A TASTE FROM “THROUGH KESTREL’S EYES”

 

 

 

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PROLOGUE:

 

Eleven year old Liannis sat on the sod roof of her parents’ cottage in her night-shift, stroking No-tail’s soft fur, and gazing into the night sky. She loved to sit here to think, but chose to do so only after she was sure her parents slept soundly below. They did not approve, fearing she might fall off and be injured. Liannis knew better. At times like this, No-tail, their small cat, usually followed her and took advantage of the warm nest made by the hammock of her skirt as she sat cross-legged.

As a small child, Liannis had spent many happy days at court playing with Lionn, Lord Gaelen’s son, Sennia, his sister, and Borless, the son of Lady Marja’s maid. But as she grew older, the press of her growing inner gifts made it harder to be among so many people. The impressions of their emotions pressed on her spirit and threatened to overwhelm her. Like Liethis, seer to the court of Bargia, she preferred the isolation of her home outside the city.

At first Lord Gaelen and Lady Marja had been reluctant to have their son and heir come to the cottage to visit with her here, fearing for his safety away from the guards. But Liannis knew he would come to no harm. She told them, with full confidence that nothing would happen to him as long as he was with her. Earth had told her so.

Gaelen had relented only upon assurance from Liethis, official seer of Bargia, that Liannis’ sight was true.  From that time on, under the watchful eyes of Liannis’ parents, the three children had visited with her often,. They had occasionally accompanied her in her night vigils on the roof.

Liannis had not returned to court again after her eighth summer. The press of impressions there caused her too much pain.

Tonight, Liannis kept her vigil alone. She considered what her future would hold. When she reached her twelfth birthday, she understood she would start spending the winter months with Liethis as her apprentice.

Liethis had already explained to Lord Gaelen and her parents that Liannis would grow into a much more powerful seer than she was. Liannis’ gifts of truth-reading and her ability to mind-speak birds and animals already outshone her own and had not yet grown into their full strength. But the girl needed other skills that would help her use her gifts to their full potential; how to dampen the press that would drive her mad otherwise, how to deal with persons of influence diplomatically and how to handle unwelcome questions from those whose problems were too small for Earth to be concerned with.

Liannis did not look forward to leaving her peaceful home but she understood its necessity. Already, she found it hard to control the barrage that assaulted her senses, and this would only increase. But at least the summers would still be spent here at home.

Liannis smiled, as she sensed her father reach for her mother and lay his sleeping arm across her waist. Earth had given her special parents. She knew they would never have another child. Seers were always only daughters. Earth never burdened a seer with siblings, as they matured too quickly and felt the emotions of those around them too keenly, to thrive in larger families. They needed a serene environment in which their gifts could grow without constraint.

She dreamily pulled a blade of grass from the sod to chew. Then, stroking No-tail one last time, she smiled to herself, content, climbed down and went to her bed in the loft.

INTERVIEW with DV BERKOM

I’d like to thank DV Berkom for being with me today. For all you action junkies, DV keeps you on the edge.

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DV, you once lived on a sailboat in Mexico, did that experience influence your writing in any way? Absolutely. That was the first instance I lived in another country for any real length of time. It gave me the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, and it began my lifelong love of Mexico and her amazingly diverse population and landscape. Moving and/or traveling to a new place, especially a foreign country, helps me to become the observer and keeps things fresh and interesting.  You write from the male POV as much as possible. Men and women’s voices are so different, what made you choose this POV? Even though my main protagonists are both strong women, I do enjoy writing from the male point of view in order to shake things up and tell the story in the most interesting way possible. Human beings are fascinating, male or female. What drives them, why they choose one path over another—that’s what gets me going creatively. For the Kate Jones thriller series, I’m unable to switch POV, as it’s in first person, but for the Leine Basso ex-assassin novels, I get to play around and choose whoever has the most to lose in a scene. Leine usually gets the most page time, though. Do you find it difficult to write from that perspective? Not really. I’ve been fortunate to have had several great male friends throughout my life, many of whom were like the brothers I never had. I think because of that kind of familiarity the male point of view comes easily for me (as it does for women who grew up with a brother or three). As you know, writers are observers and I’ve been a keen observer of men since I can remember. I read that you like on the edge of your seat thrillers, where do you go mentally to find that turn for your reader? I’m an unapologetic action-movie junkie and love reading thrillers. If a book or movie takes too long to get to the point, I’m done. Not that the form has to be all action, all the time—that’s exhausting and gets old fast. But I do like tension on the page (and on the screen) and I try hard to deliver the same to readers.  The old adage, “Write what you like to read” makes a lot of sense. As for where do I go mentally, I think being able to write suspense has a lot to do with having an overactive imagination. If it scares me or makes my pulse race, then I work to find a way to convey that on the page. The main thing, though, is to create a character readers can relate to. If you don’t get that right, then it doesn’t matter what you do to the protagonist. The reader won’t care. Do you have anything in common with any of your protagonists? What would it be? I would hope that when the s**t hits the fan that I’m as gutsy at either Kate or Leine. I also have to confess that I’ve been as impulsive and imprudent as Kate. The good news is, as I’ve grown older I try to temper that impulsiveness by being as pragmatic as Leine. It’s still not easy. If Bad Traffick became a movie, what character would you want to play? I would have to play a passerby, since I can’t act my way out of a paper bag. If I knew how to act, it would be Leine Basso. She’s such a badass.  The stunts would be way fun. Have you reached a saturation point as far as your writing, or do you feel you have many miles to go? Many, many miles to go, believe me. I’m still constantly learning and hope that part never stops. That and the stories/characters are what keep me engaged. You are on an island, stuck for who knows how long, you can have one book, one author, and one actor companion along for the ride. What book, and who would the author and actor be? Only one of each? Crap. The book would have to be some sort of island survival guide. For the author, I’d pick someone who is a survivalist or has Special Forces experience, since I have no real practical knowledge other than what I’ve read or written (See? Pragmatic.) The actor would have to be someone with a good sense of humor but calm in a crisis, like I imagine George Clooney or Brad Pitt would be (heh—pragmatism can only take you so far…). Someone interesting to talk to would be key, since we’d all have a lot of time on our hands. What is your favorite quote, or one of them? Anything by Dorothy Parker. Here’s a line from one of her reviews: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Men are better writers at what? Why? I wouldn’t pigeon-hole writers as good or bad because they’re male or female. That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t care if they’re male, female or something else entirely. I just want a good book.

Serial Date (Leine Basso Thriller #1): A retired assassin. A serial killer with a social agenda. (Available on Amazon.comBN.comSmashwords.com, iBookstore)
Bad Traffick (Leine Basso Thriller #2): Running out of time, ex-assassin Leine Basso must find twelve-year-old Mara before a ruthless gang of traffickers, or she will be lost forever. (Available on Amazon.com)
The Kate Jones Thriller Series (available on Amazon.comBN.com,Smashwords.com, iBookstore):
Bad Spirits
Dead of Winter
Death Rites
Touring for Death
Cruising for Death

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