Sunday, February 28, 2016
City of Gold - Excerpt & quick author Q&A
Book: City of Gold
Matthew Connor Adventure Series (Book 1)
by Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc
Date of publication: 27 November, 2015)
Genres: Suspense, Adventure
Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…
Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.
Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse—the City of Gold.
Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.
Excerpt from City of Gold
From Chapter 4
IAN BRIDGES USUALLY TOOK PLEASURE in knowing what most others did not. In this case, he knew that the famous treasure hunter, Gideon Barnes, was none other than the mayor’s son. And it wasn’t welcome news. An interested third-party had hired Ian to get the Pandu statue back at any cost, but with it now secured behind bulletproof glass and the high-profile identity of its discoverer, the situation had escalated, leaving him with limited options for the object’s retrieval. Sadly, murder, although it was his gifted skillset, wasn’t a service required by this employer. And bribery presented too much risk and was certain to attract undesired media attention.
The crowd at the exhibit had thinned, leaving behind those who didn’t rank high enough in society to secure an invitation to the Connor mansion. Ian made his way toward the statue, his confidence building with each step. Yes, the situation certainly posed a challenge, but he had faith in his abilities. He wasn’t familiar with failing, and he wasn’t about to learn the lesson now.
The statue was enclosed in a glass cube atop a four-foot-tall pedestal. A red rope with brass hardware surrounded it, encouraging people to stand a couple feet out of its reach. The area was obviously off-limits. But he still considered stretching out to touch the glass. He’d love to smear his fingerprints all over it simply because its contents were so highly esteemed. It was treated more regally than some people were, and yet when he looked at it, he saw nothing more than an ugly man in a dress. Clearly burying an item in the sand for thousands of years transformed even worthless idols into sought-after treasures. What his employer saw in it or why it was sought after in the first place wasn’t information Ian required to do his job. Whether it was to provide bragging rights to its owner or to sell it or something else, he didn’t care.
“It’s beautiful,” a woman said. He turned in the direction of the sound and a woman in a black evening dress sidled up next to him. Her hair was a rich red and fell over her shoulders in flowing curls. Her fingers were long and adorned with rings, her wrists were slender and wrapped in silver bracelets. She also wore a silver cuff on her upper arm. Now this woman had a brand of beauty he could appreciate.
She seemed to assess him as he did her. “Where are my manners?” She positioned her purse under an arm and extended her hand. “My name is Veronica Vincent.”
“Ian.” He took her hand and was certain to make eye contact as he shook it. While some women might find the move too familiar and bold, this was the territory upon which he loved to tread. Eyes truly were the windows to the soul.
“Just Ian? Or do you have a last name, too?” Her seductive smile curved one side of her mouth slightly higher than the other. With it, her eyes narrowed marginally. Oh yes. This woman welcomed the attention and reciprocated his attraction.
“My friends just call me Ian.” He had to keep some anonymity. His line of work didn’t afford him the luxury of screwing up because he wanted to get laid.
“All right. Mysterious. I like it.” She slipped her arm through his.
They stood like that for a while, him watching her, her watching the statue.
“You think that thing is beautiful?” He’d come to learn that women found a controversial subject more entertaining than one that had him acting the yes-man.
“Absolutely.” She pried her eyes from the robed sculpture, letting them drift to meet his. “I take it you do not?” There was a small hitch in her eyebrows, and he knew he was in.
He shook his head. “Not in the least. They do say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but I am starting to wonder if we’re looking at the same thing.”
She pouted. He was scoring gold here.
“And while this statue is the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen, you, on the other hand, are very stunning.” He threw her an arrogant smile. He was due for a night of blowing off steam, and there was no better place to clear the mind than between the legs of a beautiful woman.
A quick Q&A with Carolyn Arnold about her book and its audience.
Q: What inspired you to write City of Gold?
Carolyn Arnold: A while back, I was searching for an action-adventure book to read, and I quickly noticed that most stories in the genre start off at a point long ago in history with people who never enter the story again after an initial prologue. But I wanted to read something more in the vein of Indiana Jones, that started in the present day, with action right from the start that just keeps going. Who doesn’t remember the boulder scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is running for his life? Now, that’s what I’m going for!
Q: Many people have written about the Inca’s lost City of Gold. Why did you choose to write about it?
CA: I chose to write about this particular legend because I find it absolutely fascinating! A city made of gold and treasure beyond imagining? How could I resist? I studied and researched to the point of obsession, and I even wished to be an explorer myself so I could set out in search of the city.
In fiction, the City of Gold is referred to by many names. The most common is El Dorado. But El Dorado actually referred to a ritual, not a place. Paititi is the true name for the lost City of Gold. Paititi translates to “city of the jaguar,” “all white and shiny,” and “white gold.” Many stories have emerged about the city and explorers have set out in search of it throughout South America, many losing their lives.
I examined the history of the city and explored the area on Google Earth. Plucking clues from different reference materials, I picked a spot where I think Paititi might actually be located. But who knows? What I do know is every story written about Paititi is unique and stands alone, and because Paititi hasn’t been discovered (yet?), there is a lot of room for play for a fiction writer.
Q: What can readers expect from this book and this series?
CA: This book and series is not your everyday action adventure. In fact, it’s been designed for the mystery lover. For example, in City of Gold, there is a kidnapping, a ransom, and a police investigation, as well as lots of action-packed adventure and exploration itself.
The series will follow that same kind of trajectory, with Matthew, Cal, and Robyn continuing to unearth treasures around the world. Think a modern-day Indiana Jones.
Q: Does this book contain a special message for your readers?
CA: Yes! I want people to believe again and realize that all things are possible. I want people to play more, explore his or her inner child, and live lives of passion and joy. When things are dark in our lives, what does it hurt to hope? Somewhere along the line of human history, it became foolish to believe in something without first seeing it with our own eyes. But what if we gave ourselves over to optimism and positivity? Maybe we’re afraid of being hurt or disappointed, but what harm does it really do to believe? I can speak from personal experience that keeping a positive attitude only added to my life and brought joy. While the end result to my situation didn’t bring happiness, it didn’t hurt anymore because I held a positive attitude throughout the experience. In fact, I believe it even made miracles during that time possible.
So, if you’re looking for something to believe in, or if you just want to sit back and fall into an adventure, I encourage you to pick up a copy of City of Gold today.
About the Author
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website - http://carolynarnold.net/
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Purchase links for City of Gold:
The book is also available in paperback and hardcover.