Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sonata by Blair McDowell: Interview and Excerpt: Bewitching Tour Stop



Welcome!  It's great to have you visit today.  Thanks for this opportunity to find out more about you.  At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I must have been born with a pencil in my hand. I’ve loved creating stories and inventing characters since I was a child. Then as an adult I realized I had a certain facility with words, and I started writing professional articles and books. To my amazement they all sold, and sold well. But it was only later in life that I became free to indulge in my secret passion, writing fiction.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Romantic hero? Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, hands down. But that was long ago. At present it would be a toss-up between Guido Brunetti, the Venetian detective who features in all of Donna Leon’s books, and Salvo Montalbano, the Comissario in a small Sicilian town in all nineteen of Andrea Camilleri’s detective stories. You can’t beat Italian men. Just look at Michelangelo’s David, if you want a prime example of the alpha hero.


Does travel play in the writing of your books?


Hugely! I’ve traveled all my life, often to very exotic places. I spent some weeks on a tiny Pacific island where a four-seater plane landed on a grass strip and didn’t come back to pick me up for two weeks. I was doing some research on the local culture. I’ve been in Northern Iceland on the longest day of the year and watched the sun dip just below the horizon and immediately come up again. I’ve been to Greece and Italy many times—love them both. I spent a year studying at the Liszt Academy of Music in Hungary. I was fortunate that my work took me to these places and many more. All are fodder for my imagination when writing. And I’m still traveling all over the world. 

Tell us about your current release.***


SONATA is very dear to my heart. It is set in what I think are two of the most beautiful places in the world, Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast on Canada’s scenic west coast. I know the setting well because I live there. It’s a mystery-romance with a jewel heist, a properly villainous villain, an exotic heroine who just happens to be a world class concert artist, and an Irish-Canadian cop who loves her and is trying to keep her alive. It is, I think, a fun read. I know it was fun to write it.

Tell us about your next release.

I’ve just finished a Woman-in-peril Romance, Romantic Road, set in Europe on Germany’s picturesque Romantic Road, and in Austria and Hungary. When Lacy Telchev’s much older husband dies, his last words send her on a quest. Pursued across Europe by dangerous men and with the help of a handsome young man she has just met, Max Petersen, Lacy must try to fulfill her husband’s last request and in the meantime try to stay alive.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?


My characters come alive to me. By the time I’ve written three chapters I no longer think of them as fiction. I talk about them at the breakfast table. I wake in the middle of the night pondering their problems. They take over my life when I’m working on a new book. I never expected that.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I do indeed have a pen name on my novels. I had to. I’ve written six professional books and innumerable articles under my real name. For the name under which I write fiction, I use my maiden name, Dowell, and (with her permission, of course) a  close friend’s maiden name, Blair, hence, Blair McDowell

Do you have a Website or Blog?

Please visit my website, You will find information there on all my books as well as a link to my blog with  numerous articles on writing and travel.  The direct link to my blog is 
Blair McDowell
Genre: Romantic mystery
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
ISBN:  9781937265670
Number of pages: 258
Word Count:   56,500 

 Book Description:

A jewel heist…
When renowned concert artist, Sayuri McAllister, returns to the west coast of Canada after an absence of five years, she discovers her family home has been a broken into and jewelry worth two million dollars is missing. Michael Donovan, Sayuri’s old high school flame, now a detective with the Vancouver Police Department, is the officer in charge of the case.
What chance can he have…
Michael takes one look at Sayuri and falls in love with her all over again. But they parted in anger years ago and Sayuri is no longer the innocent girl he once knew. What chance can there be for a Vancouver cop with someone as famous as Sayuri McAllister?  Especially when that cop is investigating her family and friends?
An unexpected marriage…
Then Sayuri’s widowed father, Sean, marries Alyssa James, a woman Sayuri has never even met. The three live uneasily together in the Point Grey mansion until the unexpected arrival of Alyssa’s brother, Hugh James, a devastatingly handsome, charming Irishman who immediately begins a campaign to bed and wed the delicious and wealthy Sayuri.
Things take a dangerous turn…
Accidents begin to happen. Or are they accidents?  Nothing is as it seems. Michael distrusts Hugh James and fears that Sayuri’s life may be in danger.

             As they went down in the elevator and across to the park, Michael spoke to the dog, “So far so good. We’ve got her in my apartment. I expect your full cooperation tonight. Whatever happens you are not to climb on the bed, should I get so lucky, or slobber all over Sayuri. If there’s any slobbering to be done, I’ll do it. Got it, buddy?”
 Buttercup wagged her tail furiously, nearly knocking over a passing pedestrian.
“Sorry, mam.”
Michael thought about how Sayuri had looked when she answered the door. So cool and composed. Delectable. Good enough to eat. Down boy, he reminded himself. Don’t blow it now. You’ve got her this far.
Taking a deep breath he muttered, “Keep it cool.” Then he looked at his dog. “Okay, Buttercup, do your thing so we can get back up there.”
She heard the key in the lock and a moment later man and dog were back in the room. Buttercup trotted over to Sayuri and leaned against her, looking up at her adoringly with one blue and one brown eye.
“That was quick,” Sayuri commented as she scratched the dog behind her ears.
“She was anxious to get back to you. We don’t often have visitors. Actually, I’m surprised at her reaction to you. She usually hides under the bed when there’s anyone she doesn’t know in the apartment.”
“Under the bed? I can’t believe she can get all that bulk under a bed. Just what kind of dog is she? I’ve never seen anything like her. She’s huge. And those eyes are amazing.”
Sayuri moved to the armchair and sat down. Buttercup followed her and put her massive head in Sayuri’s lap.
“Clearly she’s fallen in love with you. The vet thought she was probably half Malamute and half Newfoundland, but I’m pretty sure there’s some wolf in the mixture. And the two different color eyes are unusual, but they do happen, particularly in those breeds.”
“Did you say wolf?”
“Watch.” Michael came over to the dog, knelt down beside her and put his arm around her. He lifted his head back and started to howl. The dog threw her head straight back and joined him. The sound was at one and the same time musical and eerie.
“Wow.” Sayuri stared at the dog. “I haven’t heard anything like that since I was twelve years old and went on a canoeing trip up Desolation Sound with my father. We could hear the wolves from our campsite every night. I loved the sound.”
“Don’t let her howl give you any ideas about Buttercup’s personality. Her wolf genes begin and end with her howl. She’s a complete wimp.”
“She’s a big dog for an apartment dweller.”
“Yes, well, I didn’t exactly choose her. She just sort of happened.” Michael paused. You see, I’m in the R.A.A. Unit.”
“Robbery, Assault, Arson. We got an anonymous call that there was a break and enter in progress at an apartment house on the east side. When my partner and I answered the call, we didn’t find a robbery in progress. What we found was found a room full of people cutting and bagging cocaine. We called immediately for backup, but before it could come, gun fire was exchanged and people got hurt. It wasn’t supposed to have happened that way.”
Michael paused and frowned. Sayuri wondered if he was going to say anything more.
Then he sighed. “When it was all sorted out, as we were to leaving the scene I heard whimpering. I pulled this small scrawny shivering mass of matted fur out from under the bed. I was supposed to take her to the SPCA, but I didn’t. I took her home with me. She couldn’t have been more than two months old and she was half starved and filthy. I fed her and bathed her and the next day I took her to the vet for a checkup. He said there was nothing wrong with her that food and love wouldn’t cure.”
“So you had a dog.”
“I had a dog. I had no idea at the time she was going to grow into a giant hairy mammoth.” This was spoken with obvious affection as he ruffled the dog’s head.
“But her name?”
“Just look at her.”
Sayuri studied the dog. She had fur as thick as a bear’s, only longer. Her underbelly was white and everywhere else she was brown and black and white in large splotches. “I don’t get it.”
“Look under her chin.”
Sayuri laughed. “Of course.” There was a large spot of bright yellow there.
The dog, tired of being the object of so much attention, moved to the fireplace, circled three times and plopped down in front of it.



I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction. I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was! 
I’ve lived in many different places. The US -- Certain cities call to me. I love San Francisco and Seattle and the wonderful Oregon Coast. Australia -- among the most open welcoming people in the world, and a wide open young country with incredible land and sea scapes, with amazing animal and bird life right out of science fiction. Canada -- HOME. The place where I belong. 
I travel a lot. I usually spend the month of October in Europe, Greece or Italy, and the winter in a little house I built many years ago on a small non-touristy Caribbean Island. I have worked and studied in many places -- Hungary, Australia the US and Canada, and have spoken in most of the States and Provinces as well as Taiwan and various cities in Europe.  I enjoy being surrounded by cultures other than my own. I enjoy my own as well -- but variety is indeed the spice of my life. 
I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over. And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing.  And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun! 



Next Few Stops
January 22 Review



January 24 - interview and review

Beverly @ The Wormhole


January 25 Guest blog

Buffy's Ramblings


January 26 Guest blog

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf


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