass on a ship to America hidden in his belongings after the funeral and uses it to journey to America to create a new life for herself. She makes friends with a ghost, steals another woman's identity, and works through a series of puzzling clues to discover a Hidden Legacy. 



Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?


I grew up in a small town in Indiana. I am a Hoosier. Reading was a major part of my life from the time that I could read. I majored in Literature in high school. I was never without a book close by. I used to go out in the yard, climb into our mulberry tree and hide among the branches to read where no one could find me to interrupt. My family said that when I began to read a book, I would crawl into the pages and disappear. I always wrote in my head but never put it on paper. If I were late for a dental appointment, for instance, my imagination would create a wild story where I met a man who offered me a fabulous job that I would not have met if I had not been tardy to the dentist. Two years ago a former classmate of mine dared me to see what I could put on paper and my writing career began.



Who were your earliest influences and why?


My Mother- she was a teacher and nearly genius level. She could retain anything that she read. She would quote verses from memory of Shakespeare, the Bible, Robert Browning, James Whitcomb Riley and more.



What would a typical day be like for a writer?


"A writer"? Or me?


YOU are the writer.


My day is never normal. I work part time three days a week; I am a certified EMT with our volunteer life-squad on call for twelve-hour shifts for two days a week, I have nine grandchildren in and out constantly, and a husband who raises, sells and trades Beagle dogs. Around all that activity, I write as I can. Often it is in the middle of the night.



How long have you been writing and in what capacities?


For only about three years; I truly regret not starting sooner. I have a book, Hidden Legacy, on the market. I have two more novels in various stages of completion. There are short stories and poems on my web site (www.authorsden.com/mardapp) and a few have been published in magazines or e-zines. However, I am just beginning to branch out and hope to find even more outlets for my writing.



Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?


I think non-fiction is more difficult. When I create fiction, it just flows but if I write a non-fiction piece, I am more careful to be exact and detailed.



Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?


No, I have not wanted to quit or throw in the towel. I really cant; there are too many characters in my head shouting at me to put them on paper or I will hear a line on TV and a poem will erupt in my mind and I have to write it down. I love writing. I have more trouble with finding enough time to write than thinking about quitting. 



What is the hardest part about being a writer?


Having to deal with life when I want to closet myself away and write. Life intrudes sometimes.



Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?


I like to read and see how other authors work. Sometimes I find myself analyzing more than reading. I think, "I would not do this" the way the author has or "I really like the way" the author expressed that thought. I also volunteer on our life squad in town. In addition, I love to drive and, if I can get away to drive a few hours by myself, I come back relaxed and it helps my writing. Another hobby of mine is "people-watching" and that certainly gives me new ideas for my stories or poems.



Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?


I don't think that you must sacrifice to rise to the top. I don't believe that I sacrifice anything that I really want or want to doof course, I am not "at the top" yet either. I really don't know the answer to this. Someone else will have to explain this to me.



What question do you get asked more than any other?


Usually they ask how I think of the story, how long it takes me to write a book, or how I develop my characters.



What's the coolest thing a reader has said to you?


My daughter-in-law read my book. She called when she finished and told me that it was so good that she forgot that I wrote it it was like reading a book from a real author. I took that as a supreme compliment that she equated me with a "real author" and forgot that it was "just her mother-in-laws" work.



What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?


The readers say that once they start to read "Hidden Legacy" they dont want to put it down. It keeps them involved and interested in what is happening. I think that is great. I am constantly asked what will happen to Tessa next after the end of Hidden Legacy. I am working on a sequel and I have a waiting list of customers who want to buy it when the sequel is finished and published. 



Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?


I don't know if that observing others comes from being an author or if that is part of what makes you an author. What people do and why they do it has always fascinated me since I was a youngster. That helps furnish me ideas for future plots though. I have had friends of mine claim that they recognize some of my characters from people in real life but I never admit that.



Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?


I have read all of John Grisham's, enjoy Taylor Caldwell books, have gone through the alphabet with Sue Grafton and gone to the races with Dick Francis. I have read everything that Tony Hillerman has written. One of my favorites from long ago is Gene Stratton Porter and the Limberlost books.  I even like Edgar Rice Burrough's books. As I said before, I have always read anything that I could get my hands all; a wide variety over my lifetime and still discovering new authors. There are marvelous new books being published every day.



If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?


Go for it; don't be hesitant. They might surprise themselves by what they can create.



What kind of movies do you enjoy?


Romance, Comedy, or light-hearted. I like movies that make me think I want them fast paced so I don't get bored and wander off. I love When Fools Rush In, or Gone Fishing (with Danny Glover and Joe Pesci), I like Rainman and Independence Day.

 I like movies that entertain; so many movies today don't do that anymore. They are gruesome or made for a shock value but they don't have an interesting or entertaining story or plot. I don't like violence or gore.  



What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldnt want to live in?


I love Dallas/Ft. Worth and Atlanta both. They are so big and impressive and seem to shout out that they are important. Savannah, GA is perhaps one of the loveliest cities I have visited. I might like to live there; but I really prefer small towns. One of the spots my husband and I vacation is Kane, Pa. Lovely little town in the Allegheny forest. Beautiful scenery and great people. We also have a second home near Mountain City, in the eastern corner of Tennessee that we love.  

My hometown, where I have lived for the last forty-three years, - Brookville, Indiana - has about 2800 people and everyone is a neighbor if you need help or encouragement. I love it here. Of course,  part of that is because my family (children and grandchildren) - live here, too.  


Did we lose the question?




What's the best part of being a writer?


Meeting new people, traveling, seeing others enjoy what I have created, being able to express myself to others through my books.



What's next?


I am working on the sequel to Hidden Legacy to continue Tessas story but I have also started  "The Friendship Series". "Dearest of Friends" and "The Friendship Circle" will be released soon and the third book, (as yet, unnamed) is nearly finished.

These books tell the stories of women friends who support each other through the death of a spouse, loss of jobs, re-creating their life after retirement etc. Each book can stand alone as a good story without the others but the women's life's portrayed are more complete if you can read all three.



Betsie's Literary Page thanks Ms. Hodapp for her time and wish her much success with present and future works, hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about this author.