Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Guest Interview with Cornelia Amiri
Debbie: Good morning everyone. Today we are visiting with Cornelia Amiri. We are meeting today in our Cyber Tombs and since Cornelia's story involves them, we wanted to check these tombs out. I gotta say this is almost as creepy as the trip to the underworld.
Laura: First, Deb, I have to say how awesome you look with that tan you got from Key West. And I think that tarpin looks fantastic over your desk!
Debbie: You mean the minnow you tried to use as bate, uh huh.
Laura: Pft. Bait. Yeah, if we were trying to catch a killer whale or great white shark. So, anyway, Cornelia has written an awesome Celtic paranormal romance entitled, The Prince of Powys. And I have to agree, this place is pretty creepy. Hey…what’s this do? (pulls lever) Ooo, a secret passage! Let’s go inside!
Debbie: Ummm, I'm not going in there. It's dark and full of cobwebs, which mean spiders and GHOSTS. Nope I'll wait right here for Cornelia.
Laura: Did she say she was meeting us outside? I mean, this is a story about exploring tombs. How do you know she’s not inside waiting for us? And look, I happen to have two flashlights right here. (flicks them both on and hands one to Debbie) I know you have a bigger sense of adventure than this! And seriously, I doubt there are any ghosts or hooded guys asking for coins. We’ll be perfectly safe…so long as we stay together.
Debbie: Okay, fine. But if some big portal opens and sucks you through, don't expect me to go after you. Especially armed with only a FLASHLIGHT!
Laura: Wow, it is dark down here. Wait…what is that big stone thing over there near the wall?
Debbie: You mean that alter that has been used for sacrifices for who knows how long? I swear, if anything jumps out at us, I’m gonna throw you up on that stone slab myself!
Laura: Nothing’s gonna— What was that? (spins around)
Debbie: It’s Cornelia. Thank God she found us.
Laura: Yeah…but how did she find us down here? (glances around) Think there’s another secret passage around here that she used?
Debbie: You really need a keeper, woman. And no, I’m not taking the job!
DEBBIE: Good morning, Cornelia. Thank you for joining us here, I think.
LAURA: Great to see you, Cornelia. Yeah, Debbie was getting a little freaked by the whole tomb thing, I think. She used to have a great tan…but she’s looking a bit pale at the moment.
DEBBIE: Just wait. I hope the next interview is in the underworld or even better a place where coffee never existed! HAH! Who’d be whining then?
LAURA: Impossible! Coffee exists in every universe, just like chocolate. (shifts flashlight to guest) So, Cornelia, your book, The Prince of Powys, looks wonderful. How did you come up with such an interesting title?
CORNELIA: The hero in the book is the youngest son, a prince of Powys and most of the story takes place in Powys. (Pow–is) I thought the title was catchy.
LAURA: I agree, very catchy. Have you ever been in a tomb?
CORNELIA: No, but I written a lot about tombs, and I’ve done some research on them. Branda searches for a treasure in dusty tombs in The Prince of Powys.
DEBBIE: I can honestly say that exploring tombs is not on my bucket list, lol. What was the inspiration for this story?
CORNELIA: I read in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles about the 8th century Saxon War Lords Ethelbald of Mercia and Cuthred of Wessex fighting each other and how they both fought the Welsh. The Welsh king they fought was Elisedd of Powys whose grandson built a monument to him that stands to this day. I was intrigued by this great Welsh King. Also I worked at a call center customer service job with a co-worker named Farah, her personality, so perky and cute, inspired the character of Branda.
LAURA: Have you ever been to Egypt?
CORNELIA: No. I did recently attend the King Tut exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art in Houston and I saw an exhibit there years ago on Cleopatra. That’s the closest I’ve been to Egypt. I’ve done a lot of research on Egypt. I’d love to go there.
LAURA: I haven’t been there either, but it’s on my bucket list. Right along with Machu Picchu and Fiji.
DEBBIE: Nope, I want to see too much of the U.S. first, lol. When did you start writing?
CORNELIA: I’ve been writing professionally since 2001 when my first book The Fox Prince was published, it has now been revised to a book titled The Celtic Fox and is on Amazon. So that was about eleven years ago.
DEBBIE: Good for you! That’s awesome!
LAURA: Very cool. Did you always want to be a writer...or perhaps a history teacher with a penchant for recovering missing artifacts?
CORNELIA: I’d love to be a history teacher who discovered ancient relics on the side by writing about history and ancient artifacts but I probably reach more people to share information about history through writing about it then I would in a classroom.
DEBBIE: Probably so. It’s amazing the things you pick up through reading. Of course with what Laura and I write, I’m not sure we’d want people learning how to be serial killers or demon slayers. Although a good demon slayer might come in handy. Any favorite authors?
CORNELIA: Many, too many to name, but among authors of Celtic/historical/fantasy novels I love books by Morgan Llewellyn, Jules Watson, Manda Scott, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
DEBBIE: Awesome, new names to look into!
LAURA: Switching gears here…. Do you have any hobbies, pets?
CORNELIA: I love to read, of course. I love to hang out with my son and my seven year old granddaughter. I love to eat with friends at restaurants. I love researching history. I love listening to Celtic music. I love petting and playing with my cat, Severus.
LAURA: That all sounds so wonderful! And I bet it keeps you busy, too. I’ve got three cats, and if yours is anything like mine, they love to sit in your lap while you work.
DEBBIE: Do you have a most embarrassing moment you'd like to share with us? Promise we won't tell. (snickers to Laura...)
CORNELIA: Well while wearing a first century AD Celtic costume, basically a wrapped around plaid skirt tied with a rope belt, I was carrying some of my books to a Celtic Christmas festival to sign and sell. The wind was real strong and I had to walk up stairs with my hands full. The wind whipped my skirt up over my head, you sometimes can find photos on the web of men in kilts having this happen to them. Stuff happens. What can you do? I recently found a way to slip that into a novella I’m working on, though it happens to my hero in a kilt rather than the heroine, but she’s watching when it occurs. Very observant that heroine of mine. We all know what real men wear under their kilts.
LAURA: (snort) Well, it ain’t ladies underpanties, that’s for sure. LOL
DEBBIE: My gramps was Scottish, he wore a kilt, but I’m going to pretend there were boxers under his.
LAURA: What about new stories? Any new WIPs or up-coming stories you want to tell us about?
CORNELIA: I’m working on two Steampunk/Romance novellas and a Celtic/Vampires Romance like the one that recently came out with EC, Dance of The Vampires.
DEBBIE: Now they sound interesting especially the Celtic/Vampire one. There’s something sexy about Vampires. I can only imagine a Celtic one.
LAURA: Wow, Celtic vampire? That sounds interesting. (nudges Deb) So, is it time?
DEBBIE: At the end of our interviews, we usually ask an off-the-wall question, lol
LAURA: Right! Sooo… Do you want me to ask her or do you want to this time?
DEBBIE: You go take a snooze on that stone alter over there, and I’ll ask Cornelia our question.
....Okay, you're on the Nile, your boat has run aground and is filling with water quick. Hungry crocodiles are heading toward, waiting for a tasty treat. What do you do?
CORNELIA: What a great action scene. If I was a character in a Steampunk Romance, I’d open my parasol and switch on the propeller function so it would spin and lift me off the ground like a helicopter. Or again, if I was a character in a book, I could always chant an Egyptian spell and call on the crocodile God Sobek to keep the crocodiles away so I can swim safely to shore.
LAURA: Oh, wow! Both of those are great answers. Love the parasol flying you to the shore. LOL If I had one, I’d use it all the time! I say you survived it! Debbie?
DEBBIE: LMAO!!!!! I’m sorry, folks, but all I’m seeing now is Laura floating around in the sky like Mary Poppins.
LAURA: Hey, she was probably the very start of the steampunk genre and no one even realized it! Sadly though, I can’t sing or dance like Ms. Poppins. (hangs head and sighs) I’m afraid the penguins would even out-do me!
DEBBIE: Penguins? Not even going there. Thank you for dropping by and entertaining us today, Cornelia, we’ve had a blast!
LAURA: Yes, thank you so much for dropping by, Cornelia. Hope to see you back with your next release! This one has been a great fun! (flashlight flickers and Laura smacks it a few times) Oops. Oh, there’s the light. Wow, that was too close. Wouldn’t want to be standing here in the pitch dark. (looks around) Wait, where did Cornelia go?
Debbie: Probably through the portal I mentioned earlier. We need to go now! There aren’t bats down here are there? I can handle most anything but bats and snakes, don’t like snakes either.
Laura: Bat’s don’t bother me too much. Snakes? Um, yeah don’t care for them too much.
Debbie: (shivers) You feel that cold breeze?
Laura: Whoa. Yeah, it’s like the temperature just dropped fifty degrees! (glances around) Oh my God….Deeebbbie…What is that?
Debbie: That’s a mirror you fool. Just your reflection, sheesh. Oh, but hey, what’s that stepping out of it?
Laura: I think it’s that hooded guy. How did he find us?
Debbie: Probably through the damn coin you gave him the last time. Maybe he just wants another coin to guide us out of here
Laura: Do you have any more coins? Cause I don’t.
Debbie: Sure, cause I carry around his special shiny coins just for the heck of it. (digs in pocket) What about this gold band I no longer have use for. Think he’ll take it for collateral?
Laura: Throw it at him and let’s get the heck outta here!
Debbie: (tosses ring) See ya on the flip side, dude. (runs, hoping Laura is behind her)
To be continued…..
....Cornelia Amiri is the author of over a dozen books. Ten Celtic/Paranormal/Romances: The Prince of Powys, The Wolf and the Druidess, Druid Bride, Queen of Kings, Timeless Voyage, A Fine Cauldron of Fish, The Celtic Prince, The Scottish Selkie, The Celtic Vixen, and Druid Quest, as well as a contemporary/romance Peace Love Music. She also has three Steampunk/Romances written under her pen name of Maeve Alpin. She lives in Houston Texas as does her son and granddaughter.
....In an age of heroes, Branda, a Saxon princess helps Blaise, a Prince of Powys, escape her father’s stronghold. In turn, he vows to escort the princess to her sister in Scotland so she can escape an arranged marriage. Instead, he holds her captive as his hostage in the unbreachable hill fort of Dinas Bran, where she captures his heart. Will Blaise be forced to throw away his honor for love or to tear out his heart for honor?
....“The tombs?” Branda cocked her head. “With the dead?” She nibbled on her fingernails.
....“Come, I’ll show you.” Leri walked at a brisk pace while Branda made every effort to stay right behind her.
....Branda took a deep breath as they approached the tombs. She followed Leri down a set of stairs hewn from stone ages ago. As she moved slowly down the steep steps, her chest vibrated with a mix of zeal and doubt. When they reached the bottom, Leri pushed aside a thin cobweb wall.
....“I hope there are no spiders.” A layer of dust coated Branda’s tongue and clung to the back of her throat. She coughed.
....Leri pulled a piece of flint and a hunk of steel from the pouch belted to her side. She struck flint with steel until it sparked and lit the torches, set in sconces on the rock wall. They cast light into the darkness but also caused large, looming shadows. Leri grabbed one of the torches. Branda placed her hands on Leri’s shoulders as they moved as one into the dark, damp bowels of the mountain.
....Branda’s heart hammered. She peered over Leri’s shoulder as they walked warily down a long tunnel. Huge standing stones formed an eerie line at the end of the gloomy passage.
....“The blocking stones,” Leri said. “Come.” She squeezed through a small space between two of the tall, hard stones.
....Leri held the torch steady as Branda followed. A dank, mildew stench seeped through the rocks. Branda craved fresh air but she had to find this treasure. Leri swung her foot forward but found nothing there because the ground was uneven. She stumbled forward and Branda let out a sharp scream as she fell with her. Leri managed to fall so that she held the torch upright. It still blazed. Branda, who landed on her rump, slowly pulled herself to her feet and then offered Leri a hand.
....As Leri shone the torch upon the floor they saw a step eroded with time. Leri walked with a limp, having scraped her hip on the stone floor. Branda’s legs felt shaky but they moved on across the gravel floor, past long-standing stones. The torch still burned brightly.
....Leri stopped and inhaled deeply. “This is the forecourt.” Holding the brightly burning torch as Branda gripped her other hand, she followed the stone walls to the end of the passage.
....The murky hall opened into a long corridor. At a scurrying sound, Leri squeezed Branda’s hand tightly.“Rats, I think,” Leri gasped.
....Each high-pitched rodent squeak made Branda jump inside, but she fought her fears. She had to find Bran’s treasure. It was her fate. She scanned the tunnel, which housed four large chambers: one south, east, west and north, with several smaller tombs in between. Standing stones blocked the entrance to each chamber.