Monday, May 18, 2015

Straight Chatting from the Library: Blair McDowell

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Blair will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Read the Interview

What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

As a preschooler learning to read, it was Millions and Billions and Trillions of Cats. I have no idea who the author was but I actually wore that book out. I seemed to make the leap to adult reading at the age of twelve, when I read and loved Margaret Mitchel’s Gone With The Wind.

What is your favorite book today?

A very unusual book by Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio. It moves back and forward in time from the days of the decline of the Roman Empire to the middle ages to the period of WW II. It is utterly confusing at first, but as Pears brings all the bits and pieces together it is simply brilliant. It does make one realize the history is not fact, it’s the agreed upon story. When I finished this book I went back and immediately reread it so I could catch all the clues and bits and pieces I’d missed the first time round.

What are you reading right now?

At this very moment it is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I love her descriptive passages. She has the ability to pull the reader right into the scene. I’m on the fifth in the series now, and they’re about to return to Scotland. Jamie has to be one of the sexiest male characters ever written!

What books do you have on hold at the library?

Rutherfurd’s Paris. I grew up with libraries and had a library card at seven. I was allowed to take the street car to Pratt Library in downtown Baltimore once a week to change one batch of books for the next. But I must admit my library trips today are less frequent. I have 135 books on my Kindle, ranging from Dante to Nora Roberts.

E-Reader or print? and why?

E-Reader. I travel extensively. As I write this I’m at sea, literally. And I was on a plane before that. I’m a voracious reader. To be able to carry my “library” in one thin package off-sets any feelings I have about wanting a “real” book in my hands.

One book at a time or multiples?

Multiples. I’m working my way through Dante. This came about because a book by David Hewson, Dante’s Numbers, intrigued me. I had to go back to the source. I’m also working my way through Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But that’s read during the odd moments during the day. I’m reading Gabaldon at bedtime. I always read novels before I sleep.

When do you do most of your reading?

On buses, planes, trains, and boats. No not really. I read whenever and wherever I am. In the doctor’s office, while waiting for a friend in a restaurant, standing on a street corner waiting for a bus. I hate waiting for anything. Reading is the answer. But I always read last thing at night. I can’t sleep if I don’t.

Favorite genre?

Suspense. both romantic suspense and regular suspense. Then historical, both romantic and otherwise. But if it’s historical romance it has to have some genuine history. I’m not much of a fan for the Regency books that seem to me to be mostly thinly disguised erotica with very little sense of the events of that time and place.

How do you keep your books organized?

Alphabetically by author, within type. I have a huge number of cookbooks and an equal number of travel books, and almost as many books on art. And so on. I tend to keep very few novels. I pass most on to friends. When I really like a particular author (Donna Leon, or Iain Pears for example), I collect and keep all her/ his books. I reread them.

What would make you not finish a book?

I almost didn’t finish Gone Girl. I didn’t like any of the characters. I will usually put a book down if it is really badly written, or if the story is too obvious for words, or there are NO characters I like. I also don’t like books where the story is a thinly veiled excuse for sex scenes. I like sex, both on and off the page, but not in place of story and character development. I read constantly. Almost as many hours as I write. I won’t waste my reading time on books I don’t like. And I don’t pass them on to others. They go in the recycle bin. But I must admit I rarely choose a book and then don’t like it. There are enough clues in the back blurb and the first three pages to let me know whether or not I want to read the book.


When Lacy Telchev buries her husband she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets. Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest.

Along the way, she meets three women from Igor's past. As Igor's story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?


A shadow came between her and the sun. She opened her eyes and sat up abruptly. The man, the dark skinned man she had last seen on the road from the Berkshires, sat down across from her. His partner stood behind him, his pale grey eyes boring into her.

The seated man spoke. “Mrs. Telchev, you’ve given us a great deal of trouble.”

Lacy looked around frantically. Where was Max?

“We mean you no harm. But we must have that manuscript. Your husband told you where he hid it. It only makes sense. Tell us where it is, and we won’t bother you again.”

At that moment, the waitress placed the pitcher of beer Max had ordered on the table in front of Lacy. Lacy glanced down at the beer, then up at the seated man. In one sweeping gesture, she threw the contents of the pitcher into his face and overturned the table. The second man moved to grab her, but she was out of her chair and running before he could get to her.


Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and has never ceased writing since, although only recently has she been able to return to her first love, writing fiction. During her early years, she taught in universities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and wrote several highly successful books in her field.

Her research has taken her to many interesting places. She has lived in Europe, Australia, the United States and the Caribbean and Canada, and spent considerable time in still other places, Iceland, the Far East, and the Torres Strait Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Now she travels for pleasure. Portugal, Greece and Italy are favorite haunts.

Her books are set in places she knows and loves and are peopled with characters drawn from her experiences of those places. The Memory of Roses takes readers to the Greek Island of Corfu, where a young woman finds her future while searching for her father's past. In Delighting in Your Company, the reader is transported to a small island in the Caribbean, with a heroine who finds herself in the unenviable position of falling in love with a ghost. The setting for Sonata is the city of Vancouver, with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life, and the heroine is a musician who finds herself in unexpected danger.

In her most recent release, Romantic Road, Lacy Telchev, is pursued along Germany’s famous Romantische Strausse as she follows clues left by her late husband in order to solve a mystery that she doesn’t understand, while being chased by dangerous and cunning adversaries.

She hopes her readers will enjoy reading these books as much as she enjoyed writing them.

Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter), the Romance Writers of America (Women's Fiction), and The Writers’ Union of Canada.

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  1. What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

    1. Interesting question! My FAVORITE part is wring the first draft where I can let my imagination run wild. My LEAST favorite part? I would have to say it's marketing--where I have to try to convince people to read my book. I find that very difficult. Rather like turning a child over to strangers to look after. Hoping for the best.

  2. Thank you so much for hosting my really entertaining interview, along with my book, Romantic Road. It was a lot of fun doing this interview, and I sincerely hope your readers enjoy it!

  3. Replies
    1. I'm so glad, and thanks for letting me know, Rita! I hope you get a chance to read Romantic Road. I would love to hear back from you if you do, to find out how you enjoyed it.

  4. Great excerpt, sounds like a fantastic read. Entering under the name of Virginia

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Virginia. Good luck with the Gift Card contest -- if you win you can buy Romantic Road!

  5. Was it difficult to develop the main character? What was the biggest challenge?