Please welcome Theresa Crater, author of Under the Stone Paw, Beneath the Hallowed Hill, and The Star Family.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I wake up in Glastonbury and have cream tea for breakfast, then climb the Tor to walk it off. Then fly to Egypt and visit Sekhmet at Karnack. For lunch, a sumptuous repast at the Old Cataract across from Elephantine Island in Aswan. In the afternoon, I am whisked off to the next magical spot that will inspire my next novel. Who can say where—India, Tibet, Mexico, or Cambodia? And I always stay well.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I usually wear rose oil from Egypt. My husband leads tours there and brings me a fresh supply often.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Doris Lessing, because she tells the truth no matter what, even in her fantasy. J.R.R. Tolkien, for writing against the grain of his time. I read him in college and loved his world, although I don’t think we’d get along when it comes to feminism. Dion Fortune, who continued the British magical tradition and wrote some great mystical novels.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No, but I’m thinking of giving it a try.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Looks like milk chocolate, but turns out to be 78% cacao with bursts of sour cherries.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
While my husband was being interviewed at a book fair, I picked up a copy of William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision. I mean, wouldn’t you? In the introduction, I discovered that his mother was raised in the same tiny Protestant church I was raised in—the Moravians. OK, sex and the Moravians? I didn’t think so. Reading further, I discovered that in the 18th century, my ancestors were mystics and taught sacred sexuality. I imagined my grandfather’s outrage on learning this. I had to know more. Lucky for me, Craig Atwood, who now teaches at Moravian College, had already done a lot of research about this period. Who knew my ancestors were so colorful?
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I love to explore old myths and power spots, like Stonehenge or the pyramids. I’m also interested in esoteric (as in hidden) branches of contemporary spiritual traditions. My characters are always looking for artifacts of power that really depend on developing higher consciousness. I taught meditation in my twenties and often return to the themes of expanding human consciousness and possibilities.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Jane Frey is a burnt-out corporate executive who is replaced by a younger, more attractive woman. She’s lost touch with her childhood ideals and feels she’s taken the wrong path. When her old music teacher dies, she decides to recapture her dream of playing and teaching music. But the fates have something much more exciting in mind. She begins to uncover secrets about the house she’s inherited, her childhood church and her family that change her forever. Also, she rekindles an old flame.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Alice in Wonderland, because Jane falls into a whole other world. Hermione Granger, because she’s smart and figures things out. A mix between Éowyn from Lord of the Rings and Lisbeth Salander with the dragon tattoo, but not as extreme, because she’s brave.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Doris Lessing, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dan Brown, H.D., Dion Fortune, and James Rollins along with Rebecca Cantrell, and J.K. Rowling. (OK, that’s eight, but . . . )
What’s next for you?
I’d like to go back to my Power Places series and do another adventure with those characters. I also have a three-generation Southern women’s tale—all Gothic and tragic and still funny—that keeps following me around. Some short stories here and there.
Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her paranormal mysteries. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion reveals a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “Bringing the Waters” and “The Judgment of Osiris” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.
Visit Theresa Crater at her blog, http://theresacrater.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlcwrites, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/theresacrater. I also hang out with the Mysteristas, blogging every first and third Thursday.