I’d like to welcome Sandi Brackeen to my blog today! She’s sharing some background information on her latest book Digging up the Past and a delicious excerpt.
I thought a little background on the Tales from Atlantis was in order since the first books don’t focus that much on Atlantis itself. They focus more on what would happen if Atlantis returned.
I’ve always been fascinated with stories of Atlantis and magic, and I’m a big fan of Urban Fantasy like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, so it was natural for me to write Urban Fantasy. Riley’s world came into being about 10 years ago when I heard about a contest where writers were asked to write stories based on what would happen if magic returned to the earth.
I didn’t write a story for the contest. You have to overcome ‘life’ to make time to write, but the idea stuck with me. Then it started growing until now it has developed into a whole world populated with characters who are sometimes a little different and don’t always follow the plan I have for them, but they wouldn’t be any fun if they did. They do get the person, however, and I hope you’ll like them.
At the time of Digging Up the Past, Atlantis has been back for about 200 years, just long enough for those with magical bloodlines to once again become what they would have been had Atlantis not sunk. Riley was raised in a shape shifter clan since her father was a shape shifter by birth. Her mother, however, had originally been a witch, as had her grandmother on her mother’s side. She takes after her mother, although her mother began to be able to shift shapes shortly after Riley’s parents were married.
Riley’s work with DUE started after her brother was killed by her then fiancé in a drug deal gone bad. That betrayal started Riley on a new life where she uses her empathic and witchcraft skills in spite of not being able to shift shapes like a proper shape shifter should. Initially, anger drove her quest for revenge until she saw her lying killer of a boyfriend put away for life. After that, she was just angry with all drug dealers until Giles Walker of DUE heard about the vigilante who was taking out drug dealers and brought her into DUE. At the time of the events in this story, Riley has been with DUE for about 3 years.
Immortality? Now that’s tempting. Throw in an army of the dead, and hey, any evil overlord would kill for that package.
When the Homeland Security Service’s Department of Unusual Events, or DUE, assigned my partner, Jason, and me to this case, the file said the spade we were looking for was valued at eighteen million dollars and belonged to the Peruvian government. Stolen during shipment from Peru to the local university, the spade, along with a number of the other artifacts uncovered on a dig site in Peru, was scheduled for study here. According to our file, the HSS believed it had been stolen for financial gain or, perhaps, to cause an international incident. Not our usual type of case, but not unheard of either.
What the file didn’t mention was that this wasn’t just any gold spade. This was the Spade of Apocatequil. Peruvian legend has it that anywhere Apocatequil stuck this spade in the ground, people sprang up. Now, the spade is believed to grant the holder immortality and the power to raise the dead. Minor omission.
My cover on this assignment was that of a college student. I also worked as a dog walker for the Bradens, who were our primary suspects, so every afternoon, Angel, the Bradens’ German shepherd, and I made the two-block walk to the dog park near the Bradens’ house.
When I pulled in at the house, I could tell no one was home. The Bradens would be at the local dig site until at least dark, getting set for the summer dig, and it wasn’t unusual for Keesha, the Bradens’ daughter, and Mena, the operative from Cerberus Security who’s been acting as her nanny, to be out in the early afternoon. I clipped the leash on Angel and we headed for the park.
Oh, as for why they should be our primary suspects, that’s the easy part. John Braden was the American archaeologist on the Peruvian dig. His wife, Sonya, was the lead anthropologist on that same dig, and that put them at the top of the list of suspects. That placement was further supported by the fact that someone else believed they had the spade. Our file also indicated that things had been stolen from other dig sites when they were in charge. The hard part was that there was no evidence, solid or otherwise, that they took the spade, or that they were involved in any of the other thefts.
Sandi lives in Texas with three roommates, two Yellow Labs, a Shepherd/Border Collie mix, two terrier mixes and assorted other critters. The animals were primarily rescues. Sandi’s full time job is as the Public Information Officer for the local Sheriff’s Office, and she teaches English part time at the local Community College.
She says she has a couple of degrees from the University of North Texas lying around somewhere, and she’s been writing ever since she can remember. Sandi took time off for work and school, and previously her writing has been more geared toward short stories and academic papers.
Sandi publishes a newsletter and several articles a month in her current position, but she has now added writing fiction and currently has several more books in the works.
Thank you so much for stopping by Sandi!