I am so happy to welcome Virginia King, author of The First Lie (Selkie Moon Mystery), to my blog. Her latest novel, The Second Path was published on 20 May 2016. Virginia has also written a short ghost story, entitled Laying Ghosts, as a prequel to the Selkie Moon mysteries – you can grab your FREE copy below. Over to Virginia…
Nudity for Beginners
Nudity is a great theme for fiction writers. Even if they’re not actually writing the next bestselling bodice-ripper, writers LIVE nudity every day. Every time they sit down at the keyboard they bare their souls to their future readers – because the themes behind the words are very revealing and this virtual ‘nudity’ weaves itself symbolically through the work.
Then the act of publishing is like standing naked in the middle of the road. Everyone can see you, see all your crinkles and crevices. Everyone can judge you – and express their opinion without considering whether it hurts.
The Bride Stripped Bare
Remember when this book was published anonymously? There was no rest until Australian author Nikki Gemmell was outed. She tried to hide behind her investigations into woman’s secret sex lives but the public was never going to let her stay hidden. Once she was in the spotlight it was her turn to be ‘stripped bare’.
Naked as a Seal
In my psychological mystery series, the protagonist Selkie Moon is named after the seal people of Celtic folklore, the ones who peel off their skins and dance naked in human form under the moon. Selkie’s a modern woman with a mythical name that comes with an ancestral heritage – every time a selkie peels off its skin it’s symbolic of being reborn.
Perhaps for this reason nudity is a theme throughout the series. In The First Lie, Selkie’s business advisor suggests she tries running seminars in front of thousands of people. She’s not keen.
“You’re scared as hell, that’s all,” he says. “Good.”
“Good? That’s easy for you to say. You’re at the back of the room counting the money. I’m the one up on stage with no clothes on in front of three thousand people.”
He laughs. “So it excites you.”
“Scared and excited.” He smiles.
Later Selkie decides to purge her anger towards her ex-husband by cleaning the flat she shares with Wanda.
I’m not much of a housekeeper but cleaning has always soothed my wounded heart. During my marriage the mop and broom were the only things that kept me sane. Wanda isn’t much of a cleaner either – she’s against all ‘chemicals’ – but there’s a feather duster hanging behind the front door. I look across the room and wonder where to start.
Not in these clothes. I strip off my jeans and top, but don’t stop there. Suddenly my knickers and bra are on the floor too. I’m not much of a housekeeper but I usually keep my clothes on. Not tonight!
The Second Path
Selkie can’t seem to get away from the nudity of her namesakes, the selkies. Here’s the first line of The Second Path:
I wake on the beach and discover I’m naked.
Selkie’s nudity – and the mystery of her missing little black dress – drive her journey through the book. The garment is very special to her and I had to get right to the end of the book to find out why she’d lost it.
I’d written many drafts of the ending until I thought it was finished. All the themes had come together except this one crucial thread was missing – the reason for the missing dress! With the realisation of my omission, I was suddenly … exposed.
Exposure = Pressure
Typical of the way I create my books, I actually didn’t know why Selkie had lost her dress. Time to dig deep. I spent a restless night hoping the answer would ‘pop’ and it did. My sleeping mind latched onto a concept in an earlier scene – something symbolic that I’d written without the dress in mind at all – but suddenly that concept provided the answer to the missing dress and the reason for Selkie’s nudity. It’s added a whole extra layer of depth to the story, but I needed the pressure of making the mistake, then having it exposed, to pop this elegant solution.
The First Lie is a winner of a B.R.A.G. Medallion.
Grab yourself a FREE ghost story
Get a taste for the Selkie Moon mystery series with Laying Ghosts, a modern 24-page haunted house story inspired by a Russian folktale and tangled up in a murder ballad dating back to the 1700s. It’s a standalone story but also a prequel to the series. Download your free copy here: http://www.selkiemoon.com/#popup
When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.
Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.
The First Lie by Virginia King
Someone is trying to kill you. When Selkie Moon flees Sydney to start over in Hawaii, it’s to live life on her own terms. But Life has other plans. Though she tries to dismiss the warning as just another nightmare, it soon becomes apparent that someone, or something, is stalking her. Attacked by frightening visions and mysterious compulsions, she must piece together the fragmented clues before time runs out. Virginia King effortlessly blends funky creativity and deep spirituality – with a dash of Celtic folklore – to craft a story of one woman’s fight for truth, and her discovery that the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all.
The Second Path by Virginia King
A rock ripped from the soil, a message scrawled in lipstick on the floor, a torn photo, a silver spoon … What do they all mean?
Only her subconscious knows.
When we last left Selkie Moon, she was running towards the source of her deepest primal fear: the sea. Now she finds herself naked on the beach, stunned that she has no memory of the past two weeks.
Recovering at a friend’s house, Selkie wakes up to discover a bizarre collection of items scattered across the floor. Items she apparently gathered in her sleep. Finding the ho’ohihi – the interconnectedness – between them will carry her around the globe, from Honolulu to Sydney to Paris. A dark fairy tale journey filled with fear and despair, laughter and hope, The Second Path has Selkie searching for her place in the world, in her relationships, and in herself.
Searching for home.