Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Of course, by now you all know how very much I love promoting other authors. Today I interview a fellow writer. With me this time is Multi-published author Tierney James, as she discusses writing and her current book, Rooftop Angels, which was released on June 7, 2016 from Paperback Press.
Tierney has been in education for over thirty years. She recently stopped teaching World Geography for a nearby college to pursue her writing career. Creating a workshop for beginning writers, speaking at schools and serving as an officer in the writing group Sleuths’ Ink, are some of the work she does when not writing. With the creation of Winds of Deception, Tierney is working with one of the crew members of USS Liberty in hopes of obtaining the Medal of Honor for him. She is also working with Mission K9 Rescue to create a children’s book about four-footed soldiers that save lives.
Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and attending Space Camp for Educators, Tierney has traveled across the world. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Africa, she ties her unique experiences into other writing projects such as the action thriller, An Unlikely Hero, the first in the Enigma Series. Winds of Deception is the second in that series. Living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town for many years fuels the kind of characters she never tires of creating.
Besides teaching and writing, Tierney enjoys family, gardening, reading and music. Other pursuits involve learning Hebrew in hopes of incorporating the knowledge in a future Enigma Series. She likes to research and sometimes that has involved learning new skills, such as being certified with various weapons.
She has settled in the beautiful Ozarks, but there’s never a dull moment in Tierney’s life. And that is just the way she likes it. "Life is an adventure! Embrace it," is her motto. You can find her on Facebook as Tierney James. Her website is http://www.tierneyjames.com
Welcome Tierney! Thanks so much for joining us here. You’ve lead such an interesting and well-traveled life. I’m fascinated by it all. Shall we begin to learn more about you and your writing?
SJ: I couldn’t help noticing that you have written a number of suspense novels as well as children’s books. That is quite a varied experience. Can you tell us a little bit of how your ideas evolved?
Tierney: Because of living in a mining community for so many years I had access to incredible knowledge from engineers, geologists and hard rock miners. The stories of life and survival are amazing and touched my heart enough to write The Rescued Heart, about a mine rescue team.
SJ: Please tell us about your newest release, Rooftop Angels. I understand it is set in Afghanistan.
Tierney: When Tessa Scott wakes with blood on her hands in a rat infested shack in Afghanistan, she discovers six orphan girls and the Undersecretary of State counting on her for protection. Confused at how she got there or why a smoldering Black Hawk helicopter has crashed outside the village, forces her into yet another adventure of cat and mouse with the Taliban who intend to kidnap them. With the help of a Kyrgyz tribesman and his men, they elude the danger only to discover their protection comes at a price which involves marriage to the leader. An unexpected chance at new love outweighs the secret Tessa must now carry forever. Meanwhile Captain Hunter, an Enigma agent, desperately searches for her before she disappears on the rooftop of the world. A race against time and ruthless drug lords, who work with the U.S. government, create obstacles which change Tessa’s life in a way she never expected.
SJ: Wow! That is some plot Tierney! Now, we have to know. How extensive was your research for each one of your books? How much fact and fiction do you roll into each one?
Tierney: Each of the books in the Enigma Series requires a great deal of research. Because I love geography and geopolitical conflict, it becomes a labor of love. I’ve interviewed a survivor of the USS Liberty which is the stage for Winds of Deception, studied isotopes and collected books on Afghanistan. I’ve even watched buzkashi tournaments on YouTube which were outlawed by the Taliban.
SJ: If you could turn one of your books into a film, which one would you choose and why?
Tierney: I guess it would have to be An Unlikely Hero because that is where it all began, both as the story begins to unfold into a series and me as a writer. I call it my baby.
SJ: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from, especially in Rooftop Angels? Why set it in Afghanistan?
Tierney: Like many writers I tend to read and watch movies that are in my thriller/suspense genre. But for Rooftop Angels it started with an article in National Geographic. There was an article about the Rooftop of the World in the Wakhan in Northern Afghanistan. I’ve probably read that article fifteen times. I’ve watched videos on YouTube and devoured everything I could find on the Kyrgyz people of this area. I’m smitten.
SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
Tierney: The part I love most is being able to create new worlds and characters that speak to me. Going to writing conferences and writing groups keep me grounded. It’s great to make new friends who are so encouraging. My least favorite is marketing, trying to find a publisher and all the hoops you have to jump through to get attention. But even that I don’t mind. It’s just my least favorite part.
SJ: What writer inspired you most and how?
Tierney: I think James Rollins inspired me the most as to his style of writing. Vince Flynn inspired me as to the stories he told. Mixing geopolitical conflict and science together forced me to admit I had a story inside me too.
SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Tierney: You must write every single day to be a writer. Find authors you love and read everything they’ve written. Then find someone else. Learn your craft through reading and writing.
SJ: What is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?
Tierney: Amazonia by James Rollins because it uses science and geography to put you on a roller coaster ride that will leave you breathless. I feel my heart quicken just thinking about it.
SJ: In closing, and without giving too much away, do you have any more projects in the immediate future? We’d love to hear about it.
Tierney: My first romantic paranormal thriller comes out July 16th from Black Opal Books. It was so much fun to write because it was based on a piece of classical music. My husband heard the story of The Devil’s Trill from NPR one day and said I should write a story about that. Well boy did I open a can of research worms. Dance of the Devil’s Trill has plenty of action, suspense and corruption, not to mention evil and angelic forces. I’m also working on my first science fiction romantic thriller involving a parallel universe and a terrorist threat.
Ooh, Tierney that sounds so intriguing. I don’t know about you, readers, but can’t wait to read it and see what you put to paper. Thanks, Tierney for allowing use to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you about your writing and your latest novel, Rooftop Angels. It’s been a pleasure and so fascinating speaking with you. Do keep writing and keep those stories coming.
Readers, take note you may purchase a copy of any of Tierney’s books at on-line book stores: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and from all major and Indie US book stores.
But before we go, it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t share an excerpt from Rooftop Angels:
Foothills of the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan
Her sense of smell forced her to wrinkle her nose at the same time her throbbing head begged her to be still. Then, as she ignored the warning, a sharp jab of pain traveled up to her hip. The floor where she sat felt like compacted dirt. Even in the dim light seeping through the ragged covering over the window, she understood this place meant danger. But where was she? How had she gotten here? Why were her hands tied with something like baling twine? Her face felt puffy as if she suffered from allergies, or had she been crying? The taste of salt coated her tongue. Dry, cracked lips needed moisture.
Who were the small people cowering along the wall near her? A small child rested her head on the edge of her shoulder. She flinched away in panic as the downward movement landed the child in her lap. The little one offered up a sleepy grin at her before snuggling back against her shoulder.
The child had light-colored eyes with skin neither tan nor white but something in between, as if she spent a great deal of time outdoors. She smelled liked boiled onions or was it cabbage? The overpowering scent of wood smoke confused her ability to piece together the events leading to this point in time.
Panic raced through her body as her heart accelerated. Even though her arms and legs felt cold, sweat beaded up across her neck and forehead. A sticky substance covered her hands. Lifting them up into the ribbons of light, she squinted to see her palms.
Blood. Her hands were covered in blood. Whose blood? Her body ached. She rubbed her hands up and down, over and over against the torn robe she wore. The fibers, rough and shaggy, pulled the blood from her hands as she worked to be free of the dried substance. The child’s head grew heavy against her shoulder. She wanted to check herself for open wounds. Would she find more blood? I need to get up and move. She nudged the child to push her back against the wall made of mud bricks.
Standing with a grunt and the grace of an eighty-year-old woman, she staggered up. She bit her bottom lip so hard the taste of salt and blood seeped onto her parched tongue. An awkward attempt to feel her body for open wounds with tied hands helped her realize the bindings remained loose but she still couldn’t wiggle free of them.
Her hands trembled against her body locating a number of bruises but no wounds. She stretched out her arms then rolled her shoulders. The movement helped her to relax. A step on weak legs propelled her forward faster than she intended. The pain now resembled stiffness rather than an injury.
Something skittered across the floor. Mice. She sucked in her breath and fell back against a table propped up by a cardboard box. It flipped over with her weight against it. She cried out as someone touched her neck. The sudden movement caused her to jerk away and lose her balance. Outstretched hands pulled her back to steady feet.
A reflex to fight kicked in, and she rammed a shoulder into the man who stood no taller than her. He looked like a young oak tree, strong and unmoving despite her attempt to escape. Instead of retaliating, the young man chuckled and grabbed her by the twine around her wrists. He pointed toward the door and added a tug indicating she needed to follow him outside. She dug in her heels to no avail. The next jerk sent her staggering into his back as he led her outside into the light of day.
The burst of brightness forced her head down. Seeing that she wore what looked like combat boots, the fleeting thought, they’re not even cute, popped into her head. The cool wind created shivers as she cocked her head to the side to glimpse the surroundings. A scarf slipped off her head onto the ground. With the sound of excited voices of men, she stole a glance to see what had gotten them wound up. They pointed at her face then at their own eyes and hair. Their black garb and headdress told her she wasn’t in Kansas anymore, as the saying went. Lumbering yaks swaying their heads and the stomp of restless horses added to the confusion as to her location.
Self-conscious, she touched her hair, and realized strands twisted free from a loose ponytail. The curls blew across her face as she pushed them back with unsteady hands. She remained clueless as to the reason her appearance caused such excitement. A fleeting thought her mascara smeared on what felt like a puffy face caused her to swipe at her cheeks. The young man who had dragged her outside wore a pillbox-like hat. He stormed up to her and cupped her chin in his hand and squeezed. She guessed he might be seventeen or eighteen, just a kid.
She took a step forward and rammed her knee into his groin. He collapsed on the ground with the rest of his sketchy friends laughing. Several others stepped forward then back, followed by mocking her actions. The young man on the ground moaned as he staggered to his feet then held himself. The defense move felt familiar, as if she’d used it a number of times. Had she done it wrong? The kid acted like she’d given him a swat on the rump.
A step back landed her against a bigger man. She spun around and stepped away. He wore a brown fur hat with flaps drooping over his ears and a stained, ragged scarf wrapped around his temples. A tattered ski mask covered his nose, but the other openings revealed almond-shaped eyes. From the large openings, it couldn’t offer much warmth. His exposed mouth was wide with full, thick lips that turned down in an impatient frown.
Startled, she took another step away but tangled her foot in her robe and landed her on the ground. The man’s solemn glare bore down on her as he reached to grab her by the arm and lifted with an unexpected gentleness. The strength in his hands reminded her of someone else, but she couldn’t remember who. Someone tall and menacing walked through a hazy memory. That memory carried a weapon, military issued. Why she knew such a thing remained a mystery. Then the shadowy image vanished. The man in the brown hat watched her with interest, not lust, which both alarmed and comforted her. She spotted a dagger sheathed at his waist and wondered for a split second what he used it for since she noticed a smear of blood on the handle.
For more about Tierney and her writing, remember to check out her website at:
Or at one of her other social media links:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Tierney-James/e/B00C1FB19Q/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1465672628&sr=1-2-ent
S. J. Francis
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.
In Shattered Lies: “Good and bad, it's All about Family." Now available from Black Opal Books, on-line and indie booksellers.
My Black Opal Books Author Page:
My web page: http://www.sjfranciswriter.com
A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
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Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2015 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.