Beyond the Books

Home » Articles posted by thedarkphantom

Author Archives: thedarkphantom

Character Interview: Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s traditional mystery ‘The Art of Betrayal’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Hamilton from Connie Berry’s new traditional mystery The Art of Betrayal.  Kate is an antiques dealer and appraiser, in her mid-forties, living currently in the village of Long Barston in Suffolk, England.

It is a pleasure to have Kate Hamilton with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Kate. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

KATE: There is the small matter of my age. I’m either 45 or 46, a detail my author has never pinned down. I suspect it’s because she’s neglected to give me a birthday, which I consider unfair and unfeeling. I love parties. And cake.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

KATE: I must admit Connie knows me pretty well. After all, she and I share a lot in common. We were both born into southern Wisconsin’s Norwegian-Danish community, and we both grew up in the high-end antiques trade. We had fathers we loved and were blessed with intelligent, wise mothers, who’ve been both our trusted confidants and advisors. Both of us are curious by nature, and we’ll often go to great lengths to straighten out mysteries and illogicalities. As you might imagine, that sometimes gets us into trouble.

Early on in our relationship, Connie subjected me to an Enneagram test. Not surprisingly, I turned out to be an Investigator, which is the role I’ve been playing recently. I came to England to visit my daughter last Christmas (she’s a student at Magdalen College, Oxford), and I ended up solving a series of deaths connected with an Anglo-Saxon treasure trove dug up on the estate of Finchley Hall, a crumbling Elizabethan stately home owned by Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde. According to my Enneagram, I’m alert, insightful, and curious. I need to understand why things are the way they are, so I ask questions and test assumptions. I’m reluctant to rely on the opinions and ideas of others. At my best, I notice details and patterns others miss. At my worst, I can become scattered and fearful.

At the moment, I’m running an antiquities shop on Long Barston’s High Street while the owner, my friend Ivor Tweedy, recovers from bilateral hip-replacement surgery. I think Connie has done a good job of describing the affection I feel for this small village in rural Suffolk—and for the people I’ve come to care about.

With that said, however, I do feel Connie sometimes shares more of my private thoughts than I’d like—my relationship with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, for example. We met almost a year ago on a snowy road in the Scottish Hebrides. I suspect Connie’s readers knew I was in love with him before I did. Is that fair?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

KATE: Detective Inspector Mallory might tell you my strength is noticing details others miss and seeing patterns in seemingly unrelated facts. But I’d say my strongest trait is loyalty. The reason I get involved in solving murders isn’t (as some suspect) because I make a habit of stumbling over bodies, but because I can’t sit by and allow people I care about to be hurt. In Scotland I got involved in a bizarre murder case because my late husband’s best childhood friend was falsely accused. Last Christmas when a young museum curator was found dead in a lake in Finchley Park, Lady Barbara Finchley-fforde asked me to clear the name of the initial suspect, her missing son. At the moment, I’m looking into the death of a reclusive widow who came into Ivor’s shop to consign a Chinese pottery jar from the Han-dynasty tombs of Imperial China. Ivor’s reputation is at stake, not to speak of his bank account. The jar has gone missing, and insurance won’t pay.

Worst trait?

KATE: As much as I hate to admit it, my worst trait is nosiness. What can I say—I’m an Investigator. When things don’t make sense, I simply have to find out what’s really going on. That gets me in trouble when I’m caught snooping or when I ask the wrong person the right question.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

KATE: What an interesting question! My choice would be Carey Milligan, although she’s twenty years younger than I am, and we don’t look much alike. I don’t have her adorable dimples, for one thing. And she usually lightens her hair, so I’d have to insist the producers dye her hair dark brown and give her blue contact lenses. Carey and I are about the same height—5’ 7”—but I admit to having a little more weight on my frame than she does. What I like most about Carey is her energy, wit, and vulnerability. She’s a versatile actress, known for costume dramas. I loved her as Edith Pretty in The Dig and as Daisy in The Great Gatsby, so she can play a range of ages. She does a brilliant American accent, too.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

KATE: At last I can say without hesitation that I do. When Detective Inspector Tom Mallory and I first met on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, I thought he looked like a monk—all right, a dishy monk. It took me some time to let my guard down enough to find out if I really liked him. I don’t risk my heart easily. This is no doubt traceable to my history of losing people I love. I lost my brother Matt, my hero, when he was eleven and I was five. He was a Down Syndrome child and suffered from congenital heart problems. When I was seventeen, my beloved father was killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve. Three years ago, my first husband, Bill, a Scottish transplant to the U. S., died in a boating incident, leaving me with two teenagers to raise.

Tom gradually worked his way into my heart—which is a problem. Of all the eligible men in the world, why did I have to fall in love with a man who lives on the other side of a great big ocean? Will we ever solve the problem of two careers on two very different continents? I can’t say. For now, though, I’m enjoying spending as much time with him as I can.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

KATE: Without giving away any spoilers, I’d have to say about mid-way through the book. None of my so-called theories had panned out. The only clues I had made no sense. A young woman showed up on my doorstep in the pouring rain, pleading for my help. The National Trust’s decision to take on Finchley Hall was delayed, putting my friend Lady Barbara in a financial bind. Ivor’s recovery from hip surgery hit a brick wall. And to cap everything else off, Tom’s mother Liz (definitely not my fan) produced a gorgeous blonde, the spitting image of his dead wife. Since throwing in the towel wasn’t an option, I had no choice but to persevere.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

KATE: I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right now. Even if Tom and I don’t know where we’re going, I’m sticking around to find out. If I had to choose someone I definitely would not want to be, however, my answer would be Professor Markham, a retired university lecturer who’s writing a scholarly volume on the history of East Anglia before the Norman Invasion. Ivor sold him a translation of The Little Domesday Book, part of the so-called “Great Survey,” a census record of men, land, and property ordered in 1085-86by William the Conqueror. I delivered the volume to the professor and realized he paid for the book with money that should have gone for things like food. Professor Markham lives in the Essex village of Hatfield Broad Oak, in a demi-detached row house stuffed with mismatched furniture, lamps with exposed wiring, tottering piles of scholarly journals and magazines, and an ill-tempered gray cat who took an instant dislike to me. Professor Markham lives in the past. Literally. On his desk is a circular file of Anglo-Saxon and Early Norman names—the equivalent of an eleventh-century Rolodex. These long-dead people are his closest companions. I love history, too, but I don’t want to live there.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

KATE: I like a happy ending where justice is served and all the loose ends are tied up. The world should be a place where truth and goodness triumph and evil is shown up for what it is. In the real world, that doesn’t always happen. But in the world of fiction, where I live, it can and often does. Exactly how is Connie’s problem. I was just happy to be of assistance. For now, the ending of The Art of Betrayal is my secret. To find out, you’ll have to read the book.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

KATE: Please, just give me a birthday! Everyone deserves a birthday—even fictional characters. And—oh, yes—please, no high towers or slick rooftops next time. And definitely no spiders.

Thank you for this interview, Kate Hamilton.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

KATE: You will. Connie is just finishing up a new adventure to be titled The Burden of Memory, which will be released sometime in 2022. A few surprises are in the works. That’s all I’m allowed to say.

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit Beyond the Books! I had a great time and look forward to being with you again sometime.


Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. You can learn more about Connie and her writing at her website www.connieberry.com.


American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, tending her friend Ivor Tweedy’s antiquities shop while he recovers from hip surgery. Kate is thrilled when a reclusive widow consigns an ancient Chinese jar—until the Chinese jar is stolen and a body turns up in the middle of the May Fair. With no insurance covering the loss, Tweedy may be ruined. As DI Tom Mallory searches for the victim’s missing daughter, Kate notices puzzling connections with a well-known local legend. This fiendishly complex case pits Kate against the murky depths of Anglo-Saxon history, the spring floods, a house with a tragic history, and a clever killer with an old secret. It’s up to Kate to unravel a Celtic knot of lies and betrayal. You can find The Art of Betrayal wherever good books are sold.

Amazon: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery: Berry, Connie: 9781643855943: Amazon.com: Books

Indiebound: The Art of Betrayal: A Kate Hamilton Mystery | IndieBound.org

Character Interview: Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ psychological suspense novel ‘Complicit’

We’re thrilled to have here today Kate Medina from Amy Rivers’ new psychological suspense, Complicit.  Kate is a 36-year old high school psychologist living in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Kate.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I’m not going to lie. When I first read the book, I was frustrated with how obnoxious I sounded. I was going through a lot and I think the author could be have been kinder—shown me in a more favorable light. But as I thought about it, my training took over and I realized that my behavior was pretty normal. I was grieving and recovering from trauma. No one is at their best under those circumstances, and I guess I’m no exception. It’s just a little hard to swallow at first, you know?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

She knows me pretty well. It’s not always easy to see what she writes about me, but once I get over being mad, I usually realize she’s right. And it’s probably a good thing for readers to see that every reacts differently and no one makes the right decision every time.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m determined—some might even say stubborn. Roman would say pig-headed…but back to determination. Up until my mom died, I’d been pretty focused. Anything I wanted to do, I did. Moving back home was a hiccup—I lost myself a bit. And I was a little bit afraid that I wasn’t going to get that back, but those kinds of traits are pretty deeply engrained. Thankfully, I’m feeling strong again. What’s going on in town is wrong, and I’m not going to stop until the trafficking ring is fully exposed.

Worse trait?

One irritating thing I’ve learned lately is that I am an avoider. I’ve always thought that putting things behind me was a strength, but I realize that I’ve been avoiding dealing with so many things. It almost cost me my relationship with my sister. And Roman. Seems like everyone in my family uses avoidance as a coping mechanism.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I’d love Gina Rodriguez to play me! She’s such a strong, beautiful Latina woman. If my story was ever made into a movie, I would just like to see someone play me (and my sister Tilly) who will be a good role model for girls. Someone we might have looked up to when we were younger.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Um. *blushes* Yes. I have never been a romantic. I’ve always been too focused on my professional life to care much about dating. But being back in town, back in contact with Roman…well, it really turned my world upside down. It’s still a little surreal to think that we went from barely being able to being around each other to…well, where we are now.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When wasn’t I nervous about the way it was going to turn out? I’m still worried about the way things will turn out. Staying in Alamogordo to do what needs to be done to stop the abuse is terrifying. These guys know who I am. They know where to find me. The only thing I’m sure about is that I have to do this, no matter what happens to me.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I hope she’s not reading this….definitely Tilly. I’ve always envied her freedom, but I never really knew her story. What happened to her. I’m so grateful that we’re working on patching up our relationship, but honestly, I wouldn’t want to spend any time living her life with the memories she has.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

The ending is full of both satisfaction and frustration. There is so much work to do to fix the problems we’ve uncovered. And, of course, the trafficking ring isn’t the end. Sexual assault and interpersonal violence are so prevalent, even in small towns like mine. I never thought this particular type of violence would become a calling, but I can’t see myself doing anything else but fighting for these girls and for an end to the violence and degradation.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Ha! She’d better be writing another book with me in it. My story is not anywhere near finished. But I would suggest that she give everyone else’s love life some attention and let Roman and I have some privacy.

Thank you for this interview, Kate.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You’d better believe it! And let me say this to whoever is running the trafficking ring. You may be laying low, but I won’t let you stay in the shadows for long.

/////////////////

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. http://www.amyrivers.com

About the Book

Kate Medina had been working as a forensic psychologist and loving every minute until a violent attack left her shaken to the core. She’s retreated to her hometown where it’s safe, accepting a job where the prospect of violence is slim to none. As a high school psychologist, Kate tends to the emotional needs of the youth. It’s not the career she envisioned

Five years later, a student disappears, leaving the school in crisis. Roman Aguilar, the lead detective, reaches out to Kate for assistance. Kate’s position at the school and her training make her an ideal ally, but her complicated relationship with Roman puts them at odds. 

When the girl’s body is found, changing the focus of the investigation to homicide, Kate finds herself in the middle of a situation she never anticipated. What started as her desire to help puts Kate directly in the crosshairs of an enemy who remains largely in shadow. As her past and present collide, Kate is dragged into the middle of a dangerous game where only one thing is clear—no one can be trusted. 

Talking Craft with Thriller Author Amy Rivers

The Dark Phantom Review

Amy Rivers writes novels, short stories and personal essays. She is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers. Her novel All The Broken People was recently selected as the Colorado Author Project winner in the adult fiction category. She’s been published in We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor, Flash! A Celebration of Short Fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, and Splice Today, as well as Novelty Bride Magazine and ESME.com. She was raised in New Mexico and now lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She holds degrees in psychology and political science, two topics she loves to write about. Visit her at www.amyrivers.com.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Complicit. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

View original post 1,866 more words

Book Review: ‘River Aria’ by Joan Schweighardt

From the pen of talented historical novelist Joan Schweighardt comes another well-crafted, meticulously researched story about family, community, immigration, oppression, the environment, and having to face the consequences of one’s actions.

It’s 1928 and the Great Depression is looming around the corner when two impoverish but talented mixed-raced—Amerindian and European—Brazilian immigrant cousins travel to NYC to find a better life and fulfill their dreams. Estela, a singer of arias and a product of the Teatro Amazonas during the time of the rubber boom, has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming a famous opera singer; Jojo is a fisherman and a gifted artist. As a start, Estela is offered a seamstress position at the Metropolitan Opera House while Jojo is offered a scholarship at an art school. Will they achieve their dreams against all obstacles? If yes, at what price?

River Aria is the third installment in this author’s series and is focused on the next generation of the family featured in the first book. There is so much I enjoyed about this novel! The worlds of art and music in 1920s NYC come together engrossingly. The multifaceted, original characters—you don’t often read stories about indigenous people from Brazil—and their struggles to find purpose and meaning in a complex, ruthless city that is a character all on its own, kept me riveted. Parentage and identity are big themes with both Estela and Jojo as they struggle with their origins and how it affects their lives. Having read other books by Schweighardt, I’ve become familiar with her literary prose. She always strives for depth, and she pays great attention to detail.

The author visited the rainforest, as well as Manaus, the Amazon, and Rio Negro as part of her research, and considering the authentic feel of the plot and characters, I’m not surprised. In spite of this, however, the writing doesn’t get too heavy-handed, which is sometimes a problem in this type of book. I particularly recommend River Aria to historical fiction fans who have a special interest in the rubber boom that took place in Brazil in the early 1900s and how it affected the fishing villages and the indigenous people living there.

Find out more at www.joanschweighardt.com

Picture Book Review: Five Funny Tummy Men, by Jean Reed

Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?

In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:

Mr. Boss, the one in charge

Mr. Swallow, catcher of food

Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well

Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body

Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body

FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is also available.

Available at Amazon and B&N

Multicultural edition on B&N

Meet Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

As The Pages Turn

Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria , which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter.

As long as you are willing to bend a little…it is possible to make a living doing what you love.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a historical fiction author?

A: I wrote contemporary fiction for several years before I began to write historical. Historical novels are generally bigger projects, because they require so much research. If there is a fire in the year 1908 in the town of Hoboken, NJ—as was the case in my historical novel Before We Died—would it have been responded to by horse-drawn fire wagons or motorized fire engines? Both were operational in 1908, but which would have been used in Hoboken?…

View original post 647 more words

New Book: ‘Somebody Else’s Troubles,’ by J.A. English

An inventive, intriguing, and extraordinarily thought-provoking tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles centers on a titillating question: who among us hasn’t dreamed of walking to the corner store and simply disappearing?

About Somebody Else’s Troubles:  Ohio businessman Travers Landeman has plenty of troubles. Between a marriage that is loveless at best, a hateful, greedy, self-consumed wife, and a family business changing in unexpected and unwelcome ways, Travers copes in the best way he knows how: by making a conscious effort not to think.  But when his teenage nephew, Matthew Calkins, reaches out to him for help, Travers turns away. When his inaction causes unspeakable guilt, Travers fakes his death on the Caribbean Island of Mabuhay, an act that sets into motion a most unusual series of events—events that will bond together a most unusual cadre of people.

Years pass and it appears that Travers, now settled in to a new life with a new family and a new name, has gotten away with it.  Or has he?

The Atlantis Fidelity Insurance Company hires Albert Sydney McNab to bring Travers back to Ohio. But McNab, a bumbling, sore-footed, ne’er-do-well with a litany of failed careers—waiter, bus driver, door-to-door salesman—is surprisingly somehow hot on Travers’ trail.

Chicago bookseller Joe Rogers leads a group of amateur archaeologists to Mabuhay. Dealt a fistful of trouble when he acquired Chicago’s oldest bookstore, The Yellow Harp, Joe Rogers has a penchant for vodka, an abject ineptitude for following orders, and an abundance of useless knowledge. But at a dig site in Mabuhay, Rogers discovers an ancient treasure—a jeweled mask. Will Joe, who has his own axe to grind with Atlantis Fidelity Insurance, step off the sidelines and get back in the game?

Esmerelda McNab, United Nations Ambassador of the UN’s newest member nation, the Commonwealth of Mabuhay, has her own set of troubles—protestors who denounce her part in the sale of the mask that Joe Rogers discovered as “cultural genocide.”

Do love, peace, and redemption even exist on Mabuhay?  Or are somebody else’s troubles just that?

A brilliantly-rendered tale, Somebody Else’s Troubles takes readers on an unforgettable journey spanning from the streets of Chicago’s gritty Austin neighborhood to the remote island paradise of Mabuhay.  Resplendent with richly-drawn characters that spring to life in the novel’s pages, Somebody Else’s Troubles is peppered with wit and subtle humor. Novelist J.A. English delivers a clever, captivating, smart, seamless story replete with fascinating historical detail and literary allusion.   A beautifully written literary novel about escape and inertia, action and inaction, faith and doubt, and finding home—and hope—in the unlikeliest of places, Somebody Else’s Troubles is destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

About the author:

A proud native of Paterson, New Jersey, J.A. English came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his B. A. cum laude from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and an M. A. from Rice University in Houston, Texas. English is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He has lived for a half century in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, where he still maintains a residence, but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic. English is a widely-published writer whose works have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, the literary journal which featured the works of Henry Miller.  Visit J.A. English online at:  https://sites.google.com/view/somebodyelsestroubles/home

Find out more on Amazon

Character Interview: Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s historical romance novel ‘The Rising Place’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Madeleine Bacon from David Armstrong’s new historical romance novel, The Rising Place. Madeleine is a 39-year-old print shop owner, living in Hamilton, Mississippi.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Madeleine.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I guess David Armstrong portrayed me pretty well, but I feel like he made me fatter than I really am. And that restaurant scene at the end of the novel—there’s no way anyone could have eaten as much food as David had me eating. Personally, I thought this was cruel of him to do so. If I had been with David when he was writing about me, eating like a pig, I would have cracked my walking cane over his head, too! 

TheRisingPlace_w14312_ibDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

He definitely did with that, and I’m a very colorful character. The only way I would have liked to have been portrayed differently is that I really did love my husband, Will Bacon, but this was never brought out. In fact, I loved Will a whole lot more than I did any of my three, previous husbands. I do wish David had shown this part of me, but it probably wouldn’t have been believable. Love didn’t seem to fit my character. It is what it is. 

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My inner strength. I grew up with an older brother who loved to tease me about how fat I was, so I learned young how to defend myself—with both my words and my fists! 

I’m not afraid of anyone. I’d stand up to the devil himself and spit in his eye, if I could.

Worse trait?

I’m afraid to reveal who I really am to others. I’m afraid they’ll see right through me—like Emily Hodge did. I’ve never wanted anyone to see my soft side. I’ve always been terrified of that. That’s probably why I never had any true friends, until Emily came along. Emily taught me how to open up, and thank God that she did! 

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Well, the book has already been made into a movie, and in it I was portrayed by Beth Grant, who is an excellent actress. But if there’s ever a remake of the film—which does happen, you know—I think I should be played by Lady Gaga. Lady is as colorful as me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. I love my husband, Will Bacon, though David never developed this—for some dumb reason. I also loved Emily Hodge—the best and only true friend I’ve ever had. 

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

That’s an easy one. I thought David was never going to write me into the story. I kept on trying and trying to get his attention to make me Will’s wife so we could complement each other’s character. At first, I thought David was going to portray Will as a confirmed sissy, who never wanted to get married, and leave it at that. But, finally, he listened to me and wrote about how Will was floundering after he came back from the War and in need of a job. Then I reminded David I was a rich widow, looking for a challenge as much as I was another husband. He finally got the message and brought Will and me together. I just wish he had done it sooner in the story, though, because I had such a great time with the other characters in the book who I got to meet—even Eddie Scruggs! 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I wouldn’t have wanted to be Harry Devening. What a fool he was to have not loved Emily Hodge back. I can’t even conceive how Harry couldn’t have loved Emily—as beautiful and tender as she was. And then to have finally realized, like Harry did, what a great mistake he made in not returning Emily’s love—I would have rather died. Harry might have lost a leg after his plane crashed during the War, but he lost far more than that when he lost the love of a fine woman, like Emily Hodge. What a pity. 

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I like how David ended the book, but I would have liked to know what, if anything, happened between Emily and Streete Wilder. Also, who was the old, gray-haired stranger at the start of the book? Was that Harry, Streete, or someone else? I hate it when authors tease us like that—makes me want to crack my cane over their skull!

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Write me in at the beginning of the book. I’m a great character! 

Thank you for this interview, Madeleine Bacon.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

You’ll have to ask David Armstrong, that one. Getting through to a hard-headed author like him was difficult enough, the first time around. 

/////////////////

High Res Headshot for VBT

David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was a former mayor and candidate for the United States Congress. He received an undergraduate and master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, where he taught American and local government. He also received a law degree from the University of Mississippi, graduating with honors. In addition to The Rising Place, David’s debut novel, he has written two other novels, one of which will be released this summer, and four screenplays. David has also taught screenwriting at the college level, and he has spoken at several literary and film festivals about writing novels and scripts.

David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon. When he isn’t working on his fourth novel, he serves as the COO for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. He and his cat, Butch, live in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus.

David’s website is therisingplace.com. He may be reached at dmatyro@outlook.com. 

About the Book:

What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to an old maid spinster who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did read them and discovered an amazing story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened over seventy years ago in a small, southern town?

After a young attorney moves to Hamilton, Mississippi to practice law, his first case is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a seventy-five-year-old recluse who is shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is fascinated with her and can’t understand why this lovely lady seems to have lived such a solitary and forgotten life.

When Emily later dies, the lawyer goes to her hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he finds a sewing box full of old letters in the back of her nightstand drawer. He takes the box of letters back to his office, and after he reads them all, he learns why Emily Hodge was ostracized by Hamilton society and why she died alone—though definitely not forgotten by those who loved her.

The purchase link is The Rising Place by David Armstrong.

 

 

 

 

Character Interview: Willard Bean from Paul Martin Midden’s novel, ‘Riley’

character interviews logo

We’re thrilled to have here today Willard from Midden’s new Novel, Riley.  Willard is a middle-aged man living in Washington D.C.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Willard.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed, or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I do think I was fairly portrayed overall. This was important to me, since I was in hot water with a lot of the other characters around me. But I thought the author did well by me. There were some rocky times, but I think in the end he treated me fairly.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Riley FRONT COVER hi-res            I think so. He may have dwelled a bit too much on the OCD that some think is such a prominent part of my personality. It’s not debilitating, mind you, and it can be a useful part of my life.  But still . . . I think some people will think it’s . . . I don’t know . . . embarrassing a little. It is for me. But really, who cares how neatly I keep my apartment?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Doggedness. When I get a case, I am on it like the proverbial dog with a bone. I can’t stand loose ends—there’s that OCD again—and it is just natural for me to follow all leads until I am satisfied. And I am not easily satisfied.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I trip over my own feet. Not physically so often, but I tend to overthink things sometimes and make . . . um . . . ill-advised choices. For instance, there was a time when I talked myself out of being with the woman I loved. It’s hard to get over that. [Shakes his head.] The things I do to myself sometimes . . .

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I think somebody with gravitas combined with a capacity for nuance. Jude Law or Colin Firth perhaps, or Johnny Depp.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

YES!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Just between you and me, I was worried about another character harming himself; killing himself even. I worried about that for a long time. There are lots of ways to hurt yourself, and I could not stop thinking about all the bad things that could happen.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

The one I was just talking about. Truthfully he reminded me of myself when I was younger: smart, responsible, but a little . . . um . . . untested. A little anxious. A little fragile. It was hard going through my younger years; I have never had a desire to repeat them.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I could not be happier. For me it worked out as well as could be expected. It was tough going for a while, but I was dogged and did my part. You know: you can’t really control other people. There was some tragedy involved, but it was not my doing…

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Be nicer to me.

Thank you for this interview, Willard.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Don’t know. That’s not up to me.

/////////////////

head2bshot2b-2bcolor

Paul Martin Midden is the author of five previous novels, each of which explores different writing styles. He practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years. Paul’s interests include historic restoration, travel, fitness, and wine tasting. He and his wife Patricia renovated an 1895 Romanesque home in 1995 and continue to enjoy urban living. Visit his website: http://paulmidden.com/

About the Book:

            When Riley Cotswald, a writer at work on her second novel, finally leaves her husband, she gets way more than she bargained for. Her characters’ lives echo her own dilemmas, and she feels a kinship to them as they come alive on her desktop. Her best friend Jennifer does not understand this but loves Riley. Maybe too much.

​After a particularly infuriating conversation with her husband Cameron, Riley impulsively gets involved with Edward, a socially-challenged man who had asked her out once, only to be rejected. When Riley runs into him again, she takes out her rage and frustration in a way that delights and intoxicates Edward but was a one-time event for Riley. Edward looks for ways to pursue the relationship but is frustrated at every turn. He begins to stalk Riley and then resorts to the Dark Web to find ways to retaliate against her. What follows is complicated, intense, and completely unforeseen.

Find out more

Character Interview: Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s legal thriller, ‘Maximilian’s Treasure’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Karen Wilkes from James D. Bell’s new legal thriller, Maximilian’s Treasure.  Karen is a 26-year-old paralegal living in Jackson, Mississippi.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Karen.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Karen:  Judge Bell is not going to read this, is he?  I don’t want him to think that I believe he fell short in his description of me.  He really did about as good a job as a man can do describing what I was thinking and feeling.  But any woman can tell you a man has no idea what we are really thinking!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Maximilian’s Treasure is such an emotional rollercoaster, so many highs and lows.  Just imagine what you would be thinking when you know deep in your heart that you have found the perfect man, and you hear him fawning over another woman.

Excuse me.  I still get emotional just thinking about it.

I know John and I were never an item, but I thought it was just a matter of time before he would discover the truth that he couldn’t live without me.  After all we are not just a good team; we are the best.  He didn’t win all those cases by himself you know.  I just couldn’t believe he would be so foolish as to fall for some blond bombshell reporter. How could he be so shallow?  I decided to leave before I said something I would regret.  I moved to another city, hoping he would never find me.  I can’t wait to tell you what happened next. …

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Karen:  I’m a strong, smart, fiercely loyal woman with a passionate desire to help others.  That’s why I became a paralegal.  I really feel for the people who seek our help.  They bring us their biggest problems and they count on us to find solutions.  Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I know we’ve truly helped someone.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Karen:  I’m loyal to a fault and I’ve learned to trust my instincts.  For instance, that new guy in the office, Peter; I felt there was something odd about him.  I didn’t trust him.  When you read the book, let me know if you think I was right about him.

Worse trait?

Karen:  Like I said, I’m loyal to a fault.  That, along with my passion to help people, gets me in trouble.  My heart is in everything I do.  That helps me do my best, but it exposes my heart to being broken, do you know what I mean?  Oh, and I do have a temper.  My dad always blamed it on my red hair.  I blame it on John!  He is too blind to see true love!

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Karen:  I’m thinking Rachel Bilson, or Emma Stone, or maybe Rachel Brosnahan.  It’s got to be someone smart with a strong personality, and she must be drop-dead beautiful, of course.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Karen:  Well, I don’t want to say too much, but let me tell you about B.H. Sutton!  That’s a real man.  He is smart, loyal, good-looking, strong, and he knows a good thing when he sees it.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Karen:  You probably would think I would say when we were run off the road, or when the deputy arrested us, or when John’s houseboat blew up.  But the time I was most nervous was at the wedding.  B.H. and I were holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes when John burst into the room.  That took the cake.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Karen:  I can tell you it wouldn’t be Sandy.  I thought we were friends, but not after the way she went after John.  I would trade places with Natalia.  She is smart, brave, dangerously beautiful and lives a life of adventure, traveling around the world with a mysterious secret agenda.   She casts a spell over men with her exotic looks.  When the need arises, she is ready to step up and be a leader.  I could do that!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Karen:  I haven’t caught my breath yet.  So much happens so fast.  Everything is so interconnected.  It’s proof that we don’t live in some protected little bubble surrounding our own little world.  What happens far away matters here and what happened long ago matters now.  Everything you do has impact, for good or for bad, further and longer than you can imagine.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Karen:  Each of Judge Bell’s stories has a purpose, a moral to the story.  I hope he continues to write with purpose.  And he should emphasis me in his next book!

Thank you for this interview, Karen.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Karen:  Of course!  Everyone knows that the paralegal is the essential character in any law novel or law office.  Frankly, if Judge Bell doesn’t give me a leading role in his next book, I may write my own.  By the way, here’s some inside information.  Be on the lookout for the next novel, Whom Shall I Send?  It’s a romantic adventure.  I bet you can’t guess who he’s sending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James D. Bell is an award-winning author and retired Judge who received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America and Top 100 Attorneys of North America.  He is the author of two novels, Vampire Defense and Maximilian’s Treasure.  His short story, The Adventures of Sherlock Hound, was published in Dog Stories for the Soul, alongside stories from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Willie Morris and others.  The son of a Choctaw mother and a Mississippi businessman, Judge Bell is devoted to his wife, Joanne.  They live in Brandon, Mississippi and have four children.  Judge Bell practices law in Jackson, Mississippi, but is frequently called back to the bench by the Mississippi Supreme Court for short term assignments. Visit the author’s website at www.judgebell.com.

%d bloggers like this: