First, Beth, tell us a little about RAVEN
Raven Morressey is living the good life. Nice home, husband, three healthy children, and it’s finally summertime, when life is again lovely in Valdez, Alaska. All this explodes one morning when builders, digging up her back yard, uncover a recently murdered headless, handless female body covered with scarification—hundreds of colored designs cut into the skin to resemble tattoos. As if this isn’t enough, where the corpse’s head should have been is a large rock with a face painted on that resembles an Alaska Native mask.
Raven’s eight year old son, Timmy, is the first one to see the body and is suddenly unable to walk or respond in any way. On that same day, Raven hears the voice of her long dead Athabascan father coming from Timmy, who is unaware of the ancient hunting chants he sings in his sleep and the words he suddenly speaks in Raven’s native tongue—a language he does not know.
Jack O’Banion, Valdez’s Chief of Police for the past few years, faced with his first murder case in Valdez, begins his official investigation. Everywhere he goes he finds nothing but deception. The town seems to have closed into itself and nobody will tell him anything that might help him solve this case. Then one murder quickly morphs into two, then three, and the Alaska State Troopers are hot on his back to find the killer now.
Between Raven’s voices and the visions she develops, and Jack, whose career as well as his contented life in Valdez are on the line, they both feel they have to find the killer and restore some sanity to the town—not to mention their own lives, which are quickly unraveling out of control.
What inspired the unusual setting for this one?
My first day in Valdez, Alaska, where this book is set, was foggy. In Valdez, the fog rolls down the mountains, it doesn’t lift, like you’d expect. I had come to Valdez to work for one of the oil companies for three months, so I wasn’t expecting to have any time to even think about writing a book. In fact, that was the last thing on my mind. But as I stood there watching that beautiful, haunting sight, I heard a voice inside my head speaking the first lines in what eventually became the first page in this book, right before the main story. If you read the first page, I think you’ll all understand why I was enchanted enough to write this book with Raven as the lead character, because this is a look into her soul:
The spirits of my ancestors live in the towering Chugach Mountains that surround my world in Valdez. I know they are there. I can see them most mornings, great cottony masses of gray fog rolling down the mountains, sinister characters in a black and white movie, shivering and mourning their inevitable disintegration above the marina before they disappear over Prince William Sound.
They call to me through that fog, whispering my name. I hear them, soft, desolate sounds you can only hear if you’re really a part of this beautiful land.
My people will tell my story to future generations of Athabascans, and tourists from the lower forty-eight who come to walk through our villages and see for themselves how little is left of what we were. We have no written ancient history. Everything known about our past has evolved only because of stories told in the dark of night before our children go to sleep, when wind screams over the mountaintops and roars down through the passes, bringing the icy chill of our glaciers spiraling into our homes in spite of insulation invented by modern man. The wind is still bitter and we know it.
Even so, we lead a lovely, slow-paced life in this part of Alaska, where all the flowers burst with fragrant beauty everywhere in the summertime, and deep undercurrents of love and laughter seem to hover beneath the surface of our daily lives.
At least to me it had always been that way, until the Saturday morning in early June, when my world of gentle laughter disappeared and violent death entered the soft space I had occupied all my adult life.
Beth Anderson is a multi-published, award winning author in several genres including romance and mainstream crime fiction. A full time author, she lives in a Chicago, Illinois suburb. She has appeared on Chicago’s WGN Morning Show, The ABC Evening News, as well as numerous other radio and cable television shows. She has guest lectured at Purdue University and many libraries and writers’ conferences. She loves music, particularly jazz. Her website and blog are both at http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com
Links to Beth’s author pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:
Publisher’s Website: Krill Press http://www.krillpress.com/books.html
RAVEN TALKS BACK ISBN #: 9780982144398
Thank you, Sharon, for inviting me onto your blog today. I enjoyed it, and I hope your readers do, too!
(Sharon is scheduled to guest later this week for author Mary Martinez at http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com)