Exclusive Interview with Author Rachael Stapleton

Today, we're doing something a little different. This is our fifth guest author interview on the Marie Lavender's Books! blog, and fellow Solstice author Rachael Stapleton is visiting us. 

Hello, Rachael!  It’s such a pleasure to have you here. :)

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out and where can we get it?

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire is a sinister tale of love, obsession and reincarnation. The book is part of a speculative fiction series with a time-travel twist offering just a taste of historical romance.  

The Temple of Indra series centers around Sophia Marcil, a young librarian who inherits a sapphire from her Great Grandmother and is bestowed with the gift of time travel only to discover it’s a curse and she is now the object of a madman’s obsession. In Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, Sophia’s returned from the harrowing yet wondrous journey into her past life—that of Princess Sapphira of Monaco with the regret that she was unable to protect her past self. She’s keeping a low profile, living in a cottage outside of Dublin but she knows the man obsessed with her cursed gem is also out there somewhere. And really it’s only a matter of time before she realizes just how close—when Cullen proposes with the very sapphire that’s cursed her. As soon as it touches her skin, she feels herself being wrenched back in time.

Wow! It sounds exciting!

So, tell us...is there anything that prompted Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire? Something that inspired you? 

The idea for my Temple of Indra Series came about in 2006.  I had read the amazingly talented Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander—I was pregnant and in love with life itself. Obsessed with time travel—books and movies—but I’d run out of stories to consume.  On a lark, I decided to write my own and I set out to write a time travel romance, one that I would want to read. The book included many of the tropes of time travel romance, which are so fun, hidden passageways and magical gemstones but the more I wrote, the more I found a darker, edgier side to the story—A madman willing to hunt the object of his obsession through time itself.  The story became more about reincarnation than time travel. 

That's great! I haven't read Diana Gabaldon's book series yet, but I did watch the TV show, Outlander. So love!

Where were we? Oh, yes. Let's try a new question.

When did you know you wanted to write?  Or has it always been a pastime of yours? 

I wrote a lot of stories in creative writing class when I was a kid, a lot of poetry to release the angst as a pre-teen and I even had my own column in the local town paper as a sixteen year old, but I never thought of it as a career. I focused most of my creative energy on drawing, painting and acting when I wasn’t reading, of course. I was the lead in a local play as a young adult and I set my focus to making it as an actress. Of course, I did always say I was going to write an exciting biography after I retired from Hollywood. Boy, has that ship sailed. When auditions brought out a side of stage fright that I’d never experienced, I decided acting wasn’t for me and went to school for advertising, which led me to a career in technology, marketing and media sales. Something I did not find emotionally fulfilling, but that I made a decent living at. I still read fiction every day, and when I got pregnant with my son, I decided to put my maternity leave to good use. I was taking a University history course but outside of that, I had a lot of free time so I wrote my first novel, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel. The strange thing is, I never did anything with it—I didn’t know any other writers and so I had no idea how to get published. I went back to my career in marketing and sales, and it wasn’t until I attended the Ontario Writers Conference several years later on a lark that I met and connected with other writers, and moved forward with publishing.

Sounds like fate to me! ;)

Do you have any favorite authors? 

There are so many writers and books that have stuck with me. When I was a kid, I cut my teeth on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, anything and everything by V.C Andrews and Roald Dahl’s The Witches. As I got older, I found bibliographies fascinating: Ann Frank, Martin Luther King. I would obsess over historical moments in time and topics. Eventually I moved into spirituality and I began to overdose on clinical studies and reports of people returning to life after death. These days, I mostly curl up with cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, action and adventure. You can find authors like Diana Gabaldon, Rhys Bowen, Kristin Cashore, Carol J. Perry, James Rollins and James Patterson on my shelf.

Do you write in a specific place? Time of day? 

My life is completely structured especially since I have kids and compete in fitness shows. We live in a Second Empire Victorian Home, built in the late 1800s and you can find me in my study every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9-3 while my son is in school and my daughter visits her grandma, surrounded by dark wood paneling and old books. Something about this space reminds me of that Victorian steampunk film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I truly am an atmospheric person. Architecture, decor and everything old, these are the keys to my creative spark. My husband promises to build floor to ceiling library shelves complete with a rolling rack. But even just as it is, this room is too beautiful and too inspirational not to write in. When I need a change of pace, I occasionally move into the Parlour with its 12 foot ceiling and intricate crown moldings but the best and my absolute favorite area has to be the third floor which formerly held the servant’s quarters.  This space with its aged wood and arched dormers is something out of Flowers in the Attic. I can’t wait to finish it off one day and move my desk up there. 

How wonderful! What a truly inspirational writer space!
So, are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?

Writing is as an investment. Just like no one becomes an athlete overnight, no one becomes a bestselling author overnight. It takes practice and determination. I’m not rolling in cash YET, but I see everything I’m doing as an investment in a long term career. The same way a doctor goes to school and does rotations for most of his/her young life, I write for peanuts because it’s improving my skill level, it’s flexing my brain muscle and I’m growing a fan base. Everyone wants to be mainstream, but the odds of getting there right off the bat are fluky at best. Rejection is inevitably a large part of the process, so you have to be doing it for you. Also join a writer’s group or organization. It can be a lonely climb at times, and creating a community can make all the difference when drowning in rejection letters! It’s also nice to have people to pop champagne with when the good news rolls in. I’m part of the B7 writers group as well as the WCDR, and I’m now part of the Solstice Publishing family and I wouldn’t be here and/or sane without them.

I know exactly what you mean. Oh, and did you have one more thing to add? I just remembered.

Me too! Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire is FREE on Amazon Kindle this week. It started Monday and ends June 19th, tomorrow. So, get your free Kindle copy while you have a chance! 

Awesome! We'll be sure to do that! 

Thank you for stopping by, Rachael! :)

Readers, here is the blurb for Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire.

Librarian Sophia Marcil loves reading, especially books about ancient curses and reincarnation. But she never imagined the legend of the Purple Delhi Sapphire was true until she inherited it and was wrenched back in time. Now having suffered deadly consequences, she knows and fears the sapphire’s irresistible charm, but before she can warn her boyfriend, he proposes with a ring made from the very jewel. No sooner is it on her finger, then she once again finds herself in the body of another, wandering the hallway of an old Victorian mansion circa 1920. Unfortunately, her nemesis has reincarnated too. Doomed to repeat past mistakes, Sophia struggles to prevent the deaths of those she loves, returning to her present-day life, with a deep understanding that her killer is not far behind.

Here is an excerpt from the novel.

Cullen turned to me. “Ye sure ye’re all right, luv?”

“I’m perfect,” I said, finally beginning to relax. I’d made up my mind. I was going to tell him tonight, come hell or high water.
“Brilliant.” He kissed my forehead, his lips soft and warm on my skin. “I’ll miss ye next week. Ye gonna keep busy?” He fiddled nervously with his jacket pocket. It wasn’t like Cullen to fiddle; I gave his hand a squeeze. He was traveling to London tomorrow on business. He would only be gone four days, but he was never home long before he had to jet off again.
“I thought maybe I’d go to that fundraiser—see if one of your cousins wanted to tag along—and of course the bridal shower is the next day.” Maybe that was why he was so jittery. He knew I didn’t like being without him, and he’d mentioned once or twice the guilt he felt over leaving.
Someone clinked their fork off a glass and the musical tinkling made me look up.
“O’Kelley Clan, can I get yer attention up here for a moment?” Da called.
A champagne bottle opened with a satisfying pop.
“If ye haven’t noticed already, there’s a bit of the bubbly being passed about, so set aside the whiskey and grab one.”
The table quieted and we took our seats.
“I’d like to propose a toast to the lovely lass sitting at Cullen’s side.” Da raised his glass, and all eyes turned to me.
“Here here,” Cullen said. “To my Sophia.”
My glass clinked against his. “What’s going on?” I whispered.
He’d switched out my glass as the tray went by and now gave me his best I-have-no-idea look, extending an arm around my shoulders and pulling me in tight.
“T’was a year ago today she fell into our lives from Sainte Marguerite Island—or perhaps it was the sky, ’cause surely that one there’s an angel.”
“Quit stealin’ his lines, John,” Lucille chided smartly before he could go on.
The room roared with laughter.
“Aw sure look it. I did, didn’t I? Sorry, Son. Well then here’s another stolen line while I’m at it: to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear. Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere! Anyway, Cullen, don’t run away now.”
“Yea, thanks, Da!”
The laughter faded as Cullen pushed his chair back and stood, pulling me gently to stand with him.
“Not sure how to follow that up, but how about: to passionate people, beautiful futures, and lovely lasses who fall from the heavens,” he said, knocking glasses with me. Clinks echoed all around, and I smiled as he set his flute down.
Then he lowered to one knee.
He grinned up at me—so charming and gorgeous. His green eyes, as always, were mesmerizing. They had flecks of gold in them that clung to the edges and danced in the center, like they were on fire. My heart beat so loudly in my ears that it almost drowned out the “awws” and “oohs.”
“Ye’re already mine, lass, in every way possible and I am yers, but I want the world to know,” he said, taking my free hand. Someone took the glass of champagne from the other one, as I was shaking so badly. The black velvet box squeaked open, and his aunts gasped in unison, as if on cue.
“Will ye make me the happiest man in Ireland, Aevil, and join our O’Kelley Clan?” He kissed my fingers as I stared down at him.
The marble-sized rock in the box swirled, and doubled in front of my eyes. Deep purple amethyst with a thin frame of diamonds, set in pink gold and accentuated with a slender shank and crescent details.
I looked past the ring, into his eyes, and found him still staring directly at me. He’d removed the ring from the box and was holding it out, ready to place it on my finger.
He cleared his throat. “It was my great-great-great-grandmother’s and I thought ye might appreciate it, since ye were so intrigued with her portrait.”
I nodded, trying to smile through the confusion, but my head swam with random bursts of chatter, the fiddle, and all the thoughts flooding me at once, mostly that Cullen had just proposed to me with the missing Purple Delhi Sapphire ring. A bead of sweat ran down the side of my cheek as the ring touched the tip of my finger.
Cullen’s face began to distort. A shimmery haze had fallen over the room as if the desert were closing in. The vibration from the ring traveled up my arm, and the room began to shift and blur at the edges. Another room, a darker room, was coming into focus. I could still hear Cullen’s aunt ordering someone to get me a glass of water.
There was something I should remember. Water. Rochus said water was necessary to ease the pain of time travel. Maybe this was what it felt like without. I tried to blink away the heat, tried to stop myself from going, but I couldn’t. The edges of the room were burning away fast now, like a Polaroid scorched by flames. I could hear the trickling of the fountain in the corner. I ran for it, or at least I intended to, but it was too late.

Ooh! Riveting! 

Don't forget to pick up your FREE limited time copy of this great book!

Universal Purchase Link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00SNAF018  


Author Bio  

Rachel Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers. She is the author of The Temple of Indra’s Jewel, Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire and is currently working on the third and most likely final book in the Temple of Indra series. 

Author Links:  



No comments:

Post a Comment

Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...