Friday, January 25, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Sonata by Blair McDowell


Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this blog tour. Please welcome Blair McDowell as she talks about doing research on her book Sonata! Happy Reading!

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On Research

I do extensive research for all my books, but SONATA presented some unique problems. It involves an existing police force, the Vancouver Police Department, the VPD. In Canada we have a rather unique system under which our national police The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (familiarly known as the “Mounties” and recognized internationally by their bright red uniforms and wide-brimmed hats), but most larger cities, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and others, have their own metropolitan police. To confuse matters even further, Quebec has its own unique force, the Sureté.

The point is I knew nothing about any of them beyond the color of their uniforms, and my hero was a police officer in the VPD. Before I started writing I had two full pages of questions, many of which weren’t answerable on Google. They were questions of rank ( I of course wanted my hero at 32 years old to be of some more advanced rank, which I soon found out to be an impossibility. I assumed his university degree and police academy training after would put him ahead of others—only to find out that all VPD members have university degrees and Police Academy training. My hero had to be a “Constable” although he could also be “Detective” and plain clothes. He would report to his (considerably older) “Staff Sargeant”. And “Inspector” the rank I had mentally assigned him, was way up the chain.

I was fortunate to obtain “inside information”. Not in the sense that others couldn’t obtain the same information, only that chance put me in the way of getting it and getting it right.

It happened this way. With a friend, I run a Bed & Breakfast on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver. Our guests gather at a communal breakfast table in the mornings. They are often curious as to how we came to be B&B owners and we answer their questions fully and usually amid considerable laughter. (Between us we have five degrees and here we are cooking bacon and eggs and making beds! Or as a friend put it, we retired to become cleaning ladies!)

To get conversation flowing among our guests we often say “And what do you do?” One morning the answer from a very pretty young woman was “I’m the community liaison officer for the VPD.”

I ran to get my two pages of questions. She was more than willing to help when she discovered the reason for my interest. She gave me her email address, and as I worked on my manuscript I consulted with her frequently. She saved me from making some serious mistakes. The denouement of Sonata takes place not in Vancouver, but on the Sunshine Coast. My hero, Detective Michael Donovan, has no jurisdiction there. The RCMP is in charge, there. That created another whole set of problems that had to be correctly resolved.

I like mysteries and detective stories with a large dose of romance thrown in. But they are fraught with peril. It would be so easy to do something ridiculous in them, so easy to make a parody of what serious law enforcement officers do.

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About the Author
I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction. I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was!

I’ve lived in many different places. The US -- Certain cities call to me. I love San Francisco and Seattle and the wonderful Oregon Coast. Australia -- among the most open welcoming people in the world, and a wide open young country with incredible land and sea scapes, with amazing animal and bird life right out of science fiction. Canada -- HOME. The place where I belong.

I travel a lot. I usually spend the month of October in Europe, Greece or Italy, and the winter in a little house I built many years ago on a small non-touristy Caribbean Island. I have worked and studied in many places -- Hungary, Australia the US and Canada, and have spoken in most of the States and Provinces as well as Taiwan and various cities in Europe. I enjoy being surrounded by cultures other than my own. I enjoy my own as well -- but variety is indeed the spice of my life.

I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over. And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing. And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun!

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Sonata Available Now!

A jewel heist…

When renowned concert artist, Sayuri McAllister, returns to the west coast of Canada after an absence of five years, she discovers her family home has been a broken into and jewelry worth two million dollars is missing. Michael Donovan, Sayuri’s old high school flame, now a detective with the Vancouver Police Department, is the officer in charge of the case.

What chance can he have…

Michael takes one look at Sayuri and falls in love with her all over again. But they parted in anger years ago and Sayuri is no longer the innocent girl he once knew. What chance can there be for a Vancouver cop with someone as famous as Sayuri McAllister? Especially when that cop is investigating her family and friends?

An unexpected marriage…

Then Sayuri’s widowed father, Sean, marries Alyssa James, a woman Sayuri has never even met. The three live uneasily together in the Point Grey mansion until the unexpected arrival of Alyssa’s brother, Hugh James, a devastatingly handsome, charming Irishman who immediately begins a campaign to bed and wed the delicious and wealthy Sayuri.

Things take a dangerous turn…

Accidents begin to happen. Or are they accidents? Nothing is as it seems. Michael distrusts Hugh James and fears that Sayuri’s life may be in danger.


***Up for grabs on this tour are 5 PDF copies of Sonata. Enter via the Rafflecopter below!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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