Saturday, 29 June 2013

Judith M Kerrigan, author of Betrayal by Serpent

Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan is available for the Kindle app from Amazon:
US: Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan
UK: Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan

Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan
Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan

Anna Kinnealy’s life changed forever when her husband Art was killed in a plane crash in the Yucatan. Left with four children and a huge house, she had a seven-year struggle to feed, clothe and nurture them all through immense trauma. Now, just when she expects to have a normal life, a former partner in his law firm is murdered, someone stalks her children,  police open an investigation into his life, and Anna’s digging into their past reveals bitter betrayal and brings a murderer to her door.

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Author Quiz interviews Judith M. Kerrigan...

Is there anything about you and your writing that makes you unique from other authors?
My age, first of all. I began Betrayal by Serpent at the age of 74, and it was actually my therapy. I’m a counselor and I was experiencing secondary post-traumatic stress, a hazard of the profession. I was having nightmares and realized that my imagination was working overtime in a negative way and decided to put it to work for me and to challenge myself. After two years of part time writing. I decided I really had a book and could do something with it. I published Betrayal last year in November at the age of 76. It’s never too late!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your work as an author.
I’m amazed that I’m an author of fiction. It’s not one of the arts I ever expected to use, although I was trained in writing and did well in high school and college. I’ve written papers, reports, case studies, etc., most of my life.

I’m equally amazed that I like it so much. I love just letting a story unfold in my imagination and pour itself out. I actually wrote much more about my characters than ended up in the final version. I became to enjoy being in their lives.

Where did the inspiration for your novel come from?
It began long ago. A friend and I had the crazy idea to write a murder mystery with an old lady character, like Miss Marple, only American, a retired teacher who spoke constantly in clich├ęs. Fortunately for all readers, we didn’t.

When you first get an idea for a new story, do you find that the finished product tends to differ quite significantly from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
So far, my basic story idea remains the same but some of the events in my stories surprise me. I’m amazed at what pops into my head. My characters never are predictable to me. I never know what they’ll try or do or say. With Betrayal by Serpent, I found that the story continued on and on. A result is that there will be two more books, a series. The titles are In Crocodile Waters, now in progress, and The Jaguar Hunts, now outlining itself in my mind.

If you were to write a novel outside our usual genre, which genre would you like to experiment with and why?
I’d love to write a well-researched historical novel based in ancient history. I love ancient history and might just as easily have become an archaeologist. Those ancient times carry a sense of mystery for me. But the book needn’t be a mystery. It could be any type of story.

Is there a particular scene from your book which would translate well to canvas and provide a powerful inspiration for a dramatic or emotional piece of artwork?
Anna’s time in the jungle, with her heightened sense of color and gradual loss of reality is a picture I have in my head. I’m a painter, an artist, as well as a writer. I would use mixed media/collage. I did actually do illustrations for the book but decided in the end not to use them. A few are on my website…the house, a green anaconda, and Mayan glyphs of the jaguar and snake.

Are any of your characters based on yourself and if so to what degree?
To the extent that I have been a middle-aged housewife with children, I can relate to Anna but her life was quite different from mine. We do have one thing in common. We both have an Irish heritage and I used stories I heard from my Irish grandmother and my father to fill in the history of the West Side of Green Bay, where my grandparents lived for many years.

Are there any good book blogs or websites you would recommend, both for discovering new books and authors, and also for promoting your own work?
Where do I begin? Since the publication last November, I’ve spent hours and hours searching for sites for promoting my own book and in the process have found many. Best so far: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads, and Shelfari, but there are more I’ve only begun to explore. I hope to post the full list to my blog,

I only wish I could read more of other authors’ works. I hold a full time job, promote my first book, write the second, and try to read one book per week, as well as doing art a few hours each week at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay. That’s a lot.

Can you remember the moment when you logged into your author account and discovered you made your first sale?
Oh yes! It was my first Christmas present of 2012!

Apart from yourself, which other indie author would you recommend to readers and why?
I’m very biased toward Jeannie Kerrigan, author of Layla, her autobiography. First, because she’s my daughter, and second, because she’s written a powerful account of her life and the changes she underwent to become who she is today. It’s a hard read for anyone. She writes with unremitting honesty of her pain. But it’s also incredibly inspiring as she writes of her triumph over all she suffered and her deep spiritual and emitional growth. I recommend it to anyone who has faced abuse and addiction and worked through it.

Why should people buy your book, Betrayal by Serpent?
I’ve written a good story with characters who could be living in your neighborhood, who could even be caught up in the threatening events that happen to Anna and her family. It’s a good read!

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Thanks for your comments, Judith, and good luck with your writing.

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Here's the prologue from Betrayal by Serpent:

I woke up flailing the air, a sheet tangled around my body, fear pounding through my mind and my spirit, piercing my chest, searing my heart. I lie in the dark room, exhausted, my body shaking, waiting until my breathing slows, willing myself to a tenuous stillness.
    Another nightmare. My enemies, my friends, these nightmares.
    They have carried me across years of fear and loss. Sometimes I even welcome them now. They move me to action. They tell my story. When I pay attention to what they reveal, they rip me out of the denial I love so much.
    As I stop shaking, I wrap myself in my quilt, leave my bed and move to my desk, turn on the small light, and begin my journal again, as I have so many nights these seven years since our world blew apart.
    Writing soothes me, calms my anxieties, mitigates the horror of the pictures that will never leave my mind, no matter how hard I try to erase them. Writing appeases the ghosts who drift in and out of my consciousness.
    Writing tells our story. For seven years I’ve made our living writing for others. This journal has been for myself, so I don’t return to the pain and loss that held us all imprisoned in grief and fear for so long.
    I know why the nightmare comes now. Today I must tell the whole story to the police who, after all these years, are investigating my husband’s death. I must dredge up all the searing memories.
    The clock light glows 2:57 a.m. The smell of a quiet September rain drifts faintly through an open window.
    Is it over? Will we finally have some peace?

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Judith M Kerrigan,
author of Betrayal by Serpent
You can find a longer sample from Betrayal by Serpent on Judith's website:

Discover more about Judith M Kerrigan at her blog:

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Follow Judith M. Kerrigan on facebook and twitter:
Facebook: Judith M Kerrigan Ribbens
Twitter: @judidancer

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Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan is available for the Kindle app from Amazon:
US: Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan
UK: Betrayal by Serpent by Judith M Kerrigan

Betrayal by Serpent is also available from Barnes & Noble:
Barnes & Noble

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