Today we're talking with Amy Lignor, author of The Sapphire Storm: Tallent & Lowery, Book Two
FQ: At the start of the book we see Leah and Gareth making the dreaded trip to visit her parents. Does that mean these two are finally getting serious? Will they ever marry or do you think that would spoil the energy?
(LOL) Now that falls under the header of ‘spoiler.’ But I have to say when I even imagine Gareth proposing to Leah I can see her bolting from the room like a scared doe as he bursts into laughter behind her; that’s definitely how these two operate. I will say that their chemistry is absolutely perfect with the battle of wits that’s going on between them now. I truly want Tallent & Lowery to be a team that does not reveal all to the reader too soon, especially seeing as that they are really in this for the long haul considering this will be a seven-book series. There are reasons for that dreaded trip home; not only was it for humor purposes so that all readers will know exactly where, when and why Leah developed her hysterical sarcasm, but I also wanted them to smile as Gareth is introduced to the whole Tallent clan. In addition, I needed to introduce these characters because a few will play very pivotal roles in the upcoming books. In fact, the Tallent family has a few secrets that even Leah is going to be stunned by when she finds out.
FQ: I think of Kathryn and Emmanuel as the sane pair (more or less) to counter Leah and Gareth's rather crazy antics. Was that intentional? To add a bit of balance to the cast of characters?
Actually, out of the Lowery family Gareth’s sister is the sanest one, and her lovely boyfriend, Emmanuel, is most definitely very level-headed. But as the stories proceed, you will soon notice that Kathryn has a secret of her own and Emmanuel is going to become Leah’s best bud in many ways, as he helps her to accomplish a seriously difficult task that no one sees coming. It’s nice to have the balance between these two sets; a couple that almost never argues and is more or less in that peaceful zone, whereas Leah and Gareth challenge each other at every turn. It’s a blast to write.
FQ: Okay, I must ask... Leah, library, adventure, travel...is she really you? Or what you would, in a perfect world, like to be?
I would kill for Gareth. (LOL) But, yes, a lot of Leah is based on me (especially that crazy family that people meet and that trip home). I am also a HUGE New York Public Library lover. In fact, if I could convince the owners to let me live in the basement, that’s exactly where I would be on a daily basis. The power and spirit of that building, and having the inexhaustible wealth of words that have come from the greatest minds of all time within its walls, is amazing to me. Like Leah, I do love adventure, I have to say. I love mysteries, puzzles, and I was able to drive back and forth across this country many times to experience all kinds of locations, historical sites, and meet people with the absolute best stories to tell. Alas…without Gareth…the whole ‘package’ isn’t there.
FQ: I know I asked this in our first interview, for 13, book one in this series, but I have to ask again. The tale is so unique and I love the way you interconnect so many real places and facts into the story. Where did you get the idea for The Sapphire Storm?
When 13 was completed, I honestly thought that it would be an individual title. Then, out of nowhere, I came across a small fact buried in a reference book that stated Shakespeare may not have been ‘Shakespeare,’ and that a man who many believed to have written some of the most famous works in literature ALSO was hired by King James to ‘edit’ the actual Bible. This one fact sent me on a brand new journey and Leah was the only character in my head that was up to the task. From then on out, I’ve been ‘stumbling’ across puzzles that fit Leah and Gareth, and the story just keeps expanding.
FQ: There are a lot of biblical references in the story. Did you have to study up on your Bible before beginning the adventure?
I have to study up on everything, let me tell you. Thankfully, I love research. I was very lucky (especially in high school when I really didn’t want to study much) that I have the ability to pretty much memorize everything I read. So, a lot like Leah, I have a bit of a card catalogue in my head that I go into to retrieve information. But when it comes to the locations, the Bible, various puzzles that I have to somehow connect – technology is a dream invention because everything from UNESCO to Google is there to help me out.
FQ: Likewise, there are a lot of historical places Leah and Gareth travel to. Have you traveled to any of them? If so, which was your favorite? Or, if not, which site is on the top of the list of "must visit" spots?
I have been to some but not others, such as the Palace at Knossos and Athens. These are locations I haven’t had the chance to see outside of my own mind, and Athens would most definitely be at the top of my list to visit.
FQ: There were several references to Mr. Darcy in the story. It was funny to see the men "not getting it." Would you like to share with our readers, who may not understand, how Mr. Darcy fits into the story?
Darcy is literally a mention made by Leah because he is a mention made by many females (perhaps all of us at one time in our lives, especially book lovers). It remains to this day that Jane Austen’s, Mr. Darcy, was not the ‘perfect’ male. BUT, he was the one that had charm, extreme loyalty, arrogance, yet was completely awkward and innocent when it came to the fact that he’d fallen in love and had absolutely no idea what to do about it. He went out on a limb because he had met his intellectual match which he believed – as many men believed back then and still do today – wasn’t possible. His relationship with Elizabeth was all about a battle of wills; he strode into a room with confidence and when he smiled – only at her – he meant it. They became far more than a couple they became a team – which is what Gareth and Leah are building.
FQ: IF Leah and Gareth were to get married and have kids, what do you think those children would be like?
Creatures that you would not want to be near! LOL Hmmm, this is a good question, If they take after Gareth, they would be up to something at all times, offering their pretty eyes and smiles to charm their teachers and babysitters so they could get away with murder. If they followed Mom’s path, they’d be eye-rollers who had their noses buried in books listening to Mom as if she were the Queen of Knowledge, while their ‘dad-like’ siblings made Mom go nuts. You know….a nice, happy family. Of course, no matter which parent’s tendencies they followed, they would have strength, courage and a serious sense of humor.
FQ: I understand there are seven books planned in this series. Do you have a rough idea of what each book will be about, or do you only plan one book at a time?
Actually, five out of the seven are written in the series and I’m researching the sixth right now. Usually I plan one book at a time, but with Tallent and Lowery I still research one at a time because the puzzles in each are so intricate, but the actual story expanded in my mind so fast that I knew by Book II where they were headed next, what they were going to do, and how and where it would all end up. The only surprise that hit me so far appeared in Book Five. It came out of nowhere and even I was stunned.
FQ: I suspect we'll be seeing Mrs. Tallent, Leah's mother in book 3. Would you give our readers a glimpse of the next book in the series?
Oh, yeah…Mom is way more than you think she is. The next book is titled, The Heroes Companion, which is actually a reference to the poster you see at the end of Book II. Leah and Gareth are about to unveil a pretty large secret that includes Athens and a certain building that still sits on the Acropolis that barely anyone even notices. In that building – a structure with a seriously cool back story – is an artifact that Leah needs in order to solve a mystery that will actually involve her own family. People will ask me what my personal favorite is with these books, and I have to say this was one of them. I also am madly in love with Book IV which brings the reader to a little-known place that at one time played a part in everything from the Nazi regime to a myth involving an actual fall from Heaven. (Nope, not the Devil or angels or anything, this one is all based in reality).