Monday, June 27, 2016

Author Glen Craney Stops By: Some Q and A about Virgin of Wind Rose

Q: Just read your book and loved it.  How on earth did you put this whole thing together?  What piece of the mystery inspired you?
A: Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Dina. I get inspiration for many of my books in dreams. These dreams are vivid and contain symbols and images that initially baffle me. One night, I kept hearing the word "SATOR." I awoke and wrote the word down, not knowing what it meant. I thought it might be an abbreviation of "Satori," the Japanese Buddhist term for "awakening" or "enlightenment." I set upon a detective quest, but the "satori" path was a blind alley. Then, a few days later, I stumbled on a reference to an ancient Latin palindrome called the SATOR Square. That clue led to others, and soon I had my plot for the thriller.
Wow!  Like the Akhashic Record!

Q: Have you been to Lalibela?  
A: Unfortunately, no. I've visited many of the places in the novel--Jerusalem, Chartres, Tomar--but my plans for Ethiopia were cancelled because of unrest on the border. I still hope to see the underground churches there.

Q: Who has the Ark and where is it?
A: If I told you, I'd have to induct you into the Knights Templar and swear you to silence. Seriously, I have no clue. If I were given only one place to search, I'd start digging under the Temple Mount. 
Q: How long did it take you to write this novel?
A: About two years of research, and another year to write it. 

Q: Are you a Virgo?  Do you know a lot about astronomy?
A: I'm a Scorpio. Scorpios are said to be drawn to mysteries, so I suppose that I fit the profile. I worked as a lawyer and a journalist before turning to historical fiction, but the skills I learned in both professions have helped me, particularly in the research. Before writing Virgin, I knew very little about astronomy. I had to learn about Age of Discovery theories of astrology and astronomy, and about how the stars were used for the sailing method known as dead reckoning. I also took celestial navigation and sailing classes to better understand my 15th-century characters.

Q: Do you believe in your Christopher Columbus theory?  
A: "Believe" is one of those words that causes me to cringe; perhaps it's because religious enforcers have used it as a hammer. I built the novel by threading and weaving suppositions offered by many historians and researchers. So, I don't claim the Columbus hypothesis as my theory. I've been taught to see all sides of a question and to maintain a healthy skepticism. Still, the deeper I delved into the Columbus mystery, the more I came to suspect that we don't know the full story. His coded signature alone raises so many fascinating questions. 

It's one HELL of a THEORY!

Q: Your Amazon biography says you a member of the press.  Are you writing for a TV news channel or newspaper?
A: In the 1980s, I was a member of the Washington, D.C., press corps and covered national politics and the Iran-contra trial. For the past twenty years, I've been writing scripts and novels full-time.

Q: Do you think the media is biased?
A: It's difficult to generalize. With the rise of cable, the television media has consolidated and splintered into smaller networks that maintain ratings by promoting opinion talkers. Fox News pursues viewers from the conservative Right, MSNBC draws viewers from the progressive Left. We could really use an Edward R. Murrow or a Walter Cronkite right now, but gone are the days when Americans followed one or two network anchors. As for newspapers and magazines, I found that most reporters and editors I worked with were dedicated to finding the truth. They certainly didn't go into the profession to become rich.

Q: Why do you think that the history books got so many things wrong?
A: As the old saying goes, history is written by the victors. For centuries, the royal courts and the Church employed the scribes and monks. It was rarely the mission of the early chroniclers to record impartially what happened; they were charged with portraying their masters and sponsors in the most favorable light. Today, we would call it propaganda. So, our modern concept of history as a scientific endeavor would have been incomprehensible to earlier eras. One of the responsibilities of a serious historical novelist is to champion those whose voices have been suppressed.

Q: What kind of scripts do you write?
A: Historical stories and thrillers. I wrote several of my novels first as movie scripts. Perhaps that's why readers often tell me the books have a cinematic feel.
Q: What other books have you written?
A: Unlike most historical novelists, I write across many eras and go where a good story (and the dreams) takes me. My first novel, The Fire and the Light, is set in 13th-century Occitania and follows a family of Cathar holy women hunted as heretics by Rome. 
My second novel, The Spider and the Stone, set during the Scottish Wars of Independence, unfolds what happened after the events celebrated in the movie, Braveheart. The third novel, The Yanks Are Starving, is the story of the Bonus Army, a ragamuffin band of homeless World War One veterans who marched on Washington in 1932. They were driven from the city by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the only violent clash between two American armies under the same flag. I've also written a second thriller with my former Columbia University classmate, John Jeter. In The Lucifer Genome, the Black Stone of Kaaba is stolen by a mysterious cabal intent on cornering the global market for the oldest human DNA.

They all sound phenomenal!

Q: What are you working on now?
A: Another historical novel, set during the last days of the American Civil War. 

Q: Where can we stalk you?

Author website:
Author blog:
Author Facebook page:
Author Goodreads page:
Twitter: @glencraney

Author bio: Glen Craney holds graduate degrees from Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best About the Author new screenwriting, and he is a three-time finalist for Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was honored as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.

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