Thursday, January 20, 2011
I'm currently reading a page-turning paranormal mystery-thriller, The Gifts, by Linda Prather. I've been so taken by the writing and the story, that I asked Linda to stop by today for an interview about her Jacody Ives Mystery Series as well as her plans for future works.
K: Welcome to Fiction for Dessert, Linda. Thank you for spending this time to talk about your works.
L: Thank you for having me, Karen.
K: You have two novels out now, The Gifts and Sacred Secrets, both of which are Jacody Ives Mysteries. I’m reading The Gifts now and love it – the writing and story are compelling. Can you tell readers about the Jacody Ives series and how you were inspired to write them?
L: I've always been something of an amateur sleuth and loved following clues and figuring things out. The best mysteries to me were the ones that kept me guessing all the way to the end. I wanted to combine that type of mystery with my love of metaphysics and create a somewhat psychic character and show that being psychic didn't give you supernatural powers. In fact, it was often just the opposite because you never really knew if what you were seeing, hearing or feeling was true until after it happened. This leaves most psychics with a feeling of helplessness or frustration. From there I created Gavin McAllister/Jacody Ives. Once the character was created the story for The Gifts just flowed from beginning to end, and I would have to say that I was probably as shocked as anyone at some of the character twists and turns in that book. It truly was character written.
Sacred Secrets was written from reader requests. People wanted to know more about the split between Gavin McAllister and Jacody Ives and what caused it. So Sacred is actually the story behind the story, which must have been somewhere in my mind when I wrote The Gifts, because it too flowed easily from beginning to end.
K: Do you have a third book planned for this series?
L There are two more books planned in this series which hopefully will be released at the same time as the third book ends with a cliff hanger leading up to the fourth and I don't want readers to have to wait a year or longer to know what happens.
K: In real life, you are a paranormal investigator, which I personally find fascinating. Have you always been interested in the paranormal and can you talk a little about what it means to be a paranormal investigator?
L: Research for the third Jacody Ives Mystery led me to my interest in paranormal investigation. I've always believed that spirits and/or ghosts existed, and could on some levels communicate with us. I've studied and been tested as a psychic myself, and participated in some medium study. The third book includes a paranormal investigation group and I needed to know what they did, how they did it and why. During my quest for knowledge I met several wonderful people who led me through the process of the scientific investigations and the equipment used for those investigations. After a lot of work I earned the title paranormal investigator and still participate in investigations throughout the state of Kentucky and occasionally investigations in other states.
Being a paranormal investigator literally means trying to prove through undisputed scientific evidence that something alleged to be paranormal actually is paranormal. You first have to rule out every possible normal explanation, and even then you may not be able to prove one hundred percent that something paranormal exists. It means watching hours upon hours of blank video and listening to hours upon hours of audio. And when you do find something possibly abnormal you compare that to every other piece of audio, video or photographic evidence in an effort to first debunk it and if you can't debunk it then you attempt to authenticate it. It can be very boring, but at times also very exciting. Out of the hundreds of investigations I've attended only two have produced things I could not debunk, although I could not one hundred percent authenticate them either.
K: Many writers find it hard, once they’ve written within a certain genre, to step out of that genre and write with a different type of voice. Do you think you’ll write outside of the mystery genre, and if so, what?
L: Good question, Karen, and it came at a good time because I just started a book that is totally outside my normal style and voice. I have no idea where it came from, but I have enjoyed writing it. I shipped it off to several of my regular readers asking them if I should continue or give it up. They all agreed unanimously that they loved the voice and wanted to read more. I'm hoping to finish this in first draft form within the next three months. My biggest fear is that my mystery readers won't like it. It will have some aspects of a mystery to it, but it's written in first person not third which is my normal writing style. I’m a little scared of that and the challenges in marketing that it may present.
K: Would you be willing to share a little preview?
L: Love to. Here's a portion of Chapter One.
You grow up poor you've got to wonder if God's got a sense of humor. All the crap life throws at you. And He gives you mothers. It's kind of like that guy Brandon Lee said in the movie The Crow--"Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children."
He got that right. My momma wasn't just a good woman. She was a Saint. Somehow she managed to raise four kids on a waitress' salary. And three of them turned out pretty good. Or would have, but that's another story.
Sometimes when I'm thinking about momma I have to wonder if she knew about God's sense of humor. She read us the good book every night, but she never said nothing about no sense of humor. Still, she had to know something. I mean, after three girls she got me. She had to figure God was up to something.
I’m Jake Savior, and yeah you might as well go ahead and laugh. Everybody else does. My clients are always telling me God's got a sense of humor. The people looking for me weren't looking for a savior. They were mostly searching the want ads for killer for hire. That's me. For the right price I put a lot of people out of other people's misery. Heck, I even done some for free. Some people deserve to die, and being the nice guy I am, I gladly obliged them.
But I'm digressing. Let's get back to God's sense of humor.
I'd had a pretty good day. Won a few bucks on the horse races. Did a little charity work by ridding the world of one more piece of garbage. The courts seen fit to let a pedophile go--I didn't. So I was feeling pretty good about myself, except I was out of cigarettes.
Now anyone that knows me knows I love a good smoke. Last count I was up to five packs a day. Momma always said those thing were going to kill me. Turns out she was right.
Only a die-hard smoker goes out at 2:00 a.m. for smokes. Especially since all the safe places close down early, leaving only a few gas stations and convenience stores open at that hour. Still, I was willing to take my chances. It was too damn cold for thieves to be out and I really, really wanted that last cigarette before I turned the lights out and called it a day.
You've probably already concluded that I'm a smart ass bastard that beats my own drum. Some people will smoke anything. Not me. I'm a strict Kentucky Red's Best smoker. Which means whether I liked it or not I was gonna have to hoof it over to Winchester Road at this time of night. Not everybody carried Red's Best.
Being the cautious person I am, I scouted the parking lot and looked inside for milling customers. No cars and only one customer at the counter. I quickly ascertained he was one of the good guys like me, needing that last deep drag to calm his nerves before he called it a night. Boy was I wrong. Wrong place, wrong time and wrong guy. Five minutes after I entered the door of the Shaky Seven Gas to Go bullets started flying.
I've always heard that your life passes before your eyes when you're dying. Trust me, that's all bull. My last vision was that pack of Red's Best I held in my hand, and my last thought was how good that cigarette was gonna taste as soon as I got outside. Of course, that wouldn't have surprised anyone who really knew me. It wasn't any big surprise to me. I was surprised though. Having listened to momma all those years and growing up with three sisters extolling virtues that I never needed or wanted, I was expecting either that bright light to take me to Heaven, or most likely in my case, a little fire and brimstone trail leading to Hell. That didn't happen either.
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K: Wonderful! I look forward to seeing the finished product. If readers want to learn more about you and your books, do you have a website or blog for them to visit?
L: I have both, and they can drop by and check out samples of both The Gifts and Sacred Secrets, or just catch up on what I'm up to now. My blog is: Jacody Press and my website is: Prather-Author.com
K: Thank you for your time today, Linda!
L: Thank you for having me, Karen.
If you like a really well-written, powerful mystery with strong characters, I highly recommend The Gifts.
Posted by Karen Cantwell at 3:29 AM