Monday, July 15, 2013

The Granite Key by Nancy Wikarski: Interview: RABT Tour Stop








What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

I would have to say earning my doctorate from one of the toughest graduate schools in the world. There were so many obstacles thrown in my path by the people in my life that it was a miracle that I got into the program at all. Then, I was even more surprised to find out that I had the intellectual talent to graduate with honors. I guess you never know what you can do until you try.


What is your favorite color?

That depends on the day, the season, and my mood. I’m partial to fire engine red, electric blue, and fuschia (though not at the same time).


What is your favorite food?

Any ethnic cuisine. Indian and Middle Eastern in particular. I’m a vegan.


What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Any place near a large body of moving water.



Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Honestly, I don’t know. I was always good at it. Maybe I fell into writing simply because I was too lazy to cultivate a talent that would have required hard work to master.


When and why did you begin writing?

Since I majored in English literature, I’ve been writing all through my school years and graduate school. My doctoral dissertation was my first book. As to why I continued to write, I suppose it was out of habit.



What inspires you to write and why?

I have to be in love with a particular subject or concept in order to write a book about it. Otherwise I’d just as soon not write at all. (There’s that laziness thing again.)


What genre are you most comfortable writing?

History because I love the romance of the past. Mystery because I can’t resist a good whodunit.


What inspired you to write your first book?

Guilt that I hadn’t gotten it done sooner in my life.



What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

The biggest challenge has to do with the specific type of books I write. I use a fictional plot and characters to disclose loads of suppressed historical facts which aren’t generally known. Trying to assimilate the data and then convert it into something that’s entertaining and fits my fictional world can be quite a task.



Can you tell us about your main character?

Cassie Forsythe is a twenty year old college dropout whose world implodes after she has a nightmare in which she sees her sister being murdered. The nightmare turns out to be real and Cassie finds herself stuck with a telepathic gift she never knew she possessed. This leads to all sorts of complications including being enlisted to take her sister’s place in a secret organization trying to recover a series of lost artifacts. Over the course of the novels, Cassie evolves from a self-absorbed teenager into a mature adult.



Why did you choose to write this particular book?

I felt there was a need to overturn some of our cultural assumptions about the role of women in society. Lo and behold, I discovered an ever-increasing body of archaeological evidence proving that human civilization was not originally male-dominated or violent. This was true of every race on every continent. The story of who we once were and how we got to be the way we are needed to be told.


What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Weaving the history seamlessly into the story arcs of the fictional characters. A straight history lesson doesn’t often make for an entertaining read.


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That women were the driving force behind the creation of what we call human civilization. It can have a devastating effect on the female psyche to receive the cultural message that you’re nothing more than an afterthought – that all the great discoveries and inventions since the beginning of time were made by the opposite sex. Hopefully, the history lesson in my books will do something to reverse that assumption.



If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?

Believe in yourself, even when nobody else does. If you can see the best that’s in you, eventually everybody else will see it too.








Archaeological Thriller
Date Published: 2/12/2011


"Think 'MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL' and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY - 5 Stars." (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call

In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called "the key." Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister's body--murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister's apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder--the granite key. From that moment, Cassie's normal world evaporates.


A Secret Society

She learns that her sister led a double life--retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana's leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie's sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister's role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana's mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister's murder.

A Dangerous Cult

The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult's domineering prophet--Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers--the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult's hands. Abraham's fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key

Before she died, Cassie's sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death

Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won't hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham's mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.

BUY LINKS
Amazon 




Virtual Book Tour - July 7 - July 19
 

   

Nancy Wikarski

"There's a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman ... or should we just make that 100% now?"
--Kindle Nation


Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime - Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly.  She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People's Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s WingEnigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.


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