Monday, May 16, 2022

­čôľAuthors To Watch: Andrea Matthews Author of Thunder on the Moor #authorstowatch #interview

 

 

Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen-hundred-year-old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

Her latest book is the historical time travel romance, Thunder on the Moor.

You can visit her website at www.Andrea-Matthews.com or connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.




Maggie Armstrong grew up enchanted by her father’s tales of blood feuds and border raids. In fact, she could have easily fallen for the man portrayed in one particular image in his portrait collection. Yet when her father reveals he was himself an infamous Border reiver, she finds it a bit far-fetched—to say the least—especially when he announces his plans to return to his sixteenth century Scottish home with her in tow.

Suspecting it’s just his way of getting her to accompany him on yet another archaeological dig, Maggie agrees to the expedition, only to find herself transported four hundred and fifty years into the past. Though a bit disoriented at first, she discovers her father’s world to be every bit as exciting as his stories, particularly when she’s introduced to Ian Rutherford, the charming son of a neighboring laird. However, when her uncle announces her betrothal to Ian, Maggie’s twentieth-century sensibilities are outraged. She hardly even knows the man. But a refusal of his affections could ignite a blood feud.

Maggie’s worlds are colliding. Though she’s found the family she always wanted, the sixteenth century is a dangerous place. Betrayal, treachery, and a tragic murder have her questioning whether she should remain or try to make her way back to her own time.

To make matters worse, tensions escalate when she stumbles across Bonnie Will Foster, the dashing young man in her father’s portrait collection, only to learn he is a dreaded Englishman. But could he be the hero she’s always dreamed him to be? Or will his need for revenge against Ian shatter more than her heart?

Book Information

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Publisher:  Inez M. Foster

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1733337557; 432 pages; $19.97; E-Book, FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3LZdmYD









Can you tell us about your most recent release?

The Thunder on the Moor series is about a twentieth century college student, who travels back to the sixteenth century Anglo-Scottish Borders after discovering her father is himself one of those infamous Scottish Border Reivers. Though enchanted at first, she soon learns that blood feuds and border raids are a very real part of Border life, and the mere mention of being attracted to an Englishman can set off a deadly raid, while marrying one can be a hanging offense.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I was doing some research into my husband’s genealogy and a friend gave me a book entitled, The Steel Bonnets, which indicated that the Foster was a well known Border Reiver surname. (Andrea Matthews is my pen name) Of course, I wanted to learn more, and while doing the research, began to weave the story of time travel and forbidden love that became the Thunder on the Moor series.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Probably Betty Foster, because though she lives in a time ruled by men, both her husband and sons won’t dare cross her. She’s spunky, with a big heart, and knows how to let her menfolk feel like they’re in control. Obviously, there are some decisions she has to concede on, but she’s a realist who knows what battles are within her power to win and fights them with just as much gusto as her menfolk when they ride to the frey. Graham may be the surname’s heidsman, but Betty is its heart.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The research because not all the material was easily located. When I started writing the series, back in the early 1990s, not many people had heard of the Border Reivers. The one book I had, the one that apprised me of the fact that the Fosters were Border Reivers was The Steel Bonnets. I became my go-to book from that moment on. Gradually, I began to send to Scotland in an effort to locate material, and as the Internet grew, documents became more easily accessible. As I wanted to be as historically accurate as possible, I gathered everything I could find. More authors began to write about the reivers, records became accessible, and gradually a picture appeared. Of course, it is a romance, so although historically accurate, there is a bit of a romantic slant. Hey, if Sir Walter Scott could get away with it, why not?

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished book 3 in the Thunder on the Moor series, entitled Shake Loose the Border, last November. The third book in my Cross of Ciaran series, which is a paranormal romance, is due out on May 25. It’s entitled the Cave of R├║in ├ürsa. And I hope to release a historical romance, Murder on Oak Street, at the end of August.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

In the words of Winston Churchill . . . “Never, never, never give in” or something to that effect. If you love to write, if you’ve a story to tell, then do it. And don’t let the naysayers discourage you.

 



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

­čôľAuthors To Watch: Damone Bester Author of Mendel #authorstowatch #interview

 


Damone Bester was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside to blue-collar parents who were married 49 years, and one older brother, whose backyard scuffles taught Damone one lesson: “Never quit.” He wasn’t just a student at Mendel; he lived and breathed “Blue Smoke,” the mantra of his track team brethren. A brief conversation with another Mendel alum stoked the fire to pen his first novel about the school he so loved.

Damone is an author, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and voiceover artist. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University and has spent most of his profession in the Social Services sector. He currently lives in the Twin Cities area and enjoys fishing, bowling, basketball (watching, not playing), bean bags, and bragging about his nephew and nieces.

You can visit his website at www.DamoneBester.com or connect with him on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.



Imagine the mid 1980’s, last day of school, summer break. A teen rushes to meet his mother, who is being released from the hospital after cancer surgery. When the teen arrives, he finds out his mother is dead, but his ex-gangbanging dad, who has been in jail the last seven years, is at the hospital ready to take the teen home.

Mendel, is a coming-of-age story about a senior at Chicago’s legendary Mendel High who must learn how to forgive as he navigates life without his mother. Things come to a head when the teen accidentally finds his mom’s diary. In the journal, he discovers his mother’s dreams of becoming a collegiate track star were derailed due to getting pregnant with him. To honor his mother, he joins Mendel’s track team and excels, but before he can cash in on any scholarship offers, his father’s thuggish past catches up with them when a gun toting nemesis comes seeking revenge. The teen must decide between saving his own life or sacrificing it all to save his estranged father.

Book Information

Release Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher:  The Story Plant

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1611883268; 288 pages; $16.95; E-Book, $7.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37qfkCC

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3NYZ0cS

Indigo: https://bit.ly/37qF69y

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611883268

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Mendel-Damone-Bester/9781611883268







We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

Thank you so much for having me. The question brings a smile to my face. One can get lost in fiction and never want to come out. Ever read a book or see a movie that you didn’t want to end? That’s what fiction does to me. I want to create storylines that people never want to leave. I want to create that place of escape from the often-cruel world we live in.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

Usually I “see” several scenes first. Two people having an argument. A fight scene or chase scene. I accumulate these to reference later. Sometimes, I might not even use them, but it's just the process of getting it out of my head onto the page. When I have enough interesting “scenes” I come up with the ending, then the beginning. Next, I think about characters, locations, settings, genres. If ideas come at any point in here, I write them down. Again, just accumulating what I can. Then comes the research. I research and find as much as I can on my own first. Then, I make a list of the people I need to interview. I do my own research first because it helps me find appropriate questions. If I interview the “expert” first, there may be a question out there that I don’t even know to ask. But, if I research it first, it helps me formulate more questions to eventually get “from the horse’s mouth.” I’ve found that “experts” in their fields are willing to discuss more in depth about a topic when they see I’ve already done my own heavy lifting. They take me more seriously because they know I’m willing to work and they are not just supplying me all the answers. I try to get all of my interviews done, then I outline. I try to outline all the plot points, twists, and turns. Then, I outline the actual story. After that, I might take a little time away from it. When I return, I usually have more ideas, or I can see clearer what works or what doesn’t work. Then I start writing it out. Nope, no special place where I write. I never wanted that to handicap me. I want my brain to feel as though “we” can write anywhere, anytime of day, with any utensil. I’d write my ideas down with a crayon, if that’s all I had available. I don’t need a special hat, or pen, or mug. And, I don’t believe in writer’s block either. If I stumble or have trouble with something, it’s because I need a break. Not that I have some sort of mental block.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Sure, I can. This is it! Mendel is my very first published book. I’m on a roll now.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I love track and field. And, I love movies. The inspiration for Mendel came about after one of my best friends from high school and I were reminiscing over our “glory days” running track together. We discussed how there were so many movies and books about baseball, football, basketball, even hockey, but there weren’t any that we could think of about track. One of the most popular sports on the highest stage of the Olympics was track and field and we couldn’t readily name one movie or book about it. The closest we could think of was the awesome film, Cool Runnings that had a sliver of track scenes. So, from that conversation, the idea of Mendel came about in the year of 2009.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

My main character’s father, Brandon James Sr. (Keko) is my favorite. Keko is my favorite because he tries so hard to make amends for all the horrible rotten things he’s done in his life. He wants to be a good father, but his past keeps coming back to bite him, yet he doesn’t give up in pursuing a relationship with his son (the main character).

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The most fun yet most challenging parts of the book to write were the action sequences during the track meets. It was exciting to come up with different ways to describe teenaged boys running around an oval. I had to dig deep into that creative well to build excitement and drag out suspense, all the while making sure that the reader who is not the track aficionado could keep pace through all the track terminology. It was a blast.  

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently under contract to write a sequel to Mendel. I also recently finished recording Mendel the audiobook, which will be coming out soon.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

Dream bigger! If your own idea doesn’t knock your socks off, other people’s socks will stay on too. After you get that BIG idea. Get a mentor who isn’t afraid to tear you down and isn’t too prideful to build you up.

 



Sunday, May 8, 2022

Read an Excerpt of Riftsiders: Unlawful Possession by Paul A. Destefano

 


The story of a couple that meets at a support group for the possessed…


By Paul A. Destefano




Enrique Marin wants a quiet life after the death of his wife. Just one problem stands in the way--he's possessed by the misanthropic English demon, Tzazin. A violent night under demonic influence accidentally leads Enrique to love, and it's anything but quiet. Shy, autistic yoga instructor Elle thought allowing herself to be possessed by the very-not-shy sex demon Key would help her find love. She finds Enrique, but she didn't count on coping with the anti-demon bigotry of society. Fate--and AA meetings for the possessed--brings them together, but hostile forces, demonic and human, fight to keep them apart. It might cost them everything to keep their love alive.

Book Information

Release Date: April 18, 2022

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1509241231; 292 pages; $16.99; E-Book, $4.99

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3HZpkPE




Enrique approached the church feeling more like a lost tourist from the Dominican Republic than someone on national watchlists. Peering up at the untended vines coating the wall, he ran a hand through his short black hair. He glanced back at the street and then followed Ebbs down the stairs to the basement side entrance.

“I don’t even think he’s a real priest,” came the familiar British tones in the back of Enrique’s mind. “He’s not wearing a collar. This is bollocks. He can’t teach you anything about controlling me you don’t already know, and I’m certainly not going to listen to some pudgy little unshaven monk or whatever he is. Don’t go in.”

Enrique stopped halfway down the cracked steps and bent, turning his back to Ebbs to tie a shoe that wasn’t untied. Ebbs waited by the door, gently humming to himself.

“Shut up, Taz,” Enrique said, barely above a whisper. “If you would behave in the first place, we wouldn’t have to be here.”

“Still bollocks,” Taz said.

Enrique stood and wiped his hands on his jeans before descending. At the base of the stairway, he stomped his work boot into the puddle that reflected a third figure only he could see pacing behind them.

Ebbs fished for keys in the pocket of his beaten brown leather jacket. He unlocked a door barely held together by decades of flaking paint. It swung open smoothly and silently. Stepping aside, he extended a hand and indicated Enrique should enter before him.

Enrique didn’t move.

“It’s a safe place,” Ebbs said, scratching the mottled gray of his unshaven neck.

Enrique had heard that before.

“Sometimes, that first step through the doorway is the hardest.”

Enrique looked to the source of the voice, a silhouette up the hallway that nearly reached the ceiling.

“I’m Dante Serrano,” the deep calming voice continued. “I moderate the group. Father Clancy here told me you would be coming. Enrique, right?”

Dante’s head nearly grazed the hanging fluorescents as he approached, extending a massive hand in greeting. Enrique nodded and stepped in, trying not to stare too obviously at Dante’s dark eyes, nearly a foot above his own.

“Tell you what,” Dante said with a bright grin. “I’ll answer your questions first, make you more comfortable. Come on, follow me. The answer to your first question, seven-foot one. Second question, no, I never played pro, got some bum knees. You know everyone sees a black man a head and shoulders over them, and they think, damn, that guy shoot some hoops. What you don’t hear is how much a damn problem it can be being so tall. Sure—never need a step stool, get to help all the shorter folk reach that top shelf in the grocery store. I’m not saying there are no perks. I’m saying there’s sometimes a hidden price. Considering where you are, I’m guessing you know that all too well.”

“You mean considering what I am?” Enrique said, following the giant man through a doorway.

Dante turned, shaking his shaved head. “No, man, no. Who you are. You got a problem? Okay. But that does not define you. A man is a lot of things—a plumber, a mechanic, a husband, a father. But you are never less a person before that. You are always you. Good man. Bad man. That’s not my job to tell you. But you. No matter what your problem. You are a who. Never a what. Just because a taxi picks up a bad passenger, that does not make that taxi’s a bad taxi. You get me?”

“Actually, you’re a pretty awful taxi,” Taz said.

“I get you,” Enrique said, shrugging and looking around. He stepped into the center of the circle of empty chairs in the small room. Beyond a table of coffee and doughnuts, a young woman with long blonde hair over a tight-fitting outfit standing with her head down and her hands clasped by her waist. She pushed dark glasses farther up the bridge of her nose but didn’t speak. Enrique looked to the ceiling.The lights were no brighter where she stood, and certainly not bright enough to warrant sunglasses.

“Well, hello, hello, what do we have here?” Taz said. “Perhaps this group isn’t complete bollocks after all.”

“That’s Elle,” Dante said softly. “Yoga teacher. She’s one of our members. She’s on the autism spectrum and sometimes needs a little time to adjust to new people in the group. She’ll warm up to you.”

“Hi, Elle,” Enrique said with a small wave. “I’m Enrique.”

“The others will be by in just a few minutes,” Dante said, pouring coffee into a cardboard cup. “Just like Elle needs some time, we’d like to get to learn a bit about you. Me and our very own Father Clancy Ebbs to start. Just to, you know, get comfortable.”

“Ex-Father,” Ebbs interjected. “In Coena Domini.”

“Excommunicated,” Dante translated. “But still good enough for us. And still always Father to me.”

“And there are two of you,” Enrique pointed out. “In case I’m more than one can handle.”

Elle tilted her head in curiosity.

“Can never be too careful at first encounter,” Dante said. “Coffee? It’s actually pretty good. Here, give it a try and grab a chair. Any.”

Enrique pulled off his light jacket and hung it on the back of one of the folding chairs. He took the offered coffee and added a sugar cube from the table. If Dante weren’t in the room with him, he would be considered tall. Enrique sniffed the coffee, blew on it, and sat, one hand rubbing the worn knees of his jeans.

“Want one?” Father Ebbs asked, helping himself to a powdered doughnut.

Enrique shook his head.

“You a talker or a listener?” Dante asked, leaving one empty chair between them when he sat.

“Truthfully,” Enrique said, “I usually don’t shut up. But I’m not, I’m not really...”

“Not comfortable talking about your passenger? I get it,” Dante said with a nod.

“I don’t like it either,” Ebbs said.

“You?” Enrique asked, turning to the ex-priest. “I would have thought—”

“Occupational hazard,” Ebbs said.

“Father Ebbs got his passenger right around when the rift opened, Dante said. “He’s an early adopter.”

“No one had yet come to terms with…you know.” Ebbs brushed powdered sugar from his lips. “The whole ‘demons are coming to our world and are real’ thing. It was before anyone knew what was going on. It was an exorcism of one of the first. A little girl. I invited her in. My passenger, not the girl. She took the offer. Violastine. Viola. And, as a result, I got excommunicated from upstairs.”



"Quirky...romantic...sexy..."








Paul A. DeStefano 
and his wife live on Long Island, NY, with a strange menagerie that includes a dog, a few cats, sugar gliders, a bearded dragon, and several grown children that have not left.

After graduating from Hofstra University with a split degree in English and Acting, he worked in the board gaming and roleplaying industry for decades, including officially licensed projects for Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. He did not win the Origins Award for Best Miniatures Rules in 2004 and has forgotten that bitter defeat. When not playing and working on games, he is sometimes found touring internationally, giving lectures on worldbuilding and character design.

Being a professional full-time blacksmith for several years made him realize how much less painful it was to go back to writing. He’s been lucky enough to hold the Top Humor Writer badge at Medium multiple times and has had his work narrated by James Cosmo (Lord Mormont from Game of Thrones) on multimillion-dollar Kickstarter projects.

It is also worth noting that having never taken any bassoon lessons, he still cannot play one.

His latest book is the urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel, RIFTSIDERS: UNLAWFUL POSSESSION.

Visit his website at www.PaulADeStefano.com or connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoodreads and Instagram.









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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

­čôľAuthors To Watch: Winona Kent Author of Ticket to Ride #authorstowatch #interview

 


Winona Kent is an award-winning author who was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where she completed her BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

Winona’s writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power.

Her spy novel Skywatcher was a finalist in the Seal Books First Novel Competition and was published in 1989. This was followed by a sequel, The Cilla Rose Affair, and her first mystery, Cold Play, set aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.

After three time-travel romances (Persistence of MemoryIn Loving Memory and Marianne’s Memory), Winona returned to mysteries with Disturbing the Peace, a novella, in 2017 and the novel Notes on a Missing G-String in 2019, both featuring the character she first introduced in Cold Play, professional jazz musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey.

The third book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mystery series, Lost Time, was published in 2020.

Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mysteries.

Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent, a screenwriter and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. She’s currently the BC/YK/NWT rep for the Crime Writers of Canada and is also an active member of Sisters n Crime – Canada West. She recently retired from her full-time admin job at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and is now happily embracing life as a full-time author.

You can visit her website at http://www.winonakent.com and connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.




In Lost Time, the third book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mystery series, professional musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey was rehearsing for Figgis Green’s 50th Anniversary Tour of England. Now they’re on the road in Ms. Kent’s fourth book in the series, Ticket To Ride.

But when a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns them of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps.

After Jason is attacked and nearly killed in Cambridge, and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy’s hotel room, it becomes clear they’re being targeted by someone with a serious grudge.

And when Figgis Green plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known.

Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram “guardian angel,” and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.

Book Information

Release Date: March 26, 2022

Publisher:  Blue Devil Books

Soft Cover: 978-1777329433; 230 pages; $15.70; E-Book, $3.93

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3i0xRqY

Barnes & Noble
Paperback
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ticket-to-ride-winona-kent/1141097853?ean=9781777329433
Ebook
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ticket-to-ride-winona-kent/1141097853?ean=9781777329426

Apple Books
https://books.apple.com/ca/book/ticket-to-ride/id1612423905

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/ticket-to-ride-17

Amazon Canada
Paperback
https://www.amazon.ca/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent/dp/1777329434
Ebook
https://www.amazon.ca/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent-ebook/dp/B09SZ2LRV6

Amazon US
Paperback
https://www.amazon.com/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent/dp/1777329434
Ebook
https://www.amazon.com/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent-ebook/dp/B09SZ2LRV6

Amazon UK
Paperback
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent/dp/1777329434
Ebook
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticket-Ride-Winona-Kent-ebook/dp/B09SZ2LRV6




We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

I was telling stories before I knew how to write—I drew pictures on my bedroom walls! I had a mother who read to me every day when I was small, so I grew up with a voracious appetite for books. I decided at a very early age that I wanted to write stories myself—so that’s what I did. I taught myself to type when I was 12, and I wrote my first novel when I was in Grade 8. I handed out chapters for my schoolfriends to read at Recess. I kept writing all the way through high school and into university. Back then, you couldn’t really make a living as a writer in Canada unless you were on a best-seller list, and I did need to earn money to live, so I settled for a series of full-time jobs that had nothing to do with writing, but I kept working on my fiction in my spare time. I won a fiction contest for one of my short stories, and then my novel, Skywatcher, was a finalist in a first novel competition and was published by Seal Books in Canada and Bantam in the US…and that’s what set me on the road!

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I used to write in my spare time, on weekends, evenings, holidays. That was back when I was working in a full-time job completely unrelated to writing. In October 2019, however, I retired from my job at the University of British Columbia, and since then, I’m happy to report I’ve finally become a full-time writer…and now I try to write (or research my current WIP) every day, usually between 10am and 3pm. My writing desk is in the living room of my apartment, next to a huge window overlooking my balcony, which itself is seven stories up in the air and overlooking a vista view of the Fraser River.

I very definitely plot. I picked up the skill when I went to Vancouver Film School and learned how to write screenplays. I’ve found it incredibly useful, and there’s no rule that says the outline you start with has to be the same one you end with. In fact, I constantly tinker with the details and the plotting and quite often, the ending is as much a surprise to me as it is to my readers.

I’ve tried a variety of plotting software programs, but my favorite at the moment is Plottr. It’s fantastic.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in my Jason Davey Mysteries. Jason is a professional musician / amateur sleuth, and in this new adventure he’s on the road, standing in for his late father and touring England with his mother’s folky-pop band, Figgis Green. But when a psychic warns Jason and Mandy, his mother, they're in danger from something "dropping”, the band is plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps -- including a plummeting gargoyle! After Jason is attacked in Cambridge and nearly drowns while he's punting on the river, and a fire alarm in their hotel results in a theft from Mandy's room, it becomes very clear they're being targeted by someone with a serious grudge. And when the band plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that someone finally makes themselves - and their deadly intentions - known. Jason has to rely on his instincts, a mysterious Instagram follower who calls herself his "guardian angel," and the ghost of a Battle of Britain airman, who may or may not share his DNA, in order to survive.

How did you get the idea for the book?

This story owes its existence to my third Jason Davey mystery, Lost Time. In that novel, Jason is on the south coast of England, rehearsing with his mum’s band while he solves the puzzle surrounding the disappearance of a young woman in 1977. I had so much research and so many good ideas left over from Lost Time that I thought, why not actually send him out on the road in the next book? So that’s what I did. The mysteries that Jason tackles along the way are directly related to my own passion for family tree research—which Jason shares.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Very definitely Jason, the main character in the series. He’s interesting—he has a very dry wit, he’s clever, but he’s often confounded by the situations he encounters, and he’s human—and has many vulnerabilities. He makes mistakes. He’s a very accomplished musician but he’s not completely comfortable being an amateur sleuth—he’s still not certain he can do it successfully. He still hasn’t written the final exam that would grant him a Private Investigator’s license in England. And I’m not sure he ever will, to be honest.  

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Actually, it was writing the book! All the time I was working on the story, my mum (aged 95) was encountering health problems, which were actually to be expected in such a very ancient lady. She lived with my sister, but I was sharing care-giver duties, and twice a week I would drive from New Westminster (where I live) to North Vancouver (where they lived) to help out, to take mum for a ride in the car, to basically spend the day with her. Without wanting to sound selfish, all those journeys did have an impact on my concentration and my ability to maintain some kind of continuity with the story. As my mum’s health declined, the problem only got worse. I resorted to all kinds of outlining software to try and keep the story straight in my mind (I’m definitely a plotter, not a pantser), until, in the end, my lovely mother had to go to the hospital and, ultimately a hospice, where she died, peacefully and with nothing left unsaid. Following that, I had to help my sister with her grief, and go through a process of sorting through mum’s belongings and papers and photos, and help my sister find somewhere new to live…so it wasn’t surprising that Ticket to Ride ended up having to be put on temporary hiatus. Finally, with mum’s affairs settled and my sister in her new flat, I found I had time for myself again. It was as if a curtain had opened. The way became clear, and I was able to finish the book. I hadn’t been aware of all the things I was dealing with at the time, but my publishing partner, Brian Richmond (from Blue Devil Books) very kindly pointed out that my attention had been very much distracted over the previous year and a half, so it was all completely understandable. I hadn’t been aware of it at all. But, looking back, I have to tell myself, of course that was the problem. You were just so caught up in everything, you didn’t see it.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m starting to outline the next Jason Davey mystery (#5 in the series), which is called Bad Boy. It marks the return of one of my favorite baddies, Arthur Braskey from Notes on a Missing G-String. And it has a rather shock beginning that takes place at The Shard, in London.