What inspired you to write your first book? — I was going through a difficult time in my life and longed to escape. I spent hours trying to imagine myself a different person living a different life—and my characters Victoria and Katherine were born!
How did you come up with the title? — The trilogy began as one long book. Its title, Moonseed, came from a happy coincidence of the moon’s mysterious power over the characters and the true name of a Chinese drug that also figures into the story’s mystery.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? — When life opens a door, go ahead and walk through it. Adventure and fulfillment wait for those willing to take a risk.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? — Both heroines are searching for mother love and a sense of belonging. Those two quests have been true of my own life.
What books have most influenced your life? — The Holy Bible and Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca. I also devoured books by Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart when I was a teenager. As a child I read Mary Bard’s Best Friends books until the covers fell off.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? — Daphne du Maurier; her writing is exquisite, her stories compelling, and she’s magnificent at creating atmosphere.
What book are you reading now? — I’m reading Dean Koontz’s From the Corner of His Eye for the fourth or fifth time. I love his writing; his use of language is precise and effective. Some of his stories are too dark and weird for me, but I always learn something as a writer when I read him.
What are your current projects? — Over the last few months I’ve launched an inspirational blog, and I’m hatching the plot for a new novel.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. — The California Writers Club (CWC), which is the oldest and largest writers group in California, started right here in the San Francisco Bay Area by Jack London and his writing pals. CWC is a professional group of writers and mentors who truly love the craft and want to help writers at all levels to succeed.
EXCERPT (from Chapter 17)
This excerpt takes place in the hospital, right after Katherine has awakened in Victoria’s body and sees her gorgeous husband, Ryan, for the first time.
April sunshine splashed across the linoleum and warmed Ryan’s shoes where he stood, rooted in place, staring at the impossibly beautiful woman in the starched bed. Although neither spoke, the emotional charge running between them held him stunned—his eyes locked on hers, his breath quick and shallow. The woman tilted her head and slanted her green eyes at him, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. He licked his lips and felt a pulse jump in his throat. His palms slid unaware over the rough wool of his trousers, wiping moisture.
Ryan cleared his throat and rocked back on his heels. Hands in his pockets, he came alongside the bed and stood over his wife, hating the telltale flush he could feel rising from the open collar of his shirt.
“Your mother called this morning with the good news,” he said. “I was stunned, Vicki. Tell me how it happened.”
She slid her eyes from his face to his neck, where he felt a muscle jerking. The corner of her mouth lifted, but she merely spread her hands and shrugged. His heart sank as he realized that she still could not speak, and her gesture of helplessness roused his old protective instincts. But the hint of laughter in her eyes held him back, along with the glint of something else—something he’d never seen in her eyes before.
He spoke again, making his voice gruff to cover his uneasiness.
“You look better this morning. Rested. In fact, you’re . . . God, you look beautiful.” He hadn’t meant to say it quite like that. He pulled his hands from his pockets and gripped the bed rail. “I’m sorry. I can’t have lunch with you at Eleanor’s today. I have to catch a one-thirty flight to Phoenix. But I’ll be back on Friday, as planned.”
The laughter in her eyes died instantly, and Ryan was startled to see them clouding with disappointment. Unmistakably disappointment. He had expected relief or, at best, indifference.
His hands came loose from the bed rail and gently cupped her face. “I promise I’ll be back before you even know I’m gone,” he said, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. She stared up at him with emerald eyes that seemed to widen and deepen, pulling his gaze inside her and drawing his head down until, without meaning to, he was covering her mouth with his.
His senses abandoned him to a swirling emerald sea. Dimly, he felt her slender arms slip around his neck, pulling him deeper into the kiss. He groaned and dug his fingers into her hair, lifting her head off the pillow as his need sharpened into a tight visceral tug. Her lips parted against his, and her breath, light and sweet, slipped into his mouth. She was moaning softly.
“Excuse me.” A throat cleared itself noisily. Ryan realized on some level that this was not the first time the voice had spoken. He fought his way clear of the rushing green tide and opened his eyes. The room tilted; he let his wife go and clutched the bed rail for support, swinging his head toward the voice and growling: “Well? What is it?”
A young student nurse stood at the door, visibly embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. But it’s . . . I’m supposed to get Mrs. Ashton ready to go home.”
Shaken and reddening, Ryan managed a civil nod. “Give us a moment, will you?”
The girl scurried away.
His wife lay exactly as he had released her—blonde hair tumbling over the pillow, head tilted, lips parted. Her breath was light and fast, lifting her breasts under the thin cotton of her hospital gown. An image flicked across his mind of their bodies tangling on the narrow hospital bed, and Ryan took a step back, stunned by the unexpected force of his need.
“I’ll . . . uh—” His voice shook, and her mouth curled with lazy satisfaction, like a cat licking cream from her whiskers. “I’ll see you on Friday, Vicki.” He ached to touch her again, but he didn’t dare. Instead, he took another step back. “Till Friday.”
She was still smiling when he made his escape into the corridor.
The past isn’t always behind you…
Victoria Reeves-Ashton longs to escape her meaningless life. Trapped in a loveless marriage, haunted by dreams she can’t remember, she craves the love and safety that have always eluded her despite her breathtaking beauty and privileged life among the modern San Francisco elite. Then her careless wish on a mysterious coin causes a near tragedy that snatches her back over a century in time, into the life of the coin’s previous owner. Victoria awakens in the body of Katherine Kamarov, a rancher’s daughter living in rural California in the late 1800s—a selfish, friendless young woman who is accused of murdering her husband.
Ryan Ashton hates to admit that his marriage to Victoria is failing. Still stinging from a disastrous first marriage, he had hoped for a second chance at happiness with the quiet and beautiful Victoria. But after ten months of fruitless attempts at intimacy, he is ready to concede defeat. Then a tragic accident nearly takes Victoria’s life, and his wife regains consciousness no longer shy and repressed but sexually brazen and defiant. Baffled by the change, Ryan is repelled by her ruthlessness yet also excited by her new sensuality, and he dares to hope that here at last is a woman who can satisfy the longings of his lonely heart.
Against the romantic backdrop of California wine country and historic San Francisco, Bridge to the Past unfolds as the first book in the Moonseed trilogy, which follows Victoria and Katherine season by season through the same year but separated from each other by a wall of time, each woman looking for her destiny in the other woman’s mirror.