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mystery • Relate Magazine

Chit Chatting with Author Beth Revis

Written by:  Jill Sheets

author Beth

Picture credit: VISIO Photography

Recently I had the honor of interviewing author Beth Revis.  Continue to read on and learn more about her, her books and what five things people may not know about her.

R:  Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

B: I’m very boring: I like to read, write, and travel. I’m a total fangirl, especially with Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Firefly.

 

R:  Tell us about your book “Shades of Earth.”

B: Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Ruled by chaos. Now it’s time to come home. But life on Centauri-Earth is far from perfect. Threats from the planet and from within the colony are tearing them apart, although Elder and Amy do all they can to keep it together. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been meaningless.

R: Tell us about the other books in the Across the Universe series.

B: The short answer is that they’re a murder mystery…in space! The first book, Across the Universe, follows Amy’s journey as she wakes up from cyrogenic sleep on board a generational space ship a little too early, and her adventures with Elder, the boy destined to become the captain of the ship. The second book reveals many new mysteries and lies, which is all concluded in the third novel.

Book 1 Book 2 book 3R:  If they were to back the trilogy in to movies, who would your dream cast be?

B: I’m a fan of Molly Quinn for Amy, and a younger Utkarsh Ambudkar for Elder.

R:  Tell us about “As They Slip Away.”

B: “As They Slip Away” is a novella that tells the story of a background character in the books. Selene is seen briefly in the AtU books, but her story is far more tragic than Amy’s.

 

R:  Tell everyone about your blog.

B: I blog! It’s here: http://bethrevis.blogspot.com. I generally have articles about books and writing. I also blog about art, fandoms, and other fun stuff at: http://bethrevis.tumblr.com

R:  Where can people get your books?

B: Anywhere! Here are links:

 

Would you like a signed copy? Contact: Malaprops.

Indie Bound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

The Book Depository

 

R:  What are you currently working so?

B: A new novel! I can’t say much about it except that it’s science fiction.

R:  Who is your favorite author?

B: C.S. Lewis

R:  What are five things people do not know about you?

B: I have a weird thumb—it was broken as a child and now looks smaller than the other one. I can play the piano—poorly. I named my dog after Sirius Black in the Harry Potter books. I married my high school sweetheart. My favorite color is gray.

R:  I read that you like to travel.  How many places have you visited and what has been you favorite place to visit so far?

B: I will always love London, New York, and Paris—but I also have a very special fondness in my heart for the country of Malta, the first nation I visited abroad.

 

R:  What advice would you give someone who wanted to become an author?

B: Make your own rules.

 

R:  Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

B: In a job interview, I was once asked “If you could be any flavor salad dressing, which would you be and why?”

 

R:  Are you on any social networking sites?  If so, which ones and what are their addresses?  Do you have an official website?

B: Bethrevis.com

Twitter: @bethrevis

Facebook.com/authorbethrevis

Bethrevis.tumblr.com

 

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your readers?

B: Thanks for reading!

R:  Beth, thank you for the interview.  It was an honor.  Have a great day.

Why We Like Mysteries

Why We Like Mysteries

By Paul H. Yarbrough

Someone has posed the question as to why people are drawn to mystery stories. Let us see if we can figure it out. Possibly a redundant appellation, since anything that is fact isn’t a story, it is nonfiction; that is to say, all mysteries are stories. This isn’t nit-picking because, as facts are dull; theories are interesting. For example, when Einstein finally showed that E=mc² it became a fact that any freshman physics major could accept; not to mention any layman should he want to spend the time. However whether any given black hole could suck in any other black hole is a mystery (not yet a fact) and, for those who have the time, a great mental stimulation; therefore still a mystery. And certainly not dull.

But man doesn’t necessarily require the arcane ranges of sub-atomic, particle-physics to satisfy an urge for mystery-solving. For many (including some scientific- doctorate-types) there are a multitude of stories involving science fiction, murder, spy, etc.

But the interest, as often as not, is not in the concealment, but in the handling of the solution. For example, in the old mystery T.V. series, Columbo, there was no ambiguity as to who the killer was? The interest was what clues would be found, and how would they be used. In Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason stories, there was never any doubt as to who-didn’t-do-it.  Readers certainly knew Mason’s client didn’t. The unknown was how Mason would prove it, while simultaneously demonstrating who-did-done-it. On the other hand, Ellery Queen stories always bring the readers (or viewers) along as a player in the solution of who-and-why-it-got-done.

For science fiction, try: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For spy stories, take a Tom Clancy reading trip.

Some of the most well-known writers of mystery have used the crutch of characters to add to, and build on the mystery of the narrative. We may solve the mystery but will often not understand or solve the mystery of the character’s personality. Whether Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (forget trying to figure out Dr. Watson) or a litany of Poe’s created literary brethren, the characters are eccentric and frequently impenetrable to us.

The powerful thrust of every mystery is revealed at the end of the story when, upon capturing all the previous secrets, and having bared all, we are satisfied; but only temporarily. The lust for more pulls us in. For, once we have found the answer, we seek another mystery. Michael Crichton’s terrific science fiction novel, The Andromena Strain was a great mystery which when finally solved, we are left with an epilogue that effectively says: Are you sure you know everything?  It is mystery that ends without ending; a great story.

The world is full of its own mysteries; and therein are an infinite number of them. So why do we need fictitious mysteries when there are an abundant source of unsolved mysteries around us. The answer probably is for the same reason people go fishing. They don’t need to fish for food. They don’t even need to fish in order to eat fish. They do it because they enjoy it.  It doesn’t matter whether or not the mystery is true or not. They do it for the adventure. So is solving mysteries an adventure? Mostly, yes.

I think without mystery, without uncertainty, the conclusion is always the beginning. It is one thing for God to be the Alpha and the Omega; He understands all. So knowing everything is no mystery to Him, though I don’t think he gets bored. But as mortals, we thrive for what is unrevealed:  “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”*

We are creatures of mystery, created in mystery and bred and cultured in mystery. Each time a mystery of life is unlocked, another reports for attention.

But have we figured out why we seek to solve them? Think about the following statement made by Socrates: “I know that I know nothing at all.” Is there a mystery to be solved in what he said? The answer is no. If you disagree and want to solve it, knock yourself out. But I warn you, it is a paradox; a truly unsolvable mystery. The point is: It is a mystery why we are driven to solve mysteries. If we solved the one we would forever eliminate the other; then we have no mystery. And we have lost a great adventure. Anyway, that is what I think.

*Corinthians I, 2:9  KJV

Chit Chatting with Author Victoria Laurie

Chit Chatting with Author Victoria Laurie

Written by: Jill Sheets

Victoria Laurie

Victoria Laurie

Picture credit: Ric Michael Photography.

Recently I had the honor of interviewing the author of “GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS,”
Victoria Laurie. Continue reading to learn more about her new book, other books that
she has written and about her.

R: Tell us about your writing background. What was the first story that you have ever
written and what was it about?

V: I believe the first story I ever wrote was about a young girl who was terribly
mistreated by her very cruel parents, and one day the girl fled to the woods to live
amongst a pack of wolves. Hey, I was eleven, loved wolves, and had been grounded for
what I felt was a minor infraction. Can you blame me?

R: Tell us about your “Ghost Hunter Mystery” series.

V: : Ghost Hunters stars my protagonist, M.J. Holliday, a psychic medium tired of doing
readings for private clients, so with her business partner and BFF Gilley Gillespie, she
starts a ghost busting business with visions of striking it rich. It goes about the way you
would expect – the pair barely make ends meet, and somewhere around book three in the
series, M.J. and Gilley start doing ghost-hunting for reality TV. This goes a bit better for
their pocketbooks, but not a lot better for their long-term life expectancy as the spooks
get creepier and the mysteries get grittier.

R: How did you come up with the idea for the series?

V: There was this show on the Travel Channel that I used to love to watch called, Most
Haunted. It gave me some really great inspiration. That coupled with the fact that I
first introduced M.J. in one of my other series as just a supporting character really were
the impetus for the idea of having a spin-off series to my first one, The Psychic Eye
Mysteries.

R: Tell us about your new book “GHOULS, GHOULS, GHOULS.”

V: M.J. and Gilley travel to Ireland to investigate a haunted castle situated on a deserted
hunk of rock just off the Irish coastline. The castle is said to have hidden treasure
somewhere within it, and only the original inhabitant, Lord Dunnyvale knows where it
is. As he’s been dead for the last four hundred years, M.J. and her team are the perfect
people to tease the treasure’s location out of him. However, Ranald won’t give up the
goods until his castle is rid of an eight-foot-tall deadly phantom of mysterious origins
who likes to toss would-be treasure hunters right off the cliffs!

R: Can you tell us a little bit about your other series “Psychic Eye Mysteries”
and “Oracles of Delphi Keep.”

V: The Psychic Eye Mysteries is about a professional psychic named Abby Cooper –
who isn’t the Hollywood-esque version of a psychic, she’s instead very down to earth
and normal. Her life, however, isn’t so normal anymore. Early in the series, Abby is
recruited by her local police department to help them solve the various unsolved cases
that come their way. Later, when her boyfriend Detective Dutch Rivers becomes Agent
Rivers of the FBI, she goes to work for the FBI as their civilian profiler, (aka resident
psychic.) Hijinks ensue.

Oracles of Delphi Keep is a completely different genre and story-line. Set in Dover,
England just before World War II, the series chronicles seven intuitively gifted children
and their quest to save the world from the evil underworld god, Demo gorgon and his
sorcerer offspring.

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls

Picture source: Victoria Laurie

R: It seems like you write three series at once. How do you keep them straight when you
are writing them and self disciplined to keep focused?

V: It’s much easier than it looks, I promise you! Each series has its own rhythm and
tempo, and all I have to do is think of the narrator’s voice for that opening paragraph and
the rest just unfolds. The self-discipline isn’t really anything special either. To write
three series a year you only need to commit to writing 10 pages per day, or editing 50
pages of text per day. Plus, writing is my job, and I need to write to eat, so I’m highly
motivated to get up and get to work!

R: If they were to make on of your series into movies, who would you dream cast be?

V: Well, let’s see…I’d probably go with the Psychic Eye Mysteries, and my dream cast
would be: Courtney Cox for Abby, Mark Valley for Dutch, Gary Dourdan for Milo, Anne
Heche for Cat, Porsche Degeneres for Candice, (enjoy the irony there, folks!) and Dave is
my wild card…anyone who could play a 50 year old hippie, I suppose!

R: What is your writing process? Do you start to write or do you out-line first?

V: My process is that I sit down at 6:30 a.m. and just start typing and I don’t stop until
I’ve gotten those 10 pages in for the day. I don’t outline, but periodically I will jot down
a few notes to myself. When I’m stuck for what to write next, I go for a long power-
walk, and that always clears the cobwebs. Also, when I’m editing, I really need a bowl of
potato chips handy. There’s something about crunching something salty and editing that

just fit well together!

R: Where can people get your books?

V: Anywhere books are sold.

R: What are some of your future goals?

V: To get to all the ideas I’ve got on the back-burner. Too many books to write, too little
time!

R: What is the best advice you have ever gotten and by who?

V: I got this off a pamphlet from a literary agency who turned me down for
representation but wanted to sell me their book on how to get published, (enjoy that irony
too), and it said; “If anything can prevent you from becoming an author – let it. If nothing
can – persevere!”

R: What advice would you give teenage girls?

V: Dream of the life you want and figure out how to make it happen on your own,
without the aid of someone else. Believe in yourself, believe in yourself, believe in
yourself!

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

V: “Can you tell me the winning lottery numbers?” (No, honey, if I could, I’d be the
millionaire here…)

R: Are you on any social networking sites. If so, what are their addresses? Do you have
an official website? If so, what is the address?

V: I’m on Twitter: @victoria_laurie (http://twitter.com/#!/victoria_laurie) and on
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49007221887&ref=ts
and my Web site addresses are: www.victorialaurie.com and
www.oraclesofdelphikeep.com

R: Victoria, thank you for the interview. Have a great day.

The Importance of Wings has a Great Message

The Importance of Wings Has a Great Message

Written by Jill Sheets

Wings_medal[1]

Picture from: www.robinfriedman.com

In Robin Friedman’s book “The Importance of Wings,” 13 year old Roxanne’s life is not what she thinks it should be. Currently her mother has left the country to go back to Israel to take care of her sick sister. Her mother left Roxanne, her younger sister Gayle and her father back in the United States.

Roxanne is stressed. Her father is working all hours in Manhattan driving a taxi cab to support his family. She feels like she is not an American or at least what she thinks an American would look and be like. She is not athletic, she cares too much about what people think of her, and she does not have wings in her hair. On top of all of that, she wants her mom home. She feels alone. That is until Liat and her father move in across the street into what they call “the curse house.”

Liat was beautiful, strong, tougher and better at gym than Roxanne. She did not care what people thought about her. Like Roxanne’s family she was also from Israel. And it did not bother Liat that she did not have wings in her hair.

Can Liat change Roxanne’s attitude?

This is a great book. It is well written and it catches your attention from the very first page with “it’s called the cursed house because something terrible always happens to anyone who lives there.” You will want to continue to read to see if the house is really cursed. Will Liat be able to handle the kids at her new school? Will she fit in or will she be an out cast? If Liat is able to help Roxanne stand up for herself and be proud of whom she is?

We do not want to give away too much from the book, but it does have a great message. You will have to read the book to find out what that message is. It is a message that everyone needs to remember at some point.

So check out Robin Friedman’s book “The Importance of Wings.” Then… tell us what you think about it?

Beautiful Creatures

BeautifulCreatures[1]Beautiful Creatures

By: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Take an old southern small town, romance, and a curse and add a lot of mystery, and you will have a fun story full of fantasy and drama. Ethan Wate lives in this particular town of South Carolina, full of generations’ old beliefs and customs. He desperately wants out but has to wait until he can finish high school to leave all this behind. Enter Lena Duchannes. Lena is not your ordinary small southern town girl. In fact she isn’t even from Gatlin and she lives with her reclusive uncle in his “haunted mansion.” But Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her. He dreams of her and even hears her thoughts.

Ethan is bound and determined to stay friends with Lena in spite of the opposition from his friends and the rest of the town. What is up with these small minded people and why do they want Lena to leave so badly? And how is it that Lena has some kind of supernatural power? None of this drives Ethan away, in fact it draws him nearer to Lena and her family and the stories about them.

This book is full of mystery and fantasy. It seems to be a cross between the Twilight series of books and the Harry Potter series with a little magic of Damselflies thrown in. If you liked them you will surely enjoy Beautiful Creatures. It is a classic tale of good vs. evil. But who doesn’t love that?