Character Interview: Desmond Donahue from Ian A. O’Connor’s historical fiction, medical novel, The Wrong Road Home

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Desmond Donahue from Ian A. O’Connor’s new novel, The Wrong Road Home.  Desmond was a 55-year-old surgeon living in Miami, Florida.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Desmond.  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?

First off, I must say Ian did a fabulous job telling my story. So let me set the stage. For twenty years I held myself out to be a surgeon, first in Ireland, where I said I went to medical school and also practiced, and then in Coral Gables, Florida, where I operated as a house surgeon at St. Anslem’s Hospital for thirteen years. When my charade was uncovered and I had become the scourge of the medical community, it was Ian who offered to set the record straight and write my story.  He was emphatic in his insistence that what I told him about my life had to be one hundred percent true, but he promised he would be compassionate in showing the readers what was the driving force behind why I did what I did.

ianoconnor-72dpi-1500x2000-2Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I’m still in awe at just how accurate Ian turned out to be in describing me. And I marvel at how he was able to get inside my head.  As I read the finished manuscript, I relived those moments of utter despair I felt as a youth, moments I wouldn’t even now wish on anyone.  He continued to capture my essence as I moved into young adulthood working in England and Wales with the promise of a better tomorrow always steering me onward; and then, finally, to his recounting of those emotionally barren years after I had sold my soul in a Faustian bargain with the devil.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Wow, that’s a tough one to answer seeing as how my whole adult life was built upon a fraudulent foundation. But if I had to tell you my strongest trait, I would have to say it was my drive to be the best doctor possible. And, yeah, I know how ridiculous that sounds, even to my own ears. But I truly cared for each and every patient I ever treated.

Worse trait?

Hands down that has to be that I’m a liar. Indeed, my whole adult life lived as a doctor was one, big, continuous lie.  There were times where I actually forgot who the real me was because I had come to believe my own lies.

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!)?

Alas, the perfect actor to play me in a movie is dead. He would have been Richard Harris, an Irishman like myself, and as many of my friends pointed out over the years, we even looked alike. I think Richard would have done a bang-up job.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Her name was Margaret Kerrigan, and the woman broke my heart. It is still hard for me to talk about her these many years later, but Margaret had a profound effect on me, and will continue to do so until the day I die. Ian captured her essence as if he had known her, and, God help me for saying this, he painted the perfect word picture of the utter evil that resided within Margaret. I realize now that I was a pitiful moth attracted to a most dangerous flame, and yet even after I discovered who the true Margaret Kerrigan really was, I still could not get her out of my thoughts. I am still her prisoner today.

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

Once Ian and I started our conversations and I had told him the unvarnished truth about myself, we paused while he wrote the initial draft of the prologue and the first couple of chapters. That took about three weeks.  I remember asking myself at least several times a day just what had I gotten myself into?  I was embarrassed and nervous, and I wanted to back out of the deal we had. Did I really want to be exposed for all the world to see? It was not a good time. But it turned out just fine in the end.

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 sure wouldn’t want to be my friend, Roger Connelly.  I was envious of Roger, simply because he was everything I wasn’t. To begin with, Roger was a real doctor.  He grew up privileged with everything life could offer, yet underneath a thin veneer of gentility he was a wastrel, dead at thirty-seven in a single car crash while in a drunken stupor. His was truly a wasted life.

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

Ian knows how to craft a compelling story from start to finish, but I was curious as to how he would end the book. I’ve never been a demonstrative man, yet when I finally got to read final pages, they actually brought tears to my eyes. I won’t say any more. The readers will see what I mean.

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

Nope, there won’t be a sequel, or a second book with more tales of my time masquerading as a surgeon.  I would follow the words of wisdom from of one of my heroes, General Douglas MacArthur, who ended his Farewell Address to Congress with these words, “Like the old soldier in the barrack’s ballad, I will simply fade away.”  So, too, it’s time for Desmond Donahue to simply fade away.

Thank you for this interview, Desmond.

 Title: The Wrong Road Home – A story of treachery and deceit inspired by true events

Author: Ian A. O’Connor

Release Date: March 31, 2016

Publisher: Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group

Pages: 280

Genre: Historical Medical Crime

Format: Trade paperback and EBook

Purchase on Amazon 

Book Description

“An intimate look at a life lived as a lie.” – Kirkus Reviews

Inspired by a true story, The Wrong Road Home is the story of Desmond Donahue. Born into abject poverty in Ireland, Donahue went on to successfully practice his craft as a surgeon for 20 years—first in Ireland and then the United States.  So isn’t Donahue’s tale a classic rags-to-riches, American dream story?  Hardly.  Donahue was girded with nothing more than a Chicago School System GED and several counterfeit medical diplomas. It seems impossible—and understandably so—but it’s a story based on a Miami Herald Sunday edition front page exposé.  An Oprah producer pursued the imposter for weeks, as did Bill O’Reilly. Simply put, Desmond Donahue’s story is a story that really happened.

A gripping story that is alternately shocking, heartbreaking, and unbelievable, The Wrong Road Home will leave readers spellbound. Ian A. O’Connor, an imaginative and skillful storyteller, paints a vivid portrait of a complicated, complex character who comes alive within the story’s pages.   Reminiscent of Catch Me if You Can, The Wrong Road Homefuses elements of true crime, memoir, and drama.  Groundbreaking, inventive and innovative, The Wrong Road Home is an extraordinary story exceptionally well told.

Book Blast: Free of Malice by Liz Lazarus

Free of Malice banner 2
Title: FREE OF MALICE
Author: Liz Lazarus
Publisher: Mitchell Cove Publishing LLC
Pages: 274
Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Laura Holland awakes in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing in her bedroom doorway. She manages to
defend herself from the would-be rapist, though he threatens to return as hemretreats. Traumatized with recurring nightmares, Laura seeks therapy and is exposed to a unique treatment called EMDR. She also seeks self-protection—
buying a gun against the wishes of her husband. When Laura learns she could have gone to prison had she shot her fleeing assailant, she decides to write a hypothetical legal case using the details of that night. She enlists the help
of criminal defense lawyer, Thomas Bennett, who proves to be well versed in the justice system but has an uncanny resemblance to her attacker. As the two work together to develop the story, Laura’s discomfort escalates particularly when Thomas seems to know more about that night than he should. Reality and fiction soon merge as her real life drama begins to mirror the fiction she’s trying to create.

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Run. Run faster. As much as I
strained my legs to move, they were immobile, like I was waist deep in
quicksand.
Why can’t I move?
I tried to scream for help but
my mouth was full, like it was stuffed with cotton—no sound would escape.
I felt something clutching my
shoulder. No, it was someone. He was pushing me forward and then yanking me
back. I tried to jerk away but he had a tight grip, like a vice.
I have to break free.
The tugging got harder, more
forceful. He was calling my name— over and over. He knew my name.
“Laura, Laura.”
I jolted awake—my husband’s
hand still on my shoulder.
“Honey, wake up. You’re having
another bad dream.”
Slowly, I turned over in bed
and looked at him—his dark brown eyes were fixated on me. I could see them clearly
as the light from the bathroom brightened our bedroom.
For a month now, we had slept
with this light on.
I could see the small wrinkle
on his forehead. I loved that wrinkle though wished he didn’t have good reason
to be so concerned. I was enduring the nightmares, but he had to deal with my
tossing and mumbling in terror.
I remember when we first
met—ten years ago in chemistry lab at Georgia Tech. He had walked up to me with
those warm eyes and a charming, confident smile and asked, “Want to be partners?”
Two years later he took me to
Stone Mountain Park, rented a small rowboat and, in the moonlight, he pulled
out a diamond ring and asked me again, “Want to be partners?”
Life had seemed just about
perfect.
Until now.
We looked at each other for a
moment. Then he propped himself up on his elbow and said softly, “Laura, I feel
so helpless. I know it’s only been a month, but…”
He hesitated.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s just as bad as that
first night. After it happened. Look, I want to make you feel safe again, but I
don’t know how.”
He rubbed his eyes and looked
away. I waited, staring at him.
What isn’t he saying?
“I know you don’t want to see
a therapist, but seeing someone doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Therapists don’t
treat just crazy people. They help people who have been through traumas and you
have. Hell, no one even has to know.”
He paused for a second.
“Don’t be mad at me, but
yesterday I made an appointment for you. I was going to talk to you about it in
the morning if you had another bad dream. I found a woman who is downtown by my
office. She’s been practicing for about twenty years, got her doctorate from
Emory and comes with really good patient reviews.”
He looked for my reaction and
continued. “I made the appointment for you at 4:00 so we can go to dinner
afterward. You know what you always say. You’ll try anything once, right?”
“I told you I don’t want to
see a psychiatrist,” I pushed back. “I just need more time. I’ll bounce back.
You know I almost came in the house on my own today. Besides, if I see a
psychiatrist, on every job application I complete in the future, I’ll have to
check the ‘Yes’ box when they ask if I’ve had mental health treatment.”
“Jesus. No you don’t. You’re
too innocent sometimes.”
He gently tapped me on the nose.
“You can check the box ‘No.’
Besides, if that’s the only thing stopping you, I think you should give it a
try. Her name is Barbara Cole. I’ll take you to Houston’s afterward,” he added.
I ignored the bribe. “But what
can she do that you can’t? All she’ll do is listen and you do that for me
already. Psychiatrists are for people who don’t have friends or husbands to
talk to.”
Chris shook his head.
“Please? Do it for me.”
The tone in his voice was
different—more helpless than normal. Chris had been so understanding, so
comforting this past month, especially considering I had been waking him every
night. How could I refuse his request?
I sighed. “Okay,” I relented.
“I’ll go.”
“One visit. That’s all I’m
asking. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. She’s a psychologist,
by the way, not a psychiatrist. She does therapy, not drugs.”
He glanced at the clock. It
was 3:30 a.m.
Chris grabbed Konk, my stuffed
animal gorilla that I won at the state fair by outshooting him at the
basketball game. He had sworn the scum running the game couldn’t take his eyes
off my butt and let me win.
“Here’s Konk,” he said. “I’m
going to finish my presentation since I’m up. I’ll just be in the office. Want
the door open?”
“Yes,” I said as I wrapped my
arms tightly around Konk.
“Hey, we’ll celebrate your
first therapy visit and my signed contract, I hope, this evening.”
“You mean you hope my
first visit?” I said with a playful smile.
He gave me a look—he was in no
mood for jokes.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll go,” I
assured.
“If you’re asleep when I
leave, just come by my office after the appointment and we’ll head to dinner.
Try to get some sleep. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
About the Author
Liz Lazarus is the author of Free of Malice, a psychological, legal thriller loosely based on her personal experience and a series of ‘what if’ questions that trace the after effects of a foiled attack; a woman healing, and grappling with the legal system to acknowledge her right to self-defense.
She was born in Valdosta, Georgia, graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern with an MBA in their executive master’s program. She spent most of her career at General Electric’s Healthcare division and is currently a Managing Director at a strategic planning consulting firm in addition to being an author.
Free of Malice is her debut novel, set in Atlanta, and supplemented by extensive research with both therapists and criminal defense attorneys. She currently lives in Brookhaven, GA, with her fiancé, Richard, and their very spoiled orange tabby, Buckwheat.
For More Information

Giveaway

Liz is giving away a $25 B&N
Gift Card & an autographed copy of FREE OF MALICE!!

Terms &
Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 B&N Gift Card or
    one autographed copy of FREE OF MALICE
  • This
    giveaway begins April 11 and ends on May 11.
  • Winners
    will be contacted via email on May 12.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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First Chapter Reveal: From Ashes Into Light by Mouw Gudrun

From Ashes Into LightTitle: From Ashes Into Light
Author: Gudrun Mouw
Pages: 240
Genre: Literary/Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Raincloud Press

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

For More Information

  • From Ashes Into Light is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

CHAPTER 1

Ruth Gutherz – Salzburg, Austria

November 10, 1938, Kristallnacht, night of shattered glass, broken bodies and broken faith. We are propelled into a chaotic world. Our Salzburg home has been torn apart.

I stare at drawers emptied on the floor, papers thrown about, clothes everywhere and my 12-year-old mind cannot comprehend.

“Papa, where are Oma Gutherz and Onkel David? Did they go to the doctor? When will they be back? Who made this mess?”

We have just returned from visiting Stefan and Anna Richert, and Papa wants to go back to the Richerts and make inquiries. Mother nearly yells, “Josef, they should be taken away? An old woman taking care of her son sick in bed? This I cannot believe.”

“Esther, believe it. Haven’t we been trying to convince you, Stefan and I? The Nazis have no mercy. We are lost.”

The pain in my father’s voice shocks me. I think, how can Papa say lost? Grandmother Gutherz and Uncle David must be somewhere.

“What are we going to do? Josef, we have to do something!” Mother stands in the midst of our ransacked apartment. Forgetting danger, she begins to cry loudly.

“Quiet. Please, be quiet,” Papa whispers. Mother chokes back sound. “What do you think we can do, Esther? Don’t you understand what’s been happening since the Nazis took control?”

Before returning to the Richerts’, Papa warns, “Keep it dark, stay still, don’t open the door.” He points to an overturned lamp and pictures from the walls smashed on the floor in a pile of splintered glass. “The place has been well gone over. It’s unlikely anyone will be back here tonight.”

Mother and I huddle on the divan, afraid to talk. I hug my knees tightly. Forehead presses bone. Mother makes suppressed noises, and her thick body heaves. How can I help? What can I say?

When Papa returns, he whispers, “Stefan went to the Gestapo. He said he wanted to report breaking and entering and destruction of property. The Gestapo told him they already knew and not to bother about it. To cover himself, he pretended to be pleased saying. ‘Good, good, they got what they deserved.’ Then, he heard someone give an order to send a telegram to Vienna about ‘Salzburger Jews taken in protective custody.’ Stefan thinks Vienna is their immediate destination, but someone else told him that those arrested would eventually be sent to a camp in Germany near Munich. He and I agree. We need to leave as soon as possible. He will take care of the business and send us money.”

We wear extra clothes, bring food and a few valuables that hadn’t been found. We walk inside dark pockets of night, hiding in the shadows of tall buildings. We peer in every direction as we hurry over cobblestones and past street lamps that glare down from building fronts. At the plaza, I linger by the bronze horses that rear up from the fountain’s base. I have always loved the one on the right with his back to the cathedral. His forelegs kick above the water, head pointing up, mouth open as though about to make a loud, defiant noise.

I reach into the pool, trail fingers in the water, touch a smooth leg. “Goodbye, be brave,” I whisper, echoing the words of my classmate, Rolf, who told me more than once, “Ruth, be brave.” Mother grabs my arm.

“It’s not safe,” she says.

We arrive at the edge of town where Stefan Richert leads us inside the back of one of our Gutherz trucks, loaded for Vienna deliveries. He directs us to the right of a dresser, beyond tables and chairs and behind a bookcase. Mr. Richert has taken over our family’s furniture business because of the Nazi requirement that all Salzburger enterprises be judenrein, free of Jews. Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses.

“You know the work and the customers,” Papa had said to his friend and partner as they shook hands over the change of ownership. “You are an honorable person who will carry on the business with its tradition of quality now that my family and I have become one of the displaced.”

We conceal ourselves in the space Mr. Richert created at the back of the truck bed. He will drive us to Papa’s sister’s house in Vienna himself. Will we ever see him again, I wonder, after tonight?

Sitting on the floor at the back of the truck bed, I settle into the constant motion of wheels rolling over concrete. I go into a mournful trance, my parents sitting quietly next to me in the dark. I no longer ask questions but try to center myself, so I won’t lose my balance again as I had at the first sharp turn, jolting into a dresser corner tied to the truck wall. I listen to creaks, anticipate the changing directions and shift my weight accordingly.

During a long, straight stretch of road, I reach in my coat pocket and find a feather. I smooth the frayed ends stroking the softness. I found this treasure long ago at my aunt’s weekend home near the Wienerwald. I remember the unusual, bright colors like an evening fire. My fingers follow the spine to the delicate tip over and over.

Suddenly, as if from behind my eyes, I see the feather radiating light, and the light is so powerful the furniture all around begins to shimmer. I look at the shadowy figures of my parents. Mother leans against Papa. They don’t seem to notice anything.

Light continues to shine, growing more intense, causing solid surfaces to appear fluid. Light burns warm, within and without, and the brightness explodes.

I am floating on air, above the truck, and through the roof I see below that my parents’ eyes are closed. I see myself sitting near them with the feather still in my hands.

I am looking with bird eyes and flying with wings outstretched. Wind carries me. I experience a strong current beneath.

After what could be a short or a long time, I have a distressing premonition. I falter, my body trembles with a sudden chill. I find myself back in the truck.

 

First Chapter Reveal: From Ashes Into Light by Gudrun Mouw

From Ashes Into Light

Title: From Ashes Into Light
Author: Gudrun Mouw
Pages: 240
Genre: Literary/Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Raincloud Press

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

For More Information

  • From Ashes Into Light is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

CHAPTER 1

Ruth Gutherz – Salzburg, Austria

 

November 10, 1938, Kristallnacht, night of shattered glass, broken bodies and broken faith. We are propelled into a chaotic world. Our Salzburg home has been torn apart.

I stare at drawers emptied on the floor, papers thrown about, clothes everywhere and my 12-year-old mind cannot comprehend.

“Papa, where are Oma Gutherz and Onkel David? Did they go to the doctor? When will they be back? Who made this mess?”

We have just returned from visiting Stefan and Anna Richert, and Papa wants to go back to the Richerts and make inquiries. Mother nearly yells, “Josef, they should be taken away? An old woman taking care of her son sick in bed? This I cannot believe.”

“Esther, believe it. Haven’t we been trying to convince you, Stefan and I? The Nazis have no mercy. We are lost.”

The pain in my father’s voice shocks me. I think, how can Papa say lost? Grandmother Gutherz and Uncle David must be somewhere.

“What are we going to do? Josef, we have to do something!” Mother stands in the midst of our ransacked apartment. Forgetting danger, she begins to cry loudly.

“Quiet. Please, be quiet,” Papa whispers. Mother chokes back sound. “What do you think we can do, Esther? Don’t you understand what’s been happening since the Nazis took control?”

Before returning to the Richerts’, Papa warns, “Keep it dark, stay still, don’t open the door.” He points to an overturned lamp and pictures from the walls smashed on the floor in a pile of splintered glass. “The place has been well gone over. It’s unlikely anyone will be back here tonight.”

Mother and I huddle on the divan, afraid to talk. I hug my knees tightly. Forehead presses bone. Mother makes suppressed noises, and her thick body heaves. How can I help? What can I say?

When Papa returns, he whispers, “Stefan went to the Gestapo. He said he wanted to report breaking and entering and destruction of property. The Gestapo told him they already knew and not to bother about it. To cover himself, he pretended to be pleased saying. ‘Good, good, they got what they deserved.’ Then, he heard someone give an order to send a telegram to Vienna about ‘Salzburger Jews taken in protective custody.’ Stefan thinks Vienna is their immediate destination, but someone else told him that those arrested would eventually be sent to a camp in Germany near Munich. He and I agree. We need to leave as soon as possible. He will take care of the business and send us money.”

We wear extra clothes, bring food and a few valuables that hadn’t been found. We walk inside dark pockets of night, hiding in the shadows of tall buildings. We peer in every direction as we hurry over cobblestones and past street lamps that glare down from building fronts. At the plaza, I linger by the bronze horses that rear up from the fountain’s base. I have always loved the one on the right with his back to the cathedral. His forelegs kick above the water, head pointing up, mouth open as though about to make a loud, defiant noise.

I reach into the pool, trail fingers in the water, touch a smooth leg. “Goodbye, be brave,” I whisper, echoing the words of my classmate, Rolf, who told me more than once, “Ruth, be brave.” Mother grabs my arm.

“It’s not safe,” she says.

We arrive at the edge of town where Stefan Richert leads us inside the back of one of our Gutherz trucks, loaded for Vienna deliveries. He directs us to the right of a dresser, beyond tables and chairs and behind a bookcase. Mr. Richert has taken over our family’s furniture business because of the Nazi requirement that all Salzburger enterprises be judenrein, free of Jews. Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses.

“You know the work and the customers,” Papa had said to his friend and partner as they shook hands over the change of ownership. “You are an honorable person who will carry on the business with its tradition of quality now that my family and I have become one of the displaced.”

We conceal ourselves in the space Mr. Richert created at the back of the truck bed. He will drive us to Papa’s sister’s house in Vienna himself. Will we ever see him again, I wonder, after tonight?

Sitting on the floor at the back of the truck bed, I settle into the constant motion of wheels rolling over concrete. I go into a mournful trance, my parents sitting quietly next to me in the dark. I no longer ask questions but try to center myself, so I won’t lose my balance again as I had at the first sharp turn, jolting into a dresser corner tied to the truck wall. I listen to creaks, anticipate the changing directions and shift my weight accordingly.

During a long, straight stretch of road, I reach in my coat pocket and find a feather. I smooth the frayed ends stroking the softness. I found this treasure long ago at my aunt’s weekend home near the Wienerwald. I remember the unusual, bright colors like an evening fire. My fingers follow the spine to the delicate tip over and over.

Suddenly, as if from behind my eyes, I see the feather radiating light, and the light is so powerful the furniture all around begins to shimmer. I look at the shadowy figures of my parents. Mother leans against Papa. They don’t seem to notice anything.

Light continues to shine, growing more intense, causing solid surfaces to appear fluid. Light burns warm, within and without, and the brightness explodes.

I am floating on air, above the truck, and through the roof I see below that my parents’ eyes are closed. I see myself sitting near them with the feather still in my hands.

I am looking with bird eyes and flying with wings outstretched. Wind carries me. I experience a strong current beneath.

After what could be a short or a long time, I have a distressing premonition. I falter, my body trembles with a sudden chill. I find myself back in the truck.

Character Interview: Pru Marlowe from Clea Simon’s pet noir cozy cat mystery, “When Bunnies Go Bad”

Cover for Blog Tour.jpgWe’re thrilled to have here today Pru Marlowe from Clea Simon’s new pet noir When Bunnies Go Bad.  Pru Marlowe is a thirty-something animal behaviorist living in Beauville, a small town in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Pru.  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?

Well, I do worry that readers will think I’m nuts. I mean, I try to hide the fact that I can hear what animals are thinking, but the way Clea writes these books, it’s pretty obvious. She gives Wallis, my crabby tabby, almost as much time as I get.

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

I kind of wish she didn’t talk quite so much about how much I drink!

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I don’t scare easily – and I’ll do anything to help an animal. I mean, wouldn’t you?

Worse trait?

I do tend to cut the animals I know more slack than the people. After all, they’re nicer and more honest.

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!)?

If Angelina Jolie were a little tougher, maybe she could play me. Can she drive a fast car?

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I do have a regular guy. I don’t know if I’d say “love…”

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

When I saw that gangster’s little red sportster through the trees… that’s when I knew things were going to get serious.

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?

Albert, Beauville’s animal control officer. He’s totally witless – and gutless too. Which is why I end up doing his job.

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

Well, I guess I had to learn to trust my guy sometime, right?

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

I wish she didn’t make my cat sound smarter than me!

Thank you for this interview, (name of character).  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Better ask Clea about that!

Title:  WHEN BUNNIES GO BAD

Genre: Mystery

Author: Clea Simon

Websitehttp://www.cleasimon.com

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Winter is hard in Beauville, where the melting snow can reveal much more than last season’s dead leaves. So when a wealthy, obnoxious tourist and his ski bunny girlfriend surface in Pru Marlowe’s little Berkshire town, she knows she should stay out of their way. The bad-girl animal psychic has to focus on more immediate concerns, including a wild rabbit named Henry, supposedly tamed and illegally living with an eighty-four-year-old lady in her home. Henry, who seems to be acting out and hiding, avoids responding to Pru. Yet when Pru discovers the tourist murdered and his girlfriend’s high-maintenance spaniel falls to her care, she gets dragged into a complicated case of crime and punishment that involves some new friends, an old nemesis, and her own shadowed past. A recent museum art heist draws the feds into the investigation along with a courtly gentleman radiating menace, who represents secretive business interests in New York and shows a surprising awareness of Pru. Her on-again, off-again romance with police Detective Creighton doesn’t stop him from warning her to steer clear of the inquiry. The spaniel, however, lures her in. Pru lives in a world where only her crotchety tabby Wallis knows the whole truth about her past, her flight from Manhattan, and her unique gift that surfaced abruptly one day. Fearing the worst, Pru now comes dangerously close to being exposed. With everything in motion, Pru, Wallis, and everyone they hold dear will be lucky to escape…by a hare.

Clea.3 - photo by Jon S. Garelick.jpg

About the Author:

Clea Simon is the author of the Theda Krakow, Dulcie Schwartz, and Pru Marlowe pet noir series, as well as three nonfiction books.   A former journalist, Clea lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, the writer Jon Garelick, and their cat Musetta.

Character Interview: Beth Bowman from Randy Rawls’ mystery, DATING DEATH

DD Cover for MG.jpgWe’re thrilled to have here today, Beth Bowman from Randy Rawls new mystery, DATING DEATH. Beth is a Private Investigator living in Coral Lakes, Florida.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Beth. 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 believe Randy did a good job of narrating my story. He wrote it pretty much as it happened, without embellishments. He even resisted the urge to ask me why I took on such a stupid role with so much risk.

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

Yes and no. He captured my strong points, but probably glossed over some of my weaker ones. For example, I realize in retrospect that my stubbornness got me into some of the messes that happened in DATING DEATH. If I had swallowed my pride early on, my life would not have gotten so contorted. Plus, I wouldn’t have placed my friends in such danger.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Once I give my word, I live by it. Something my father drilled into me every day before he died. “Finish what you start,” he said. I’ve built my life around that. That is definitely my strongest trait.

Worse trait?

As you can see from by strongest trait, I might come down a wee bit on the stubborn side. No, I have to admit it. I am stubborn, even pigheaded. But, does that always have to be a weakness? Sometimes it’s good, isn’t it?

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!)?

Cameron Diaz.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes. Dr. David Rasmussen. We met during the case I called HOT ROCKS when I was taken to the hospital with a possible concussion. Someone had slugged me from behind with a really hard object. Anyway, David is a real dreamboat, and we are totally compatible . . . well, almost. I’m happy with his profession—what girl wouldn’t be—but he’s not totally thrilled with mine. He finds it unacceptable that I keep getting conked on the head. I guess it’s a good thing he’s a neurologist. When I took on the case in DATING DEATH, he was not happy with me.

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

Almost from the beginning. It’s not the kind of situation I find appealing, and my first reaction was to say no. If Chief Elston hadn’t presented such a compelling case and called on my patriotism, I wouldn’t have taken it. Then things went even uglier than I could imagine. By the time, I had everyone looking for me—good and bad—I was sure I’d made a mistake.

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?

Not want to be? Definitely Dabba. Sadness emanates from her like heat waves from a fire. Forty years ago, something happened to her that should happen to no woman. When I see her, I never know which side of sanity she’ll be on. One moment, she can be perfectly rational, then the next, she’s living in her lost hopes. Each time, it breaks my heart. Yet, she is a loyal friend, and I value her.

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

Well, justice triumphed, and that’s always good. But we can only hope the guilty doesn’t work himself loose on a technicality. Can’t say anymore, but it’s not the normal bang-bang, boom-boom ending we’ve grown to expect.

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

Give me a break. No clonks on the head, please. The headaches afterwards are no fun. And please, please, keep Dot and the rest of the homeless in the story. Not only are they my friends, but I’ve grown to depend on them. They are almost as precious to me as David.

Thank you for this interview, Beth!

Title:  DATING DEATH

Genre:  Mystery

Author: Randy Rawls

Website: http://www.randyrawls.com/

Publisher: White Bird Publications

Purchase at Amazon

About the Book: 

Dating Death, the latest mystery by acclaimed novelist Randy Rawls, features South Florida PI Beth Bowman.   She’s tough, tenacious, brash, and bold, but Beth Bowman knows that when the Coral Lakes Police Chief calls, she’d better listen. So when Chief Elston invites Beth for a meeting at the Coral Lakes police headquarters, Beth agrees to hear him out. Seems Elston has a rather unseemly request…

To Beth’s surprise, the topic du jour is South Florida politician Roger Adamson.  Adamson may be loved by his constituents, but he’s for sale to the highest bidder, a fact not lost on the local police.  Elston wants Adamson not just for normal bribes and influence peddling, but for access to the crime lord who supports Adamson’s extravagant lifestyle. Adamson agrees to cooperate— at his own pace, on his terms—if Elston agrees to keep him safe.  And that’s where Beth comes in. After all, someone will have to protect Adamson during public appearances, and who better than Beth Bowman?

Beth agrees, even though accepting the assignment means temporarily upending her life, including her burgeoning romance with Dr. David Rasmussen. Unbeknownst to Beth, this dirty job with a dirty politician could take a shockingly nasty turn…

Adamson’s a sleazy, arrogant jerk, and protecting him is certainly no walk in the park. But this job is leading Beth down a dark, dangerous, and downright deadly path.  Quickly and viciously swept up into a vortex of kidnapping, multiple homicides and violence, Beth Bowman is on the edge of losing everything—including her life.  Backing down isn’t Beth’s style, but this time Beth may have met her match… 

Swiftly paced, shocking, and full of twists of turns, Dating Death is a sizzling, action-packed tale.  Brimming with edge-of-your-seat suspense and a pulse-racer of a plot, Dating Death is hotter than a South Florida summer.  Randy Rawls, who has earned a well-deserved place among the fine writers who call the Sunshine State home, delivers a solid, irresistible and entertaining tale in Dating Death.

Randy Rawls Promo Pic - Hi Rez

About the Author:

Randy Rawls grew up in North Carolina, then spent a career in the Army before retiring to Florida.  After retirement, he returned to work with the Department of Defense as a civilian. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love with writing—a natural progression as he has always been an avid reader. Randy Rawls lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

Character Interview: Cynthia Carter from Sylvia Dickey Smith’s Contemporary Novel, ORIGINAL CYN

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cynthia Carter from Sylvia Dickey Smith’s new contemporary novel, Original Cyn.  Cynthia is a young middle-aged stay-at-home preacher’s wife living in Mobile Alabama.

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

Thank you so for this interview, Cynthia.  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?  

Thank you for having me, and just call me Cyn. I much prefer that. Yes, there is one thing I would like to set straight. I’ve heard some say I forgave too easily. I alone know how that demon called revenge ate away at my insides. I battled it to the death. You’ve heard the saying: “The truth shall set you free.” I learned when we give ourselves permission to take an honest, open look at truth, that deep down gut-wrenching truth, it soothes that savage beast eating away at our insides. It also helped when I realized all the answers given me by others didn’t come close to the questions I faced.

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

Funny you use the word, colorizing—an important element in the book. I am learning the importance of color and its impact on our emotions—hence our behavior. 

I hate to admit it, but the author did a pretty good job describing how I felt—actually, she was rather kind to me. Had I not controlled my initial reactions, things would have turned out much differently, and not for the good.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

After this experience?  Hands down—authenticity.

Worse trait?

Being too gullible. Thinking other people know more than I.

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?

Robin Wright—without a doubt in my mind.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Well, I’m married to the preacher, so I should say him, I suppose, but all is not well behind the walls of the parsonage. At times I fantasize about a certain movie star, but who doesn’t? Also, there is one man in the story who spun my heart around. 

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

I grew quite nervous when parishioners started talking about ‘tar & feathers’ and running my husband out of town on the proverbial rail. By then, the fires of hell sounded like a better option.

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 truly would not want to be two-faced, back-stabbing Ginger—at that time, a person I considered my best friend.

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

I love the sense of hope that peeks around the corner.

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

I hope she would see personal growth on my part and my progress in learning who I am, what I stand for, what I don’t stand for, and what I absolutely will not stand for. 

Thank you for this interview, Cyn Carter! 

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Title: ORIGINAL CYN

Genre: women’s fiction

Author: Sylvia Dickey Smith

Website: www.sylviadickeysmith.com

Publisher: White Bird Publications

Purchase on Amazon

About Original Cyn:  Protagonist Cynthia Carter’s life appears perfect—but for the fact that she and her husband, The Reverend Wilburn Carter, are controlled by fear.  Cynthia is afraid she’ll displease Wilburn and if not him, his parishioners. But her biggest fear is the emptiness swelling inside her.

In the pulpit, Wilburn is the hero:  God’s right hand, the messenger, the revered Reverend. At home, however, is a different story: he’s cold, controlling, selfish and self-consumed.  Every Sunday, Wilburn stands at the podium and worries which parishioner might stab him in the back.  But his deepest, darkest fear is that people will discover he’s a phony.

As Cynthia drowns in her lack of identity beyond what’s assigned by her preacher-husband, she wonders if she should stay in the relationship.  Could there be more to life than just being the Pastor’s wife?  Before she can decide, events force her to flee.  If she goes far enough fast enough, those back home will have to deal with the chaos they created—deal with it or go to hell in their sanctimonious handbaskets. Until a phone conversation leaves her with even more difficult choices…

A powerful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking story, Original Cyn is extraordinary. Novelist Sylvia Dickey Smith takes readers on an unforgettable journey that spans anguish, heartbreak, hatred, love, fear, humor, peace and joy.  Resplendent with compelling characters and an exceedingly-relatable storyline, Original Cyn is wholly—or perhaps holy—an original tale about moving beyond the black-and-white and living life in full, vibrant color. Sylvia Dickey Smith’s latest novel is a richly-drawn, rewarding read destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  

About the Author  

A fifth generation Texan, Sylvia Dickey Smith was born in Orange, Texas and grew up in a colorful Scots-Irish family living in the midst of a Cajun culture. At 34, Sylvia’s curiosity about the world took on a whole new dimension when she moved to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Awed by the differences in customs and cultures, particularly as they related to West Indian women, Sylvia began a journey of study and self-discovery. Back in the U.S. at 40, she started college and didn’t stop until achieving a B.A. in sociology with a concentration in women’s studies and a master’s in counseling. For the next twenty years, Sylvia worked in the field of human services and taught as an adjunct professor at the graduate level. Sylvia Dickey Smith lives in Texas.

Connect with the Author 

 http://www.sylviadickeysmith.com/rosie-the-riveter-unapologetic/

https://www.facebook.com/SylviaDickeySmithAuthor/

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