Ahoy me hearties!
Egad! It seems a whale’s age since we last met! We have been busier than a swabbie scouring the deck after a bunch of seasick landlubbers have come aboard, sailing the high seas in search of the next great book. I am pleased and excited to announce that we will be welcoming an illustrious author, Ric Wasley, on board The Whimsical Herald to regale you with a mysterious tale of a femme fatale by the name of Maria Orsic, in his novel, ’THE GIRL WITH THE FARAWAY EYES’.
Maria Orsic- Legend, clairvoyant, modern Oracle, or something entirely different?
Christopher Brennan desperately needs to find out.
“For a fraction of a second her mask slipped, and her eyes bored into mine like a laser. But I had my answer. There was something else going on behind those faraway eyes and I was going to find out what.”
This is the story of a woman who some claim is a myth, someone who never existed at all—a character made up from a composite of representative metaphysical personalities prevalent in occult groups at the turn of the last century.
And yet . . . there are others, many others, perhaps millions who have seen her face on hundreds of UFO and paranormal websites and TV shows. They have gazed at images of the enigmatic woman called Maria and are convinced she is real and her story is real too.
Real or myth, her story is compelling and as strange and incredible as the times in which she is purported to have lived. A time when events, inconceivable and unbelievable in our own rights, happened while deluded self-proclaimed messiahs and dictators plunged the world into a conflagration of war that could have ultimately destroyed all life on this planet.
Perhaps that’s why we have always felt, in our desire for answers, compelled to explore the edges of the impossible, and in doing so bur and redefine the eternally wavering line between myth and reality. For the purpose of this fascination story, that’s exactly what has been done.
Mistress of Madess: Ric, what drew you to the enigmatic central character Maria Orsic in ‘The Girl With The Faraway Eyes’? What would you say to her if you ever had an encounter with her?
Ric: I was first drawn to Maria when I saw her picture on a website while researching the origins of Thulist society that sprang up in Germany after the First World War and eventually sparked the mysticism and occult beliefs that surrounded the leadership and ultimately produced many of the tenants of the Nazi Party.
Maria herself was as enigmatic as she was beautiful. And from what little hard evidence that has emerged about her, indicates to me that she would never have approved of the violence and and murderous racial paranoia that came to dominate the Third Riech. She was first and foremost a mystic who surrounded herself with a group of likeminded young women whose goal was to gather ancient wisdom and channel extraterrestrial intelligences.
In fact, having been a hippie myself during the 60’s, Maria’s group of Vrillian, as they called themselves (named after the mysterious force, “Vrill” which they believed controlled the universe), seemed reminiscent to me of the 60’s hippie communes of my college days. Pretty girls with long hair, sitting around a table with eyes closed and opening their minds to the “good vibrations” of the universe. It was Maria’s misfortune that in attendance to one of the sessions sponsored by the occult Thulist society, was a young devotee of a fledging fringe movement of bitter ex-soldiers and paranoid malcontents; Rudolph Hess. And he went back to his “leader”, Adolph Hitler, and told him about the beautiful young woman who was psychically in touch with past and advanced civilizations and could channel not only ancient knowledge and languages but advanced technology as well.
A decade later when the Nazi’s came to power Hitler remembered and ‘asked' (meaning told) Maria and her Vrillian that they were to use their abilities to seek out this advanced information and give it to the German scientists who would then turn it into weapons - such as the V1 and V2 rockets.
Thus was born the mysterious ‘Bell’ program, 'Die Glocke', which both the US and Soviets raced to locate after the war. And although we know the Nazi’s spent massive amounts of money as well as thousands of slave laborers the mysterious weapon was never used. Why? And what was it supposed to do? Was it a bomb, a death ray or as some believe a device able to bend space and time? And although we even have photos of the top secret SS research site in the Owl Mountains in Poland, it remains the only one of Hitlers ‘Wonder Weapons’ that has never been found.
And that is what attracted me to the mystery, Because the night before the Russians overran the camp in 1945, both Maria and ’The Bell’ disappeared forever. Or did they? That is the story that these events inspired me to write.
And naturally, if I ever met Maria, the one and only question I would have for her would be; “ Did I get it right in my novel? Was my supposition correct about what the device was meant to do and where you have been for the last seventy years?”
And I like to think that she would tell me.
Mistress of Madness: As the author of many novels and an experienced world builder, what do you think emerging authors need to be aware of when creating worlds for their novels?
Ric: In preparation for writing this book I studied Quantum Mechanics and became convinced that Einstein was really on to something and that the physicists who postulate the ‘multiverse theory' make a lot of sense. Therefore when I create some of the alternative history worlds used in the book I have one key requirement.They must all be not just plausible but possible as well. For instance, in one is the world which would exist if Hitler had developed the A-bomb first and the Nazis had won the war. And in reality that could just have easily have happened. As could have many other events in which one small change would have resulted in a world completely different. So for me although I find fantasy fun, as mystery, paranormal and historical writer, I always prefer to give reality a tiny tweak and see where that leads.
Mistress of Madness: In your career as a writer, teacher, lecturer, marketer and musician you have encountered icons-Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to name two. Did they leave a lasting impression of you?
Ric: That is probably the single question I’ve been asked most in radio and TV interviews over the past 40 years and while it would be tempting to say yes, and spin a few good yarns about me, Joan and Bobbie, the truth is that I spent an evening with them playing on a open mike session in a small Iconic folk club - The Club 47 - when I was just 16 back in the early sixties. They were nice enough to show me a few chords and things as I sang along with them and remember that Joan had long dark hair and was very intense. Although she did smile a few times too. Bob didn’t smile. In fact her was very shy and hardly spoke. However he did explain to me how to play the harmonica and show me how to use the strange contraption around his neck (a harmonica holder). The one pice of advice I recall that he gave me was, “Git yerself a whole bunch of harmonicas - one in every key if ya kin afford ‘em.”
Words of wisdom.
Mistress of Madness: Are you anything like your protagonist Chris Brennan?
Ric: The short answer is ‘Yes’. Come to think of it, it’s the long answer too. Chris and I have differences (he’s more even tempered) but we share a nack for letting our curiosity land us right in the middle of ‘adventures' that make great stories later but that you wish like hell you were out of when they are actually happening.
Mistress of Madness: Having lived in the age of ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’, how does your intimate knowledge of this cultural era impact your writing?
Ric: Excellent question. And yes, I was right in the middle of the “Psychedelic 60’s”. As a musician who rode a big blue motorcycle and played at every love-in and party, and every venue from small smoky clubs to giant stadiums, I had a ring-side seat to what was probably the most exciting time ever to have been a teenager. Everything was opening up, new ideas were being explored, love was free and minds were expanding. And yes, it is true what they say about the life of a ‘rock n’roller’ musician. Along with the 'Rock n’ roll' and ‘Drugs', came the ‘Sex'. And yes, there were “groupies”. But then it was all about freedom and youth, The motto was, “don’t trust anyone over 30.” And while we didn’t it also meant that everyone in “Our Generation” (thanks Who!) was automatically in the the “Club” of youth.
As a result I actually based my first detective series on these experiences and came up with the “McCarthy Family Mysteries”. These books, all set in the single year of 1968, feature Vietnam vet and Harvard drop-out, Mick McCarthy and his feisty, green eyed pixie Irish girlfriend, Bridget Connolly. And because I lived much of the life I ascribe to them I’m able to set the novels in Boston, Cambridge, Cape Cod, Newport and all of the places that the flower children (and I) inhabited in the 60’s. And since they are both aspiring musicians in addition to being reluctant detectives (the old man of the family runs a detective agency) I also get to use all the places I stayed and played as period settings. It really helps.
Mistress of Madness: What’s the most interesting question a fan asked at a book signing and what was your answer?
Ric: Well one of the first I got that brought my notions of the ‘glamourous’ life of an author firmly back to reality was at a book signing tour. I was set up with a table at the entrance to a Barnes & Noble, when I woman walked up to my table and said, “excuse me.” Expecting a typical “author question” I smiled. “Yes”? What I didn’t realized was that I happened to be wearing a black short sleeve shirt and black pants - which also happened to be what most of the B&N employees wore. So when the customer came up to me she ignored my books and ready pen and asked, “Hey - where’s the bathroom?”
Ah, the exciting life of an author.
Mistress of Madness: Which popular contemporary authors do you read if any?
My two favorites are George McDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman series of brilliantly written Historicals that feature a wickedly funny anti-hero of the 19th century British empire, Harry Flashman. Fraser wove his fascinating historical novels (he is now sadly deceased) into a Forest Gump-like series of misadventures in which the scheming protagonst is thrown for one frying pan into the fire while interacting with all of the famous figures of the Victorian age. And in addition to being a rollicking good story with laugh out loud predicaments the history is meticulously researched with extensive footnotes.
My second favorite author is Bernard Cornwell; another historical novelist famous for his Richard Sharpe series and most recently the Saxon Chroniclas of England during the Viking age.
Mistress of Madness: If ‘The Girl With The Faraway Eyes’ went to film which actress is your pick to play Maria Orsic?
Ric: Based on looks and the ability to play an enigmatic character I would start with Nichole Kidman or Scarlet Johansen
Mistress of Madness: How do you relax when you’re not writing?
Ric: Diving, fishing, boating, golfing or hiking every day and reading when I’m not doing those.
Mistress of Madness: What other projects do you have in the works? Can you give us any hints as to future novels to look forward to?
Ric: Yes, I’m working on two new ones right now for my editor, Elizabeth, at Tell-Tale.
The first is the sequel to my paranormal novel, “Echoes down a Dark Well”, titled not coincidentally, “Promises down a Dark Well”. It begins where Echoes ended with the two protagonists, Cody and Clarisse, having vanquished the evil Faustus who has been pursuing them through the ages. Unlike Cody and Clarisse, who have been reincarnated with complete memories of the past lives for 2,000 years, Faustus, for his role in Christ's crucification, has been cursed with immortality, but with one important caveat: he ages, very, very slowly - perhaps one year for every 40-50 years. But age he does and he is now in old age and desperate to find the one thing that can break the curse. He is convinced that the only one who knows the secret is Cody’s eternal love, Clarisse. She and Cody think that after thwarting him in the Echoes, that they are free from their own quest and curse and are preparing to settle down for the first normal life in two Millenia. But Faustus isn’t finished yet - not by a long shot.
The second new book is the 4th in the McCarthy Family Mystery series titled “A song before Dying.” And this one opens some four decades after the two young lovers, musicians and reluctant detectives, parted in the mid-70’s. When they meet again by accident, much water has gone under the bridge. Multiple marriages, careers and secret that only Bridget, Mick’s former girlfriend and the only woman he ever really loved… children. Or rather a child, that Bridget was carrying when she left Mick to return from Boston to Ireland. And as this new book in the series opens, Mick, a retired LA and Boston cop, has been called in to a murder case as a consultant and the prime suspects just happen to be not only his old flame but the daughter he never knew he had!
I hit upon this theme with many of my baby boomer generation in mind who are now approaching senior years wondering “what ever happened to?” and “what if...?” This novel will cross that bridge from the Hippie world of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll to today but will also prove that they never totally ‘fade away’.
Mistress of Madness: Are you planning any events and signings in 2017-2018? Where can your fans meet up with you?
Ric: I’ll probably be doing a book signing at the end of August at the Yellow Umbrella in the resort town of Chatham, MA and appearing at the New England Mystery Authors Night in Newton, MA on December 7. I’ll also be teaching my ongoing classes on 'Marketing for Writers' at Dennis/Yarmouth Adult Education in October and at Cape Cod Community College in Spring 2018 and will be posting other events as they get confirmed.
The Whimsical Herald bids a fond farewell to our amazing guest, Ric Wasley, and it’s “anchors aweigh!” as we prepare to head off to other ports! We thank him for sharing the mysteries and adventure of ‘The Girl With The Faraway Eyes”. Be sure to check out his amazing book trailer and live author reading down the page--and sign up for free goodies!
Comment at will me hearties, and have a chance at a random giveaway of our finest Tell-Tale Publishing brew—fine coffees from Tell-Tale Publishing’s Gourmet Shoppe!
AAAAAAAH—a good book and a delicious cup of java…
Aye, there be TREASURE!
Mistress of Madness on THE WHIMSICAL HERALD
book trailer-The girl with the faraway eyes
Author reading/book intro with ric wasley!
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!)