Sisters of Prophecy
Jude Pittman and Gail Roughton
Genre: Paranormal, Time Travel
Publisher: Books We Love, Ltd.
Date of Publication: September 29, 2014
Number of pages: 164
Word Count: 50,000
Cover Artist: Michelle Lee
What’s a girl to do? Katherine Shipton has a painting that talks, an ancestor who won’t stay in her own century, and a former boyfriend with a serious ax to grind against her new fiancé. She already has a full plate, but when said ancestor sends her tripping back and forth between the 15th and 21st century without benefit of psychedelic drugs, the poor girl begins to doubt her own sanity.
Then her best friend, a high fashion model with more than her own share of psychic energy, and her troubleshooting aunt show up on her doorstep in response to a psychic SOS Katherine swears she didn’t send. Life couldn't get more complicated.
At least, that's what she thinks until her oilman fiancé disappears in the Gulf of Mexico and a DEA agent knocks on her door.
Katherine flitted restlessly over Ursula’s body. What was going on in that unconscious brain? Something was. She could feel it, feel a subliminal hum, like voices through phone wires, like electricity through power lines. Not that any such things would exist for four hundred or so years.
“Who are you talking to, Ursula? Sylvia, hurry!”
No answer. Not directly. Only the echo of Mother Shipton’s words.
There’s a crossroad up ahead. Or back in the past. Depends on how you think on it. If she takes one, well, then her fate—and yours—is sealed. If she takes another, her fate—and yours—is changed.
The crossroad! Was this it? The crossroad? Katherine concentrated and power hurled across the years, out of the past and into the future.
“Grandmother! Can you hear me? This is it, isn’t it? The place in time where destiny can change. But what do I do? What can I do?”
“You know what to do. Like calls to like and blood to blood. Show her! Show her where following her heart will lead her, the treasures she’ll reap! And show her what mindless obedience to the king will bring her!”
“But I don’t know any of that!”
“I do, child. And the visions of those two paths will flow from me to thee to her.”
“How the hell do you know? And if you do know, why not just show her yourself?”
“Child! What’s my name? What’s her name? What’s your name?”
“Would you please stop talking in those damn riddles of yours and just tell me what to do?”
“Child! The names! Remember the names!”
“You’re Ursula. Ursula Shipton. She’s Ursula. Ursula Sontheil—oh my God! Shipton! Toby Shipton! You’re her and she’s you and she’s Ursula Sontheil now but she’s got to become Ursula Shipton! Or I’ll—I’ll never—”
“You’ll never be born, child. Ursula Katherine Shipton will never be born. Nor any of the line before you from whence you sprang.”
“I still don’t understand! If she’s you—if you’re her—why can’t you just show her yourself?”
“I do! Through you! At this moment! Because you exist, I exist. Because I exist, you exist. If this moment passes, that chance is lost and I become that woman in the Tower, the one you saw in your dream. The one who’ll never live to be an old woman!”
“Oh, God, my head hurts!”
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Jude: About the time I gave up on being a royal princess I discovered my mom’s stash of Agatha Christie mysteries and from there on I was lost – I couldn’t help it, all these plots just kept popping into my head.
Gail: Quite honestly, I think writers are born writers and it’s not something you can “want” or “decide” to be. The innate drive and talent to be one is something you’ve either got or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I think anybody can become a proficient writer insofar as everyday life and the competence in writing it takes to navigate it. But writing fiction? You’re either a writer or you’re not. Like you have blue eyes or brown eyes. Like you can work a quantum physics problem or not. (And no, I couldn’t, not if you held a gun to my head.) As far as career choices, I always planned to be a lawyer. Until my first job in a law office. Then I got scared I’d turn into an attorney. But I’m in a law office anyway. What’s brought home the paycheck most of my life is my job as a paralegal. It’s the perfect niche for me.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Jude: No, first I wanted to be a princess, like Elizabeth and Margaret (now Queen Elizabeth), but when I finally realized how complicated that was and my mother convinced me I hadn’t been stolen from the royal family and frisked away to Alberta, then I decided I wanted to write about exciting people.
Gail: Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been a part of me for so long, I don’t think I’ve ever even verbalized it as “Oh, gee! I’m a writer.”
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Jude: Deadly Secrets (now republished by Books We Lover Ltd. as the first book in my A Murder State of Mind series, was my first published book. It too four years for me to write and re-write the book, and another year after a publisher expressed interest for it to go through the editing process and actually get published.
Gail: The first book I actually wrote will never be published. The first several books I actually wrote will never be published. I wrote them for entertainment and threw them in the closet and believe me, that’s where they belong. I’d been writing about twenty years when I first subbed and pubbed.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Jude: I’m the publisher for Books We Love Ltd. which is now my full time job, since I have recently retired from the law firm where I worked as a securities legal assistant for the past nine years.
Gail: Yes, I’ve been a paralegal for forty years, it was my perfect nitch and it’s taught me a lot. I’ve written every day, all day, in a very specialized profession and while writing fiction is nothing like drafting a brief, the precision and discipline involved in both is the same. And it’s been a fabulous source of ideas and characters.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Jude: The fourth book in my A Murder State of Mind series, (another Deadly without a full title yet). Kelly agrees to protect Marcie Davis from a crazed fan, when she attends the CMA awards as a pick for recording artist of the year.
Gail: The one I’m working on right now? Black Turkey Walk. It’s a paranormal thriller, and a rather dark one. In twenty words exactly, “Lucy Elliott’s moving her family back home, site of the traumatic events of her childhood. The ones she doesn’t remember.”
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Jude: In 2008 I opened my own publishing business, Books We Love, Ltd., and my books are all published by my own company.
Gail: I’m not brave enough to self-publish. My publisher’s Books We Love, Ltd., founded by my co-writer of Sisters, Jude Pittman.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Jude: Usually it takes me a year.
Gail: I’ve done complete books in two months, four months, six months. Others have taken years. Literally.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Jude: The 4th A Murder State of Mind mystery, plus a legal suspense in the works with hopes of publishing in 2016, as well as the second book in the Sisters of Prophecy series, which will bring back both Mother Shipton and Lillian as well as introducing a whole new cast of intriguing new characters.
Gail: I’m all over the board as to genre. My books run the gamut from humor to romance to thriller to horror, sometimes in the same book. The one thread that usually remains constant is a paranormal thread. All my books have one, some a lot more so than others.
What genre would you place your books into?
Jude: All of my books, expect the Mother Shipton series, are mysteries. The Mother Shipton series is definitely paranormal.
Gail: See above. I don’t write genre, I write stories. And those stories fit whatever genre they turn out to be.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Jude: I’ve been a mystery reader all my life so that decided those. The paranormal, Mother Shipton stories write themselves, those characters tell their own stories and they are so much fun.
Gail: For me, it wasn’t a decision. It’s just – what the characters of that particular book decided the story was.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Jude: Lillian from Sisters of Prophecy, she takes her name from and is in some ways loosely based on my mom (the lily on the cover is in her honor), and Mother Shipton of course, she’s my notorious 16th century ancestor. How can I help but be fascinated?
Gail: Maggie Kincaid Brayton from Country Justice. All my heroines have a lot of me in them, one aspect of my character or the other. Maggie’s probably the closest to the real “me”, though.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Jude: About 40 years.
Gail: Well, I’ve been writing pretty much all my life, in one form or another, and I think I’ve pretty much covered my thoughts on why.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Jude: A big part of my writing is done in the middle of the night. I go to bed early, sleep soundly until about 3:00- a.m. wake up with all kinds of ideas – my characters have been talking to me in the night – I get up and get to my computer and I write until I hear my husband turn on the morning news. Then I crawl back into bed. The rest depends on the day. I have publishing work to do and other business, but sometimes I’ll get back to the story for an hour or so, sometimes not.
Gail: My workspace is a laptop at the kitchen table. I’ve been on a computer in a law office for so long, I’m geared to think while typing in the midst of noise, bustle and chaos. My husband actually set up a little typing desk for me in our bedroom, bless his heart, “so nobody’ll bother you”. I sat down at it for about five minutes and moved my laptop back to the kitchen table. I can’t think if I’m not where I can monitor everybody’s comings and goings, follow the action on the tv show in the great room, hear the timers dinging for the oven or microwave, and see the pots if they start to boil over.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Jude: Most of them, but I am awfully busy with the BWL stuff so I sometimes miss things about my own books.
Gail: Yes, I do. I’m curious as to how well I’m doing at telling the story I wanted to tell. I don’t get the big-head from good reviews or depressed by bad ones, nobody likes everything anybody writes. But I do want to know if, on the average, I’m giving readers what I strive to give them. Which is a good, entertaining read.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Jude: I choose a title pretty early in the process. Sometimes before the book is written , but more often during.
Gail: That varies, and I’ve done both. Sometimes a title’s actually inspired a book and it’s certainly shaped the plot of some of my books. But I also have books that’ve waited a looooong time for the right title.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Jude: My characters just seem to present themselves to me with names that go with them.
Gail: Sometimes characters and places just name themselves. Sometimes they don’t. And in order to avoid using the same names over and over again, I think most writers have “go-to” places where they can pick and choose. I personally like jury lists and such. Take this first name, that last name, mix and mingle. One of my friends uses the phone book. Another uses a baby book. I will say usually the best characters are the ones who just stand up and flat-out announce their names. And yeah, I’ve had a few do that. Maps can be used the same way for place names. Sometimes you want the town or city to be an actual real place and sometimes you don’t. And the same for location and business names in that city. You just have to play it by ear.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Jude: Again that depends, sometimes they’re all there and sometimes they come in bits and pieces.
Gail: That depends entirely on the particular book, the characters, the setting. I’m sure every writer’s done it differently, even amongst their own books. I certainly have. In general, I’d have to say the whole process is so entwined it’s rather like “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” and just as impossible to say with any certainty which did, in fact, occur first.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Jude: No, not really, they just seem to come out the way they are, that’s more developed by the interaction between the characters.
Gail: I have no idea where my characters come from. I don’t decide anything about them. They just – appear. Sometimes fully grown and raring to go, sometimes in a ghostly shadow that gradually acquires solid form and substance. I start writing when they stand up independently and start walking and talking and telling me their story. They tell the story, not me. I just transcribe their words and actions onto a computer screen. I can’t tell you how to develop a character because I don’t know how. And once the story’s told and the book’s written, I look at both the characters and the book itself the same way I look at my children – with an intense feeling of disbelief that I created them, that I had anything to do with them. They’ve become independent entities I really had very little to do with.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Jude: I write strictly fiction and there is nothing hidden or interior about it, except of course the mystery that I hope the reader doesn’t figure out until very near the end of the book.
Gail: No, I’m not presumptuous enough to think anything I write has a “message” of great import. I write stories. I want them to entertain readers, not to preach, teach, or depress. As a reader, I read fiction for entertainment. I think its whole purpose is to provide entertainment and I think a fiction writer’s purpose is to write books that do that.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Jude: I much prefer ebooks, but I’m glad to be able to offer ours in print as well because some people still want to hold an actual book in their hands, I love the convenience of downloading onto my Kindle.
Gail: Ten years ago, I’d NEVER have believed I’d say this, but eBook. Nothing else but an eReader lets you take a library of 500 plus books on a plane.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Jude: I have several favorites, Rex Stout– the master of American Detective fiction, wrote the Nero Wolfe mysteries, I collected them all and all of them are my favorites. Agatha Christie also wrote my favorite mysteries, as did Dorothy Gillman – the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries. Then there was a series I loved – a paranormal called The Fenwick women, I never knew the author and lost track of the series a long time ago, but boy did I love it at one time.
Gail: I’ve got many books I’ve read more than once, but I’d be hard-pressed to say a specific book was my “favorite”. Because that’s sort of like comparing apples to oranges. My favorite romance? My favorite thriller? My favorite chiller? I mean, you can’t pick just one.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Jude: I think it depends on the book and the story and how the producer and director of the movie handles it. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies but never read the books, the same with Harry Potter, they weren’t my kind of reading, but I like different movies than I do books
Gail: I think they definitely CAN transfer to movies (and television) well. I think they definitely don’t always do so. And on that, I can tell you my favorite transformation. Dr. Zhivago. And yes, I’ve read the book, too. I think I was in the 9th grade at the time and I was only able to read it at all because I’d seen the movie. I’m sure I’d never have stuck with it if I’d been an adult when I started reading it. It’s not a book I think most Americans would read for pleasure, but the movie was a masterpiece.
Your favorite food is?
Jude: Alaska King crab.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Jude: Maroon 5, Alabama, Blake Shelton
Gail: That depends on my mood, but I gravitate toward country music.
Your favorite color is?
Gail: Warm tone colors. The red/yellow/gold/brown tones. I don’t really have an overall favorite favorite.
Your favorite Author is?
Jude: Rex Stout was my favorite, but my tastes have changed as I’ve been exposed to so many terrific new writers so it would be hard to pick just one.
Gail: I don’t really have a favorite favorite. I have many favorites and it all depends on which category of books you’re asking about.
Jude Pittman emigrated from Canada to the United States with her mom and brother when she was 14. Her time there included 12 years in Texas where the genus for her first murder mystery, “Shadows Are Deadly” now part of Jude’s “Murder on My Mind” trilogy first took root. In 1992 Jude returned to British Columbia where she met her husband John. The couple moved to Calgary, Alberta where they continue to live. Descended from the Shipton line, Jude has always been fascinated with the historical and legendary stories about her late and often maligned ancestor, Mother Shipton and her gifts of prophecy. The Sisters of Prophecy series is a fictional account of those Shipton sons and daughters who inherited Mother Shipton’s gifts.
Gail Roughton is a native of small town Georgia whose Deep South heritage features prominently in much of her work. She’s worked in a law office for close to forty years, during which time she’s raised three children and quite a few attorneys. She’s kept herself more or less sane by writing novels and tossing the completed manuscripts into her closet. A cross-genre writer, she’s produced works ranging from humor to romance to thriller to horror, sometimes in the same book. She’s never quite sure herself what to expect when she sits down at the keyboard. Now multi-published by Books We Love, Ltd., her credits include the War-N-Wit, Inc. series, The Color of Seven, Vanished, and Country Justice. Currently, she’s working on Black Turkey Walk, the second in the Country Justice series, as well as the Sisters of Prophecy series, co-written with Jude Pittman.
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