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Those Poor Souls Need Revenge

Geoff Nelder Author Interview

Geoff Nelder Author Interview

In Xaghra’s Revenge the past and present collide when paranormal forces seek revenge and force one couple to relive the past. What was the inspiration for this thrilling book?

Malta is a popular destination for us Brits. It’s foreign, hot and sunny but the locals speak English! What’s not to like? 12 years ago I attended a multimedia presentation in Malta about its history. I gripped my seat to stop falling off when I learnt that in 1551 pirates savagely abducted the entire population of the nearby island of Gozo. Most became galley slaves, labouring slaves in Libya and the young women in harems in Constantinople. Those poor souls need revenge. I gave it to them in Xaghra’s Revenge. The other inspiration is a pile of old rocks in the Gozo town of Xaghra. The Ggantija Temple is one of the oldest buildings in the world. Older than the pyramids and Stonehenge. When I hugged them I felt a buzz. They told me to include them in that historical novel so I did.

Reece and Zita are interesting characters that continue to develop as the story progresses. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development?

I needed contemporary characters that were descended one from the pirates and one from the abducted. Oh what fun I had with them. A mumbling fart like Reece, who knew he had no luck with women and yet this great looker was interested. Thrown together by ancient spirits they were destined to be together, but of course like real life, nothing goes smoothly. Reece grows up quickly when one crisis after another trips him up, but he develops a backbone and maturity. Zita gains experience but her womanly ways always were sophisticated and she is able to support the fakwit Reece on and off until she realizes she’s in love with him for real.

The story is rich in historical detail. What research did you do for this novel to get the setting just right?

I’m a sucker for research in whatever stories I write. I stayed at the Preluna Hotel in Malta and traipsed all over both Malta and it’s little island, Gozo. Over the limestone surface and below in people’s cellars, which often had caves complete with stalactites and stalagmites. Hours I’d spent in the Melitensia and other libraries in Malta, up to my elbows in ancient deeds, records and emptied coffee cartons. So grateful was I that I donated a copy of Xaghra’s Revenge to the library and the librarian shook my hand only last week in gratitude. All the geography in the novel is accurate. Yes, I crawled into Calypso’s Cave on Gozo, really hugged the Ggantija massive stones and stood inside an Ottoman galley – that one is in a North Cyprus museum at Kyrenia Castle. A few yards away I nearly fell over a stone grave and too my shock saw it belonged to Sinan Pasha, the Jewish Ottoman Commander at both the abduction of Gozo and the siege of Malta in 1565. During the writing I returned many times though only the once to Tarhuna, Libya, in order to smell the aromas, see the wildflowers, and meet the real people.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I run a short story critique group. It forces me to write at least six shorts a year in between novels. The publisher of my ARIA Trilogy (scifi / medical mystery based on the unique premise of infectious amnesia) commissioned me to put together a collection of surreal shorts. I’ve called it INCREMENTAL because they all have an element of something getting smaller, or bigger. For example a noise the world hears one day getting louder by a decibel every day. A pothole appears in a Madrid suburb and doubles every day – without stopping. Do you know it would only take 46 days to swallow the planet, but it still doesn’t stop. There’s historical fiction in there too. It’s being published by LL-Publications later this year.

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Xaghra's Revenge by [Nelder, Geoff]When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.

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Xaghra’s Revenge

Xaghra's Revenge by [Nelder, Geoff]

Xaghra’s Revenge by Geoff Nelder begins with a family on a Maltese island circa fifteen hundreds that is torn apart by a barbaric pirate attack. The pirates take the island’s people captive, split up families and destroy lives in the process. I was pulled in by the fine historical detail and the emotional human experience. It starts as a historical fiction novel, but then you are catapulted into modern day where we follow two people; Zita and Reese. Paranormal forces bring these characters together and events they cannot control set them on a dangerous and thrilling journey that I enjoyed reading.

I enjoyed Zita and Reece’s characters. They were multifaceted and well developed. Their love story, although a bit contrived, is emotional and believable once events start to unfold. One thing that I really enjoyed about this novel, as I’m sure many historical fiction fans enjoy, is the depth of detail in the story’s setting and the experiences of those in the past. Reading about what happens to the captives is heartbreaking and really makes you feel as if they were real people, or at least these things could have happened to real people. I felt like I was reading a Dan Brown novel at times. The descriptions were exceptional and I felt like the author really did his homework and has the technical ability to transport me to exotic places without slowing the pace of the book. When I review books I try to take mental notes while reading, but I often got so caught up in this book that I forgot to, and found myself several chapters in before I remembered. The connection between the past and present is not immediately apparent, and lends to the overall mystery and enables some fascinating plot twists.

When the spirits of the past seek revenge, Zita and Reece are left with little choice, although they don’t know it. This novel was fun to read and getting swept away was easy. It’s hard to nail down this books genre; is it historical fiction, paranormal, romance, mystery? I think it does a magical job of blending all of them into one thrilling novel. I highly recommend this book as it has one of the more unique plots that I’ve read this year.

Pages: 360 | ASIN: B0746PHZKR

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