Ahoy me hearties!
As we reach the hind end of the Winter Tempest we are steering a course through the literary seas to the mysteries and intrigue of exotic lands and warmer times. Today we drop the anchors to welcome seasoned Author Elizabeth Alsobrooks aboard The Whimsical Herald. Elizabeth Alsobrooks has a PhD and is a lover of history, mysteries, ancient texts, and mythology. It’s time for high tea on the high seas and our latest Author Q &A with Elizabeth to discuss her newest release in the Illuminati Series, ‘Stolen Secrets’. Stolen Secrets is a genre-bending read that includes elements of mystery ,thriller, paranormal and romance.
“She looked up and into soft blue eyes the color of an English sky in springtime. They seemed filled with tenderness and genuine concern . . . Such beautiful and intelligent eyes, focused upon her with eager intensity. A woman could lose herself in those pools. Many had, she was sure of it.”
WELCOME ELIZABETH ALSOBROOKS!
Q-The mysterious and notorious Illuminati Organization figures prominently in your novels. What is it about the Illuminati that intrigues you and when did you first become aware of its existence and significance?
I've known about it for decades. I'd tell you how many, but then I'd have to kill you--in a book, of course! I do talk about it more in my following author reading video, however.
Q-What travels and pilgrimages have you gone on that inspire your books?
Oh my, now you are digging deep. I have to say that the catacombs, stonehenge, the highlands of Scotland and Ireland filled me with so many ideas and such an intense sense of possibility, mystery, and wonder. One of the settings in The Tree of Life, is set in Sedona due to a vacation my daughter, Krystal, took me on last year when she came to visit me from MI.
Q-What mentors have you had along your journey as a well respected and popular author?
Pulitzer-nominated author Thomas Sullivan has been a friend and mentor for nearly 3 decades. I met him when I was acting as the author liaison for a literacy fundraiser. I have also been lucky enough to have a close-knit critique group of women who I met at a Mid-Michigan RWA meeting almost 3 decades ago. Even though I've moved to AZ I still keep in touch with some of them, and two of them are fellow TT authors, Loralee Lillibridge, who has a Western Contemporary Romance, Cowboys, Castles and Cradles, coming out soon, and Nancy Gideon, whose PR and Social Media for Writers is coming out in paperback soon.
Q-How do you come up with your characters in Stolen Secrets? What qualities do you have in common with Lady Isabella Valentine?
I generally brainstorm a story idea and then people it with characters I feel the story is about. As I write, and I'm a pantser, as the characters come to life they tell me what's happening. Lady Isabella has my sense of adventure. I love exploring new places and discovering hidden treasures.
Q-Who inspired the swoonworthy male character in Stolen Secrets?
Do I need to say anything more?
Q-Your visually rich descriptions draw the reader into the story very quickly. Was writing a craft you studied or does high impact storytelling come naturally to you?
I have a degree in English, so I certainly read my share of literature, but I think I learned the most about writing by teaching others to write creatively for decades--which included teaching them how to read like a writer, paying attention to what the writer did to make them, the reader, react emotionally.
Q-What is your best one liner of advice for aspiring authors?
Write what you love to read, if you want readers to love what you write.
Q-Who encouraged you to publish your first book?
I had a lot of encouragement, but if you want to know who pushed and prodded me to just get it down on paper and get it done, it was Nancy Gideon. She's the most prolific writer I know and the many fans of her By Moonlight and House of Terriot series are very happy that she is. As one of her Beta readers, I can only say, they've got some tall, dark and dangerous coming.
Q-What early personal experiences contributed to your love of writing?
My love of reading, from under the covers with a flashlight to up in a tree to hide out from my siblings and get some quiet time, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.
Q-Who are some of your favorite authors?
The above, of course, but when I was young, I read The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, then Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer. Jayne Eyre in Joseph Campbell's hero's journey was the topic of my first college paper. I fell in love with the classics, from Beowulf, Chaucer and Dante to Shakespear, Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Edgar Allan Poe, Asimov and Joyce. I read Anne Rice's vampire series, almost anything from Dean Koontz, and James Rollin's Sigma Force series inspired the action/adventure you will find in my work.
Q-Which scenes in Stolen Secrets were the most challenging to write? Can you give us one of your favorite quotes from the novel?
Easy, the love scenes. It's a romance, so they really matter and since I most often write Urban Fantasy I don't write as many romance scenes, especially with full-on sex, as most romance writers. I'll have to think on my favorite quote.
Q-What future projects are in the works now that your latest novel Stolen Secrets has been released?
Since you were kind enough to ask, I'm well into Book II of my Iluminati series, The Tree of Life and it will be out later this year. To keep up on my progress follow my blog for weekly snippets: www.elizabethalsobrooks.com/blog
SCIENTISTS, COLLEAGUES, ALLIES, AND LOVERS, BUT . . . IMMORTAL ENEMIES.
In book two, the Clans still struggle for control and domination, but the prominent characters are the Vargas Dynasty's lead geneticist, Dr. Kirin Vargas, and a mysterious stranger from a long-lost tribe of ancient warriors whose modern knowledge and technology threaten to crumble the very foundations of civilization and bring even the royal family to their knees.
Dr. Rodrigo Silva, AKA Rio, has some dark, mysterious secrets, and none of the Vargas Clan knew the ancient line of black jaguar shapeshifters had survived undetected for thousands of years, guarding their secrets with powerful magic and developing their telepathic abilities until they rival those of the ancient gods themselves. Ironic, considering they were responsible for his family's curse. And now Kirin dares to ask him for help?
Now that her children have flown from the nest and remain in the frozen North (AKA Michigan) Elizabeth has retired from her "normal" day jobs and lives with her personal editor, Hudson (AKA Maltese), and her husband, Kenton (AKA Irish-Scotsman), at the foot of the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountain Range in Oro Valley, AZ.
She loves to entertain friends and family from colder climates, or hike the mountain trails, jog, or ride her bike on the miles of walk/bike paths, sit on her patio watching the local wildlife visit her pond, sipping coffee and reading, writing, editing, or brainstorming plots and enjoying the grandeur of her breathtaking mountain views.
Her love of mythology and ancient literature and history were the backbone for her series, and the Sigma Force series by James Rollins inspired the fast-paced adventures (He recently told her at a literacy fundraiser that he found that flattering, as no one had ever told him he was inspiring before!). The result is an action-packed URBAN FANTASY novel series, with its basis in timeless romance, truth, superstitions, mythology and conspiracy theories.
Keep up with her at: www.elizabethalsobrooks.com
Offered an enormous sum by an anonymous benefactor for the acquisition of an ancient ceremonial relic, a sum that would keep the antiquities shop in Cairo her father left her afloat while she continued her own archaeological pursuits, Lady Isabella Valentine was distracted rather than tempted, then suspicious, when the dashing young Bedouin slipped in just before closing and promised her a deal she couldn’t refuse--for the very same relic. Despite his sensual appeal, she did refuse him, sending him away.
Prince Mukhtar, son of Sheikh Abdul Kummel al-Rahman, leader of the Hassana, is on a sacred Illuminati mission for Queen Isis to retrieve something stolen from one of her temples over a thousand years ago. This mortal disbeliever though an enchanting English rose, however beautiful she might be, is clearly in the power of the Usurper and must be persuaded to help him, one way or another. But neither of them know of the evil power they are up against, or what hidden dangers await them in the tomb of the high priest.
The Whimsical Herald would like to congratulate Author Elizabeth Alsobrooks on her release of STOLEN SECRETS: Illuminati Spinoff Romance Book 1, and thank her for joining us in the cabin at the Captain's table to regale us with the inside scoop on her intriguing release!
For now we must cast off, so ‘Anchors Away!’ ye land lubbers 'til we approach landfall and explore our next literary lagoon!
--Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness and your host
Born in Zimbabwe and raised internationally, the Stockholm-based writer suffered a series of artistic setbacks such as a failed school play directorial début, trying his hand at comic books, and writing short stories that mostly ended up in the dust bin. It all came together when he finally achieved a hundred or so pages, and from then, never looked back. Now he brings you ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’, the first book in the series, ‘The Rites of Passage’.
Avast me hearties! Greetings from your Mistress of Madness P.Mattern!
Climb aboard our seaworthy vessel, The Whimsical Herald, and prepare for a voyage to a land of lush vegetation, tropical breezes, native magic and DANGER! Author Curtis Sagwete is here to launch his brand new release, ’RED JACARANDA LEAVES’!
1. You bring a rich visual background to your novel Red Jacaranda Leaves. Were you inspired by real life travels or experiences?
Oh definitely. I spent a lot of my childhood in Southern and Eastern Africa. I think the book reflects that, particularly the different geographical locations I use as a backdrop for my story telling, and the variations of culture.
2. How did Rites of Passage become a central theme in your novel?
Xolani and Nia’s rites of passages were more or less planned from the get go, however, when I got to the end of the book and evaluated the manuscript, I discovered that not only did I have the literal rites of passage ceremony in Princess Nia, and the journey Xolani and his peers embark on, but also several figurative rites of passages as well. Particularly Gamu and Prince Themba.
3. What authors do you enjoy reading and what inspires your writing?
What I was trying to do when I began ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’ was draw from my artistic and educational experiences. I think writers like GGR Martin and Ken Follet inspired this book, particularly their detailed worlds. After consuming the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, I was looking for the same feeling, so quenched that desire with other books in the genre from authors like Robin Hobbs. I think that set me on the fantasy journey that led to ‘Red Jacaranda Leaves’. I enjoy revisiting Chinua Achebe’s work and took great inspiration from it, particularly, ‘Things Fall Apart’. A majority of the books I’ve read are from social science course syllabuses, so I found inspiration from those as well.
4. Do you follow a writing routine, can you tell us something about your writing process?
I usually have a rough set goal, which I write towards with little regard for style and the intricacies of writing. I think the narrative is the most difficult part, so I do not want to interrupt my train of thought with technicalities. After that I go through the manuscript again, improving the language and imposing my style, adding more detail to the environment until I have fully fleshed characters and a vivid environment.
5. What advice would you give to emerging writers who aspire to be published authors?
Write, write, write!! You know, I’ve written so much stuff, some of it mildly amusing, but if you continue writing, one day after you’ve amassed a number of pages, you will know when you’ve found a good story. After that never give up.
6. What were the major influences in your choice to become an author?
That’s a tough question, but as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to write a book. As a kid I dabbled in several artistic mediums, but I always enjoyed writing the most.
7. In your well-developed cast of characters in Red Jacaranda Leaves, who do you want the reader rooting for?
Oh, that’s an easy one. Xolani and Princess Nia. Readers should also be rooting for Gamu. I think these characters are somehow suffocated by their societal norms and yearn to take control of their own lives.
8. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of writing novels?
Outside of writing I’ve been mostly doing my regular job and furthering my studies. I’ve managed to get some travelling done, which is something I enjoy. As a writer, I think it’s important to experience things, so I try my best to keep entertained in various ways.
9. How would you like the readers to feel after they finish reading Book One of The Rites of Passage Series?
After finishing the book, I’d like readers to have had a new literary experience. That is what I set out to do, to put my own African twist on the fantasy genre.
The Whimsical Herald would like to thank Author Curtis Sagwete for enthralling and entertaining us with a passage from his unique, awesome, and richly descriptive novel ‘RED JACARANDA LEAVES’! One click this amazing tale on Amazon today and continue this exotic journey full of sorrow, intrigue and mystery.
Keep up with Curtis on his author website when we dock at Tell-Tale Publishing!
Mistress of Madness P.Mattern thinks this Fantasy novel read will shiver our timbers, me hearties! Listen to the author himself reading from his novel!
Red Jacaranda Leaves available in Kindle, Nook, and Paperback TODAY! GRAB YOUR COPY or...walk the plank!
As always steer straight and true and keep your sights on the horizon as The Whimsical Herald and Tell-Tale Publishing bring you the finest literary treasures from the seven seas and beyond!
Thank you for taking this voyage with us, readers!
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)