I’m happy to welcome author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey. Today, Barbara shares her latest release, The Nightjar’s Promise.
Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius) who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old.
Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out.
As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date October 11, 1943. That is the date during World War II when the Nazis—the Kunstschutz—looted the paintings of targeted wealthy Jewish families and hid them away under Hitler’s orders. And as Carolina waits for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the whip-poor-will.
As they search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.
Right on time, the guard arrived at the front gate and unlocked it. Once he drove away, Jas slipped unnoticed through the entrance into the cemetery. When he had first been given the assignment, the cemetery bothered him, especially the mausoleum. Unfamiliar sounds and smells, being surrounded by cold stones and even colder death, made his imagination work overtime so that by the end of each day when he left—just before the guard locked the gate—he would be nervous and irritable; at night, unable to sleep. Now, after all this time doing the same thing day in and day out, he was used to it. In fact, he sort of enjoyed it—thinking about the dead and all the different ways their lives might have come to an end. Lately, his imagination had taken a more brutal turn. More violent and macabre.
Ignoring the hundreds of grave sites that stretched in every direction, he quickly made his way toward the mausoleum. Having already been there many times before, he knew exactly where he wanted to go and what he needed to do.
Ten Interesting Things About My Protagonists
1. Dara Roux – abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.
2. Mackenzie Yarborough – No record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.
3. Jennifer Torres – Both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.
4. Carolina Lovel – Discovers on her 18th birthday that she was adopted. This fact helps her gain the trust and confidence and love of the three F.I.G.s when she is hired by the headmaster at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to “keep the F.I.G.s on a short leash.”
5. The abandoned train car where Carolina and the F.I.G.s eventually find Dara’s mother in Book 2, The Wish Rider, actually exists beneath the train tracks underground at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
Dara is the physically strongest and the most adventurous of the F.I.G.s. It is Dara who comes up with their “creative expressions” that keeps them in trouble with Headmaster Thurgood Harcourt. She also is more mentally equipped to accept those things over which she has no control. When she finally learns why her mother left her in the candy shop and never returned, she is able to find inner peace and move forward with her life.
6. In The Clock Flower, Mackenzie’s insecurities, such as her lisp when she becomes nervous or upset and her fear of rejection, become even more pronounced when she moves out of the protective stone walled environment of Wood Rose and away from close contact of Dara, Jennifer, and Carolina. As the answers to why she was placed in an orphanage at birth come to light, Mackenzie becomes a more confident young woman, and her insecurities disappear.
7. The Nightjar’s Promise connects Jennifer directly to that evil dark time in history when the Nazis plundered priceless works of art. This theme is based on my research into that period. The references to the music Jennifer creates, and to her art, are also based on correct musical and art terms and historical fact.
8. Carolina discovers that her biological parents are Gypsies. In fact her mother, Lyuba, is a choovihni—a wise woman, an exalted and envied position among gypsy women. The gypsy potions, herbs, and medicinals I talk about in The Cadence of Gypsies come from old books referencing gypsy customs and culture.
9. Probably one of my favorite characters in The F.I.G. Mysteries is Jimmy Bob Doake, the custodian and night watchman at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. A simple man who only completed the 8th grade, he is a caring person and loyal employee who enjoys creating poetry during the “witches hours” when everyone is supposed to be asleep. That caring and loyalty extend into his natural love for animals.
10. When we first meet the F.I.G.s in Book 1, The Cadence of Gypsies, they are full of mischief, causing disruption and turmoil on the campus of Wood Rose, and intimidating the professors who teach there as well as the staff. With each book in the series, The Wish Rider, The Clock Flower, and The Nightjar’s Promise, Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer learn the truth about their lives, and they also develop a maturity and ability to survive away from the stone walls of Wood Rose and in a world where they are different. It is a journey that takes them into young adulthood, but not so much that they lose their spontaneity to create havoc. After all, they will always be the F.I.G.s!
Author and Bio Links
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.
Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.
Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).
Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese and Earl Gray, Reese’s best friend.
Website – http://www.barbaracaseyagency.com
Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow Barbara on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.