Thanks for joining me today on Night Owl Romance.
Tammie King of NOR: To get us started can you please start by telling us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
Jean Heart Stewart: I've finished my Druid series with eight books in e-books and the first four can be purchased in print on Amazon. I've started an exciting new series about mages. Few people know the word, but Merlin was the first famous mage. My heroes ( or heroines ) have the blood of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake in their blood and have inherited their abilities. The first in the series, Damien's Destiny, debuts June 22nd with JasmineJade. Two more are already written, and I'm about to start on book four. Tammie King of NOR: Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
Jean Heart Stewart: I'm an inveterate reader. Starting at age six when my mother went back to work and my one rule was not to leave the house till she got home. So I read, and I read. Found King Arthur and Jane Austen early on and they were a tremendous influence. I have two kids, two grandkids and a wonderful husband who helps edit my books before they go to my editor. Had a real estate career which I dished to write. Should have done that sooner, maybe.
Tammie King of NOR: If you could be one of the characters from this book - Who would you be? And why?
Jean Heart Stewart: I'd be Morgan, the heroine in my first Druid book, Druid's Daughter. She is proud of her abilities which many disbelieve or scorn. She never disallows her talents.This book is still my best seller, another reason to like it and her. And she's the mother of most of the following books in the series. Each book in both my series is stand alone, however.
Tammie King of NOR: Can you please give us a sneak peek into the book?
Jean Heart Stewart: Here's an excerpt from Druid's Daughter, near the beginning of the book.
"At the doorway to his office his sergeant regarded her with disdain and implacably crossed arms. You're not on his visiting list, ma'am. I cannot admit you."
Even his "ma'am" showed his contempt for an unaccompanied female who'd dare to brave the Chief Inspector's office alone. Evidently it was acceptable for his chief to call on her, but not the other way around.
"Then will you please tell him Miss McAfee is most desirous of seeing him? You admitted me yesterday, if you remember."
"He's very busy right now, miss. Suppose you try again later."
Before he could even turn aside the sergeant was suddenly confronted with the over-sized black Labrador baring his teeth and growling in the startled man's face.
"Where'd you come from?" gasped the sergeant.
Dellafield threw open the door.
"What in Hades is going on? Oh, it's you, Miss McAfee. Do come in."
Ambrose bared his teeth at the Chief Inspector. Morgan again gave him credit. He didn't flinch, just held still.
"Give him a moment, Chief Inspector. He's upset and he's very protective. I think he'll soon be satisfied you pose no danger to me."
Dellafield did as she said, although disapproval marked his grim face as Ambrose sniffed every inch of him he could reach. The dog rounded him one more time and then paced to lie at Morgan's feet. Putting his nose on his paws, he looked gravely up at the startled Chief Inspector.
Dellafield tried to catch some revealing expression on Morgan's lovely face, but all he could see was amusement. He was not used to, nor did he enjoy, being laughed at.
"Does Ambrose often appear this suddenly?"
He deliberately made his tone mocking, as he'd seldom felt so unsettled. He did not like it at all that her face when laughing seemed even more beautiful.
"Ambrose is my mother's dog, but charged with protecting me. Shall we leave my mother and Ambrose out of this, my lord?" Her voice plainly showed her controlled disdain at more delay.
"They don't apply at this time, nor are you truly interested. I know you've received some word of Jamie. Will you tell me what it is?"
Dellafield shrugged his shoulders and gave up. He was desperate for any help he could get. He had nothing to lose by confiding in this outlandish girl.
"The Commissioner received a ransom note late yesterday. The note demanded ten thousand pounds."
He grimaced at Morgan's gasp. "A large sum indeed. We were directed to deposit the money behind a certain tree in Hyde Park. The note promised Jamie would be released at the same tree one half hour later."
Morgan raised anguished eyes to his.
"The huge sum was left and no Jamie appeared." She shrugged her acknowledgement of the fact.
Dellafield hoped he did not look as devastated as he felt.
"How did you know? I'm sure no word escaped this office."
Morgan got up and began to circle the room.
"I would not feel this cold sense of utter desolation if there'd been a favorable outcome. What's being done now?"
"Nothing," Dellafield groaned. "Until we hear from this villain again we are powerless."
Morgan twisted a strand of her curls around one finger.
"We will not be powerless. I can't call up my visions, but I can pray to the Goddess of the Druids.
Jamie is quite, quite frightened. Good day, Chief Inspector. Come, Ambrose." She turned back at the door. "Oh and you might advise your Sergeant to admit me next time I want to see you. It would save both of us a lot of trouble."
With her skirts swirling around her long legs she walked out, a picture of graceful femininity. The big dog followed her after delivering what Dellafield swore was a mocking glance.
As the Chief Inspector watched her leave, he thought her beauty and sense of innate honesty grew more impressive each time he saw her. He could not figure her out in the slightest. He would desperately like to understand her.
He must be losing his mind. There was nothing to understand. She was a self-proclaimed psychic and the daughter of a self-proclaimed witch, or at least a practicing Druid. He couldn't believe even slightly in her claim to clairvoyant power. Even so, her scent still perfumed the air, evoking her provocative presence, lingering in his reluctant mind.
Could there be any more disastrous relationship for a Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard to even contemplate?
Yet he wanted to know her much better. His impulse to pull her to him and kiss those luscious lips was too ridiculous to even contemplate.
He must be insane! He'd barely met the girl.
He buried his face in his hands. Just when he needed every mental faculty he possessed, a semi-witch distracted him to the point of imbecility. If he closed his eyes this minute he knew he could see every feature of her lovely face. Her chestnut hair with its reddish highlights framing her proudly held head. Emerald green eyes smiling at him, even as she refused to surrender to his politely bullying tactics.
He had lost his mind. Yet no warning seemed about to change the fact he kept seeing the face of a beautiful, intriguing, thoroughly disturbing Druid. To make everything worse, in his vision she seemed to be laughing at him.
He groaned and pulled some papers to him.
Tammie King of NOR: Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Jean Heart Stewart: I'm a combination. I have the first three chapters pretty firmly in mind and write them. After that I outline, at least in the main, the rest of the book.I often get really stuck in the dreaded middle, and then I remember the advice Mary Balogh, one my favorite writers gave me. She says when this happens 'make it worse' so that's exactly what I do.
Tammie King of NOR: Please tell us what you have planned next?
Jean Heart Stewart: I've finished book three of the Mage series, and will go on to the next in the family. I've covered the father and the mother, and the first twins. This takes us up to 1920. The twins are World War I aces and are having trouble adjusting the the real world when they come home. Lots of conflict possible there.
Tammie King of NOR: What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you enjoy the research process?
Jean Heart Stewart: I do a great deal of research for all my books, since they follow a family through the years and each year teachs me a lot. I love doing the research and generally spend about six weeks acclimating myself to that era and fleshing out the character of my new protagonist. Luckily the web came along in time to help me, but I also buy a lot of second hand books.
Tammie King of NOR: Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
Jean Heart Stewart: Here's the opening lines of Damien's Destiny, the first book in the Mage series. Chapter One
Damien, the Earl of Sinclair, had always known he was a mage. A wizard, an enchanter when he chose. He'd never harbored a doubt. His parents had laughed and recognized him as his true father's son when they found him chortling in his crib, re-arranging colors from the spectrum in the air. He still found it relaxing to form the colors of light into beautiful patterns. He enjoyed his sorcerer's power, although he seldom resorted to magic. Never to black magic. He occasionally bewitched someone but only if necessary. Mostly his powers were not needed. A strong man in his own right, he relied heavily on himself. His father had been just as powerful. The blood of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake ran strongly through the veins of his ancestors and in him.
And he never forgot that with his powers came the obligation of deep-rooted responsibility. In no way would he ever use his powers just to prove himself, or to harm anyone. His abilities were a blessing, a gift and at times a curse. Sometimes he'd really rather not see the future.
At this moment his powers certainly didn't make a stone softer. Damien shifted a little, trying to find an easier location on the hard rock he'd chosen to lean against. He grinned at the thought of changing this huge boulder into a bale of cotton. No matter, he was sitting in the shade and positioned so he could watch the ocean. The sound and the pattern of the ever-surging waves always fascinated him. Gulls swayed and swooped close to the rocky shore seeking a little nourishment in the shallow water, hovering nearer to the surface than the few lapwings higher overhead. His stallion, Araby, munched on some tufts of dried beach grass sticking up through the scree. A dragon fly flittered around his rump and Araby tried to flick it away with his tail. Damien sent the persistent fly a small command to switch to another location and as it fluttered away Araby settled down. His horse seemed contented but his own hay might be tastier. Damien looked toward the horizon, where the sea met the sky and a small boat completed the perfect view. A beautiful day and one likely to remain scorching hot.
Still, he'd better get Araby home to proper food and some true shade for them both.
Just as he rose to his feet, he noticed a girl walk into his view from around the craggy prominence to the west. Her long skirts touched the sand as she hesitated at the shore line where the white-crested waves were crashing after each other. She was coming far too close to the water and her slippers must be drenched.
Then she unexpectedly walked straight into the ocean.
Didn't the little fool realize this beautiful stretch of beach could be treacherous? Maybe not since
she'd invaded on his private property. His very private property.
She marched as if on parade, her chin high. Her long skirts were soon soaked and doubtless dragging on her. He jumped to his feet to run toward her, shouting as he ran.
"Turn back, miss. Turn back at once. This water is treacherous."
She either didn't hear him over the roar of the ocean or chose not to. If she kept on she'd soon be in very deep water. Just as he reached the edge of the ocean a larger than usual wave swept her off her feet and she sank under. The top of her head surfaced for a moment and then disappeared. Damien gave one horrified bellow and then strode into the sea as fast as he could
Tammie King of NOR: What would be the best way for readers contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
Jean Heart Stewart: Lots of ways to reach me and I hope you will.
Thank you for this opportunity!