One of the best aspects of being involved in writing is the opportunity to meet and often become friends with other authors. It’s my distinct pleasure to have my friend, author Dorothy McIntosh (DJ McIntosh) visit here today.
When Dorothy is not at home in Toronto, she can be found at her beloved cottage in the wilds of the Bruce Peninsula, keeping company with her trusty companion, Bruin.
Okay, let’s chat!
PS ~ Your award-winning novel, The Witch of Babylon, published in 2012, was a Canadian best seller and the first in The Mesopotamian Trilogy. There was obviously a great deal of research that went into this thrilling read, as well as The Book of Stolen Tales and The Angel of Eden. What inspired you to undertake this tremendous project?
DJM ~ I wanted to write about age old stories that were familiar to everyone and give them a new twist, so I thought: why not start at the beginning with the stories of Genesis? After researching the bible’s first book, I learned a number of the Genesis stories were based on Mesopotamian myths written long before the Old Testament. This started me on my journey to research Mesopotamia and I fell in love with their history and culture. At the same time I embarked on this journey, the Iraq war broke out. I watched, dazed, as the famous Baghdad Museum was looted, precious objects destroyed and stolen. It seemed as if thousands of years had come full circle because I’d been studying the sacking and burning of the ancient Mesopotamian cities. Out of that synergy, The Witch of Babylon was born.
PS ~ There are fascinating, some even exotic, locations in those stories. Would you describe some of the literary pilgrimages you took in order to write the trilogy and any particular experiences that stand out as most significant?
DJM ~ My second novel, The Book Of Stolen Tales, featured some of our best known fairy tales told in a new way. I learned that the first fairy tale anthology, called The Tale Of Tales, was written by a fascinating Neapolitan poet and courtier, Giambattista Basile. So off to Naples I went. My friends gave me dark warnings about muggings and mad drivers but I encountered none of that and really loved the city. Spanish style buildings and churches abounded, their beauty shining through even though the city had little money for upkeep. The National Library where I held an original copy of Basile’s book in my hands. The ruins of Pompei where you could even see an ancient fast food café. Walking gingerly on top of a volcano. And the best food anywhere. But what left the most lasting impression was to stand on the harbour promenade and gaze across at green sloped Vesuvius, sitting innocently in a gentle purple haze and knowing it has lost none of its power.
PS ~ When did you begin writing and what inspired the direction you have chosen with your novels to this point?
DJM ~ I began writing in earnest around 2003; my first novel was published in 2011. I’ve always loved learning about culture and history in books I read and so was drawn to write historical thrillers.
PS ~ Does writing energize or exhaust you?
DJM ~ For me, writing the first draft is pure torture, but I revel in the re-writing and editing stages because that’s when you can shape the book and really let loose on narrative and language.
PS ~ How many hours a day do you write and do you have a routine?
DJM ~ I envy those authors who rise early, sit down with their coffee and bang out a couple of thousand wordsof marvellous prose. As to my ‘routine’ it is most definitely not recommended, lol! I don’t write every day, rather months might go by and then I’ll write seven days a week for many more months. As a night owl, I usually don’t start until late afternoon and carry on until midnight (the time Ialways feel most energetic).
PS ~ I feel privileged to know your current project and am excited for you to share it here.
DJM ~ Thanks so much Patricia. I’m really excited about my new novel because it’s a subject that’s really close to my heart. It’s a departure from my previous historical thrillers; the working title is The White Wolf. It’s the story of a rare white wolf stalked through the Adirondacks by three trophy hunters. Raised in captivity, the wolf must learn to wild again to survive. Here’s a brief blurb:
Unable to make ends meet, Jade Wentworth is forced to sell her family farm. When a local hunter asks her to foster a newborn white wolf, she reluctantly agrees. She names the pup Niko. As time goes on, the wolf and the woman form a close bond and Jade realizes that caring for the little wolf has turned into a gift, making her life brighter. But for the wolf, that unnatural alliance with humans threatens to become a curse.
PS ~ Do you have a list of long-term writing plans?
DJM ~ I’d like to continue with canine themed novels and hope to start a new one this summer and would also like to write a screen treatment for my most recent book.
PS ~ Some writers work on several projects simultaneously. Do you or do you find you focus on your current work before you move on?
DJM ~ For me, it would be too distracting to juggle several works at once.
PS ~ Who are your favourite writers for your own reading enjoyment?
DJM ~ That question always throws me into a tizzy because there are so many writers I love, it’s difficult to choose! Wuthering Heights remains one of my all-time favourites. Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy is always at the top of my list. I go back to it again and again just to marvel at his writing. These days I’m drawn to adventure thrillers especially those related to mountaineering and adore Jeff Long’s The Wall and Ronald Malfi’s The Ascent. And some older magnificent novels: Belle De Jourby Joseph Kessel, James Dickey’s Deliverance, Cornell Woolrich’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes and James M Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.Those books combine maximum suspense with stunningly good writing.
PS ~ Dorothy, thanks so much for taking the time to chat here. You always bring so much good ‘book talk’ to the table!
Click here to connect with Dorothy on her Amazon authors page and please remember to click on “Following” there. This is a big help to authors and most appreciated. You aren’t signing up for anything, but you are letting Amazon know you like the author’s work. We love to have Amazon hear this!
Click here for Dorothy’s website.
Dear readers, if you have not read Dorothy’s Mesopotamian Trilogy, and you enjoy historical thrillers, I strongly suggest you do!