Featured Interview With Blair McDowell
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
• I grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on the island of Ocracoke, and went to school in Maryland, Wisconsin and Connecticut before doing post graduate study in Budapest, Hungary. I now live in the charming little fishing village of Gibson’s Landing on the Sunshine Coast, in British Columbia, Canada. My house overlooks the Strait of Georgia. I can see the cruise ships sailing by on their way to Alaska. I have no pets because I travel too frequently, but I do have a herd of deer who munch their way across my lawn every day. They are beautiful. I especially love the Spring when they bring their tiny wobbly spotted fauns to visit.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
With regard to reading, I think I was about three, and the book was ‘Millions and Billions and Trillions of Cats’. I read and reread that book until I think I could have recited it by heart. I’ve been reading ever since. My Kindle at present has 411 books on it, all read but eleven, and my library has floor to ceiling bookcases filled with books I can’t bear to part with.
As to writing, I wrote my first piece of fiction in third grade, ‘Twins in Double Trouble’. I don’t recall anyone being particularly impressed by it. But undeterred, I went on in high school to write two plays that were performed, as well as a pageant for the 100th anniversary of my church, which was also performed.
In university, and indeed for many years after university, my writing of necessity took a professional turn. I wrote six books in my field, one of which became a basic required text. All were published by Simon & Schuster.
Imagine my surprise, when I retired and turned to writing fiction, to discover it is MUCH harder to snag a publisher for my fiction than it was for my non-fiction!
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I like best, those books that have some historical content, good characters with whom I can identify, a touch of romance and a soupçon of mystery. At different ages I have liked different kinds of books “best”. As a teen-ager, I read and was enthralled with ‘Gone With the Wind’, ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Camille’. Later I devoured all the James Bond books. Still later it was Agatha Christie. Then all the Zen books and Montalbano. I think the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read – something to aspire to – is ‘The Once and Future King’, by Theodore White. Of course I’m not mentioning Shakespeare or John Donne or even Oscar Wilde in this context. They are all wonderful, but beyond comparison. Good, literate writing always inspires me.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
In ‘Delighting In Your Company’ Amalie Ansett travels to the Caribbean Island of St. Clements. There she meets a handsome plantation owner, Jonathan Evans, and falls in love with him.
Then she discovers only she can see and hear him. Jonathan died 200 years ago, murdered as he carried his bride (Amalie’s ancestress) over the threshold to her new home.
Jonathan pleads with the present-day Amalie to return to the past, to discover what happened on that fateful night, and perhaps to change history.
Amalie is conflicted. If she succeeds, she will lose the only man she has ever loved. He will be in the past, with that other Amalie while she, back in the present, will have lost the only man she ever loved.
And yet, if she refuses his plea, she will have condemned her lover to walk the world as a ghost, a jumbie, for eternity.
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