What inspired your latest book?
I’m a firm believer in “things happen for a reason” so I’ve always wondered where the myths and legends of history came from and what where they meant to tell us. I thought about a series where my heroine would set out to decipher the meanings of the ancient stories and voila, Trove was born.
How much time do you spend promoting your books? What works best for you?
My book was released in February and my day job consumed all of my waking hours. I’m just now jumping in with both feet. I must confess that it’s a bit overwhelming. I participating in blog guest spots, from gracious hosts like you. In addition I’m posting weekly on my website about something tangentially related to my story. I’m letting my followers get an idea of how my story evolved.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
I’m a bit of an insomniac and often times late at night, while trying to fall asleep, I listen to the nationally syndicated radio show “Coast to Coast AM.” It’s incredible what you hear, couple that with my mind slipping into slumber and my dreams can be quite imaginative and definitely a bit unconventional.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
I don’t base my characters on real people. I build them by compiling a list of character traits and then developing a physical identity that I feel would be a believable manifestation of the traits.
Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
Alec MacGowan is the half-brother of Katie’s close friend, though her close friend never mentioned that he had a half-brother. Alec is a man used to getting what he wants. He’s incredibly loyal even if his fierce loyalty can result in collateral damage.
Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
Katie Walsh is extremely intelligent and resourceful. She also is very loyal and that is perhaps her greatest strength. Her greatest weakness is that she’s afraid to trust anyone. This is her greatest challenge and throughout Trove we see her struggle to overcome this failing.
The glass sailed across the room, slamming into the oak door releasing aromatic droplets of rich, well-aged whiskey as it shattered. “Son of a bitch. It’s been nine months since Josh’s murder and I’m no closer to finding the bastard who did it,” Alec MacGowan spat. “The only progress made in the last three months is that I’m thirty thousand dollars poorer.”
Robert Baines stared at the reflection of his younger half-brother in the mirror over his mantled fireplace. It was an unguarded glimpse into the turmoil consuming his life. It was hard to believe that Alec was now forty. The dark, almost black straight hair, the athletic six foot three inch build, and those grey eyes, the eyes of Alec’s father. Robert shifted his gaze to himself. His own hair was medium brown and curly, his height three inches shorter, his eyes of clear sapphire blue, the eyes of their mother. He sighed, bent down and carefully lifted the shards off the hardwood floor. “You’re too impulsive Alec. You’ve destroyed a perfectly good glass.”
“You’ve got millions. You live in this penthouse all by yourself, not even a damn dog. You’ve been well off since you cashed out of the market before the tech bubble burst, so stop complaining about an ordinary glass.”
“Alec, you’re forever acting first and then trying to make amends. It gets old fast. Besides, I told you I’ll reimburse any expense. Now get a towel and wipe up the mess you created.”
Robert’s methodical approach to life, his general calmness, along with his intense interest in Celtic history helped him earn the appointment of a director’s position on the board of the Nordstrom Institute. His general demeanor was a tremendous asset in dealing with the intrigues, subterfuges, and professional jealousies of the research world.
Alec returned with a towel and cleaned up his mess, still fuming at his lack of progress. “I just don’t get it. Two respected academics in runes and not only can’t they translate Josh’s symbols, they tell me there are unknown runes in his work. And then, the icing on the cake, their translations are almost exact opposites of each other and neither one makes any sense when I consider them in relation to the rest of his notes.” He ran his hands through his hair.
“What the hell am I going to do? I’ve run out of options,” he said as he slumped into the black leather sofa cushions.
Robert sat down opposite his brother but remained silent. Alec scrutinized him. Robert squirmed under the close inspection.
“What is it you’re not telling me?” Alec asked. He narrowed his eyes, leaning his arms on his thighs. “You know something.” The silence hung over the room like the Sword of Damocles. “So help me, if I have to beat it out of you I will. Now talk.”
He leaned away from Alec. “There may be another option. However, this one isn’t going to be easy.”
“Easy, what the hell is easy? Seems that word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary anymore.”
“Well, it would involve the Nordstrom Institute.”
“I thought you said that they don’t take outside research requests.”
“They don’t.” Robert rested his interlaced fingers on his slight paunch and explained, “However, employees have access to the databases and in-house experts for research.”
“How does that help me?”
“Currently the Institute is in the process of creating a new division, Celtic Lore to be exact.”
Alec stood, strode to the credenza, and poured himself another whiskey. “Celtic Lore? Who’s heading it? Lucy Millar?”
“No one yet. The lead candidate is Dr. Katie Walsh. She holds a doctorate in Nordic and Celtic mythology.”
“Not seeing the correlation, Robert. How does that help me?”
“While researching and writing her thesis, she became a de facto expert in runes, particularly Anglo-Saxon runes. She actually has a substantial portfolio of runic translations. The Institute is close to awarding her the position as head of the new division.”
“Is it a done deal, or will they consider additional candidates?” Alec asked.
“They’ve informed her that she is the leading and, at this time, the only candidate.”
“So what’s the hold-up? I mean why not just make it official. Is it that she’s not really qualified and the offer is more to satisfy a quota?”
“Well,” Robert started, “Katie, Dr. Walsh, is not your staid, stereotypical academic. She’s no shrinking violet. Some on the board find her no-nonsense attitude suited more for an operational role and not a division head. She’d never accept a quota job. She’s worked hard and earned her reputation by producing viable results. She’s developed a methodology to peel back the layers of time, culture, and changes in language to get to the origins of some of the ancient Celtic and Nordic myths. It was painstakingly slow work most times, but she kept at it and the results, which will soon begin the vetting process, were worth her and the Institute’s investment.”
“Then exactly what the hell is her problem? Why hasn’t she locked down the position?”
“You have to understand where this is coming from, Alec, but Katie is a dear friend of mine. However, I admit that she doesn’t… doesn’t play well with others. Not that she’s mean or vindictive. She just doesn’t play with others, so to speak.”
”Don’t tell me she’s one of those people whose life is their job?” Alec interrupted, shaking his head. “That’s why I find most female academics dry, frustrating, and uninteresting. They have a chip on their shoulder bigger than this room.”
“Look, she works hard and long hours, but I don’t think she lives for the job. It’s just that for now, it’s all she has. Other groups in the Institute will hound the division head for access to the translations and help applying them in their work. The role will, by its very nature, be mostly about appeasing and stroking egos. That’s not Katie’s strong suit.”
Alec laughed. “Sounds like a real wildcat. You sound like you know this creature really well.” He peered closely at Robert’s face.
“I do. As I said she is a very dear friend and don’t refer to her as a creature. She’s actually quite charming. And why the hell are you looking at me like a specimen under a microscope, Alec?”
“Just checking for cat scratches,” Alec joked.