What genre are you most comfortable writing? I write Suspense. My first novel, Trapped (http://amzn.to/P2xxaT),, is a parapsychological suspense, that most readers comment, “I couldn’t put it down.” My current novel, A Third time to Die, might be classified as a Romantic Suspense. I’ve also written two non-procedural Detective novels, featuring a Miami-Dade homicide cop (think Patterson’s Alex Cross), and am working on two more in his series. I’ve also written a non-fiction book about fly-fishing for pike and Musky, Toothy Critters Love Flies. More about that in a later question
Can you tell us about your main character? Ashley Easton is a beautiful, vibrant mother in a troubled marriage. She rescues a badly abused horse and decides to return to show jumping, the passion of her youth. The animal gives her unquestioned love, something she no longer receives from her husband, Keith. But when Ashley begins to compete, she is terrified as the course seemingly morphs into an old forest, the jumps transformed into real walls, fences and streams. Her thoughts spill through her head in elegant French, a language she barely knows, as she attacks the fences with a fearless abandon uncharacteristic for her, winning every event.
Later, through hypnotic psychotherapy, Ashley discovers two Past Lives, the first as a French countess, the reckless but skilled horsewoman who fills her head while jumping her horse, Injun. Those lives were filled with passionate love, and fraught with brutal murder. Now, in the 21st Century, she is rediscovering her lover, but has her killer also returned to this time?
How much of the book is realistic? There are two aspects to A 3rd Time to Die: Jumping horses and Past Lives. My wife, Dolores, owned and jumped a champion Open Class horse when we lived in northern Illinois. I’ve brought that experience to the novel, giving an accurate insight to that beautiful sport, including the personal relationship between rider and horse. Her horse, Redman, loved her, interacting more like a dog than an equine with her.
Past Lives are more debatable. Ashley is eventually hypnotically regressed into those past lives, so I decided reading about how it was done wasn’t going to cut it for me. I read “Many Lives, Many Masters,” by Dr. Brian Weiss, a prominent psychiatrist and most noted proponent of past lives. I found an associate of his, (Weiss was “booked up” for over a year!) who hypnotically regressed me… into NINE lives of my own. I had my doubts of the reality of the condition, but wanted to see what it was like. This, you may think, was going a bit “overboard” for research, but it was a life-changing experience. This gave me a clear understanding of how regression actually works, the actual mechanics the therapist uses to take you back… back… back into past lives.
Here’s an interesting personal antidote. When I was twelve, my dad brought home a target bow and a big straw bull’s-eye target. My only experience with a bow was from watching Western movies, but I set up the target in the back yard, strung the bow (how did I even know how to do that?), walked off about 100 feet… and started shooting bull’s-eyes! I seldom missed that center black circle. A few days later, while practicing, a big crow flew over, probably 60 feet high. I instinctively put an arrow in him. A week later, while “hunting” in a nearby forest preserve, I flushed a ringneck pheasant, and knocked him down with a quick shot. Then a rabbit, dodging through the brush. I don’t know how I did it, I just did it, without thinking.
The point of this little tale is, during one of my regressions, I found myself in Lincolnshire Forest, shooting game for a 16th Century English duke…a regular Robin Hood. An interesting and provoking side-light to doing research for a novel. Personally, I now believe in Past Lives.
Ashley Easton rescues a badly abused horse, deciding to return to show jumping, the passion of her youth. The animal gives unquestioned love, something lacking from her husband, Keith. But when Ashley begins to compete, she is terrified as the show course seemingly changes into an old forest and the jumps appear as real walls, fences and trees. Her thoughts spill through her head in elegant French. As she attacks the fences with an unfamiliar, fearless abandon, she begins winning every competition.
Craig Thornton, an avid horseman, happens upon Ashley’s first competition, entranced as he watches her jump her horse, Injun. Mystically drawn toward each other, it’s as if they knew the other…but from where? After several missed opportunities, they finally meet, becoming fast friends, their love of jumping horses a mutual bond.
Ashley seeks therapy to address a strange terror swamping her whenever she’s intimate. During hypnotic regression, she’s stunned to find herself in two apparent past lives, first in the 17th Century, on a fox hunt as the fearless French horsewoman who fills her head while jumping, and again, 150 years later in Philadelphia, a shipping tycoons daughter. Both times she is fulfilled by glorious romance, followed by the terror of their brutal murder while making fervid love in a forested glade!
The doctor says these are figments of her subconscious, but he’s shaken, knowing the truth. He realizes those were real past lives, and their killer may be lurking again, nearby.
Ashley and Craig soon discover more than friendship. As these two newly rediscovered lovers struggle to free themselves from broken marriages, others plan to fulfill a 300 year-old legacy of death.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG13
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