A Terrible Beauty by V.M. Devine – Author Interview

A Terrible Beauty: the murder at Joyce's Tower by [Devine, V.M.]I recently became aquainted with half of the writing duo of A Terrible Beauty (Valerie Ganzevoort) and was interested in her story and her book, so I invited her and her father to share a bit about both. I think you might find it interesting.

V.M. Devine is the pen name for the writing-collaboration of Valerie Ganzevoort and her father, Michael Mahony.

1.       How did you come to write a novel together?

Valerie’s Response: My Dad had started on the book during a break that he was having from writing a series of theological books. He had always wanted to write a murder mystery and decided to give it a go. I was helping him proof read some of his theological work and so asked to look at the new novel early on in his writing. After a few discussions, he asked if I would like to help him write it and we started to reengineer the book and worked on it from there.

2.       Since you both live in South Africa, why did you chose Dublin, Ireland, as the primary setting for the book?

Mike’s response: The setting came from the place where I grew up. As kids we used to play in the James Joyce Tower in Dublin, Ireland – this was long before it was restored to the formal museum it is today.

The plot and characters were drawn from my own personal journey of life which encompassed living in Ireland, Nigeria, England and South Africa.

 3.       Why did you decide to write a murder mystery?

Valerie’s Response: My Dad has always read Agatha Christie and P.D. James so, for me, growing up and rummaging through the bookshelves for something to read often resulted in my reading them as well. We both enjoy the ‘puzzle-like nature’ of a murder mystery, where the book is not just a story but a mystery to be solved. We have particularly enjoyed hearing from readers who followed certain red herrings in the story or told us of their delight ay having picked up on certain clues which were important in solving the murder. Though, to date, we have not heard from any reader who has successfully guess the murder, so if anyone does guess correctly, we would love to hear about it.

4.       The Penname for the collaboration is V.M Devine, where did this come from?

The V and the M comes from our initials (Valerie and Mike) and the Devine is Mike’s mother’s maiden name, so a surname that felt fitting for both of us.

5.       Have you started writing another book?

Mike’s Response: Yes, I have recently returned from a family visit to Ireland where I visited the scene of our next murder, the Chester Beatty Library. I had arranged to meet with the Operations Manager of the Chester Beatty Library, Derval O’Carroll who was somewhat intrigued by the prospect, eventually even helping me to select the specific location within the library where the murder will now take place!

While in Dublin, I also met with the curator of the Dublin Writers Museum (Robert Nicholson) who is also the curator of the James Joyce Tower & Museum in Sandycove where our current novel, A Terrible Beauty – the murder at Joyce’s Tower, by V. M. Devine, has its setting. The book has since been catalogued into the museum and is on permanent display at the James Joyce Tower for visitors and tourists to flick through at their leisure. This was a great moment for us as the book ‘found its home’ in own setting.

 ————————————————————–

You can pick up A Terrible Beauty: The Murder at Joyce’s Tower on Amazon. And remember, if you don’t have an ereader or kindle, you can pick up a free app from Amazon to read it on any device.

Michael hails originally from Dublin, Ireland but has spent the greater part of his life in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a retired IT guy.

Valerie was born in Johannesburg. In between exploring her interest in Children’s Fiction, and writing in collaboration with her dad, she is primarily focussed upon raising her three very young children.

“A Terrible Beauty – the murder at Joyce’s Tower” is V.M. Devine’s first novel.

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Secrets of EdenI had been hitting the reject button for the last three audio books I picked up at the library lately, so when I say this one, from an author I have always liked, I went for it.

Stats: Published in 2010, Audio book is 11.5 hours/9 discs, narrated by Mark Bramhall, Susan Denaker, Rebecca Lowman and Kathe Mazur. Print is 370 pages.

Blurb: (Goodreads) “There,” says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.

Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents’ murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him.
But then the State’s Attorney begins to suspect that Alice’s husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew.

What I liked: Every book of Bohjalian’s that I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed, even though not all of them have been great. Mostly this is because of Bohjalian’s skill at writing. There was a section or tow of this that was a bit slow and I’m not sure why they were included, but it didn’t make me want to stop, just because I enjoyed the writing. I also did enjoy this story, however. It wasn’t hard to figure out, who did it, so to speak, and I’m sure Bohjalian knew this, but there was a slight twist at the end, so I’m sure that’s why he wrote it as he did. Along with that good writing is the author’s skill at character development – most notably the Reverend, who starts out this book. And having Mark Bramhall narrate his voice (I always enjoy listening to Mr. Bramhall) really made it that much more entertaining and believable. The other narrators did fine as well, by the way.

What I didn’t enjoy: As mentioned, there was a section or two that was too long, but not enough to make me want to stop. It was a bit unbelievable the way the daughter – Katie’s – reacted to her parent’s deaths, but again, not so much that it ruined the story. It was a bit more unbelievable the State’s Attorney’s reaction. I won’t say more as not to give anything away.

Rating: 4/5

Old Tune Tuesday – Lenny K. and Prince

This is one of those that isn’t that old, but it’s old enough to have a dead guy in it (rest his soul and his blue Lycra suit).

Published in: on March 28, 2017 at 11:26pm03  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Photo Phriday – Cycles for Rent in Kota Tua

With spring officially here, this looks really appealing. I especially like that the man renting the bikes is wearing one of his orange hats 🙂

Joshi Daniel Photography

A young man who rents bicycles sipping coffee at Kota Tua area in Jakarta on the Indonesian Independence Day Cycles for Rent | Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia

The young man pictured here lends bicycles on rent in Kota Tua area in Jakarta, Indonesia. He was photographed sipping coffee on the day of the Indonesian Independence Day. Shot on a GoPro.

Here is your chance to win an all expenses paid trip for two to Bali. Take the Quiz Now at http://wonderful.indonesia.travel/tripofwonders/

Thankful to Wonderful Indonesia and the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism for a great opportunity to see Indonesia.

If you would like to buy a print of any of the images, get in touch with me here.

View original post

Published in: on March 24, 2017 at 11:26pm03  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Ascension

(Image by Betty Davidson of Duluth, MN)

Heartstring Eulogies

To be appreciated
and understood
for who you are
is tantamount
to ascending to
heaven.

© Sarah Doughty

View original post

Published in: on March 16, 2017 at 11:26am03  Comments (5)  

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451I had listened to this a while back but I wanted to listen to it again. It was a bit disturbing how some of it rings true to today.

Stats: Audio book – 4 discs, read by Christopher Hurt. 174 page print, published in 1953

Blurb: (Goodreads) Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

What I liked: Bradbury really makes you care for Guy Montag and you’re releaved that he things turn out (though I won’t say too much if you haven’t read it.) though do they really turn out? That would be something to debate for sure. It is a bit hard to believe we could function without books, but in this digital age, it isn’t like it couldn’t happen. And, of course, there would be hold outs. The neighbor girl is interesting and I’m not sure how “they” would have an excuse to get rid of her, so that is left vague. And I really don’t like the mechanical hound. A good – bad character. And Christopher Hurt does a great job with the narration. His voice was perfect for the story and he did well with the different voices, especially the fire chief.

What I didn’t like: Guy’s wife, though I know I’m not supposed to like her, so I should say, Bradbury did a good job in making her annoying and vacuous. So I should say there really wasn’t anything I didn’t like about the story other than it’s not very upbeat, but it’s not supposed to be.

Rating: 4+/5

Published in: on March 15, 2017 at 11:26pm03  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Medieval Monday: Taverns and Ale Houses

Living in a state where taverns are a staple and being a history buff, Allison Reid’s post was really interesting to me. I thought you might like it too!

Thanks Christopher!

Source: Medieval Monday: Taverns and Ale Houses

Published in: on March 14, 2017 at 11:26pm03  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Stopping By Wood… Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow. 
  
My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.  
  
He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.
 
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

On this day in 1923 Robert Frost poem was published, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Image result for robert frost image

Published in: on March 8, 2017 at 11:26am03  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

Publisher cancels Milo Yiannopoulos book ‘Dangerous’

CKBooks Publishing

Don’t know if you saw this interesting bit of news, but since we were discussing Milo’s book earlier, I thought you might like to know.

And who said your voice doesn’t matter?

Though he’ll either self-publish or find someone else who will publish it for him, I’m sure. It was ranked 83 on Amazon’s overall book list, after all.

——————————-

NEW YORK (AP) — Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ publisher has cancelled his planned book, “Dangerous.”

Source: Publisher cancels Milo Yiannopoulos book ‘Dangerous’

View original post

Published in: on February 21, 2017 at 11:26pm02  Comments (2)  

Rock Paper Scissor Book Author Interview – A Lizzy Ballard Thriller

Matty is an author I know so I wanted to share her latest book with you. I haven’t read it yet myself, but it’s on my list!

What is the underlying theme of Rock Paper Scissors?

The underlying theme of all my books is how a person with an extraordinary ability deals with that ability in the context of the ordinary world. In the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning, it’s Ann’s ability to sense spirits, an ability that sets her apart from other people, and causes the end of an important relationship. In Rock Paper Scissors, the first of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers, it’s Lizzy’s ability to cause strokes in others, an ability that forces her to live in isolation, for the safety of others as well as herself.

Since Rock Paper Scissors is billed as a thriller, I suspect that Lizzy’s ability results in some mayhem!

Yes! The people who are responsible for Lizzy’s ability, and who are scheming to use it to further their own goals, are Gerard Bonnay, the head of a Philadelphia fertility clinic, and his wife and head of research, Louise Mortensen. During the course of the story, they acquire an unexpected ally, and Lizzy’s situation becomes even more perilous.

Does Lizzy have any allies to help her deal with the challenges her ability poses, and with the people who are trying to take advantage of it?

Initially, Lizzy’s primary allies are her parents, Charlotte and Patrick. The novel begins with Lizzy as an infant, and describes some incidents when she is a toddler and young girl to illustrate the dangers of her situation. However, most of the action of the story takes place when Lizzy is a teenager, and is triggered by a trip she wants to take from her home in the Philadelphia suburbs to New York City to see the sights at Christmas-time. At that point, it appears her closest allies are Owen McNally, a neurobiologist and friend of her father, and her family’s housekeeper, Ruby DiMano. But is Ruby really an ally? It’s clear that Ruby’s loyalties are torn, but it’s unclear which way she will ultimately throw her support.

You mentioned that Lizzy lives near Philadelphia—is that the main setting for the story?

As with The Sense of Death and the beginning of The Sense of Reckoning, most of Rock Paper Scissors is set in the Philadelphia area, near my home in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Ballards initially live in Paoli, Pennsylvania, and as their fortunes decline, they move further out along the Main Line, which is the name given to the towns along the rail line that stretches west from Philadelphia. Lizzy and her mother also spend some time at the family cabin in the Pocono Mountains, a couple of miles to the north of Philadelphia. There’s also a critical meeting that takes place in Longwood Gardens, which is one of my favorite spots in Chester County. Patrick Ballard and Owen McNally work at William Penn University, which is my stand-in for my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lizzy hides out for a time in a slightly fictionalized version of the Spruce Lane Lodge and Cottages in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County.

How do you decide when to use a place’s real name and when to change it?

I change it when I want to reserve the right to adjust factual details to meet the needs of the story. I may also change the name if I may be portraying the place in a negative light. For example, early in the writing of Rock Paper Scissors, I thought the villain might be affiliated with the university, so I didn’t want to refer to it as the University of Pennsylvania. Similarly, I changed the real Philadelphia Inquirer into the Philadelphia Chronicle because I wanted to reserve the right to have one of its reporters engage in some less than ethical reporting.

Even though I’m tweaking the facts to support the story, I feel I’ve still been able to create a consistent world that runs through the books and across the series. For example, Lincoln Abbott, a reporter at the Chronicle who first appeared in The Sense of Death, pens several newspaper articles that appear in Rock Paper Scissors. Also, readers who are familiar with the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels will be pleased to hear that Detective Joe Booth makes a brief appearance in Rock Paper Scissors.

What are you working on next?

I just started work on Lizzy Ballard Book 2. Book 1 ends in Sedona, Arizona, and my husband and I were just there for our yearly getaway from the Pennsylvania winter. Book 2 will start in Sedona, so I wanted to get started on that while I was still under the influence of the Sedona vibe. I also just finished my first Ann Kinnear short story, which I plan to make available to subscribers of my newsletter.

Where can people connect with you to sign up for your newsletter or to keep track of Ann Kinnear and Lizzy Ballard’s next adventures?

They can sign up for my newsletter at my website, mattydalrymple.com. For more frequent updates, they can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

matty-dalrymple-author-photo-2016-headshot-2

Matty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels, “The Sense of Death” and “The Sense of Reckoning,” and “Rock Paper Scissors: A Lizzy Ballard Thriller,” which launches in March 2017. She lives with her husband, Wade Walton, and their dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for much of the action in “The Sense of Death” and “Rock Paper Scissors.” In the summer, they enjoy vacationing on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, where “The Sense of Reckoning” takes place. Matty also blogs, podcasts, and speaks about independent publishing as The Indy Author.

Matty is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group.

You can purchase Matty’s book on Amazon.

Published in: on February 17, 2017 at 11:26pm02  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,