Hitting Triple Digits as a Novelist
By E.M. Powell
Patricia Rosemoor calls her new release EYES OF THE TIGER a “reincarnation romantic thriller,” but such a snappy description doesn’t do justice to this multi-layered, fast-paced read.
When the mother of jewelry designer Gemma Hewitt is brutally murdered, Gemma inherits her late mother’s famed jeweled collar. Yet the collar is not just a valuable memento of a beloved parent—Gemma has a gift. Gems and jewelry speak to her, providing inspiration for her designs and sending her on adventures across the globe. Now that gift may give her something that is literally priceless—the chance to find her mother’s killer and bring him to justice. But her search doesn’t only send her across physical distance. It sends her through time as well, as she’s thrown back to 1901 India where she sees a young woman about to be married with a pendant that matches her jeweled collar. The intrigue grows when 21st century Gemma is hired to track down the entire bridal suite of jewels and is joined by an enigmatic man who promises to help her on her quest.
As well as being a gripping thriller, the book has a plot that will satisfy romantic suspense and paranormal readers, and those who enjoy historical fiction too. It speaks volumes of Rosemoor’s huge talent as a writer that she can handle so many genres within one novel with equal balance and skill. This is something that she more modestly puts down to a lot of experience. “Writing 100 books has provided me with opportunities to try just about everything,” she says. “And I have!”
If a statement by a writer ever deserved a pause for celebratory acknowledgement, then it must surely be the above. Yes, EYES OF THE TIGER is Rosemoor’s 100th novel. The road to those extraordinary triple digits has seen Rosemoor a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and more than 7 million copies of her books are in print.
Yet such remarkable success didn’t come about because she somehow found an easy path. “It was a struggle to get into romantic suspense in the 1980s because no one was buying it,” she says. “Then Harlequin started the Intrigue line and I began with romantic mystery.” Her development approach was then one of clever creative stealth. “I started slipping in light paranormal elements, then darker ones.” Other lines then provided her with the opportunity to try out other genres. “I wrote urban fantasy romance for another line, historical romantic suspense, historical paranormal romantic suspense, and a combination of romantic thriller and horror with writing partners for other publishers. I always pushed the envelope with unusual story ideas or characters.”
She thinks that perhaps EYES OF THE TIGER pushes as far as she can go, not only by using multiple genres, but by writing first person, present tense in the British Raj scenes of the three reincarnated characters so the past would stand out from the present. The present day characters are written in third person, past tense.
It’s been a story that’ s been a while in the making. The first Bollywood movie that Rosemoor saw in 2007 was her inspiration. “A young actor was in love with a married Bollywood star. When her husband immolated her in a fire, the young actor died trying to save her… then was reborn and became a Bollywood star who started having memories of his past life. The murderer died not by the star’s hand, but by his own karma. I’d always loved the idea of reincarnation since Somewhere in Time, but karma—good and bad—opened up a new dimension for me to work with.”
I mentioned that the story would appeal to many readers of historical fiction. This is partly down to the fact that Rosemoor has clearly done a lot of research to get the stories of the characters’ past lives in India correct and believable. This hasn’t been a problem for her. “I am a research hound. I have done a wolf ecology workshop, visited dolphin refuges, gone to the Kentucky Derby, moved cows on a New Mexican ranch—all for the love of creating realistic stories.”
“For EYES OF THE TIGER, I did my Internet research on India, on gems and Indian jewelry, on reincarnation, and karma. Then I went to India in 2010 with another author and her husband. I wasn’t prepared for the mess with cows and dogs and monkeys in the streets, no lanes for vehicular traffic, everyone just heading out and somehow not killing each other. But there was something to love in every place we visited, and I swear India has the most polite people in the world. We visited forts and palaces—stayed in a maharaja’s palace turned into a resort—and a tiger preserve. I was able to talk to a lot of people, the highlight being sharing dinner with a maharini’s relatives. Two weeks in India made this story more real than any research I had done from home.”
Given how much Rosemoor enjoyed Gemma’s story, I wondered if there was more to come from that character. “I’ve considered writing more about Gemma or one of her siblings. There’s definitely more to explore with them, but at the moment, I’m working on the third book in my Kindred Souls series. Animal Instincts (Book #1) was published in January. Romantic urban fantasy thrillers, they’re shifter stories, but because I always push the envelope writing, they will surely surprise you.”
And pushing the envelope is something she certainly does. As well as research, Rosemoor has used other methods that would help find characters she wanted to write about. “As part of a writing class, I did a regression. A therapist had us lie down on the floor of a room and then shut off the lights. He used a form of hypnosis to bring us through prior lives, including death experiences. I did it as a hoot and went back 5 lives. When we were asked to pick the one we wanted to identify with and work on, I tried the pirate, I tried the Viking.”
Yet one, the very first one, wouldn’t leave her alone. “I left convinced that I had been an entertainer in San Francisco and died in the 1906 earthquake via gas inhalation… and someone trying to leave the darkened room stepped on my stomach as I ‘died’. Okay, that opened my mind for sure, but I never wrote about that life. Still, it may have been the factor that motivated me for a good part of my writing career. What if? What if? What if? It brings me back to that whole reincarnation thing, yes?”
What if, indeed? Rosemoor may be into her second century of published titles—but there’s still plenty more to come from her.