Hello January! Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today! It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. So tell me…
It’s lovely to be here today with you! Thanks so much for the invite. I look forward to talking books with everyone.
Q) How did you dream up the dynamics of your characters?
That’s an interesting question! The heroine, Casey Madison in Winning Casey, is the wild adventurous type I would LOVE to emulate. She speaks to me on a lot of levels. That intense connection makes it easier to see a character, endowing them with characteristics of interesting people you would like to meet or even be. Once you know your hero or heroine, and place them are in close quarters in a scene (especially when they are very different personalities from each other as this pair of hot-heads are) the conflict has no choice but to explode! Truman Harrison, the hero in Winning Casey is judged by her as being a stuffy, academic type while she’s seen as a maverick which is loaded with conflict. A lot of hot, intense moments to record at every twist and turn!
Q) Is this book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?
Yes, it is the first book in The Brass Ring Sorority series, a series that is scheduled for at least eight books, all about the exploits of an amazing group of Canadian women helping and supporting each other as they go on wild adventures. Everything from Casey’s going after the legendary treasure of Oak Island’s Money Pit, to Lacey wrestling sharks in the waters off Florida, to all of them pitching in to search for treasures across the globe. I love that Casey digs up gold in the Yukon that once belonged to Soapy Smith, a conman from the Klondike days that actually exited in real life! I just embellished his story a bit, okay, a whole lot! Each kickass goddess in the series will have a dream, a reaching for the brass ring, that the others will do their utmost best to make come true.
Q) Can you give a fun or interesting fact about your book?
That the story is based on a true event in Canadian history, the legendary Oak Island Money Pit that has been turned into a television series.
Q) What gave you the inspiration for your book?
Winning Casey was inspired by wanting to write about a group of women that were fearless in what they do. Not afraid of embracing life, going for that Brass Ring! Casey is such a live wire to write about. Someone I’d want to be if I had unlimited access. She inspires me to be a better person, even while I giggle with her at her exploits. Like all fun heroines, she has her foibles!
Q) Do you have any habits that get you in the writing frame of mind?
I do the exact same thing 7 days a week: wake up between five AM and six AM, drink a gallon of coffee while I write non-stop until I need a break around ten. Then do other stuff, then write, then do other stuff, then write…
As a wise person once said, you got to be there for it to happen!
Q) Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Some of both! Writing can be planned down to the smallest detail, but the characters have a way of getting their way, of taking over. It’s an organic experience. It takes so much more than I would ever have guessed to do this. It takes all you got if you want to do it to the best of your ability.
Q) How much real life do you put into or influences your books?
Some for sure. I read a lot of biographies to get ideas for how people really live their lives, I read a lot of history books, I mine everything I can get my hands on! I read a number of books each week, trying better to understand the human condition, how we tick! People are endlessly fascinating to me. And romance, wow, I love the special nuances of a growing relationship. I feel very blessed to get to do this job full time.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
Lots going on! A dozen more books promised to complete the two series: The Brass Ring Sorority series and The TETRAD Group series. So I better get my ass in gear 24/7 if I want to get them done! And I have more ideas than I could ever have imagined. Seems the more you write, the more ideas come to you.
Think archaeology is just dead bones? Think again.
Headstrong archaeologist Casey spends her life exploring the world for hidden treasure and ancient artifacts. A free spirit, her dedication to her calling means she’s often in conflict with the more narrow-minded higher-ups at the university where she’s employed as an associate professor. Timetables, rules, protocols—they all go out of the window when Casey’s on the hunt.
The inscrutable Professor Truman Harrison falls for Casey at first sight, literally, tumbling into a pit at her feet on first meeting. Now, if he as Casey’s new, detested department head can just talk her into helping him search for the legendary treasure buried in the Money Pit of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, maybe he can also get her to fall into his bed. But first he needs to prove to her he’s not just another tunnel-visioned, box-ticking management ‘suit’.
But the romance of this scorching-hot couple proves to have all the twists, turns, false starts and trick corners of a multicursal labyrinth. Luckily, both Casey and Truman have no small skill and a little bit of practice in navigating those...
Part madcap caper, part serious treasure hunting, the Brass Ringers never fail to entertain or get their way!
“Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.”
Casey glared at the stuffed moose head and it stared right back at her, its one broken antler leering.
“What are you looking at? You think this is easy? Who piles this many friggin’ rocks over their treasure, anyway? Yeah, yeah, I know—someone trying to hide it.”
She took a deep breath, adjusted her white and blue striped canvas work gloves and inserted the heavy red-tipped crowbar under the final stone slab. Air hissed out of her mouth and nose as she exerted her back and thigh muscles to the task, straining to pry it loose.
She sniffed loudly, her nose dripping. The damn soot-covered rocks had been in use as a fire pit. Give it to Hefty, though—clever ruse.
Ignoring the black soot, she leaned against the huge pile of stones and wiped her nose on her hoodie sleeve before shining her flashlight onto Hefty McGee’s journal. She thumbed through the tattered pages, still confident that the university wouldn’t miss the dusty old thing for one weekend.
“Hmm, says here Hefty won a moose head from a saloon keeper in a card game right here in Dawson City. Furthermore, that you lost that antler in the ensuring fistfight when it turned out that the gambler was a poor loser. Know anything about that?”
She tucked the journal back into her hoodie then reinserted the crowbar.
“Okay, here goes!” She attacked the slab with all her might. A loud squeal of protest as rock ground against rock. Ah, it moved. Just another few inches. Grunting, she pushed harder until the heavy cover slid off enough that she could shine her flashlight inside the hole pickaxed into the cave floor.
The sight of a large rotted pile of leather securely wrapped and tied with a cord quickened her breath. On top, weighing the package down, was a small smooth rock, and underneath it a torn piece of brown butcher paper. She pulled it out and shone the light on it.
She read the faded handwritten words aloud, figuring the moose had a right to know, as well.
“‘Abandon hope all ye who steals Soapy’s Gold. It be cursed. Gave me the pox. Hefty McGee.’”
Casey chuckled, despite the discomfort of the past few hours of digging in the tight, damp quarters, and gave the moose head a glance. “Just proves, old man, I’m in the right place!”
She thrust her arm inside the large hole in the cave floor and tugged on the heavy parcel. Damn, not enough room to lift it out. The blasted stone needed to be moved farther over. She glanced back at the doorway of the cave. Only a short while and the spring waters of the rising Yukon River would flood the low-lying cave.
“Be nice if you could lend a hand, buster.” She directed her comments at the moose head. It was beginning to creep her out, staring down at her with glassy, lifeless eyes. Okay, so perhaps coming alone had not been so smart, but she needed to know if all her research was going to pay off. And, just maybe, it was about to. Big-time.
The pry bar slipped as the rock jerked under the extreme pressure. It swung in an upward arc toward the moose head, pitching her forward as it did so. It also hit the beast a solid blow on its huge bulbous nose, knocking it loose from its perch on the rock wall and right down onto her head.
The last thought as pain drilled into her brain was that the old miner who had gone to the trouble to hide his stolen gold in the wilds of Northern Canada might have gotten it right. The curse was effective—if one was a klutz.
Casey woke with a start, shivering uncontrollably. Her head pounded from a possible concussion and her clothes were soaking wet. She blinked hard, gingerly touching the top of her skull, and felt a lump as large as a goose egg under her platinum braid of hair. Damn. If she had a mirror she could tell her if her eyes were dilated. But at least there was no blood. She rummaged in her pocket for her cell phone and checked the time. Double damn. She’d been out for more than an hour!
As her vision cleared, she focused on the cave’s entrance. Waves slapping around the opening made her heart race. Swallowing hard against the shock and the pain, she struggled to pull herself to a sitting position. Her brain swam with the effort and she punched the downed moose right in its over-sized moth-eaten nose.
“It’s all your fault! If you weren’t already dead…” Casey threatened. She managed to get to her feet by holding on to the clammy moss-covered stone wall. Trickles of moisture created darkened trails down the ancient walls, dampening her palms.
A flash of something sliding by the doorway drew her attention. Her boat! Left tied to a tree on shore, with the rising waters it’d somehow managed to work itself free. Headache forgotten, she splashed through the frigid water, lunging to snatch hold of it before it drifted away in the current. Swaying dizzily, she managed to tug it inside the cave’s broad mouth. Thank goodness the cave floor sloped down toward the river, otherwise her transport might have floated away while she was knocked out.
She held hard to the canoe’s frayed rope, maneuvering the sixteen-foot boat closer to the treasure. Once she tied it securely to an outcropping of rock, she hauled the offending moose head off to the side, grateful the one good antler hadn’t pierced her skull. She relaunched her efforts to retrieve the booty. Thank God her flashlight was still intact and working.
“No fucking way I’m leaving here without my gold!” she muttered. “God damn it—move, won’t you!” she exclaimed in frustration, pushing as hard as she could manage. It was now or never. At least the weight training was paying off. She put everything behind the effort, every muscle in her body struggling and screaming at her to give it up already.
With an ominous creak like a banshee screaming in the wind, she inched the stone lid off bit by bit, the pit reluctant to give up its treasure. Finally, against the clock, Casey jolted the stone lid far enough off to allow her full access to what lay beneath. With a tug at the rotted string that bound the package, she thrust it out of the way and pushed her hand inside to pull apart the decayed leather.
She froze and took a deep breath, heart hammering. Was this the moment? Would all her intensive research now pay off? Or was it an elaborate hoax set up by an ornery old conman with a wicked sense of humor?
She touched it reverently, a laying-on-of-hands. Took a deep breath.
This was it. The moment of truth.
And yet, she hesitated, her hands trembling. So much rode on this. Finding the treasure would fund another adventure, her life’s blood. Give her the freedom she needed. Craved.
Open it already!
Okay. Stop shouting at me.
The war within quieted as she slowly peeled back the edges of the musty old covering. Was that a choir of angels singing? No, just her imagination working overtime. Whispers from the past upping the roaring clamor in her head as the color revealed itself.
Shiny yellow nuggets. Gold! Soapy’s stolen hoard!
The nuggets gleamed brightly under the flashlight’s beam. Nestled between the lumps of gold, someone had packed old leather pouches filled with gold dust. She’d found it! She swallowed hard. Glanced back at the cave’s entrance.
Crap. The water was rising. Faster.
Hurriedly, she scooped up the heavy nuggets and packets, flinging them into her backpack and glancing back at the cave’s entrance every few seconds to make sure she could still free herself. Running out of room in the pack, she pulled another black carryall from the canoe’s bottom and loaded it. At the last possible second, she threw in the moose head, knowing she was being loopy. The damn thing must weigh twenty-five pounds, broken antler or not, but he’d helped point the way.
Bio for January Bain and links:
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.
If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.
If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…
Blog Address - http://januarybainjourney.blogspot.ca/
Twitter Name – https://twitter.com/JanuaryBain
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/january.bain
Any other social media -
Email address for fans -