One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
Author Interview: Sydney Jamesson
1. What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
I’m fortunate in that I have a group of close friends who go all out to do the sweetest things, instinctively. Birthday celebrations have come and gone, but their thoughtfulness has continued throughout the year. I’ve had encouraging, handwritten notes when times have been particularly difficult at home, thank you bottles of bubbly, congratulations bouquets on release day … but the sweetest thing was when our daughter paid for us to go on holiday to the Caribbean six years ago to coincide with her dad’s ‘special’ birthday. After a hectic year, the holiday was just what we needed and, best of all, our daughter and her partner met us in Mexico having traveled from their home in Sydney, Australia. It wasn’t only a holiday of a lifetime; it was an unforgettable family reunion—there’s double sweetness for you!
2. How would you spend ten thousand bucks?
Mmm … I could probably make something up like a trip to Disneyland, to The Grand Canyon or spending a fortnight in a villa in the Côte d’Azure, but that’s much too kitsch for me and Mr. J. I think I’d simply put the money towards having my kitchen remodelled. Boring, I know, but we’ve been meaning to do it for years. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on spending a lot of time in there cooking, more like mixing drinks and listening for the satisfying clinking of ice falling into a glass tumbler…
3. Where do you get your best ideas?
Like a lot of writers, I get my best ideas in bed; it can be at night or when I wake up in the morning. I like to think of the writing process as sort of listening to the voices in my head; that might sound crazy to anyone who doesn’t write, but it’s true. You know you have a story when you keep thinking about it; you know you have a great story when you can hear the characters’ voices in your head, recounting their story. Over time you get to know them, and their story begins to take shape. You, as the writer, become the conduit through which they can reveal their story to the rest of the world—and you!
4. What comes first, the plot or characters?
Having answered the last question, I think it’s pretty clear that it’s the characters; my books are character driven. Of course, there is a plot, usually it’s peppered with twists and turns but, essentially, I have to connect with the characters in order to breathe life into them, make them credible and create a character arc. That doesn’t mean that I have to like them. Hell no! Some of my characters I don’t like at all. Having said that, I think it’s a good idea to give an antagonist an opportunity to redeem themselves. If they choose not to, then they suffer the consequences.
5. What does your main character do that makes him/her special?
In my latest novels, The Duty Bound Duet, the central character is Emily Parsons; she’s a banker who becomes a reluctant investigator, driven by a compulsion to find out why her sister committed suicide. Her partner says that she is like a dog with a bone—she won’t let anything drop. Not without a fight. As the story develops, that is shown to be true. Like some of the most memorable characters in psychological suspense, she is flawed; at the start of the novel she’s arrogant and intolerant, in her youth she has done things she is not proud of—yet she would do them all again if similar circumstances arose. In spite of that, she is special; a special woman who selflessly puts her younger sister first, makes sure she has all the things she never had and will stop at nothing to avenge her apparent killing, even if that means putting her own life in danger.
The Duty Bound Duet – DUTY OF CARE – THE CARETAKERS
by Sydney Jamesson
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense (Psychological)
DUTY OF CARE:
On her death bed Emily Derbyshire’s mother made her promise to take good care of her little sister. Keeping her promise, twelve-year-old Emily did exactly that and became five-year-old Rita’s benefactor and bodyguard.
After eighteen years of sisterly devotion Emily receives some shocking news! Rita has committed suicide. When disturbing details start to surface, Emily puts her highflying career on hold to seek out those responsible. She hires an American private investigator Robert Blackmoor; a motorbike riding, no-frills, computer hacker who will use any means necessary to unearth the truth.
Not surprisingly, Robert uncovers secrets from Emily’s troubled childhood and chips away at the glossy veneer of deceit which masks the truth behind, not only Rita’s life, but Emily’s imperfect life too.
Together they assemble the pieces of a sinister puzzle, revealing a cruel and corrupt world of exploitation and murder: a Dark Web into which Rita has become entangled.
As dark forces encircling Emily tighten their grip, and with everything to lose, she must make a life and death decision that she may live to regret.
Emily Parsons is a product of a difficult childhood: self-reliant, fiercely protective and willing to do whatever it takes to safeguard the wellbeing of those in her care. She has even slayed a monster, or two … or three in the name of poetic justice, and yet she is haunted by the image of a beautiful blond girl.
Sixteen-year-old Louise Travis has been abducted.
Louise’ fate rested in Emily’s hands, but she let her slip through her fingers like gold dust, only to be swept away by a malevolent band of brothers.
By once again enlisting the help of computer hacker, Robert Blackmoor, Emily must find Louise before she is lost forever in a Dark Web of heinous crimes, cruelty and corruption. The clock is ticking, and Emily’s investigation is drawing the wrong kind of attention, but she will not back down. She is duty bound to protect those she loves.
With skeletons from her past being unearthed, who can she turn to, and who can she trust with her own sinister secrets?
For the next two days Emily stayed at Rita’s bed side. She read to her during the day and prayed for her at night, making God all kinds of promises if he just let her live.
After a forty-eight hour vigil, Emily woke to the sound of a little voice. “Where am I, Em?”
Emily raised her weary head to see two bright blue eyes; eyes she feared she might never get to gaze upon again. She yawned and stretched away the stiffness in her arms and legs. “You’re in hospital.”
“Why? Did I fall over?” Rita wiggled her toes.
Emily reached for her hand and shook her head. “No. You had a cough.”
Rita forced a cough. “I don’t have a cough now, just a tickle.”
“That’s good. I’m glad you feel better.” Emily’s eyes watered and she smiled.
Rita followed the line of the intravenous drip attached by a cannula into her hand. “I’ve got a tube in my hand.”
“It’s to make you better. It’s got medicine in it. Don’t touch.”
Rita removed her fingers from the cannula. “Is it dinner time?” she asked noticing the darkening sky outside.
Emily shook her head. “I don’t know what time it is. I’ll go and find out.” She poured Rita a glass of water. “Sip this slowly and I’ll go find you something to eat. What do you feel like?”
Rita thought hard. “A big cake with sprinkles.”
“Little Miss Sprinkles really is back,” Emily announced tearfully. Given half a chance, she would have begged, borrowed or stolen such a cake for her sister. Having her back was cause for celebration. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Em?” Rita called. “Guess what?”
Emily turned to face her. “What?”
“I saw Mummy last night.” Rita smiled innocently and pushed back her hair from her face.
Emily took an unsteady step back in Rita’s direction. Maintaining an even tone, she asked, “You did? What did she look like?” She slid onto the side of the bed.
“She looked like Mummy. She had a pretty white dress and no shoes!”
Emily wanted to laugh at the startled intonation. “No shoes?”
Rita nodded. “She talked to me and said, ‘Don’t be scared, I’m with you.’”
The muscles in Emily’s throat tightened. “That was nice of her.”
“But I wasn’t scared. I’m never scared.” Emily stood to leave. “Because I have you. You always take care of me, Em.” She blew Emily a kiss the way she used to when she barely had a vocabulary of twenty words.
Emily pretended to catch it and blew one back. “I always try to, Reet, but maybe Mum was saying not to be scared of being in hospital…”
Rita appeared stunned. “I’m not scared of being in hospital.” She patted the sheets. “These feel nice and I’m not cold.”
Those innocuous remarks almost brought Emily to her knees—two stark reminders of what their lives had become; a series a bitterly cold nights with them wrapped in blankets, coats and starched sheets. She caught a tear before it fell from her eye and sniffed. “You’ll be all right then while I go and fetch some food?”
Rita nodded. “Love you, Em.”
“Love you too, Sprinkles. I won’t be long.”
To the sounds of a girlish chuckle, Emily closed the door quietly behind her and leaned against it. She bowed her head and cried for the mother they had lost and for the sister she had come so close to losing. Drawing on her twelve years of experience, she dried her eyes on a shredded tissue, brushed out some of the creases on her T-shirt, and approached the nurses’ counter with a hopeful smile.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sydney Jamesson is a USA Today bestselling author by night and an English teacher by day. She is nocturnal by nature and loves nothing more than staying up late, listening to music and being inspired to write. She has always written creatively; in her home is one enormous wastepaper basket full of discarded phrases, opening lines and pieces of dialogue that have hit her like lightning in the middle of the night. Her USA Today bestselling trilogy, THE STORY OF US sold worldwide, and she has been thrilled to continue Ayden Stone’s and Beth Parker’s epic love story in The Story of Us Series: Into the Blue, featuring Blue Genes, Blue Hearts and Blue Moon.
More recently, Sydney has focused on psychological suspense. THE DARKEST CORNERS was her first venture into the new genre: a complex love story filled with lots of angst, emotional scenes and edge of your seat suspense as a single father and a troubled young woman confront their deepest, darkest fears together. The twists come think and fast and the ending is unforgettable!
In her latest novels, DUTY OF CARE and THE CARETAKERS – THE DUTY BOUND DUET -readers explore the seedier side of the Dark Web; witness abduction, human trafficking, and a devoted sister’s willingness to do whatever it takes to safeguard the wellbeing of those in her care. It’s a real page turner, filled with incidents which are heart-breaking and heart-stopping in equal measure!
DUTY OF CARE:
UNIVERSAL LINK: viewbook.at/DUTYofCARE
UNIVERSAL LINK: viewbook.at/THECARETAKERS
AMAZON: UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08CNKPLH5