Monday, July 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Satan's Chamber

This mini blog tour is presented by Tribute Books.
The tour site is HERE.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour.
It is my pleasure to feature:
Molly Best Tinsley and Karetta Hubbard  as well as their book:  Satan's Chamber.
Molly Best Tinsley's Bio:
Air Force brat Molly Best Tinsley taught on the civilian faculty at the United States Naval Academy for twenty years and is the institution’s first professor emerita. Author of My Life with Darwin (Houghton Mifflin) and Throwing Knives(Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored Satan’s Chamber (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, The Creative Process (St. Martin’s). Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between Ashland and Portland.

Karetta Hubbard's Bio:
As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Karetta Hubbard has more than twenty-five years of experience in consulting, strategic management, and organizational change for companies throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan. Having recently turned to literary endeavors, Ms. Hubbard credits her five grandchildren as her inspiration and encouragement to put pen to paper.

As an active member of the Washington, DC community, Ms. Hubbard has held appointments at the Small Business Advisory Council (SBA), the Tyson Business and Professional Women Foundation (BPW), and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Ms. Hubbard attended the University of Virginia and received her B.A. degree from George Mason University. She also attended Catholic University’s Graduate School in Social Work. 

...and now the interview:
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

Growing up as a military brat, Molly never lived long in one place.  She made friends and learned the ropes at one school only to leave everything behind when her dad got transferred somewhere else.  As a result, she cultivated a tenacious memory—to take the edge off the continual loss, she hung onto the people and places in her mind.  The same motivation started her writing—it was a way to rescue and control a world that was always in the process of disappearing.  Quite simply, she felt better after she’d captured a person, place, or event in words.

Karetta was a late bloomer when it comes to writing.  In her first career, she researched workplace issues and wrote reports for clients digesting the information and making recommendations.   But ever since childhood, she has had stories that she wanted to share but was afraid to write down.  She thought she would be criticized for “making things up,” and she was intimidated by the importance placed on correct grammar.  Temporarily, it snuffed her desire to write, and she indulged her second passion, Politics and Government.  It wasn’t until she had a grandchild that she began to take her storytelling abilities seriously again.  Her political science background merged with storytelling to produce the wonderful thriller, Satan’s Chamber.
? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer? 
Molly:  I majored in English, went on to grad school, and an academic career in English on the civilian faculty of the US Naval Academy.  I resigned 15 years ago to write full-time, but really I was writing and publishing fiction the whole time I was teaching there.  I was never not writing.
Karetta:  Thirty years I co-founded a management consulting firm specializing in diversity issues, or high-risk EEO issues such as harassment prevention in the workplace.  Presently we are in the process of selling this company.  Once this is completed I can concentrate full time on Fuze Publishing and co-writing the sequel to Satan’s Chamber, working title, Hotel Limbo, not to mention pursuing other writing ideas I have.
? How long does it take you to write a book?
To research and write Satan’s Chamber took Molly and Karetta 2 ½ years.  Besides her collection of short stories (Throwing Knives, Ohio State University Press), Molly has an earlier literary novel out (My Life with Darwin, Houghton Mifflin) and estimates it probably took her about 2 ½ years to write that also. 
? What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?  
Molly:  I need a steady infusion of black tea.  I can’t stand using track changes. 
Karetta: I don’t like the answers “no” or “I can’t.”  It drives me crazy to hear them, and sends me into high gear trying to make whatever the situation is work.  I get satisfaction turning a no into a yes, a can’t, into a can., or can do!
? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Molly:  From the people around me, whom I analyze psychologically (to myself) all the time.  It’s important to give your characters distinctive bodies, and I find that a little more challenging.  It’s so tempting to resort to physical clich├ęs—tall, dark, handsome, etc.  When I’m developing the details of a characters body, I stare at people in a crowd, noticing the physical oddities  and converting them into words in my mind. 
Karetta:  I find myself looking at the most ordinary of circumstances and wondering, “what if”?   For example, my husband and I were at dinner and a wine tasting in a Greek restaurant the other night, where many of the patrons were Greek.  I found myself wondering what could be an interesting connection between each table, something or someone in common that each table of patrons was not aware of.  Then I imagined someone having a heart attack at one of the tables.  Why? Was the wine poisoned?  Would someone in the restaurant want this person dead?  And if so, of course what would be the motive? Or was this a legitimate, but tragic event?  My husband was not amused!  He just wanted to learn about the specific grape that only grows in Sicily and produces a wonderful flavor because of the centuries old volcanic ash.
? How do you decide what you want to write about?
This is the most difficult part for us.  We have so many ideas we would need to be twenty again to be able to write about them all.   Given the fact that we have to make the trains run on time with the new independent press we co-founded, Fuze Publishing (, the time to work on our sequel to Satan’s Chamber, Hotel Limbo, has been hard to rescue.  However, we are almost finished with the first draft, Tory again is the protagonist, the setting is Ukraine, and the backdrop is human trafficking.   Lots of plot twists and turns and a surprise ending! Stay tuned.
? What books have most influenced your life? 
Molly:  One book that reshaped my way of thinking was The Dancing Wu Li Masters—an explanation of New Physics for the layperson.  It helped me realize how limited our conscious minds are, and thus how incomplete our knowledge of reality.  I find that reassuring somehow. 
Karetta:  Nancy Drew series, Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Exodus – any book that keeps me up all night that I had to finish before I did anything else.
? What are you reading right now?
Molly:  A number of non-fiction works on subjects pertaining to Hotel Limbo.
Karetta:  Unsolicited manuscripts that come in to Fuze Publishing; I really have no time for pleasure reading at the moment, possibly later in the summer I can take time to read.
? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Karetta:  I enjoy visiting with family, specifically my grown children and their children – I have five grandchildren.  Secondly, I like to go boating on the ocean.  Having the sea air in my face relaxes me greatly.
Molly:  I’m a live theatre junkie, as well as a duplicate bridge addict, and I love to garden.
? What is your favorite comfort food?
Karetta: Chocolate and red wine. 
Molly:  A certain local brand of tortilla chip.
 ? What do you think makes a good story?
Karetta:  Fascinating characters caught up in meaningful plot, with many twists and a surprise ending.
Molly:  Couldn’t put it better than that.
? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
Karetta:  Molly Tinsley because every time I read something she has written, I am in awe of the almost lyrical quality of the writing, and of course I learn more about the craft of writing.
Molly:  Thanks, but Toni Morrison is my pick.
Fun random questions: 
dogs or cats?
Karetta:  Dogs – the best, most forgiving companions
Molly:  Cats – they don’t slobber
Coffee or tea?
Karetta:  Both – I need two cups of freshly brewed coffee in the morning to start the day and then Tea, green, white, black – any kind for comfort during the day.
Molly:  Tea.
Dark or milk chocolate?
Karetta and Molly :  Dark – a little bit goes a longer way.
Rocks or flowers?
Karetta and Molly:  Both -  living on the coast of Maine and in the Oregon mountains, we are in love with rock outcroppings that take the breath away; but flowers fill our hearts.
Night or day?
Karetta:  Day.
Molly:  Night.
Favorite color?
Karetta: Blue
Molly: Green
Crayons or markers?
Karetta and Molly:  depends on the job.
Pens or pencils?
Karetta and Molly:  Again, it depends on the job – pencils if we’re working on numbers; pen, if doing the Times crossword puzzle.
Satan's Chamber Summary
Junior CIA operative Victoria Pierce is posted to Khartoum, Sudan, where her father vanished five years before. Obsessed with solving the mystery of his disappearance, she uncovers a horrific plot that threatens to ignite World War III. A fast-paced spy thriller, Satan's Chamber shuttles between Washington, DC, and war-torn Sudan, geo-political intrigue and ancient mysticism. It introduces a rich array of memorable characters, from Bart Wilkins, the bumbling but buff young supply officer at the Embassy, to Kendacke, one-eyed descendant of the female pharaohs, to Adam Marshall, one of the richest and most ruthless men in the world.