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This week I have the pleasure of hosting a great friend and fellow Penner Publishing author, Jamie McLachlan. The Memory Collector Series has the first book, Mind of the Phoenix, out already (see my review here) and the second, Pawn of the Phoenix, is due in February 2016 (see my review here). Come back Wednesday morning (12/23) for the cover reveal of Pawn of the Phoenix. As with the first book, the cover is exquisite.

The Memory Collector Series

Background

Author name: Jamie McLachlan

Book titles: The Memory Collector Series: Mind of the Phoenix (book 1), Pawn of the Phoenix (book 2)

Tell us a little about yourself and your background: I’m an avid reader and lover of anything artsy. As of now, I spend most of my time reading and writing, while taking care of my two year old son. It took me a while to decide where I wanted to go with my education, but I finally decided on majoring in English and minoring in Philosophy.

Tell us a little about your novel: Pawn of the Phoenix continues with Moira and Detective Edwards investigating the mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix. After the death of Mr. Anderson, the case not only abides by different rules, but it also runs cold. When secrets from both of their pasts are revealed, Moira and the detective’s tentative relationship will be tested, and a clue from the past might finally unravel the mystery of the Phoenix.

Have you written anything else (including novels, short stories, novellas, etc.): I write poetry, which can be found on my website. I’ve also written a short story that delves into Moira’s past at the pleasure house, titled “The Pleasures of Florence”. I also wrote two other short stories, “A Seductive Disguise” and “An Unexpected Surprise”, which I plan to eventually turn into a paranormal romance novel. And, of course, there’s the first book in The Memory Collector Series, titled Mind of the Phoenix.

Q&A

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk: I rock back and forth in a rocking chair while listening to music and daydreaming about my stories.

Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them? If so, which one did it the most and what did they do: Definitely! I can’t reveal that because it would spoil Pawn of the Phoenix.

How did you decide on the setting for your book: I wanted a historical feel, but also didn’t want to go too far back in history. Also, I had been watching a lot of Murdoch Mysteries at the time, so that influenced my setting.

Do you ever dream about your characters, either before or after you bring them to life on the page: Sometimes. For Mind of the Phoenix, I actually did end up dreaming about Detective Edwards visiting the dream house before I had fully formulated the novel.

If your book were made into a movie, who would play the leads: For Moira, I think Mila Kunis would fit nicely. For Detective Keenan Edwards, I think Raoul Bova would work.

Do you have any pointers or advice for aspiring writers: Keep writing. Listen to critique. Research. And never give up.

Favorite song: Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake Waltz

Favorite movie/tv show: Too many to choose.

Chosen superpower: Mind reading…?

Toilet paper: over or under: Both

Real book or tablet: Real book

Star Trek or Star Wars: Star Wars

Excerpt

I knock on his office door. When he doesn’t answer, I peek into the room. The scent of smoke permeates the air, the half-smoked cigarette, long abandoned in the ashtray, still glows, emitting a trail of fumes that cloud the area near his desk. His head is bent over the letter he writes, and I can see the slight touch of grey that dusts the sides of his brown hair. His sack coat is delicately placed over one of the chairs by the fire. He looks as unattainable as ever, and I suddenly regret my decision to interrupt him. But there’s no sense in turning back now, so I open the door wider and clear my throat. He doesn’t even glance up at me when he finally speaks.

“What is it, Moira?”

I decide the question is an invitation to enter, and I promptly walk in. Even though his tone reveals his annoyance, I’m grateful he no longer refers to me as Del Mar. I’m finally a person, not property.

He glances up and watches my progress. I wish I could say his attentiveness is sexual, but it’s not. He scrutinizes me with the careful alertness of an observer who is examining something that has the potential to be volatile. It’s instinctual for him, a defense mechanism elicited by the horizontal s and accompanying dots above and below it on my cheek. He knows full well I could pierce through his mental barriers at any moment. I could persuade him to do anything I want, but I won’t.

“I simply wish to know what it is you do in here all day.” I trail a finger over the shelf of one of his many bookcases. My finger comes away with a thick layer of dust, which means I’m not the only one forbidden to enter his office without an invitation. I tsk and add quietly, “Clearly, not cleaning.”

“Perhaps you can satiate your boredom elsewhere, Moira. I’m rather busy at the moment.”

I abandon my inspection of his books and, annoyed with his negligence, snuff out the cigarette that has been filling the air with the bitter scent of smoke. His eyes continue to follow me, his suspicion growing with my every move. Resting my hip on the edge of his desk, I lean forward to inspect the cursive writing.

“Who are you writing to?” I ask sweetly. “A lover?”

“No one that concerns you.” He inhales deeply and leans back in his chair, not bothering to conceal the letter. “I thought we had an agreement.”

I flash him one of my innocent smiles, and pitch my voice low with a hint of seduction. “Oh, we do. I just came to tell you I’m going to bathe, and I could use some help.”

He studies me closely, shifting his gaze from my blue eye to my hazel one. “I’m positive Mrs. Whitmore would be more than willing to provide you with assistance. If, indeed, you need it.”

I align my curves in a more appealing position. “Perhaps you can join me. For what I require assistance with, I’d prefer the presence of a man, not a woman. I promise to reward you for your services.”

This close, I can smell his uncertainty. His jaw tenses as he struggles between his desire and whatever else has been causing him to be distant since I moved into his home. He wants to join me, but something is holding him back. I wish I knew what it was. The moment he averts his gaze I know he will refuse my invitation. I’m annoyed, because after our last kiss I want more and was positive he wanted that as well. But after several failed attempts of flirtation on my part, I’m not certain anymore. How blunt do I have to be, Detective?

Before he can utter some pathetic excuse, I try a different tactic. “I might sneak into your bedroom. You wouldn’t want that, now would you?”

“My bedroom is locked, Moira.”

Of course it is. How foolish of me.

“I might escape,” I whisper, daring him.

His voice is calm when he responds, but his eyes are filled with silent mirth. “I suggest you try the front door first. I imagine it would be easier than climbing out of one of the windows upstairs.”

I grin, even though he’s managed to turn my seduction into a laughing matter. “Undoubtedly, but I prefer a challenge and a little excitement. The front door would be too easy and dissatisfying.”

“Well, do inform me when you’ve decided.” He diverts his attention back to the letter, and the moment slips away. “Until then–”

“Yes, I know,” I interject. “You’re busy.”

I sigh and stand, stifling my disappointment. “The Chief should have suggested I stay with Constable Jamieson instead. I’m sure he’s not always so busy.”

“Possibly, but I imagine his fiancée would have disapproved of the arrangement.”

“Oh, you’re right.” I turn and walk away from him, muttering my last words beneath my breath. “I forgot about her.”

I’ve almost reached the door when he speaks again. “And, Moira, please refrain from walking around naked after your bath. You startled Mrs. Whitmore, and I do intend on continuing her services. A discreet housekeeper is hard to come by.”

Even though my voice is sweet, the words are forced between my teeth. “Oh, of course, Detective. I’ll do my best to behave accordingly.”

I close the door and head upstairs to prepare my bath—alone. I run the water to fill the tub as I undress, trying and failing to suppress my frustration. While this past month out of prison has allowed me to gain weight, the curves which served me well in the past don’t seem to entice the one man I want.

Author Bio

author photo jmclachlan

Jamie McLachlan is a graduate from Grant MacEwan University with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy. She decided to put her day dreaming to good use by weaving tales of speculative fiction. Avid reader and lover of all things creative, she lives in Canada with her family.

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