Today I’d like to welcome January Bain, author of Winning Casey, to talk writing, passion and her newest release!
Thanks so much for having me visit with you today, Gemma! I really appreciate the opportunity to share with others my love of storytelling. I want to say up front that any reader wanting to connect with me, I’m easily found on social networks and by e-mail.
When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
Easy one! I’ve been a voracious reader since I found a tattered book on the side of the road as a very young child, dragged it home, and insisted on learning what it said. Became the quintessential bookworm over night! And reading, as many know, leads to wanting to tell your own stories! My appetite for writing rivals my need to read now. I LOVE to write, immerse myself in research, learn more about people and our amazing world. There is such potential in the miracle that we live in. Wakes every morning at dawn to hear the birds singing and my muse responding.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
Everything! I love the people you meet; the readers and authors have all been so generous to me. I am beyond blessed. 😊
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
Well, I had a TON to learn I soon discovered when I made the decision to write full time. So many things to consider when you write a story. Everything from the character’s story arc to how to keep people reading, turning the pages. I read at least one book on writing a week. And far more on any research necessary for the complicated stories I love to tell, and of course, fellow authors books inspire me.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
I adore learning anything new as you might have gathered by now. LOL I most like a series, a broad canvas for storytelling, and because of that I need to have some outlining done ahead of time, but not so much that when the characters take over you can’t respond in a heartbeat to their needs. It’s a hybrid of both for me.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
Good question! I found researching the history of Nova Scotia’s Money Pit for Winning Casey fascinating, reading a dozen books on the subject to get a clear picture of what’s occurred in one of the ten most intriguing mysteries of the world, according to a lot of lists and polls. And right now, researching Bitcoin phenomenon for Racing the Tide, first book in The TETRAD Group has been downright intriguing.
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Write. Read. Research. Relax. Enjoy the amazing journey that awaits.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
Bed! I love to wake up and get right to it. Drink endless cups of coffee and write, write, write.
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
Hmm. Now there’s a question for you. I love a strong, intelligent, funny, romantic man not afraid to talk about his feelings. Not asking much, eh! So all of my heroes have been the man of the moment, when I’m writing about them. 😉
What project are you currently working on?
The first book in The TETRAD Group series, Racing the Tide, following the prequel Kindle World novella, Racing Peril, both due out in December.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be juggling the two series for the foreseeable future! Chasing Lacey is next in line for the Brass Ringers, and Racing Hell, for TETRAD.
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.
If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.
If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, Twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…
Find her on:
or connect at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Book!
Tell us a little about your new release, Winning Casey!
Winning Casey is a book dear to my heart. The novel I was writing when my Dad passed. He loved this story, said I was on the right track and that meant the world to me! Writing about Casey and Truman’s journey—it’s been beyond awesome in every way. The pair won me over with their bickering, stance beliefs and tribulations. If you like a hot adventure with lots of twists and turns, written in a caper-like style, give them a try. And it’s just the beginning, with 7 more books planned in the series.
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
I love to read as you already know. I read Pierre Burton’s book on the Klondike and stashed away images of the time and period. He mentions Soapy, a bigger-than-life character in the book, and then I invented his Stolen Gold Horde knowing what he did to the miners as a famous conman and it all came together to craft the beginning. Add in my detailed knowledge of Canada’s Money Pit, and we had a backdrop and adventure for our heroine and hero to pit themselves against.
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
A hybrid of both really. I need to get down some of the ideas ahead of time, then let the characters take over and lend a hand!
How did your characters come to life?
Characters are as real to me as people that populate my life, at least during the time I write their story. I see an image of them, discover their unique characteristics, both physical and mental, and bring them to life.
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?
Oh, a ton!!! I LOVE research. I read at least a dozen books to craft this one tale. Everything from the different ideas of who dug the Money Pit to learning Knights Templar history. One of the best parts of writing, is the learning.
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
There were a lot of challenges. As always. I need to be challenged to bring out the best in me. My awesome editor, Rebecca Baker, is very good at that. Showing me how to stretch as a writer. I highly value her input.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
Winning Casey is scheduled for general release on August 1st. Right now it is available from Totally Bound.
“Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.”
Casey glared at the stuffed moose head and it stared right back at her, its one broken antler leering.
“What are you looking at? You think this is easy? Who piles this many friggin’ rocks over their treasure, anyway? Yeah, yeah, I know—someone trying to hide it.”
She took a deep breath, adjusted her white and blue striped canvas work gloves and inserted the heavy red-tipped crowbar under the final stone slab. Air hissed out of her mouth and nose as she exerted her back and thigh muscles to the task, straining to pry it loose.
She sniffed loudly, her nose dripping. The damn soot-covered rocks had been in use as a fire pit. Give it to Hefty, though—clever ruse.
Ignoring the black soot, she leaned against the huge pile of stones and wiped her nose on her hoodie sleeve before shining her flashlight onto Hefty McGee’s journal. She thumbed through the tattered pages, still confident that the university wouldn’t miss the dusty old thing for one weekend.
“Hmm, says here Hefty won a moose head from a saloon keeper in a card game right here in Dawson City. Furthermore, that you lost that antler in the ensuring fistfight when it turned out that the gambler was a poor loser. Know anything about that?”
She tucked the journal back into her hoodie then reinserted the crowbar.
“Okay, here goes!” She attacked the slab with all her might. A loud squeal of protest as rock ground against rock. Ah, it moved. Just another few inches. Grunting, she pushed harder until the heavy cover slid off enough that she could shine her flashlight inside the hole pickaxed into the cave floor.
The sight of a large rotted pile of leather securely wrapped and tied with a cord quickened her breath. On top, weighing the package down, was a small smooth rock, and underneath it a torn piece of brown butcher paper. She pulled it out and shone the light on it.
She read the faded handwritten words aloud, figuring the moose had a right to know, as well. “‘Abandon hope all ye who steals Soapy’s Gold. It be cursed. Gave me the pox. Hefty McGee.’” Casey chuckled, despite the discomfort of the past few hours of digging in the tight, damp quarters, and gave the moose head a glance. “Just proves, old man, I’m in the right place!”
She thrust her arm inside the large hole in the cave floor and tugged on the heavy parcel. Damn, not enough room to lift it out. The blasted stone needed to be moved farther over. She glanced back at the doorway of the cave. Only a short while and the spring waters of the rising Yukon River would flood the low-lying cave.
“Be nice if you could lend a hand, buster.” She directed her comments at the moose head. It was beginning to creep her out, staring down at her with glassy, lifeless eyes. Okay, so perhaps coming alone had not been so smart, but she needed to know if all her research was going to pay off. And, just maybe, it was about to. Big-time.
The pry bar slipped as the rock jerked under the extreme pressure. It swung in an upward arc toward the moose head, pitching her forward as it did so. It also hit the beast a solid blow on its huge bulbous nose, knocking it loose from its perch on the rock wall and right down onto her head.
The last thought as pain drilled into her brain was that the old miner who had gone to the trouble to hide his stolen gold in the wilds of Northern Canada might have gotten it right. The curse was effective—if one was a klutz.
Casey woke with a start, shivering uncontrollably. Her head pounded from a possible concussion and her clothes were soaking wet. She blinked hard, gingerly touching the top of her skull, and felt a lump as large as a goose egg under her platinum braid of hair. Damn. If she had a mirror she could tell her if her eyes were dilated. But at least there was no blood. She rummaged in her pocket for her cell phone and checked the time. Double damn. She’d been out for more than an hour!
As her vision cleared, she focused on the cave’s entrance. Waves slapping around the opening made her heart race. Swallowing hard against the shock and the pain, she struggled to pull herself to a sitting position. Her brain swam with the effort and she punched the downed moose right in its over-sized moth-eaten nose.
“It’s all your fault! If you weren’t already dead…” Casey threatened. She managed to get to her feet by holding on to the clammy moss-covered stone wall. Trickles of moisture created darkened trails down the ancient walls, dampening her palms.
A flash of something sliding by the doorway drew her attention. Her boat! Left tied to a tree on shore, with the rising waters it’d somehow managed to work itself free. Headache forgotten, she splashed through the frigid water, lunging to snatch hold of it before it drifted away in the current. Swaying dizzily, she managed to tug it inside the cave’s broad mouth. Thank goodness the cave floor sloped down toward the river, otherwise her transport might have floated away while she was knocked out.
She held hard to the canoe’s frayed rope, maneuvering the sixteen-foot boat closer to the treasure. Once she tied it securely to an outcropping of rock, she hauled the offending moose head off to the side, grateful the one good antler hadn’t pierced her skull. She relaunched her efforts to retrieve the booty. Thank God her flashlight was still intact and working.
“No fucking way I’m leaving here without my gold!” she muttered. “God damn it—move, won’t you!” she exclaimed in frustration, pushing as hard as she could manage. It was now or never. At least the weight training was paying off. She put everything behind the effort, every muscle in her body struggling and screaming at her to give it up already.
With an ominous creak like a banshee screaming in the wind, she inched the stone lid off bit by bit, the pit reluctant to give up its treasure. Finally, against the clock, Casey jolted the stone lid far enough off to allow her full access to what lay beneath. With a tug at the rotted string that bound the package, she thrust it out of the way and pushed her hand inside to pull apart the decayed leather.
She froze and took a deep breath, heart hammering. Was this the moment? Would all her intensive research now pay off? Or was it an elaborate hoax set up by an ornery old conman with a wicked sense of humor?
She touched it reverently, a laying-on-of-hands. Took a deep breath.
This was it. The moment of truth.
And yet, she hesitated, her hands trembling. So much rode on this. Finding the treasure would fund another adventure, her life’s blood. Give her the freedom she needed. Craved.
Open it already!
Okay. Stop shouting at me.
The war within quieted as she slowly peeled back the edges of the musty old covering. Was that a choir of angels singing? No, just her imagination working overtime. Whispers from the past upping the roaring clamor in her head as the color revealed itself.
Shiny yellow nuggets. Gold! Soapy’s stolen hoard!
The nuggets gleamed brightly under the flashlight’s beam. Nestled between the lumps of gold, someone had packed old leather pouches filled with gold dust. She’d found it! She swallowed hard. Glanced back at the cave’s entrance.
Crap. The water was rising. Faster.
Hurriedly, she scooped up the heavy nuggets and packets, flinging them into her backpack and glancing back at the cave’s entrance every few seconds to make sure she could still free herself. Running out of room in the pack, she pulled another black carryall from the canoe’s bottom and loaded it. At the last possible second, she threw in the moose head, knowing she was being loopy. The damn thing must weigh twenty-five pounds, broken antler or not, but he’d helped point the way.