Heather Graham knows how to weave elements of mystery, romance, and the paranormal into a story that hooks your heart and mind, and she proves it again in her latest novel, WAKING THE DEAD.
Graham gives this contemporary thriller an appropriately timeless feel, as it revolves around a painting whose creator was friends with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley. And like Mary Shelly’s famous creation, the painting appears to have come to life and brought death to those around it.
When the painting appears in modern day New Orleans death seems to still follow it. Mystery arises, but even great props don’t make great stories. For that you need fascinating characters, and few are more interesting than Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn. Quinn is a private detective while Cafferty owns an antiques shop, but they seem to make the best of their differences and their complex histories.
“They have all kinds of interests,” Graham says. “They’ve made a lot of mistakes in life and learned from them as I think we all do.”
Their very different talents combine to make them surprisingly effective when investigating unusual situations, and this book certainly presents one. These two occasional partners in solving crime quickly make connections between present-day spring in Louisiana and the summer of 1816 when the painting was created, a summer in which the artist and the Shelleys met in Switzerland to explore themes of horror and depravity in their art.
The story works so well because of Graham’s talent for combining elements of multiple genres. And for her, it seems to come naturally.
“I have read across all kinds of genres all my life,” she says. “I love today in publishing more than ever, because we do cross all kinds of genres!”
As convincing as the author is with historical detail, the painting in question (called Ghosts in the Mind) is pure fiction. What is not fiction is the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora which threw enough volcanic ash into the air that it lowered global temperatures, leading to worldwide harvest failures and what was known as the “year without a summer.” That event was an inspiration for Graham.
“The ‘mini ice age’ that covered the globe and caused all sorts of social and political change was the real seed for this story. And had Mount Tambora not erupted and the world not been so dark and cold for the ‘year without a summer,’ Mary Shelley might have never created her famous Dr. Frankenstein!”
The atmospheric setting is also important to the feel of the novel. Graham confesses a love of New Orleans. “There’s music and art everywhere, diversity flourishes, the architecture is amazing, and the cemeteries with their faded elegance and air of atmospheric decay make for a continuing story themselves!”
WAKING THE DEAD is on the darker side of Graham’s work, but as always there is a spot of humor here and there. So if you’re in the mood for something moody, filled with mystery and suspense, and driven by characters you will like enough to cheer for, you should pick up WAKING THE DEAD.
New York Times and USA Today best selling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare.
She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty languages. She has written over 100 novels and has 60 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times and more. Heather has also become the proud recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers. Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.
Heather loves travel and anything that has to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves ballroom dancing. Each year she hosts the Vampire Ball and Dinner theater at the RT convention raising money for the Pediatric Aids Society and in 2006 she hosted the first Writers for New Orleans Workshop to benefit the stricken gulf region. She is also the founder of “The Slush Pile Players”, presenting something that’s almost like entertainment for various conferences and benefits. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.
To learn more about Heather, please visit her website.