Friday, November 18, 2011

GG Vandagriff Four book Nurture Your Books Gala Tour Stop - Interview

The Arthurian Omen by GG Vandagriff

In The Arthurian Omen, a Celtic scholar is brutally murdered when she discovers a clue to a fifteenth century manuscript that could prove the identity of King Arthur.  Determined to find the ancient relic and avenge her sister’s death, Maren Southcott begins a quest that immediately puts her own life in danger.  Her search weaves through the ruined castles and monasteries of ancient Wales, while she is unwittingly stalked by a psychopath who desires the relic to incite an “Arthurian revolution,” killing the royal family, making way for the return of the “Once and Future King.”  Carrying her investigation on despite personal crises, Maren can depend on no one, and is determined to locate the relic before the murderer can strike again.

The Arthurian Omen (New Edition) by GG Vandagriff | Genre: Fiction – Suspense | Published by: Orson Whitney Press (October 24, 2011) | Format(s): eBook & Trade Paperback | ISBN13: 978-0983953654 | # of pages: 260


Enter HERE and comment below on this post for a chance to win a digital copy of The Arthurian Omen. This giveaway ends November 26th 11:59PM CDT.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book. 
Roxie Castro in my latest book, The Only Way to Paradise. That’s probably because I am like Roxie in a lot of ways.  No one would ever guess it who doesn’t know me really well, but my husband guessed right off.  The book is about four neurotic women in therapy together who ditch their therapist and take off for Florence, where all their problems come to a head.
Roxie’s problem is the worst, but ironically she thinks she is the most well adjusted.  She wears baggy sweats, her hair in a ponytail sticking out of a baseball cap, and treats life as a circus. Her problem is deep- seated and she doesn’t even remember the trigger. 
Here are a few of her characteristics:
a.)  She’s Cubana, 3rd generation American with a love of salsa dancing, bright colors, traveling, and riding on the motor scooter she rents in Florence—the Red Rocket. (I am so American I have Mayflower roots, I would love to learn to Salsa dance, traveling is my favorite pastime, and I’d love to ride a motor scooter, but my husband would say “over my dead body.”  I’m a terrible driver.)
b.)  She’s a journalism professor, but deeply wants to be a novelist.  She lives in the all-American three story house we lived in in Oakwood, and is absolutely terrified of handsome men who flock to her because she is even more gorgeous than J-Lo.  She is 31 and has never had a relationship.  You guessed it.  Sexual abuse when she was too young to remember. (I am a novelist, and find the emotional stripping a great trial but do it anyway, my relationship with men was complicated because I was pretty good-looking for a Stanford girl, had sexual molestation issues when it was the 60’s and so dealt with my dates using hand to hand combat, and had a new boyfriend every month.  Same problem, different reaction)
c.)   The most charming, sincere, intelligent, handsome, nurturing, Florentine history professor is attracted to Roxie and then, sensing her hang-ups (when she literally runs away from him several times) he is fascinated by her and wants desperately to help her for both of their sakes. 
I would like to be Roxie for a day, after she has gone through PTSD therapy (which will occur in a sequel) and is back in Florence (my favorite place), writing her time-travel novel about the murder of Isabella d’Medici (which I plan to do) together with her professor, Stefano, enjoying the agape (selfless love) of the Italians, and the golden light of Tuscany (and , of course, tender but passionate lovemaking with Stefano).  How’s that for a sentence?
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
I don’t think it’s possible for me to love any other place as much as I love Florence and Tuscany.  I traveled there with my husband for two weeks two years ago to research this book.  That wasn’t enough.  We went on a cruise last year of the Eastern Mediterranean and saw many beautiful places in Italy and Greece, but we finished up in Florence again for four days, because we simply couldn’t go home without seeing Elisabetta and Cosimo, (our B & B hostess and her handsome son).  Then in January of this year, I literally picked up and left my husband for 3 ½ weeks, in the middle of the winter, to visit my friends again and submerge myself in Florence.  There are several reasons for this.  Here are few quotes from MacKenzie’s mind and mouth as she dreams of returning to Florence.
She craved the irreverent sound and smell of brightly colored motor scooters dodging in and out of traffic. Oakwood would never allow motor scooters. She wanted to lick authentic gelato on the Piazzale Michelangelo as the setting sun warmed her back and changed the city below her to gold. Mostly, she wanted to “go home” to the pure white David, the frescoed Pitti Palace of the Medici, and the pink, green, and white Duomo with its signature brick dome.

This is the view of the Duomo that MacKenzie would see with her back to the sun, as she sat on the steps of the Piazzale Michelangelo.
She could almost smell the exhaust of the scooters, combined with the fragrance of fresh dough and basil emitting from a pizzeria. MacKenzie could even imagine the bearded proprietor leaning against a peeling green doorframe, smoking a cigarette. Of course, there was the brilliance of the Renaissance everywhere—the galleries, the streets, the architecture. “I always felt like the answers to life’s hard questions were hidden there. You know what I mean? It’s a city of creative genius.”

This is actually a street scene in Lucca, not Florence, but it gives you the feel of Tuscany.
“It’s a magical place,” MacKenzie said, her fingers curved in front of her as though she were clutching a sphere. “You have to feel it for yourself.” It was never easy to put ethereal thoughts into words. She tried. “Literally magical. I mean a miracle happened there.” She leaned forward. “Try to imagine it. There we were in the Dark Ages. Then came the Medici, who must have had some kind of vision or something. They began commissioning art from men whose gifts were astonishing. They made the Renaissance their ‘brand.’ The world changed almost overnight. How Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael and the rest of the greats happened to be in the same place at the same time was a miracle in itself.”
Sara rolled her eyes. “And this is supposed to help me how?”
Frustrated by Sara’s lack of imagination, she said, “In Florence, the world started to wake up and live again after a thousand years of darkness.”
Sara’s face remained a blank.

“There is something about the Florentines and their surroundings that made that happen.” She grabbed Sara’s hands and squeezed them. “I tell you, it’s still there. I remember feeling like I was in the midst of a powerful creative energy source. The best way I can describe it is that it makes you sure your own dreams can come true.”
The Bridges of Florence seen from the Piazzale

The Palazzo Vecchio where the Dukes . of the Medici had their offices.

[More photos available at my website:

However, what I discovered on my third trip (the Lord had to literally drop me in my tracks) was that the reason I love Florence is because the Florentines possess agape, which has many translations, my favorite being selfless love.  I think in many ways it is a city of angels.  The Only Way to Paradise is so named, because my heroines are the beneficiaries of agape in many instances (all of them taken from my experiences), and they learn that agape is what heals, and while you are healing, you are on the road to Paradise.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?
As you can see from the above, “place” is my inspiration.  I love to travel and have lived abroad.  I feel my most “enchanting” books are those that take place in idiosyncratic places: Oxford (Of Deadly Descent, The Arthurian Omen), Wales (The Arthurian Omen), the Missouri Ozarks (Poisoned Pedigree, Pieces of Paris), Vienna (The Last Waltz: A Novel of Love and War, Pieces of Paris), Paris (Pieces of Paris), and, of course, Tuscany (The Only Way to Paradise).  I am fascinated by the interplay of character/language/locale—the way the three relate to one another and cause mortality to be seen from different perspectives.
Tell us about your current release.
 Most of this post has been about my current release, The Only Way to Paradise, which is actually Vol. I of The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood Series. This book is MacKenzie’s book, although all four women: Georgia (a former concert violinist, newly widowed), Roxie (a novelist masquerading as a journalist who approaches life as a circus, but who has deeply buried emotional scars), Sara (a secret violinist of concert caliber who masquerades as an ob-gyn to please her Vietnamese immigrant parents. Her inability to mask her fears of incompetency at work cause her to become a Xanax addict), and MacKenzie (a passionate artistic soul masquerading as an Oakwood Society Matron whose husband left six months prior without explanation) play significant roles in the story.  They all discover their real difficulties and by the end of this book, are all wrapped about with agape and on the road to Paradise.

Tell us about your next release.
 I needed a complete break from the intensity of Paradise, which I loved writing, but which stirred up so many emotions that I was wrung out at the end of each day.  So, when I’m emotionally wrung out, I like to read humor/clean romance—Jane Austen style. I have read plenty of Regency Romances, but never even thought of writing one.  I’m a genre hopper, but so far I’ve never written straight romance.  One day, I realized that my own romantic life exactly resembled a Regency, and decided to write it up as a novel.  I’m finding it an absolutely delightful experience.  I can hardly wait to “go to work” every day and associate with the Duke of  Ruisdell (the rogue, patterned on my dearly beloved husband whom I, the heroine Elise, of course reformed), his naughty sidekick George, the Marquess of Somerset, Elise’s “stab her in the back” best friend, the saintly Violet, and two of  Elise’s three ex-fiance’s,  the inconstant Viscount Chessingden, and the Jekyll/Hyde Earl of Waterford.  (The third fiancĂ©, Joshua, Duke of Something was killed in the Napoleonic Wars).  For fun, I will put up a sample chapter of this saga on my website ( The name of this delightful bon bon is Misunderstood,and is probably the only Regency with a hero/rogue who has PTSD.  As you can tell from the cast of characters, my love life was extensively complicated.                            
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite contemporary author Marisa  de  los Santos.  I discovered Love Walked In, a book that defines in the most poetic way all the forms of real vs. ersatz love.  It is a courageous work, and a total delight.  I have read it more times than I can count, hoping that it will rub off on me.

GG Vandagriff, author of:

Cankered Roots
The Last Waltz: A Novel of Love and War
The Only Way to Paradise
The Authurian Omen

“I realize that I am one of those rare people in the world who gets to live a life full of passion, suspense, angst, fulfillment, humor, and mystery. I am a writer. Everyday when I sit down to my computer, I enter into world of my own making. I am in the head of a panoply of characters ranging from a nineteen year-old Austrian debutante (The Last Waltz) to a raging psychopath (The Arthurian Omen) and four women at once in The Only Way to Paradise.

How did this come about? I think I was wired to be a writer when I was born. Even though my formal career was in finance, writing was all I really wanted to do. There were a lot of things about my surroundings that I couldn’t control during my growing up years, so I retreated to whatever alternate existence I was creating. The habit stuck, and now my family finds themselves living in my current reality during dinnertime as I overflow with enthusiasm about Wales or Italy. ...Read my full length bio on my Nurture Tour Author Page.

First place in the Ozark Writer’s League’s annual writing contest, 1988
The Last Waltz: A Novel of Love and War, 2009, Whitney Award for Best Historical Fiction

List of works by GG Vandagriff:

Voices In Your Blood: Discovering Identity Through Family History (1993)
Cankered Roots (original 1994, 2nd edition 2011)
Of Deadly Decent (original 1996, 2nd edition 2011)
Tangled Roots (original 2007, 2nd edition 2011)
The Arthurian Omen (original 2008, 2nd edition 2011)
Deliverance From Depression: Finding Hope and Healing Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (2008)
Poisoned Pedigree (Originally 2008, 2nd Edition 2011)
The Last Waltz: A Novel of Love and War (Originally 2009, 2nd edition 2011)
The Hidden Branch (originally 2010, 2nd edition 2011)
Pieces of Paris (2010)
Foggy with a Chance of Murder (2011)
The Only Way to Paradise (2011)

Purchase a copy of

The Only Way to Paradise at: | | | Barnes & Noble
The Last Waltz at: | | | Barnes & Noble
The Authurian Omen at: | | | Barnes & Noble

Find & Follow GG Vandagriff:
Author Website
Author Blog
Facebook Page


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  • November 21st – Lindsay H @ Everyday Is An Adventure

  • November 22nd - Mason C. @ Thoughts in Progress

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    Jaidis said...

    Thanks for sharing the great post!

    G.G. Vandagriff said...

    Thank you so much for this post! With one thing and another The Only Way to Paradise has been skipped over in this tour, and you gave it the exposure it needs. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Sophia Rose said...

    Both the Arthur and the Roxie books sound good. I enjoyed the interview.

    Thanks for posting.

    Laurie said...

    Hi Jaidis and Sophia Rose. Appreciate your comments and so happy that you stopped by.

    You're very welcome GG. Glad everything worked out. I've also been following along on your tour this month and have learned so many fun and amazing things. I am happy to host you.

    Laura_darkelvengirl said...


    Laurie said...

    Darkelfgirl is the giveaway winner!! :)