I’m hosting an interview today with author N.S. Wikarski, the author of archaeological thriller “The Granite Key”. Thanks you for answering my interview questions, and for being on my blog!
1) How long have you been writing?
All my life, more or less. I majored in English through college and graduate school which involved a huge amount of writing. After school, my adult life took a career detour for a few decades – first in banking and then in computer consulting. Part of my job during those years was writing computer and technical instruction manuals. Not particularly creative, but writing of a sort. My wake-up call came when I reached the age of forty without having written a single novel. A year later I began The Fall Of White City, which was the first title in my Gilded Age series. I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since then.
2) Is The Granite Key your first novel? If not, please tell us a little about your first book.
The Granite Key is the third book I’ve written. My first was The Fall Of White City. It’s a historical mystery set against the backdrop of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. I subsequently wrote a sequel which takes place in Chicago a year later. It’s entitled Shrouded In Thought. Those two books constitute my Gilded Age mystery series. I expect to continue the series after I finish the rest of the Arkana volumes.
3) Tell us about The Granite Key.
In a nutshell, The Granite Key is about what happens when a teenage girl accidentally stumbles into a world of secret societies and fanatical cults warring over mysterious ancient artifacts. The book is the first volume of a seven book series. Volume One sets up a treasure hunt that eventually spans six continents and eleven thousand years of very controversial pre-patriarchal history.
4) Why did you choose young adult as a genre for your novel?
I actually don’t consider my books Young Adult though some readers have categorized them that way. Because one of the main characters is as a nineteen-year-old college freshman, I can see why the material might lend itself to the Young Adult genre. The Arkana series more properly belongs in the archaeological thriller genre.
5) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself, even when nobody else does. If you can see the best that’s in you, eventually everybody else will have no choice but to see it too.
6) Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?
I just finished writing the rough draft of the fourth volume of the Arkana series. It’s entitled Riddle Of The Diamond Dove and will be published in December of 2013. Since there are seven books in the series, the goal is to write one book a year until they’re all finished.
The Granite Key
Author: Nancy Wikarski
Genre: Archaeological Thriller
THE ARKANA SERIES: Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
Volume One – The Granite Key
“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)
A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.
A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.
A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.
Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.
A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.
Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly Pleasures.
She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.
She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s Wing Enigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.
Purchase Link – Amazon (for US store) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004NIFTI8
Facebook public page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/N-S-Wikarski/111546722263900