Happy New Year! It’s Wednesday and time for 2016’s first Author Wednesday. Today’s offering is unique as Diane Rapp stops by to gives us some information about her new novel, Golden Legacy, which blends historical adventure with modern-day mystery. Stepping back to 1888, Diane has provided us with a character interview with Genevieve Elizabeth Donnelly as if it was conducted by me! Read and enjoy.
Interview with a Victorian Lady
Written by Diane Rapp
Genevieve Elizabeth Donnelly steps through a shimmering light that suddenly opens in my office. Although warned to expect a time-travel portal, I feel unnerved. The lovely woman resembles an old-fashioned portrait brought to life before my eyes. She’s an attractive tall woman with chestnut hair pinned back into a neat bun. Her lively hazel eyes look intelligent and inquisitive. As she enters my domain, her gaze explores the room, noting my laptop computer, cellphone, and my casual attire.
I offer my hand to the genteel lady. “Hello, Genevieve, I’m Patricia Zick, an author friend of Diane Rapp’s. She arranged for your interview today.”
She says, “Do call me Ginny.” Removing a pair of kid gloves, Ginny shakes my hand and smiles. Her mellow voice sounds calm, but I notice a slight tremble in her fingertips. She adds, “I felt incredulous about your kind invitation to chat. I hardly anticipated a female writer from the future might summon me through a time-portal. Of course, having read the Time Machine by H.G. Wells in 1895, I felt eager to take an excursion into the future. It felt ever so exhilarating.”
Eager to know more, I ask, “Did you ever meet H.G. Wells?”
Ginny’s laugh contains a musical contralto resonance. “Not all English citizens mingle in the same social circles, you realize. No, I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to meet the lauded author. Perhaps the experience of time-travel during this interview might provide a proper means of introduction.”
She wanders past my book shelves and fingers several titles with a quizzical expression. The scent of roses fills the room as I observe her old-fashioned clothing. Ginny wears a demure plum-colored silk jacket over a ruffled white blouse and long skirt in a slim design. She carries a small velvet reticule and white parasol.
“What a lovely outfit you’re wearing, but I thought women in the 1880s typically wore bustles. Please make yourself comfortable.” I point to an armchair opposite my desk.
Blushing, Ginny replies, “Thank you for the kind compliment.” Smoothing her skirt, she sits primly upon the chair, maintaining an erect posture. “Truthfully, I seldom dress in current vogue, preferring to delay until I’m forced to alter my habits to suit society. However, travelling the seas wearing cumbersome bustles grew tiresome, and consequently, I relished the idea of a change. I made the acquaintance of a French fashion designer on a long voyage to Japan. I found her a woman of uncommon talent and daring as she outlined a plan to make a name for herself by marketing avant-garde fashions sewn from Japanese silk. Amazed by her illustrations, I knew such attire would make life more tolerable for modern women. In Tokyo, we purchased luxurious materials and hired tailors to create new garments to my measure. I promptly cast aside my entire wardrobe. Can you imagine the comical sight of servants strolling through Japanese streets wearing unwieldly bustles?” She lowered her gaze and blushed. “Pardon me for prattling on like a magpie. It’s a disagreeable habit for which Father often chides me.”
I quickly interject, “Please don’t stop, Ginny! I enjoy hearing such charming details and the information will be useful for my article.”
She fidgets, picks up an open microfiber pen from my desk and fingers the tip. When ink mars her white finger, her eyes grow round. “I’ve never seen such a marvelous writing implement. A fountain pen proved an invaluable tool for me.” She points at my laptop and eagerly leans forward to watch me type. “Is this another magical invention like the time-portal?”
I stifle a laugh and nod. “Computers are inventions that replaced the common typewriter.”
“Extraordinary! I deemed the typewriter an ingenious device, but this astonishing machine displays words upon a glowing picture frame as you strike the keys. I fear no one in my time period will credit the veracity of my observations.” She eyes the clock on my desk and says, “We must commence the interview forthwith. I’m informed we have but an hour available before the portal dissolves. Diane said you inquired about my journey through the American West during 1888?”
“Yes, let’s begin.” Sighing, I peruse my list of interview questions and state, “You claim to be a spinster at the age of twenty-five. You are obviously beautiful, so how did you remain unmarried?”
Touching her shapely lips with an ink-marred finger, she blushes before beginning an explanation. “Mother died upon my birth, therefore, I grew up as an impressionable girl surrounded by gentlemen. My attitudes and conceits were formed by interactions with the masculine gender, who tolerated my opinions. When introduced into society as a sixteen-year-old debutante, I balked at the notion that a husband could become my lord and master. An inheritance from my American mother’s fortune included a dowry of ample size to secure a proper husband, but young gentlemen who courted failed to capture my heart. During two seasons, I attended fancy balls, elaborate hunts, and weekly picnics. I grew utterly bored by members of the ton and subsequently refused several proposals—much to Father’s chagrin. He claimed I became a spinster by choice, and I admit he was correct. At the age of twenty-one, I gained control over my capital and became free to travel.”
Rapidly typing to record the dialogue into my laptop, I pause to ask, “Why did you travel to Ouray, Colorado?”
Ginny’s lovely hazel eyes become somber. “After visiting the Sandwich Islands, the ship I booked passage upon landed in San Francisco where I hoped to enjoy a congenial holiday with cousins. A telegram arrived from Father that changed my plans entirely.” She leans forward and comments in a hushed tone, “You do realize that telegrams seldom carry good news, which is better conveyed in a nice long letter. The cryptic communication from Father alerted me that Johnny, my twin brother, lay injured in hospital—shot by miscreants. Father implored me to cut my visit short and rush to Johnny’s bedside in Ouray, Colorado. Luckily, by 1888 American railroad companies offered expanded routes that allowed for civilized travel across rugged terrain.”
My fingers fly across the keyboard until I sense Ginny watching me again. “Was it common for a woman to travel alone in 1888?” I meet her steady gaze.
I notice a slight flinch at the question but she soon replies, “I felt safe enough, after all, I followed the example of a fellow English gentlewoman. As a girl I faithfully read all the journals published by Isabella Lucy Bird, the daughter of a clergyman and celebrated travel writer. Twenty years prior to my adventure, Miss Bird’s solitary travels afforded me the courage to venture into the wilds of the Colonies on my own.”
The hands on my clock creep forward, and Ginny glances nervously at the shimming light that would soon snatch her back a hundred years. I explain, “Diane Rapp just published Golden Legacy, a novel that features your journal. It sounds like you experienced an exciting and dangerous adventure.”
Ginny shushed me by raising her finger to her lips. “We must not reveal too many secrets from my journal. I allow that I encountered a modicum of danger, even adopting a disguise to thwart those dreadful bandits, but I felt compelled to carry supplies to the hidden mine—armed with a fountain pen and two hat pins. You see, my brother’s business partner, Nick, had no knowledge regarding Johnny’s injuries or the threat of villains watching the trail. I admit my audacity nearly caused me harm, but I faithfully recorded the events. Later I directed my descendants to follow my journal to discover the gold mine and secure their fortunes.”
“Descendants? That means you didn’t remain a spinster. Did you fall in love during your trek to the mine?” I leaned forward, eager to hear more.
Flashing an enigmatic smile, Ginny declares, “A modern woman should never accept less than true love in her story. I shan’t spoil the book by revealing too much, but realize that a splendid love story always contains a handsome hero. My mettle was tested in ways I still shudder to recall. The escapade prompted me to institute a similar test of courage and intellect for my future heirs.” She stands and puts the kid gloves back onto her slender hands. “I hope you enjoy reading my adventure. Be sure to examine the photos taken by descendants inside the tome and discover more clues for the treasure hunt.”
Ginny’s silk skirt swishes as she rushes back through the time-portal. The shimmering light vanishes after she waves good-bye. I feel anxious to peruse the description of the book and view a slideshow of photos at Diane’s website.
Description of Golden Legacy blends historical adventure with modern-day mystery in a novel that follows two time lines. Embarking on a harrowing treasure hunt, two daring heroines tackle the hazards of gold country more than a century apart. Although a stand-alone novel, readers who have already met Kayla and Steven in the High Seas Mystery series, may enjoy their continued love story in the Rockies. See real places around Ouray, Colorado, through actual photos within the narrative.
About the Author: Diane Rapp became an entrepreneur when she opened a dog grooming salon in Santa Barbara, California. She spent the next thirty years as a small business owner. She sold real estate, owned an office supply/copy center, and performed freelance advertising design. During those hectic years, Diane wrote stories as a cure for insomnia. After joining her daughter on a research trip for a Caribbean tour guide, Diane’s daughter suggested the idea of writing a mystery novel set on cruise ships. Although part of the High Seas Mystery series, each book is a stand-alone story.
In Murder Caribbean-Style, readers meet the main characters and learn about life aboard a ship while solving a murder. When Kayla teams up with Steven Young, a handsome British magician working undercover for Interpol, danger and romance get mixed into the action.
The second in the series, Murder on a Ghost Ship takes readers cruising to Bermuda and the Azores. Kayla and Natalia are summoned back to work by Emily Schultz, who bought a ship haunted by a very unhappy ghost. The women must learn who murdered the ghostly victim before another passenger dies.
Take an Alaskan cruise in Murder for Glacier Blue and solve and murder and art heist. While preparing for her own wedding on Glacier Bay, Kayla and the gang must protect six valuable paintings—six chances for thieves to strike. Her dream wedding hits a snag when Steven’s ex-wife shows up alongside his school chum planning trouble for the newlyweds! Readers enjoy photos of Alaskan wildlife and natural landmarks mixed into a tale of art theft and murder.
Diane Rapp also writes a science/fantasy series and a fractured fairytale.
Visit www.quicksilvernovels.com to learn more about all of Diane’s books and see photos.