Blurb for 'The Necklace'
Legends foretell death for anyone who possesses the fabled Peckham emerald necklace, lost by an Archer ancestor. Certainly, it has brought the Archers nothing but heartache. So Oriana is relieved it’s missing, assuming it ever existed. She has enough difficulties protecting her uncle—and her heart--from his dangerous new friend, Chilton Dacy. However, when Oriana finds the necklace, the curse reawakens. The necklace disappears, only to reappear clutched in a dead man’s hand.
The stranger’s death leaves Oriana with a frightening choice: ask Chilton for help, or face the possibility that she may hang for murder.
As I researched roses, I realized that hybrids frequently go by a variety of names and it can be very challenging to identify exactly which rose you may hold in your hand. I can’t exactly explain how that connected up in my admittedly twisted brain with the idea of a serial murderer who taunts a detective with a clue the murderer is sure the detective can’t decipher: a rose. If the rose is correctly identified, it will help the detective identify and possibly save the next victim.
Quite a dilemma and one I could not resist posing to my fictional detective who must enlist the assistance of a rosarian to find the answers he so urgently needs.
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character. What do you like best/least about him?
For some reason, I’m always attracted to “nice guys” and Charles Vance is no exception. He’s the kind of guy who would stop to help a stranger, and in fact, this puts him in a bit of a humorous bind when he saves the life of an orphaned girl and then is left with trying to figure out what to do with her. He can’t just abandon her. So while I admire him for helping others, he can also be rather irritating because of his excessive sense of responsibility. That, and an impulsive streak are his two biggest weaknesses, but they are also what makes him so endearing (at least to me).
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
The heroine is definitely a woman of her time (the Regency period). I like her calm, thoughtfulness and wish I had her self-control. I’ve always tried to control my temper—it is the bane of my existence—so I tend to write women who manage to control their tempers. Perhaps it’s my way of compensating. But Ariadne Wellfleet isn’t perfect. Because she is so controlled and thoughtful, she tends to over-think things. She may be too willing to play by the rules and meet the expectations of those around her. While she is strong, she is not stridently so—it is a more subtle, internal strength.
I admire her greatly. In fact, I wish I were more like her.
I’d like to think I control the story, but after the first three chapters, the characters always take over and that’s that. Whatever I planned pretty much goes out the window and they begin to tell me what to do. But in the end, I have the upper hand because if any of them get too obnoxious, I can always kill them off. That is, after all, the advantage to writing mysteries.
I’d really like them to come away with a smile on their face and a feeling of optimism. Over the years, I’ve learned that no matter how clear you think you see the future, you really don’t know what lies around the next corner, and that’s a good thing because it’s so easy to lose your hopes and dreams. I’d like to think that readers come away with the idea that our greatest gift is optimism.
What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
The characters. If your characters don’t come alive or don’t resonate with the reader, then no matter how good the plot, it won’t be memorable or successful. I read a lot of mysteries and I never remember the end or how the plot works out. The characters, however, stick in my mind if it’s successful.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I love, love, love happy endings. I read a lot of mysteries, suspense and other genres and while I enjoy them, I often have a sense of something missing at the end if the characters don’t find someone to share the adventure. I want them to be happy in the end and looking forward to a happy future.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I garden. In fact, I love gardening and am fortunate to live in an area where you can grow things year around. When I’m well organized, I can grow lettuce under floating row covers throughout the winter and it’s wonderful to be able to go out and pick a fresh salad for dinner.
I’m also an avid birdwatcher and in fact, that’s how I met my husband. He’s also a birdwatcher and some of our best vacations have consisted of flying to a distant location, renting a car, and driving at random to various parks and locations where we can spot a few more birds for our life lists. We also enjoy crabbing and fishing and I love kayaking.
I also love to cook and sew, and if I ever find the time, I may finish a sweater I started knitting a few years ago.
In fact, I have so many interests and hobbies that I figure I need at least ten more lives to do even half the things I want to do.
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I’d like to get three more books published this year. Ambitious, I know, but I like having high goals. I’d also like to clean our house. LOL
Which flower would best describe you and why?
Blackberry. I’m thorny and often in a hopeless tangle, but I’d like to think I do eventually produce some sweet treats like A Rose Before Dying. I also like the simple, white blooms. Like me, they are not fantastically beautiful like a rose, but there is a certain elegant simplicity. As my mother used to say, “You’ll never be beautiful, but you are interesting-looking.” (Gee...thanks, Mom.)
And now for A Taste of Amy
In this excerpt from A Rose Before Dying, Charles Vance, Lord Castlemoor, has brought a rose to the Wellfleets, hoping someone can identify it. The rose is the only clue he has to identify the next victim of a vicious killer bent on framing Charles’ uncle.
He pulled out the small bundle containing the rose. He knew it was useless, her father, the rose expert, was dead. But he couldn’t stop a small spurt of hope. “I’d like to identify this rose. Do you recognize it?”
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