Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Author Spotlight - Characte look at Katrina from "Goodbye Noel"

One of the best things about writing the character of Katrina Lenart in GOODBYE NOEL, the second in the Sanctuary Point series, is that I never knew what to expect. She was the type of character that sort of rewrote things if they didn't suit her. She's feisty, competent, beautiful, and she made sure she was smack in the middle of Detective Ian Daltry's murder investigation. One of the most fun scenes to write is when Katrina insists on going along with Ian to the weekly meeting of a group called The Children of Wisdom, a cult who may have been hiding the killer. As it turned out this was a scene that wrote itself with unexpected moments of humor. It opens when a woman in a red skating outfit is knocked down at an outdoor rink and Katrina and Ian come to her assistance.

Here's an excerpt from chapter twenty-four of GOOBYE NOEL.

Ian pumped his arms, rushing to help, but Katrina reached the lady first and knelt beside her. "Are you all right?"

This didn't surprise him. Katrina could skate rings around him. He stifled a smile on behalf of the woman.

Katrina smoothed an errant piece of hair out of the woman's face. "You went down pretty hard."

The little boy whirled around, making a tight turn and came back. "Sorry."

The skater smiled. "I'm fine, really. Accidents happen. No harm done."

She couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds. Ian bent to help her up, hoping he wouldn't topple over on her. "Give me your hand."

The woman accepted his help and rose to her feet. A gold pendant on a chain slippedfrom beneath her neckline. The Egyptian all-seeing eye with rays emanating from it. Verysimilar to the tattoo on Red's arm.

Ian blinked. "What an interesting medallion."

Once upright on her skates, the woman held the piece up for him. "I'm rather fond of it."

He kept his voice neutral. "I've never seen a piece of jewelry like it."

The woman beamed. "It is compelling, isn't it?"

Katrina leaned toward the piece. "Does it come with a story?"

Ian bit back a smile. She should've been a detective.

"Well." The woman moistened crimson lips and excitement flashed in her eyes. "Since you asked, as a matter of fact, it does."
She paused and enthusiasm fought with caution in hergaze.

Drawing upon years of experience in getting people to talk, Ian pulled away from her slightly. It was a tactic he used when people wanted to tell all, but something stopped them.

She took a long breath through her thin nose. Her passionate interest in the story won the battle Ian read in her eyes. "Have you ever heard of the Descended Masters?"

Ian shook his head. "No, can't say that I have. What are they?"

"Who, actually. They are people of great wisdom. There are only four in all the earth. Here in Rockville Center we're blessed to have two Descended Masters living among us."

Katrina shot him a look and arched an eyebrow slightly.

Ian gave the woman a courteous smile. "I certainly can see how that would be a huge deal."

Katrina shot him another look, this one more urgent. He moved toward her, took her hand, and gently applied pressure mashing her fingers together. She surreptitiously maneuvered her hand and pressed back against his fingers, her facial expression now placid, but her gaze boring into him.

The woman waved her black-leather gloved hand in an arc. "I'm Madeline Edwards. Would you and your wife like to learn more about the Descended Masters?"

"That would be very interesting. Yes, I would like to." He turned toward Katrina and frowned. "But, I'm afraid my..."

Katrina threw Madeline a huge smile. "I'd love to. We'd both love to." She slanted her head toward him. "Wouldn't we, dear?"

He was going to have to kill her later. "Yes, we'd both love to. Is that the name of a group? The Descended Masters."

Madeline chuckled, as if she were speaking to beings of a lower form of intelligence. "No, no." She chuckled again, softer this time. "We call ourselves Children of Wisdom. The Descended Masters are our leaders."

Katrina nodded with solemnity. "This is all so very interesting. We're so lucky to have met you."

"Yes, it's fascinating actually and providential." Madeline eased closer and lowered her voice. "As a matter of fact we're having our weekly meeting tonight. Would you like to be my guests?"

"I would." Ian closed his fingers around Katrina's hand with some pressure. "But I'mquite sure the little woman here has another obligation this evening."

Katrina offered a demure smile and crushed his fingers with full force. "Nothing of great importance. I'd love to come along. A person should always try to gain enlightenment. Don't you think so, Madeline?"

He steeled himself against the pain in his fingers and nodded. He was definitely going to kill her.

Madeline's eyes glistened. "Why, yes, I do."

Ian cleared his throat. "By the way, I'm Ian." He avoided Katrina's insistent gaze.

Katrina knitted her brows. "I'm Katrina, but Madeline, I must clear something up for you."

"Oh?" Madeline withdrew into herself.

Katrina took the woman's hand. "We're not married yet."

"You're engaged. How exciting." High color flushed Madeline's cheeks, and she clapped her hands. "Tonight is going to be perfect. I can't wait."

Katrina raised her knee to relieve pressure on her injured ankle and then lowered it. "Where should we go? What time should we be there?"

Madeline fished in the jacket pocket of her skating outfit and came out with a dog-eared card. She handed it to Ian. "The meeting starts at eight o'clock sharp."

Ian gritted his teeth and took the card. It had a sketch of the Egyptian eye on one side. On the other side was an address. He glanced at Katrina, who stood there with a sly smile on her face. He forced the corners of his mouth to turn upward. "This is my lucky day."