To Kill a King: A Hollystone Mystery Book 4

Book Spotlight

  • What is the title of your book?

To Kill a King: A Hollystone Mystery Book 4

  • What is the story about?
    • This is a story about an archaeologist named Sorcha O’Hallorhan, who time-travels to Ancient Ireland. There, she meets Ruairi Mac Nia, a handsome man she knows will be inaugurated as king, and then deposed and ritually murdered. Sorcha knows this because she’s seen his remains in the museum. How can she leave Ruairi to this fate now that she’s seen him in the flesh?
    • This is also a story about Estrada, a magician and Wicca high priest, who is grieving the loss of his lover. When he discovers that Sorcha is trapped in Iron Age Ireland, he demands that the Horned God, Cernunnos, take him and his friend Dylan back through time to rescue her. The Horned God agrees but states the rules: you cannot change history or develop bonds with anyone. Estrada fears that his feisty friend, Sorcha, cannot survive this prehistoric warrior culture.
    • Who is the main character?
      • There is a dual storyline in this novel with two main characters who eventually meet up. ESTRADA is the series protagonist. At this point in the series, he’s traveled to Ireland to rescue a seventeen-year-old girl who’s being pursued by a serial killer. And he’s gone to Scotland to get his innocent friend, Dylan, out of prison on a murder charge. While he’s in Scotland, he teams up with an unorthodox archaeologist named Sorcha O’Hallorhan who is the lead on the dig where Dylan was working at the time of the murder. A little over a year later, after Estrada and Dylan face off with vampires on the West Coast of Canada, they discover that SORCHA is trapped in Iron Age Ireland so they travel back through time to rescue her. Make sense?
  • What inspired this tale?
    • How did the story come to you?
      • One night, I was leafing through a National Geographic and came across photographs of the mummified fist and torso of Old Croghan Man. This is a real Irish artifact dated to 200-300BCE. The man was a Celtic noble, around twenty-five years old, and 6’6” tall. He’d been ritually murdered, his body quartered, and his torso sunk in a pond at the base of the hill where it became buried as the bog rose over the centuries. I wanted to know why and how this murder transpired. And I needed to give his life and death meaning.
      • Meanwhile, in the epilogue of my second book, To Sleep with Stones, Sorcha O’Hallorhan, an Irish archaeologist had been offered a gift by the ancient Horned God, Cernunnos, for offering to spend Beltane with him. He will take her anywhere in the world to any culture or time she desires. Well, when she was fourteen, Old Croghan Man was unearthed from the bog in Ireland. Sorcha’s mother, who was an archaeologist, took her to the National Museum in Dublin to see the artifact. Because Sorcha is gifted with psychometry, when she touched the copper mounts on his leather armband, she envisioned his face. She felt great love for him and this moment inspired her to become an archaeologist too. So, after their Beltane weekend, Cernunnos takes Sorcha back to Iron Age Ireland to meet Old Croghan Man  
    • Did you have to do research for this novel, and if so, what and why?
      • Yes. Writing historical (in this case, prehistorical) fiction takes a great deal of research. The ancient Celts followed an Oral Tradition so I had to recreate a world that existed before writing. Everything was gleaned from the archaeological record and extracted from myths and stories that have been told and retold over millennia. At one point, I drew a T-chart and headed it “Known from the Archaeological Record” and “Imagined.”
      • Dr. Eamonn Kelly is a researcher, archaeologist, and curator of the Kingship & Sacrifice exhibit at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. I travelled to Ireland in 2017 to sit with the body of Old Croghan Man in the museum for several days. I also pulled any research I could find on Iron Age Ireland from a library near Trinity College, where I was staying. Library Ireland provided online access to A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland by P.W. Joyce, and I also read The Celts by Dr. Joseph Rafferty.
      • To really get a feel for the landscape, I climbed Croghan Hill where Ruairi Mac Nia was inaugurated and then ritually murdered. It’s an amazing view. You can see the whole countryside from the top of this 768’ extinct volcano in County Offaly. Croghan was a tribal kingdom—a tuath (too-ath). Having walked there, I was able to envision a hillfort, the surrounding land, and people in this stratified society.
      • One of the characters, Conall Ceol, is a Druid bard so I needed to learn about ancient Irish Traditional Music. Simon O’Dwyer is an archaeologist with a passion for ancient music. His website, Ancient Music Ireland, shows original instruments. You can also see O’Dwyer playing ancient horns on YouTube. Conall’s voice is inspired by singer-songwriter, Peter Gabriel, who is one of my muses.
      • If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn, and why?
      • I discovered that Ireland experienced climatic downturns that created colder, wetter weather in the 1st century BCE. The most significant cold epoch since the Ice Age occurred in the North Atlantic between 900-300BCE. This created disasters and destroyed harvests. People starved.
      • Then in 208-204BCE, a dust-veil event occurred in Greenland that affected the weather in Ireland again. In 207BCE, the Irish bog oaks suffered; apparently it’s the narrowest tree-ring event to ever occur in Ireland. And by 200BCE, the bog oaks died out completely. This made me wonder what affect the dust-veil would have on agricultural societies like my Druids. Famine? Floods? Cold weather? How would they respond? Might they sacrifice the king to the Goddess of the Land?
      • Given what we are currently experiencing and what my Druid culture was experiencing, I was naturally intrigued by this information.
  • Do you feel your character is relatable for readers of all ages?
    No. All of the books in this series are for older teens+. They’re LGBTQ, sexy and spicy. There’s excessive language, risky behaviour, and violence based on the nature of the characters and who they encounter in their adventures.
    • Is your protagonist anything like you personally?
      • If yes, then how?
        • I’ll talk about Estrada here because he’s really the series protagonist. Estrada and I both value family and freedom. And we both love magic, myth, and literature.
      • If not, then how do you differ from one another?
        • However, we differ in several ways. He’s a 29-year-old bisexual male of Mayan/Mestizo ancestry. He’s 6’2” and a full-bodied sensual extrovert with a sense of style and seductive magnetic attraction. Everyone loves him and he falls in love fast and hard, often with the wrong people. (Okay, I’ll admit to doing that a few times myself.) He’s a hedonist who’s prone to obsessive behaviour (drinking, drugs, sex) and his backstory is quite different from mine.
    • What made you write this character; were they based on a real person or something that inspired you?
      • Estrada appeared fully formed when I started writing To Charm a Killer. I believe he wanted me to tell his story. If you’re curious about how I envision Estrada check out my Pinterest page and look under “Estrada’s Cool.” Under “Michael’s Gothic Flat” you’ll see pictures of his lover, Michael Stryker. Each of the books has their own board too.
      • What should readers know about your protagonist?
        • Estrada hasn’t left. He will return again and again.
      • Why is he important to you?
        • Estrada is my muse and one of my greatest friends. After I wrote book three, I started writing a completely different book with different characters. I missed him terribly. One night I called out, “Estrada! Where are you? What are you doing?” The next morning, I awoke with the whole first scene from To Kill a King in my head. He showed me exactly where he was and how depressed he was. I realized I was writing the wrong book, stopped dead, and started writing this one. That’s what our relationship is like.
    • Do you consider the main character to be good or bad, and why?
      • Absolutely good. He will do anything to help his people and his tribe (his people at Pegasus, the Vancouver goth club where he works and the witches of Hollystone Coven)
    • What’s the objective of your character?
      • Estrada loves being High Priest of Hollystone Coven. He reveres nature and wants to save the planet through ritual.
  • Is there anything specific you’d like readers to know about this piece of work?
    • Is there a moral or idea you’re trying to convey – if yes, what and why?
      • No. No morals. I simply write the story as I see and hear it.
  • Is this novel a standalone?
    • If it is included in a series or collection, what is the name and which installment is it?
      • Hollystone Mysteries Book 4
    • If it is the first installment of a series or collection, when can we expect to see the next book published?
      • Based on the cliffhanger ending, there will be a Book 5, but I can’t give you a date.
    • If it is a part of a book series or collection, can it be enjoyed as a standalone novel or must it be read sequentially to experience the full realm of the tale?
      • Yes, people have read it as a standalone, but it will be a richer experience if you read the other three books first.
  • Where can readers connect with you and purchase your book? 

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