Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: Sep 13, 2016
Number of Pages: 268
Stranded in Ireland after losing both a gig and her luggage, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown hopes to win her way back to the States by accepting a challenge: turn rowdy school boys into a champion orchestra. She's offered lodging in a beautiful cliff side cottage once owned by her favorite composer. The catch? The composer's ghost. He can't rest in peace until he's cleared of false charges of murder-suicide. Desperate after a quarter-century, he begs Gethsemane for help. A growing friendship with the charming ghost spurs Gethsemane to investigate. Her snooping provokes a long-dormant killer and she soon finds herself on the wrong sort of top ten hit list. Will Gethsemane uncover the truth as she races to prevent a murderous encore or will she star in her own farewell performance?
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People often ask me why I set my novel, Murder in G Major, in Ireland. I usually come up with a story about how Ireland is a locale where a ghost wouldn't seem out of place but my protagonist would (I love a good fish-out-of-water story) but the true reason is as ethereal as my story's specter. The setting just came to me.
The nidus of my paranormal murder mystery rests in a daydream I had. (Yes, I daydream movies in my head. It's a great way to pass the time when you can't decide on a book from your TBR pile and nothing in your Netflix queue appeals to you.) I imagined an African American classical violinist stranded in an Irish village with only the clothes on her back and her violin. And sometimes a harmonica. I imagined she won a prize for fiddling in a pub's open mic contest and she used the money to rent a room above the pub. I remembered this daydream when a writing instructor asked "What's your story about?" and it eventually became the backstory for my novel's amateur sleuth.
But why Ireland? My fascination with Ireland defies logical explanation. I love Irish music, especially pub songs, Irish pubs, Irish whiskey, Irish festivals, Irish accents, Irish epithets Irish names, even Irish wolfhounds. (Although I have absolutely no space to keep one of these magnificent beasts.) I don't know where I get it from. My surname is Scottish, of the great clan that spawned the legendary Gordon Highlanders. I didn't grow up in Ireland nor in an Irish neighborhood. I didn't know anyone Irish. My mother's an Anglophile, not a Hibernophile. No one talked about visiting Ireland. My parents and I traveled a lot when I was a kid but Ireland never made the itinerary. If I, as a young adult, hadn't planned a trip to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (with stops in London and Scotland at Dad's request) my parents never would have set foot on emerald shores.
Where does my Irish-love come from? For the longest, I assumed it was "just one of those things." Some people love France, some love Italy, some New York, some California. Me, I love Ireland. Just one of those things. So I thought. Until I discovered genealogical DNA testing.
Dad and I are genealogy buffs. We've managed to trace our family through censuses and social security death indexes and marriage certificates and draft cards along the paper breadcrumb trail from Oklahoma to Alabama and Virginia to the Carolinas. We made it as far back as the mid-1800s where we, like many African American family history researchers, hit a wall. Then Dr. Henry Louis Gates, host of PBS's "Finding Your Roots," started talking about DNA. I knew about DNA, of course. I'm a physician. DNA determined your eye color, your risk for certain diseases, and whether or not you were a crime suspect. And at big research institutions like National Geographic DNA helped sort out where humans originated millions of years ago. But Dr. Gates explained DNA could also help you figure out where your family came from a thousand years ago. Or five hundred years ago. Or a couple of hundred years ago. DNA testing had become simple and affordable and was now being used by family history researchers in a new (to me) field called genetic genealogy. I went online and Mom and Dad and I all got DNA testing kits for Christmas.
Guess what? I'm Irish. Fourteen percent, anyway. (Thirty-two percent Benin/Togo and twenty-four percent Cameroon/Congo, thanks for asking.) Slap my face and call me Shirley. Maybe my Hibernophilia isn't so out-of-the-blue after all. Maybe it's some sort of epigenetic love call, some trace memory of a long-forgotten ancestor. Or maybe not. Maybe it is just a thing. A thing I make no apologies or excuses for. A thing I enjoy. I'll go on daydreaming about red-headed men with sexy brogues, drinking Irish whiskey while listening to the Dubliners, enjoying the craic at pubs and festivals, and setting stories in the land of storytellers. And when March seventeenth rolls around I'll smile as I repeat the phrase, "Everybody's Irish on Saint Patrick's Day."
A writer since childhood, I won my first (okay, so far, only) writing prize, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, in the 6th grade. I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction.
Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, I migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded me how much I needed sunlight and warm weather. I completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas then moved to El Paso, Texas where I currently practice medicine. If pushed, I will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. I enjoy classical music, art, travel, embroidery, and a good ghost story.
I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. I am represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC and published by Henery Press.
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