Stuck in NYC when plans for their next expedition fall through, Gwen and Justin accept teaching jobs at different local universities. Adjusting to their relationship, and juggling the academic and emotional demands of their students, they are embroiled in two different, disturbing, paranormal situations that have more than one unusual crossing point. Can they work together to find the answers? Or are new temptations too much to resist? For whom are they willing to put their lives on the line?
Released by Bluestockings and Gentlemen Press July 2018. $1.99
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Q & A with Devon Ellington:
Question: Talk a little bit about how Myth & Interpretation came about.
Devon Ellington: Originally, a handful of the scenes were in the opening chapters of the second Gwen Finnegan mystery, The Balthazaar Treasure. But they didn’t work. They slowed down the story. Yet, the readers needed to know what happened in between the end of Tracking Medusa and the beginning of Balthazaar. I talked to my editor. She suggested breaking it off and doing a novella. I outlined it; she worked with me to pare it down so it didn’t become a novel. And some characters that are vital to the series get proper introductions here.
Q: Justin is in an interesting position here. He’s always been the assistant. He’s always been in the position of less power. But here, he is the leader, especially when it comes to helping his student, Jessica.
DE: Yes, he’s growing into himself. He made huge strides when he and Gwen teamed up to find the Medusa statue. Now, he’s the teacher and he’s responsible for the next generation of his profession. Gwen’s done this before; he’s finding his way.
Q: Plus, they have to work out the dynamics of their own relationship.
DE: Which isn’t easy. Gwen’s been married and divorced. She’s worked and lived all over the world, and experienced her share of relationships. She knows what she needs and won’t put up with in a relationship. Justin’s still finding out, and he’s still playing by the rules he’s used to. They have to navigate. Gwen’s approach is simple: I love you and trust you. No games. Justin is used to games.
Q: At the same time, what Gwen chooses not to tell him here is interesting. You’d expect her not to want to have any secrets from him.
DE: Yes, and that choice is part of what fuels their conflict during Balthazaar Treasure. She believes that telling him certain things – can’t mention them here or they’re spoilers – would cause the type of drama between them she wants to avoid. Yet the choice to avoid drama now means she has to deal with it further down the line.
Q: And Karl stirs the pot. Again.
DE: As Karl does. Especially when it can annoy Justin.
Q: They stayed in New York for this adventure.
DE: And Gwen can’t wait to get back in the field. She loves her home, but she loves being out and about even more. Now Justin’s got field fever, too.
Q: I kind of fell in love with all the students in Gwen’s seminar. Even the ones who were a problem. Will we see more of them?
DE: In the original outline, they grew into a tighter group and had more to do. But, again, it was too much for the scope of the piece. Their stories definitely go on; how much directly intersect with Gwen and Justin, I’m still working on defining it.
Q: But we have to see more of Alec. And Jessica.
DE: Don’t worry. You will. In surprising ways!
Q: New York was a huge character in the piece.
DE: Yes, I’m creating my slightly alternate New York based on some of my favorite places. New York is rapidly changing, but my fictional New York, I hope, can retain some of my favorite places, add some fictional places, and still be believable for those who know the city well.
Q: The crossover that happened between the worlds of Gwen Finnegan and the world of the Coventina Circle happened again, with the Société Sortileger, the esoteric library on Orchard Street.
DE: Yes, that was fun. Since Gwen lives in almost the same New York around the same time as Coventina, even though they move in different circles (no pun intended) most of the time, it makes sense that they would end up in some of the same places, even if they don’t know each other.
Q: Harry Delacourte – he’s getting around. Kind of hard not to fall in love with him.
DE: He certainly is. He turns up in the next Coventina Circle, Relics & Requiem, too. Harry’s a busy boy. He and the staff of the library will likely cross over in several books in both series. He surprised me, though, when it turned out he was related to one of Gwen’s UK coven sisters. I have a feeling he’s full of more surprises. As are Gwen and Justin.
Justin was grateful he’d prepared most of his lectures so far in advance. He was comfortable with the material, and he could make it through the lecture without worrying. He’d have to find a way to concentrate on the papers that were turned in today.
He pulled the piles Louis collected together, shoved them into a manila folder, and jammed them into his bag. He needed to get back to the hospital. His dad was scheduled for release in a few days, and Justin had the irrational fear he’d never make it out. He hadn’t dared to share this fear with Gwen. She’d comfort him, be logical, and he didn’t want that right now.
He jerked his head up to see a young woman in front of his desk. He searched his memory. Florence. The Mayans. “Jessica? Jessica Sayles?”
“Yes. I’m glad you’re back.”
“Good to be back.” It sounded false and hollow. If he reached, he could remember the joy his first days of teaching gave him. They felt far away. “How can I help you?”
“I’m not sure.”
He noticed she looked tired. “Do you need an extension on the paper?”
“N-no, nothing like that. I turned it in. I hope you like it.” She looked down, her hair falling over her face, hiding it. After a minute, she took a deep breath, brushed her hair back and looked at him. “I’m afraid. And because you and Dr. Finnegan have the experiences you have, I thought you could help me.”
“Um, sure, I’ll try?” It sounded lame to Justin’s ears, but that was the best he could do.
Jessica took a deep breath and exhaled. “I think my roommate, Gina? The one who’s in Dr. Finnegan’s seminar? I think she’s trying to kill me.”
Available for $1.99 digitally on July 17. Delayed release on Amazon, but with the same link.
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