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City in which you reside: Sharpsburg
Day job: Administrative associate in the Graduate Studies & Continuing Education Division, Shepherd University
Book title: "Secret of the Big Easy"
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Synopsis of book: Dr. Marie Bartek struggles to gain control over the new psychic abilities she experiences while attending a veterinarian conference in the French Quarter of New Orleans. These recent visions prompt her to work with local police and members of the Sullivan's Island Paranormal Society (SIPS) team to help solve the succession of heinous satanic murders, while fighting against a demon trying to take over her mind.
What inspired you to write the book?
The inspiration came from my interests in paranormal ghost investigations, psychic mediums and murder mysteries. It felt natural bringing those three elements together.
Which character did you identify with? Why?
I can identify with Marie Bartek, the detail-oriented doctor, and her best friend, Gale Winters, a fun-loving party girl. I believe some of my emotions, beliefs and sense of humor came through in each of them.
In your previous book, your protagonist, Marie, organized a team of psychics and ghost-chasing techies to help solve a series of murders. "Secret of the Big Easy" also features Marie and the SIPS team. How has Marie or SIPS changed or matured in the new book compared to the first?
Marie has progressed in her psychic abilities, bringing on a heightened sense to her visions, which in turn, gave a unique value to help solve the murders taking place around the French Quarter. The relationship between Marie and her beau, Sheriff Cory Miller, continues to grow as they heavily rely on each other through the roller coaster of emotions dealing with Marie's new abilities and these murders.
What themes did you want to present to readers?
It's interesting; I didn't start out with a purpose or theme, but it developed into expressing the importance of friendship and acceptance. Marie struggles in the first book in the series, "Sullivan's Secret," to accept her psychic ability and allow others to accept her. In "Secret of the Big Easy," Marie acknowledges she has a gift and is committed to find the perpetrators and bring closure and justice for the victims. I think it's important for everyone to believe in themselves and to persevere, no matter what odds are against them.
What is your favorite part of the book? Why?
I don't have any favorite parts to my story, but I did enjoy writing the paranormal scenes and Marie's visions.