The first in the Open Book's series of Intriguing Stories' Author Interviews
Getting to know the author and the story.
Welcome, Tierney James, to An Open Book –
So happy you are here to tell us about your latest book, Dark Side of Morning!
Tierney, you dedicated this book to your father. You state that he taught you how to tell a story. Tell us about your writing career that he helped inspire.
My father used to tell us his dreams. They were elaborate stories that would make us laugh and roll our eyes in their absurd content. His stories about his childhood, being an MP in WWII and about his travels always caught my imagination. It just came naturally in our family.
Please tell us about Dark Side of Morning. What intrigues you about the story?
This novel explores the possibility of someone from the past finding a passage into our universe. He is a Pawnee from the early 1800s who has been able to see into our world from a natural history museum. Wind Dancer watched a little girl grow into a woman over the years when she’d come to visit him. Although she had no way of knowing the mannequin held a breathing human, Cleopatra Sommers loved him in her imagination. Danger escapes the past and enters our world, threatening life as we know it. Wind Dancer has no choice but to cross over and save the woman he loves.
I’ve been fascinated by parallel universes for many years. The idea that someone could cross into our world and pose serious health dangers made me wonder about how this world would affect them. Someone from 200 years ago wouldn’t understand transportation, electricity, and things like television. It was fun seeing our world through his eyes.
Tell us about the central characters in the book? Are they drawn from people in your life, purely fictional, or combination?
These characters are fictional but I have studied cultures and their beliefs for many years. I even lived on a reservation while doing my student teaching. Native People know a great deal about the universe.
Cleopatra Sommers is a doctor. Her father was an expert on Native Americans so she comes with a great deal of cultural knowledge which helps fuel the story.
Wind Dancer lived 200 years earlier and joins the modern world with hilarious consequences at times. He also experiences an increase in his five senses which helps him track in this time and place. Believing the old ways are best, helps him in save Chicago from disaster.
Detective Marquette is a no nonsense detective who partners with Cleo and Wind Dancer. He reluctantly dismisses the possibility of parallel universes and skinwalkers. He soon discovers there are some things you can’t explain and draws upon the ways of the past to solve a mysterious illness.
What inspired you to write this particular story? Was there a personal experience, or a physical setting, perhaps a person you met or a current or historical event that prompted you to begin writing Dark Side of Morning?
When you read about Cleo standing before the display case with the Pawnee Indian looking at her; I stood in that very spot and wondered if he could see me. The Field Museum in Chicago does that to you. I’ve been there many times. I always go there first to see him and say hello.
How would you describe your writing style? Pantser? Plotter?
I’m definitely a plotter. Having said that I don’t always know what will happen. But I do know where the story needs to go.
Do you start to build your story with characters in mind or do you start with the plot?
It’s a mix of both. Usually a place, a sound, a picture will spark it all until it bursts into flames.
What is the central theme of the book?
Be careful what you wish for.
What genre does it fit best? Or genres? Is there one particular audience you’d like to reach?
I would say this book is a sci-fi supernatural thriller with a romantic thread. My audience would be someone who likes the unexpected and the possibility of a lost love reborn.
If you could compare this book with any book out there we might already be familiar with, which book would it be and why?
I hate to compare myself to the great Michael Creighton, but he wrote a book called Timeline that blew me away. That would be the closest I think although it is in reverse of what I did. They traveled to the past.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Just this week a USA TODAY bestselling author was being interviewed and said my book Dance of the Devil’s Trill was one of her most memorable. That got me pretty jazzed.
Who are your favorite authors? What do you look for in a good book?
I look for action, adventure, science, romance and thrills. Having said that I love James Rollins, Daniel Silva, Brad Thor, Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Steve Berry, Vince Flynn and Clive Cussler. I used to read a lot of Tony Hillerman, Tom Clancy and Lee Child too. So many books—so little time.
Where can readers find you and your books?
Amazon.com and Walmart.com are the best places for my books.