Interview with mystery author Glen Craney

author Glen Craney joins me today and
we’re talking about his new dual-period historical thriller, The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher
Columbus Mystery-Thriller.
Glen Craney
is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He holds graduate degrees from
Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University School of Journalism.
He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover
national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly
magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the
Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is a Chaucer Awards
First-Place Winner, a three-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree, and a three-time
Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut historical novel,
The Fire and the Light, was honored as Best New Fiction by the National Indie
Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the
Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the
Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the
American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.
Welcome, Glen. Please tell us about your
current release.

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie
State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon the infamous
Templar Word Square, an ancient Latin puzzle that has eluded scholars for
centuries. To her horror, she soon discovers the palindrome has been embedded
with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global
conspiracies dovetail in this historical mystery-thriller to expose the world’s
most explosive secret: The real identity and mission of Christopher Columbus.
indieBRAG Medallion and Books&Benches Sceal Award Finalist
What inspired you to write this book?
I often get
my book ideas from dreams. One night, I kept hearing the word “SATOR” spoken in
my ear. I had never heard of that word, so I was obviously baffled. When I
researched it, I came across an ancient Latin palindrome called the SATOR, or
Templar, Square. That launched me on a detective quest that resulted in the
from The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A
Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller

Sopped in sweat, the ten-year-old Ethiopian boy prayed to
St. Georgis the
for protection as he wormed his way toward the tomb of
first man on Earth.
tunnel’s gritty sandstone, stained red from the blood of Satan’s serpents,
his hands and knees. To preserve the precious air, he slowed his breaths
he crawled. The settling night had cooled the mountain village above him,
here, sixty meters below the surface, the trapped midday heat could roast
chicken. Faint from hunger, he stopped and pulled a crust of bread from his
He chewed the morsel slowly, taking care to muzzle its aroma with his
sleeve to avoid being swarmed by the bees that hived in the crevices.
dizziness eased, and he resumed his quest, groping blindly on all fours
the narrowing walls. At last, he came to the Armory of the Shining Ones,
long notch in the floor where the angels had once stored their lances.
he whispered. Not far now.
  He knew
every bend and cranny in this secret passage by memory, having
the priests on their daily inspections of the subterranean churches.
was the only godsend from his miserable duties. His father,
the High Priest
Lalibela, had marked him at birth for religious service by tattooing a blue
on his right temple. As a result, he was forbidden to play football or chase
for candy, and he would have to slave six more years carrying sandals
to become a deacon. Everyone said he should be grateful for the honor,
he had no desire to waste away his life mumbling incantations. Tomorrow
planned to stow away in the cargo bin of the bus to Addis Ababa, where he
find prosperous construction work and a beautiful girlfriend.
leaving home, however, he craved an even more exciting escape,
that promised a glimpse of Paradise. In a few hours, at dawn, his fellow
celebrate Timkat, the holiest of their many religious festivals.
elders of the monastery had retired early to their cloisters to fast and
with chants. This night, the tenth of Terr, was the only time of the
that Bet Golgota––the underground church of the Crucifixion––was left
It would also be his last chance to pierce the veil that shrouded
wisdom and delights.
  He came
hovering over the yawning trench that protected the entrance to
nave, and ran a finger across an inscription on a stone carved in Ge’ez.
opening verse of Genesis.
kissed the ground that covered the bones of the biblical Adam. Then,
reached up and inserted the stolen key into the lock just beyond the grave.
several turns of the rusty tumbler, the pitted door squealed open.
slithered inside the trapezoidal cavern. Overhead, lit by ambient moonlight
the fissures in the ceiling, faded frescoes of the martyred saints stared
at him. Turning away from their accusing glares, he climbed to his feet
approached the Selassie Chapel. The sanctuary was so sacred that for ages
the head priest had been allowed to enter it. With a shaking hand, he drew
a ratty curtain that covered the burial vault of King Lalibela, the monarch
had ruled Ethiopia during the time of the White Knights.
  Yes, it
was here, in this very vault, where he had spied his father hide the
Leaves of Eden. How long he had dreamed of the ecstasy now so near
grasp. He heard a whisper of warning from his soul: He who gazes upon the
treasures of Lalibela will be struck blind and mute for eternity.
What exciting story are you working on
I’m in the
midst of a historical novel set during the last days of the American Civil War.
When did you first consider yourself a
I’ve always written for
the jobs I’ve held, but I’ve taken a roundabout route to fiction. I went to law
school and wrote legal opinions for appellate and federal district judges.
Then, I worked as a reporter covering national politics for a magazine in
Washington, D.C. After that, I wrote movie scripts for Hollywood, which led me
to books and novels.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I do write
full-time. When not researching or traveling for my projects, I prefer to write
in the mornings and edit in the afternoons.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I like to write in
restaurants and cafes. To the amazement of the waiters, I’m able to concentrate
better with the ambient noise and movement around me.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
I’ve loved
history and its mysteries since childhood, so I always knew I wanted to do
something involving those subjects.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I always
chase stories instead of historical eras. I blame my journalism experience.
Thanks for being here today, Glen!

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