My guest today is K.J. Montgomery who has released the book Trove, the first book of a series featuring investigative mythologist Katie Walsh. Now a little about K.J.:
K.J. Montgomery has always looked beyond the obvious and firmly believes there are no such things as coincidences. Since her early years, she has yearned for knowledge no matter how obscure and carefully tucked it away knowing that someday she’d find a use for it.
She loves writing as much as she loves reading and often has three or four books, both for writing and reading, in process at any moment. Her stories are smartly written and reflect her love for the paranormal, the excitement of sexual tension, and the lure of a complex mystery.
KJ resides in coastal New England and loves spending time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where the night skies are painted with brilliant starlight and the heavens seem to be within reach.
KJ is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New England chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal sub-chapter of the Romance Writers of America.
Thanks for stopping by today! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Hobbies/interests? When did you start writing?
I’ve discovered rather late that I am right-brained person. I like the creative, unknown side of things. I find the challenge of the unknown more exhilarating than frightening. I like to read (obviously) as well as write. I also sew and crochet and I’m a novice quilter. My favorite thing to do is study the night sky. While star gazing I feel a strong connection to the ancestors. While I’ve had stories in my head for years, I seriously put “fingers to the keyboard” only a couple of years ago. I live for the day when I can have a USB port connected to my brain and download my stories (LOL!)
That day may come sooner than we think! Let’s talk about your book, Trove. I love the premise of an investigative mythologist. I also love mythology and earth mysteries so this book sounds like it’s right up my alley. How did you get the story idea for your current title?
I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Atlantis. I am a believer that it in fact did exist. I’ve also been intrigued by the fact that myths and legends from long ago have survived into modern times. Why were these stories so important that they survived? Today, so far removed from the time of their origin, their meanings have changed so that they appear as puzzling stories. My novels will attempt to provide an entertaining possibility as to what the legends were meant to reveal to us.
That sounds like lots of fun and can’t wait to read about some of those possibilities. What has been one of your biggest challenges so far in your writing career?
Finding the time to write. My day job can be rather time-intensive so it, especially lately, has been quite the challenge to carve out adequate time to write.
I can identify, having a day job myself.
What type of scenes do you enjoy writing the most?
I actually like the back and forth, the intellectual challenge of one character trying to outthink or outsmart the other. I find that intellectual banter can be an intense form of foreplay.
It’s a great way to reveal character as well. I have a blast writing intense scenes between my characters. What has been one of your favorite characters to write?
I actually like Katie. She is a flawed character with issues that affect her relationships with others. If that were all she was though, I don’t think I’d bond to well with her. She is however, a character beginning to see that what she saw as strength was actually a wall she was hiding behind, deflecting the world. But Katie has begun to change and has hauled herself up to the top of the wall and realizes she wants to be on the other side…she’s just not quite sure how to get there. All through The Katie Walsh Mysteries, Katie will continue to evolve and grow into the person she was destined to be.
That will be interesting to follow her growth. What type of protagonist do you like to write? And what type of villain?
I like strong women that are, while not submissive, are not afraid to let their man take charge in the bedroom. And my villain has to be intelligent.
What are your favorite movies?
Ah that’s easy, CONTACT and Gone With The Wind! I don’t know what that says about me, but I certainly think that makes for an interesting if not eclectic combination.
CONTACT was a great movie. I don’t know why I haven’t read the book yet. What book(s) are you reading right now?
Eternal Lovers by V.S. Nelson
Me too! LOL. What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
I am by virture of birth, a Scorpio born on the cusp of Libra. Scorpio’s are not very open with their innerthoughts. Having said that, Scorpios are extremely methodical and are not prone to doing things on a whim. When I revealed my book to my friends and family, they were very supportive knowing full well that this was a serious and important venture for me.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
Yes, I use a pen name. KJ are my initials and frequently how my friends refer to me; and Montgomery is a family name so I combined to the two.
Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?
I certainly do. I pick a song that sets the appropriate atmosphere and then loop it over and over so that I almost get into a zen-like state. One of my favorite songs to loop is Adam Lambert’s “Whatya Want From Me” when I’m writing a confrontational scene between my lead characters, Katie and Alec. They are both struggling for control and you can almost hear that song playing over the scene.
And then, when the suspense scenes kick in, I look to pick a track from the Dark Shadows soundtrack…and let me be clear here, I’m referring to the TV show that was one in the 70’s. The music was and is quite good at setting the mood when I write.
As for general listening, I like Maroon5, Train, Coldplay, DejaVu by Dionne Warwick, GooGoo Dolls, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson …
I remember the old Dark Shadows. I didn’t see the remake movie, but heard it wasn’t too good, which is too bad.
If you had a ticket to fly anywhere in the world to do research on your current book or upcoming book, where would you go?
I would head to the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands on the mainland. My ancestral home is Skye and it is at the top of my “bucket list.” Skye possesses a raw, ethereal quality that human occupation and time has only enhanced. And then I would head down the western coast of Scotland into England and Wales as the following volumes in The Katie Walsh Mysteries will follow that path.
I’ve visited England and Wales and they have such a mystical quality to them. What books/authors have inspired your writing?
I’d have to say Jane Austen. I love the way that she wrote her heroines. They verbally challenged the males and yet by the end of the story, the heroine and hero ended with a HEA.
What is next? Any new titles we should be looking for?
The second book in The Katie Walsh Mysteries, Harbinger, should be available later this year.
Yeah! Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, don’t believe everything people tell you. It is your job as an intelligent being to seek out the truth.
Trove sounds like a fun, mysterious read. Here’s the blurb:
Katie Walsh is an investigative mythologist seeking clues that could lead her into the very distant past and uncover the secrets of the mythic Norland. Alec MacGowan is an archaeologist searching for clues in the recent past in an attempt to bring a murderer to justice.
Anonymous lovers five years before, they’re re-united as their worlds collide when they are thrown together to decipher the murdered man’s notes and identify his killer. As the quest unfolds, they are forced to deal with their simmering attraction and hidden secrets.
Can they uncover the secret hidden in the murdered man’s notes before the killer finds them? And can they open their hearts to each other before it’s too late?
The glass sailed across the room, slamming into the oak door releasing aromatic droplets of rich, well-aged whiskey as it shattered. “Son of a bitch. It’s been nine months since Josh’s murder and I’m no closer to finding the bastard who did it,” Alec MacGowan spat. “The only progress made in the last three months is that I’m thirty thousand dollars poorer.”
Robert Baines stared at the reflection of his younger half-brother in the mirror over his mantled fireplace. It was an unguarded glimpse into the turmoil consuming his life. It was hard to believe that Alec was now forty. The dark, almost black straight hair, the athletic six foot three inch build, and those grey eyes, the eyes of Alec’s father. Robert shifted his gaze to himself. His own hair was medium brown and curly, his height three inches shorter, his eyes of clear sapphire blue, the eyes of their mother. He sighed, bent down and carefully lifted the shards off the hardwood floor. “You’re too impulsive Alec. You’ve destroyed a perfectly good glass.”
“You’ve got millions. You live in this penthouse all by yourself, not even a damn dog. You’ve been well off since you cashed out of the market before the tech bubble burst, so stop complaining about an ordinary glass.”
“Alec, you’re forever acting first and then trying to make amends. It gets old fast. Besides, I told you I’ll reimburse any expense. Now get a towel and wipe up the mess you created.”
Robert’s methodical approach to life, his general calmness, along with his intense interest in Celtic history helped him earn the appointment of a director’s position on the board of the Nordstrom Institute. His general demeanor was a tremendous asset in dealing with the intrigues, subterfuges, and professional jealousies of the research world.
Alec returned with a towel and cleaned up his mess, still fuming at his lack of progress. “I just don’t get it. Two respected academics in runes and not only can’t they translate Josh’s symbols, they tell me there are unknown runes in his work. And then, the icing on the cake, their translations are almost exact opposites of each other and neither one makes any sense when I consider them in relation to the rest of his notes.” He ran his hands through his hair.
“What the hell am I going to do? I’ve run out of options,” he said as he slumped into the black leather sofa cushions.
Robert sat down opposite his brother but remained silent. Alec scrutinized him. Robert squirmed under the close inspection.
“What is it you’re not telling me?” Alec asked. He narrowed his eyes, leaning his arms on his thighs. “You know something.” The silence hung over the room like the Sword of Damocles. “So help me, if I have to beat it out of you I will. Now talk.”
He leaned away from Alec. “There may be another option. However, this one isn’t going to be easy.”
“Easy, what the hell is easy? Seems that word doesn’t exist in my vocabulary anymore.”
“Well, it would involve the Nordstrom Institute.”
“I thought you said that they don’t take outside research requests.”
“They don’t.” Robert rested his interlaced fingers on his slight paunch and explained, “However, employees have access to the databases and in-house experts for research.”
“How does that help me?”
“Currently the Institute is in the process of creating a new division, Celtic Lore to be exact.”
Alec stood, strode to the credenza, and poured himself another whiskey. “Celtic Lore? Who’s heading it? Lucy Millar?”
“No one yet. The lead candidate is Dr. Katie Walsh. She holds a doctorate in Nordic and Celtic mythology.”
“Not seeing the correlation, Robert. How does that help me?”
“While researching and writing her thesis, she became a de facto expert in runes, particularly Anglo-Saxon runes. She actually has a substantial portfolio of runic translations. The Institute is close to awarding her the position as head of the new division.”
“Is it a done deal, or will they consider additional candidates?” Alec asked.
“They’ve informed her that she is the leading and, at this time, the only candidate.”
“So what’s the hold-up? I mean why not just make it official. Is it that she’s not really qualified and the offer is more to satisfy a quota?”
“Well,” Robert started, “Katie, Dr. Walsh, is not your staid, stereotypical academic. She’s no shrinking violet. Some on the board find her no-nonsense attitude suited more for an operational role and not a division head. She’d never accept a quota job. She’s worked hard and earned her reputation by producing viable results. She’s developed a methodology to peel back the layers of time, culture, and changes in language to get to the origins of some of the ancient Celtic and Nordic myths. It was painstakingly slow work most times, but she kept at it and the results, which will soon begin the vetting process, were worth her and the Institute’s investment.”
“Then exactly what the hell is her problem? Why hasn’t she locked down the position?”
“You have to understand where this is coming from, Alec, but Katie is a dear friend of mine. However, I admit that she doesn’t… doesn’t play well with others. Not that she’s mean or vindictive. She just doesn’t play with others, so to speak.”
”Don’t tell me she’s one of those people whose life is their job?” Alec interrupted, shaking his head. “That’s why I find most female academics dry, frustrating, and uninteresting. They have a chip on their shoulder bigger than this room.”
“Look, she works hard and long hours, but I don’t think she lives for the job. It’s just that for now, it’s all she has. Other groups in the Institute will hound the division head for access to the translations and help applying them in their work. The role will, by its very nature, be mostly about appeasing and stroking egos. That’s not Katie’s strong suit.”
Alec laughed. “Sounds like a real wildcat. You sound like you know this creature really well.” He peered closely at Robert’s face.
“I do. As I said she is a very dear friend and don’t refer to her as a creature. She’s actually quite charming. And why the hell are you looking at me like a specimen under a microscope, Alec?”
“Just checking for cat scratches,” Alec joked.