When did you become a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from the moment that I could piece together a simple sentence. My first story was about my doll getting trapped in the middle of a frozen lake when the hem of her gown froze into the ice. Her animal friends rescued her. Not long after, I realized the power of the written word when I transformed three girls who were mean to me into the blobs from outer space who invaded the Earth. They did not win, and it made me feel stronger.
Did you always write fiction?
Yes, but I started my writing career in non-fiction. When I was in high school, I saw a television program that featured a woman reporter who flew as a passenger in a military jet as it performed aeronautic loops and rolls. I thought to myself, “I want to get paid to do things like that!” That eventually led to ten years as a travel writer. I was lucky enough to work on nine guidebooks and several hundred articles.
So did you do loops and rolls in a jet?
Not in a jet, but in a World War II biplane. I also was paid to learn how to sail, to scuba dive, to paraglide and, on a more relaxing note, to stay in some of the finest bed and breakfast inns and dine at the finest restaurants.
Sounds a little like your heroine, Christa Devlin.
Christa is much more clever, brave, attractive, and tenacious than I am. But that is the magic of novels. We get to be another person in another world for a short time and end up learning more about ourselves. That’s one reason I always wanted to return to writing novels.
What inspired you to write your first thriller novel, The Seventh Stone?
It began with the idea of an emerald. Legendary gems are key symbols in history’s turning points. The stories surrounding them are fascinating. The action in The Seventh Stone focuses on the Breastplate of Aaron, which featured twelve gemstones, each one representing the twelve tribes of Israel. This powerful artifact, described in the Old Testament, was the companion piece of the Ark of the Covenant, which held the Ten Commandments. It vanished at the same time. People have been searching for it ever since. But they aren’t really searching for the artifacts. They’re searching for evidence of a Supreme Being and a way to connect to Him. They’re hoping to solve life’s greatest mystery: Why are we here?
What about your second thriller, The Emerald Tablet?
Everything Christa and Braydon thought they knew about history, destiny, and each other is tested on the mysterious Dream Island. Jurassic Park fans will appreciate the setting: a remote island where cutting-edge science races ahead of ethics. We can create a new world, but should we? Combined with the power of an ancient artifact, the Emerald Tablet, the situation escalates not only to a struggle for life or death but for the future of humanity.
Is the Emerald Tablet real?
Most people have never heard of the Emerald Tablet, but its precepts form the foundation of the world’s major religions. Its origins are mysterious, but it pre-dates the ancient Phoenicians and was revered by Alexander the Great, who was the last one to possess it. Scholars through the ages, including Isaac Newton, have studied drawings and translations of the Emerald Tablet. Alchemists believe that the Tablet holds the secret of transformation not of lead into gold but of man into spirit.
Tell us about your third book in the Christa Devlin series, Goldenfire.
Goldenfire goes further than any of my books have gone before. The stakes are higher, not only in the world of the book but in the reader’s world. The Seventh Stone asks, What do you believe? The Emerald Tablet asks, What do you dream? The question glowing like an ember ready for a sudden gust in Goldenfire is, What happens next? And I’m asking that on many levels.
Where do you get your ideas?
From everywhere, everyone, everything. Riding on the amazing Harry Potter ride in Universal Studios made me think about how amusement rides will reach the next level, making imagination feel completely real. Nanobots, tiny robots that can be injected into a person, could be programmed to connect synapses in the brain and completely immerse the senses to make what is imagined become real, sort of like what happens when we dream. Of course, we often can’t control our dreams. On the remote island in The Emerald Tablet, the “real world” has prehistoric beasts morphing into dragons, the Minotaur, and terrifying Mesoamerican vampires.
Who should read your books?
People who love the action of Indiana Jones and the history of Dan Brown will enjoy my books. The characters strive to do what’s right, but their thinking can be flawed. The story is not entirely linear, but multi-layered, like life. And history, like in our real lives, plays a crucial role in the present and the future. I always enjoy learning about history and other cultures through reading fiction, so I wanted to share that passion with my readers. Plus, the desire to be loved, whether between a man and a woman or a parent and a child, is a driving force.
How did you research your books?
The internet is an amazing resource, but, as I say in The Seventh Stone, “to interweave seemingly unconnected threads of information into a brilliant tapestry of humanity is a task still singular to the human brain.” Creating a book is researching facts, but it’s also talking with people, and, more importantly, listening to them. People are hesitant to open up about their thoughts on subjects like the afterlife, but once given the opportunity, we realize that the desire to connect on that level is in all of us. As for internet connections, it is alarming that when I Googled such topics as “poison water,” an automatic link would pop up, “Find poison water at Target.com.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was watching me after I researched bioterrorism tactics, tasers, military-issue weapons, and the like.