It is a true honor for me to have author and blogger, Patricia Guthrie as my guest this week. She is an accomplished author, member of Rave Reviews Book Club, a retired teacher, opera singer, and lover of horses and dogs. I have enjoyed getting to know this most amazing and multi-talented lady.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My friend Mary Berg and I discussed plots over lunch (a lot) Finally, in exasperation, she suggested I write one. I said “how hard can it be?” I found out.
What books have most influenced your life?
Bird on Bird by Anne Lamott
Agatha Christie (love of mysteries)
An Unquiet Mind
Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest?
RRBC authors writers are varied in their genres and use techniques I’m not always familiar with. I rarely read poetry and read two books of poetry this week.
I’m not familiar in writing fiction in present tense, but found it an interesting concept.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’d been an opera singer and performed stories from other writers with music. When I decided to leave that profession, the next step was creating my own plots instead of performing the works of others.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Tendency to get writer’s block—then procrastinate. Wish I could find my blog on writer’s block. It somehow disappeared.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read, read read. Fiction, non-fiction, books on writing, don’t beat yourself up, do your business homework ie check on Indie publications and check out your publishers and agents. Otherwise, keep forming plots in your mind. Keep writing. Also, bone up on your grammar and for heaven sakes, do your research.
What book are you introducing to us today?
Legacy of Danger
How did you come up with the title?
Legacy of Danger
Elena Dkany inherits a castle in Romania and finds she also has inherited a hit man trying to kill her, ghosts, an ex-boyfriend she doesn’t want to see, and an attack in her home that settles her decision her to go to Romania and her castle.
Tell us what you like about the main characters of this book.
Elena Dkany is a strong, feisty woman who has a habit of walking out on unwanted conversations.(strength and weakness) This leaves her vulnerable and leads to her kidnapping. I do find her culture fascinating and like her adventuresome spirit.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned about the culture of Romania and about the drug smuggling culture in Europe—although I didn’t really use it much. I also learned there is a difference between a strong woman and a bitchy one. I might have stepped over the line in this book a few times. Next time, I hope I know better.
What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
You can and should trust people, but choose those friends carefully.
Please share an excerpt from the book.
This is the opening scene of Legacy of Danger. It couldn’t come from the final PDF because you can’t copy that. I don’t think there are any stupid mistakes on this final edited copy. (I hope) Hope you enjoy this, or at least, get a goose bump or two.
Legacy of Danger
Patricia A. Guthrie
Briar Hill College’s faculty and staff stood close by under the shade of the oak trees. They’d abandoned their classes to pay tribute to the widow of the man who’d I murdered.
The voice whispered through rustling trees. Startled, Elena Dkany looked around for the source. Nothing. No voice except the priest praying over her grandmother’s coffin. In ninety-degree weather, goose bumps popped out on her arms. Hearing non-existent voices was not a good thing. She shook the cobwebs from her brain. Must be imagining things, a result from the long tragic week.
As the coffin disappeared into the ground, a vapor materialized into a solid shape by her side and the scent of roses permeated Elena's immediate space. Its perfume overpowered the pines and moldy earth, but no rose bushes grew in the small cemetery. Roses where there was no rose garden. This is not happening.
But it was. Her grandmother stood by her side as though she’d never died—-like they were attending somebody else’s funeral. And nobody else seemed to notice. No startled looks, no wide-eyes, or 'oh my God's.'
The ghost of Magda Dkany spoke. You must find your son. Was it a voice or the wisp of wind that sounded like a murmur or a sigh?
My son? But, he died nine years ago before he’d even been a month old.
Elena focused on her apparition. It appeared like she’d looked only two days ago.
Murdered. Your life...in danger. Your son in danger. Find Alexander.
Her heart pounded fast enough without hearing her life might be in danger, or the name Alexander Brancusi. Not exactly someone she wanted to hear about. Overhead sea gulls squawked. A light wind blew in from Lake Michigan, dropping the temperature. Elena froze, but her chill didn’t come from the air. She turned too fast to the dematerializing ghost. You're dead. You can’t talk to me.
But the ghost's presence continued to thin. The voice softened. Go to Dkany. Find your son. Now she was hardly an outline. Then, just air.
"No. Please, don’t go. Why are you saying this?"
The scent of roses dissipated.
"Why do you have to leave?"
The onlookers across the coffin began to look at her with puzzled expressions. Worried looks crossed their faces.
Magda’s presence knocked Elena off balance. She scrambled to keep from toppling onto the casket halfway down into the earth. A man with musky aftershave replaced Magda's image and caught Elena's arm.
Outside the cemetery, a car horn honked, kids cheered from the little league field across the street, and somewhere a dog howled.
Father Christofides, the American-Romanian Orthodox priest who’d baptized Elena, appeared strange and intimidating. A huge crucifix hung around his neck like an ominous albatross of death. Everything moved in slow motion, a surrealistic emptiness of space and time. “Eternal your memory, Magda, our sister, worthy of blessedness and ever-remembered.”
With his words, the ceremony ended.
Elena turned to thank the man, but her friend Marina Brancusi now held her. She didn't know when Marina and the stranger changed places.
END OF FIRST SCENE
Other books written by Ms. Guthrie and her links:
Waterlilies Over My Grave
In the Arms of the Enemy