Saturday, August 18, 2018

Author Interview - Joan K. Lacy - Author of A Shadow Away

From a young age, author Joan K. Lacy loved travel, meeting people in other countries, and learning to speak their languages. This interest led to leaving UCLA to live a year in Europe, where she got excellent practice with French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Joan is intrigued with myths and legends from all over the world, and now is happy to combine all she's learned, researched, and experienced into exciting and entertaining adventure stories with a magical twist.

As an artist, the wild and domestic animals she loves became her subjects for drawing, painting, and sculpting. Science, from quantum physics to the cosmos, piqued her interest and broadened her scope for storytelling. In her free time, Joan enjoys playing the banjo, bossa nova guitar, and Irish fiddle, and spinning alpaca fiber into yarn. Her other artistic interest is creating silk floral arrangements within unique glass vases.

Her first novel, A Shadow Away, is the first in the Alex Cort Adventure Series, where she combines research, imagination, and personal experience to create exciting stories filled with metaphysics, folklore, mythology, quantum physics, and archaeology. In a world where time and space are not always what they seem, Joan shows readers that anything is possible if they just believe.

In A Shadow Away, archaeologist Andrew Seaton discovers a jewel-encrusted golden statue and realizes he may have uncovered the key to the lost city of El Dorado. The statue disappears before he can verify his findings, and Andrew must rely on private detective Alex Cort to recover the prized artifact. The two men find themselves caught up in a dangerous race against a corrupt colleague and a ruthless art thief who will stop at nothing to claim the statue for themselves.
 As each new clue leads them up the Amazon River and deeper into the jungle, they soon discover things are not quite what they appear. When all seems lost, the mystical powers of a beautiful woman guide them out of danger and ultimately to the ruins of an ancient city, where Andrew must right the wrongs he committed in a past life and Alex discovers a secret of his own.

Who are your influences?
I love Mary Stewart’s books The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Her books started my love for Merlin and the legends of King Arthur.
All of James Herriot’s books, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small. I love the way he tells a story, and I encourage everyone who loves animals, and a good story, to read his books.

When did you begin writing?
I didn’t start writing until later in life. The benefit of that is I can combine all I’ve learned, experienced, researched, and imagined into the adventure stories I write now.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc?
First, I’ve always been interested in myths and legends, archaeology, and science. My characters evolve from the story I want to tell. My three favorite characters appear in every story of my “Alex Cort Adventures” series, starting with A Shadow Away. First is Alex, he loves adventure, has a curiosity about this world, and isn’t afraid of danger. Dr. Andrew Seaton is an eccentric British archaeologist who gives me the chance to write about everything from science to superstition. Angel calls herself a witch and has her own kind of magic. With her I can write about fantasy and the supernatural. They named themselves, and each has their own point of view to add to the story depending on the scene.

Do you work from an outline?
I first decide on which myth or legend I want to write about. That determines what country the story will take place in. Then I start my research, and from there start to develop ideas for the storyline. Those ideas become plot points which I arrange in an outline then transfer to a storyboard for additions and shuffling—which I find very helpful.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel.
I love every single scene in A Shadow Away. It is an exciting adventure that still sweeps me away into the world of my imagination.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
Write about what you know, because that will add depth to your story. Also important, is to write about a topic that interests you. Because if what you write is interesting to you, it will likely interest others who read your work.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I’m writing exactly what interests me: adventure, mystery, and magic, blended with what I know about science and archaeology. I’m in my happy place!

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
My stories are fun to write! After I set the next scene I want to write for the story, I let my imagination go, and the characters “take over.” They come alive in my imagination, and they usually have something to say if I want to take the story in a direction they don’t want to go, or if there’s a glitch I need to work out. Their ideas are usually better than my original thought, so I don’t try to stop my imagination—I let it go, and write down what they say as fast as I can!

Please visit me at to learn more about A Shadow Away and future books in
the “Alex Cort Adventures” series.

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