Category Archives: Interviews
The Mendelian Protocol starts with two genetic researchers dead on a beach which begins a deep and twisting mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
I wrote the novel many years ago. I was initially inspired by the X-files as well as my interest in the premedical classes I was taking in genetics and molecular biology. I eventually tried to incorporate an element of classic murder mystery as well.
Natalie is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
I basically saw her as the young physician (which I was at the time) who found herself pitted against an imperfect system. This is represented by her boss, the chief, who keeps trying to steer her investigation in the direction he wants it to go.
I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this novel. Did you plan this out or did it develop organically while writing?
I literally wrote about 100 pages without any plan whatsoever and then eventually realized I had to come up with a plot. It took me weeks or even months to develop an original plot that I can honestly say has never been done before to my knowledge. I wanted to drop hints and make it a “solvable mystery” while keeping it hard to predict. In that regard I feel I have succeeded.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am writing a more traditional mystery set in Nantucket in the 80’s but since I work full time and have kids… we will see.
Two genetic researchers are brutally slain on a remote beach in the Bahamas. The investigation falls to Dr. Natalie Franklin, the small-town Medical Examiner working her first murder case. She doesn’t mind dealing with dead bodies, but dealing with her boss, the Chief of Police, is another matter entirely. As she struggles to make sense of the bizarre forensic clues, she learns that sometimes the truth is a casualty that no one wants revived. She vows to find answers to explain the evidence that is seemingly impossible to reconcile.
The Keller Corporation is the main employer on the island of St. Angela. When researcher Greg Cooper is hired, he initially thinks he has landed in paradise. After a few days of crunching data, though, he realizes that his dream job is more of a tedious grind than anything else. Out of boredom he begins to poke around and soon suspects that the Keller Corporation is up to something unethical or even sinister. When Greg discovers another dead body, it seems like a horrible accident, and that’s what Dr. Natalie Franklin thinks, too. But it isn’t long before Greg and Natalie are racing to unlock the secret of the Mendelian Protocol before becoming victims themselves.
The Cruel Romance is a historical romance novel following the lives of Serafima and Vitya during WWII. What prompted you to write this emotional novel?
There are many books written about great battles and great generals. Much less about the dreadful effects of war and occupation on the lives of civilians. The stories of European women in their fight against the German invaders have become broadly familiar. The idea that ordinary Russian women who had to endure four years of Nazi invasion deserve the same prompted me to write The Cruel Romance.
Telling stories of unsung heroines is my humble tribute to the women who worked on the home front producing armaments, like Serafima from The Cruel Romance, or who were fighters on the front or partisans, like my heroine Lyuba from How Dare the Birds Sing, another book of mine.
Serafima and Vitya are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
It was important for me to show not only good personality traits but also evil ones in my characters. So, Serafima, despite the horrible circumstances, developed into a kind and passionate person becoming stronger with every unfortunate turn in her life. But not like Victor, who developed—or maybe the dark parts of his character were hidden only to be revealed in critical situations—into a cruel person consumed with hate, ruining the lives of the innocent people because of some deeply personal feelings and, besides, using his position in the society to get a desired post.
I felt that the history and Russian culture and backdrop were well utilized. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
Aside the fact that I’m Russian and the setting within which my characters acted is natural to me, every new work requires extensive research. The authenticity comes from many details. In my case, it came not only from books. I am greatly indebted to my parents who as children endured the German bombing, the hunger and fear and who shared their experience with me.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book, the second one in the Love and Fate series titled Too Many Wolves In The Local Woods goes live on May 5, 2020 as a part of the Road to Liberation boxset comprising ten books from USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.
On October 1941, in a small village outside Moscow, Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloveds neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again.
Days later, Germans invade her village and take over her tiny house. Serafima and her mother must comply with orders, endure abuse, and stay put, or their village will be annihilated.
As World War II intertwines Serafimas and Vityas life with that of a young German violinist and a Russian intellectual, their destinies are irrevocably altered. Can they rise to the challenge of agonizing moral choices and learn to forgive and love again?
Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?
I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.
Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.
A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
Best Is Temporary – Be Better is a guide to help people become better every day. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
As a Sport and Performance Psychology Consultant, I have had the pleasure to work with many levels of competitive people. I have witnessed the positive aspects of seeking mastery as an individual and I have witnessed the doubt, fear, apathy, and hesitation to work on improving or controlling one’s own mastery. I realized that the competitive element was not the primary influencer. A position that many in my field would argue against. I wanted to write a book that advanced the idea of individual responsibility practices for becoming that which you choose to become. Most so called self-help books these days focus on emphasizing trauma recovery and continue to identify with the victimization mentality. I wanted to offer something that allows people to recognize their own worth, and how to take control of their own personal advancement through a four-pillar approach of personal development; Martial – Cognitive – Spiritual – Physical. One where guilt, shame, regret, fear, doubt, apathy, or limitations are not required!
This book puts an emphasis on self-discovery and personal development. Why are these important?
I believe that if a person is to choose who they want to become, the person must first recognize who they are. Thus, self-discovery is the precursor for any personal development programming, practice, or activity – and the next step being that only through personal development participation and recognition will one find their potential expansions of performance enhancement(s) or foster skill acquisition to occur.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope that readers understand the importance of personal development as it relates to individual participation requirements and depth expansions. I want people to be more informed on the three domains involved – Affective (feelings, emotions), Cognitive (thinking, and logical examinations of empirical relevance), Physical (the importance of how functional body integrations influence the plethora of correlated realities). I want people to understand that if they wish to live in a “Better World”, that they themselves must also become better and that by doing so each of us influences the World to become a better place for all of humanity. Want a better humanity? Then become a better human, individually, and create a better environment anytime that you enter the time or space with the capacity to do so. Competence, communication, candor, and caring are the keys! I want people to care so much that they take action rather than telling others that someone else should take an action!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Currently, I am working on creating multiple seminars, evaluating and connecting with speaking positions, and attempting to put together online courses under my personal development brand MADZOOK. I have two books in the outline phase as of this moment in time – one is about effective leadership, and the other is a book on multicultural educational practices, raising competency in educators for more effective globalized standards. I am not sure on the availability of a second book just yet – I am happy to have completed this first book and want that experience to sink in for a little while as I learn the process of getting a book from the mind to the paper to the public consumption steps. As a first-time author I can attest to the complexity of the whole process.
Best is always temporary. Becoming better as an individual is possible every day. The collective of humanity only rises when the individuals within that collective take personal responsibility to become better each day. Living with a platitude such as live your best life, or do your best, historically, sets up more failed attempts than successful accomplishments.
Results require action, not platitudes or soundbites. Knowledge and individual participation are critical for longevity and quality. Best is Temporary; Be Better is a guide to learning the importance of self-discovery and personal development influencers on all performance enhancement. Enhancements that create a better person.
Anyone can become better each day if they participate. Learn how to ask better questions, understand proximity to greatness, control environments and set boundaries, increase communication skills, improve your health and wellness, think, do, and become by your own design. Opening your full potentiality, not another fortune cookie, or Lao Tzu quote on Instagram! Make the choice to be better every day – it is your choice to make, but you can always use a guidebook! Here it is, that guidebook that you are looking for.
Experiment X: Revolt finds Dr. Thaddeus bombing landmarks and vilifying Karen and her friends. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
I simply wanted the battle to move outside of the Lab and to show how easily war can appear in someone’s backyard. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it could.
Karen’s narration was exceptional in exploring the anxieties and discomfort she felt. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
First off, thank you. So, you know when Tony Stark has a panic attack and he has to deal with anxiety? Well, for some reason, seeing a super hero go through this helped me a lot with my own struggles. I wanted to give my readers the same thing. Knowing that having anxieties, fears, discomforts, etc. doesn’t make you weak can be a powerful thing. If these super soldiers can feel this, then why can’t you or I, right?
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I wanted to keep it as realistic as I could. This isn’t a story that’s meant to be set in the future, but the present. It’s merely the beginning of a potential dystopia, a sci-fi world placed directly into our own.
What plans do you have for the series in book four of your Experiment X series?
There is no book four as of yet. However! There will be a prequel trilogy to the series told from Jack’s point of view. This trilogy starts when Jack is about eighteen, and it dives deeper into the horrors of the Lab. You’ll also learn things about the Subjects that they don’t talk about in the original trilogy. Plus, you’ll get to meet more Subjects from Experiment A.
Nothing will stop Karen Turner this time. Doctor James Thaddeus is attacking her once peaceful hometown; he’s bombing beloved landmarks, killing hundreds of innocent people, and smearing the names of Karen and her friends. Karen now has complete control over her Fire Element powers, and she is more determined than ever to burn the infamous Lab to the ground once and for all!
Jack Cortex, her best friend and mentor, once again steps up to the plate, splitting a large group of the super-powered Subjects into teams with a plan to finally gain their freedom—and keep it. Karen knows that if the Lab—and Thaddeus—aren’t destroyed for good this time, the other Subjects of the Experiments will continue to be abused and tortured until they take their last breaths. Doctor Thaddeus thinks he’s safe, but she’s coming for him.
Not everyone will make it out alive.
The hunter will become the prey.
Honeycake: Special Magical Powers shows readers that we all have the power to improve others lives through charity. How did this idea for the book start and develop as you were writing?
Firstly, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to discuss my book.
I always loved the saying “One persons trash is another persons treasure”
Just because you may not have a use for something doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. I wanted to teach children the valuable lesson in the spirt of giving, which provides an opportune time for parents to teach their children about charity. I also wanted to showcase that giving to charity to be more than a one-time occurrence and to teach children to make giving back a habit. By helping children appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, you are giving your children important messages about compassion and kindness towards others who are less fortunate or are going through a difficult time in their lives.
This book discusses the importance of giving to others. What is the easiest way people can give to others?
There are so many ways to give back to others that won’t cost you a thing.
1. Donate clothes.
Periodically go through your closets rooting out clothes you haven’t worn in a while, which can be given to the Salvation Army or Goodwill for distribution to the needy. Encourage your children to do the same. Allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate.
2. Help neighbours and the elderly.
Do things for the elderly that they have trouble doing for themselves. Pick up sticks in your neighbour’s yard after a big windstorm. Mow the grass for Grandma. Wash Grandpa’s car. Clean their windows in the spring. Help them plant flowers. Rake the leaves of an elderly couple.
3. Give blood.
Take your children with you so they see you as a model for giving. Talk to them about why you choose to donate blood and what you hope it will accomplish by doing so.
I enjoyed the simple lesson that kindness and family can bring one great joy. What do you hope readers take away from this story?
My hope is that readers understand that the spirit of giving to others is magical, and it should be a way of life, because kindness is a gift, we can all afford to give.
What do you have in the works next for the Honeycake series?
Coming spring of 2020 Book 4 – “Honeycake – A Circle of Trust”
This book is about teaching your kids about honesty and open communication.
It’s so important that we create a circle of trust with our children so they are not afraid to come to us when something goes wrong, and to let them know that trust takes a lot of work to build but can easily be destroyed when they are dishonest.
In the third instalment in the charming Honeycake Book Series, Nala brings her outgrown toys and clothes to Rainbow Hall, and spends the day with her Grandma and Uncle JD discovering a special magical power we all have, called ✨KINDNESS✨
“Kindness is a “Special Magical Power” we all have inside of us. When we show kindness, it’s like spreading sunshine everywhere we go — no matter what the weather is like outside.
Could you imagine how much nicer the world would be if everyone smiled at each other or did a random act of kindness every day? We are kind when we use our manners by saying please and thank you, or by opening a door, or by giving our seat on a bus or train to a stranger in need.
Kindness is a gift we can all afford to give. Though it doesn’t cost a thing, your kindness can mean everything to another person.”
Use your “Special Magical Powers” and spread kindness everywhere you go!
Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?
The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.
I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.
I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?
I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.
This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?
I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.
A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.
Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.
When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.
As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.
This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: anita dickason, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, not dead, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero introduces a new superhero that changes how teens & adults consume faith, fiction & entertainment. What was your inspiration for this idea?
Almighty God and teenagers are the inspiration…
‘Bring the lost souls to me…through youth entertainment’ seemed to be the inspiring message I was imagining…
As I began writing I was sipping on Starbucks Christmas Blonde Coffee ( that’s where the idea of a Blonde blue eyed Muslim Superhero was conceived – can you imagine? ) located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, I would happily visualize teenagers across USA and the world gathered together reading ‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ as they busily chewed pink bubble gum, smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying reading the comic book or paperback or watching the movie or playing the Electronic Arts game of Angelina, Boris and Jules getting chased relentlessly while searching world Museum’s for clues…
Jules Khan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove the character development?
A modern day blonde blue eyed teenage muslim superhero – who would accept that? Changing the judgement narrative was one idea…Is Jules Khan the next new Avenger in the Marvel series or a Superhero in the mega entertainment world? Could he bring a ‘cool’ factor to young Muslims, Jewish, Christians and all faiths? I am hoping so…Could the characters in the book be as slick as the characters in a Hugo Boss commercial? So many ideas….
This book did a great job of blending faith with modern action comics. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your book?
Theme number uno: Marvel Studios crashes into the 3 monotheistic faiths was a main theme that would appeal to teenagers and adults; maybe a theme creation of a new acceptable way to learn more about other cultures and faiths in a safe, fun, entertaining and modern non-judgemental environment…
What is the next project that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Comic Books, The graphic novel, the adult novel, the movie, the electronic games, the merchandise…so much to do and so little time….
Somehow after receiving a winner recognition through the Canada Book Awards 2019; New York City Big Book Awards’ for young adult fiction – Distinguished Favorite 2019 recognition, Literary Titan Gold Medal Book Award plus between 4 and 5 star reviews it has given me the confidence to develop
‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ from a simple commitment of a book into keeping this amazing project under development into the future…
The Comic book should be out in 2020…
New York City Big Book Awards’
What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world? It sounds intimidating, but one teenager, Jules Khan, embraces his destiny for the good of all mankind and all faiths. Jules takes you on a narrative adventure that spans the globe, which is already raging from WWII, racing against the evil National Weapons Association and their followers. With Mother Nature given superpowers and some surprising and formidable friends, can Jules find out the truth about his family and his future in time to save the world?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Teenage Muslim Superhero, action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Karim Kassamali Devji, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, The Adventures of Jules Khan, writer, writing, young adult
The Revenged Queen takes place after Danielle exposes every dark secret her classmates have. What were some new ideas you wanted to pursue in this book that were different from the first book?
I wanted to up the game when it comes to this novel. I wanted to go darker, sassier, and overall bitchier. It was my favorite in the series because I wanted people to feel like the gloves truly came off.
The characters in this book are well developed and diverse. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Honestly, Bethany was my favorite to write in this book. I wanted people to understand her more since she was so just the villain. I wanted people to go she’s a bitch, but a lovable one. Also, Emily’s story arc was incredible too. I loved writing some fake and heavy stuff with her.
Much like high school, your characters are going through a lot of different things. Where do you find inspiration and how does it become ideas for your book?
I let the characters take me there. I know that sounds so arrogant, but I just write what they’re doing. I’m surprised with how much they shock me or take me a place I didn’t expect them to take me. I wish I could say it’s from my persona life or ones around me because that would make me feel better writing future books and not having my characters inspire me.
One Queen of an Ending is book three in the High School Queens trilogy. Where will the story take readers in the final chapter?
Spoiler Alert, Jordan won’t be the only death in this trilogy. It’s going to get even more intense. I think the bitch wars ends with a bang. i loved that i highlight all that I felt emotionally connected in the series in this. It’s dark and dramatic. It opens at a funeral, so I’m ready for everyone to read the final in the trilogy.
No one knows the real Marked Queen, but now everyone wants to know her. In this sequel to the insatiable first novel, High School Queens, you will die to know more about your favorite dirty little Queens.
As we say goodbye to the Johnson Prep Seniors, the scandals and lies that exposed them in the beginning are back with a vengeance.
The Marked Queen thought she had the last laugh at prom. Now, it seems a new girl is coming for her crown. With a new title, The Revenged Queen, she was out for blood and her prime targets—the ones exposing everyone’s dark and dirty little secrets. As we dive deeper into this scandalous and humorous world of prep school teens, we learn that everyone is a hustler with a secret and a Hollywood sob story.
Can Danielle keep her new illegal activities to make money under wraps? Was Calvin going to have a warm welcome as he outs himself as gay? Was Delilah going to take the knife from Danielle out of her back and stab her with it? Was Bethany going to enjoy her rule as queen bee or fail spectacularly? And was there more to Jordan than being just a slutty, party girl?
As the scandals pile up in front of them, their secrets will be exposed… And each secret is even more delicious than the last.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is set in a war torn medieval world where the convictions of two unlikely allies are tested. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
In this particular story in the Dál Cruinne Series, I wanted to write a character with this world’s version of a superpower, asking the questions of what would someone give to obtain the advantage, what has it really cost them, and how do they reconcile within themselves the life they lead because of that power? And of course, I threw in the unpredictability of the human heart when the chemistry called attraction is involved.
My goal as a writer was to finally commence a story that has been in my head since the mid-1990s. Long before I even contemplated being a writer. I love fantasy and wanted to try my hand at it—as so far, I have written dystopian/romance/time travel. And yes, I do tend to mix my genres. I’ll do the same with this series as the next books are an inter-world fantasy.
I enjoyed the relationship between Vygeas and Leyna and thought it was well developed. What character did you enjoy writing for?
I enjoyed writing Vygeas. I always seem to identify the most with my male protagonists. Maybe because I was a tomboy.
I loved writing the fight scenes. I used to do martial art but not much with weapons and never a sword, but I always love watching a good sword fight. Also, I’d love to ride a warhorse. And who doesn’t want a special gift that gives you the advantage over almost everyone?
Writing Vygeas’ tortured, convicted soul on the verge of great change was a journey through the darkness, looking for the light. Something I feel we all experience, and so I could identify with him, and I hope the readers do too.
And I enjoyed the way Vygeas’ taciturn personality bounced off Aiden’s talkative, open, oops-I’ve-said-too-much, honesty.
The depth of the backstory and world-building is something that was well executed. How did the idea for the world start and change as you wrote?
The fantasy world of Dál Cruinne is more like an ancient Gaelic/Celtic world than a medieval European one. Hence the Gaelic words in the title and the place names, and landscape very much like Scotland. As the series progresses the reader will find many more differences, such as how kings, their righ, and high kings, ard righ, are chosen in this world.
I didn’t purposely set out to make a non-European fantasy world, but I do feel it’s been done enough in this genre. I have a love for Scotland, its history and geography. I’m fascinated by the Celts in Britain and the history of the Gaels in Ireland. My ancestry is from both. And I love the sound of the Gaelic when it’s spoken. So, to me, an ideal fantasy world has shades of all of these—and castles of course! I took my inspiration from these cultures but haven’t based it exactly upon them.
I’m not too sure if anything changed as I wrote, as I had worked on the type of world I wanted before I began. The main thing that surprised me in the writing was the amount of magic that came out in this particular story. It probably isn’t anything like Druidic magic, but as I said, this world has shades of those cultures and isn’t a carbon copy.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is a novel in the Dal Cruinne series. Do you plan on writing more books in this series?
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is sub-titled as A novel in the Dál Cruinne Series and isn’t book one as such. It is an introduction to this world and there will be other stories, which run serially (to themselves and not necessarily to Murtairean), but Murtairean is a first glimpse and, hopefully, an enticement for the reader to stick around for more. I’m sure Vygeas, Leyna and Aiden will turn up in the other stories. Lord Ciaran certainly does.
I have a duology/trilogy in the planning with the first draft of book one almost completed. The series will be Arlan’s Pledge (Arlan means pledge in the Gaelic) and the first book is Trastaidh. The Crossing. The main character, Arlan, is the son of current Ard Righ of Dál Gaedhle (the large western kingdom of Dál Cruinne), who finds himself transported to our world, to Scotland, and meets the attractive Rhiannon. Will he find his way back to Dál Cruinne, or, after spending time in Rhiannon’s comfortable western culture, does he really want to?
Leyna, a warrior woman and high-end thief, turned her back on her title of Lady Leynarve of Monsae after her parents’ murder. Bent on revenge, Leyna travels to a hit where assassins gather, intending to find and kill the one who ruined her life.
Vygeas, a mercenary and assassin, has the gift of heightened perception, enabling him to sense his opponents’ emotions and anticipate their every move. Sickened by the warmongering, Vygeas awaits execution for desertion. But he’s given one final task to win his freedom…kill a mark and avoid the gallows.
Unaware of Vygeas’ trade, Leyna hitches a ride with this handsome sell-sword with exceptional abilities. Vygeas realises he has encountered the beautiful and capable Leyna’s family before…on a previous hit.
While pursued by a powerful sorcerer-mage, they combine their skills to thwart his attempts to capture Leyna and destroy Vygeas.
Fighting their joint foes without, and battling their torments within, Vygeas and Leyna discover the truth that could destroy their newly forged relationship.
Will their past define them, or will they discover all they could be?