A Spirit Guide, an Author, and Rampaging Ostriches–Meet author Barbara Monajem (and G*veaway)

Today, please help me welcome author Barbara Monajem to Preternatura. I love her Bayou Gavotte series–fun and sexy paranormals, always with a great mystery in them! Barbara dropped by today with a few questions for her hero’s spirit guide—who just happens to be hanging out at an ostrich farm! Barbara’s most recent release is Heart of Constantine, which is the third book in her Bayou Gavotte series and published September 10 by Thomas & Mercer.
Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.  You can learn more about Barbara by visiting her website, on Facebook, or by following her on twitter. 
ABOUT HEART OF CONSTANTINE:  Vigilante Native American rock star Constantine Dufray has hit rock bottom. His telepathic abilities have spun out of control, and destructive rumors about him run rampant. Some are true—he caused a violent cop’s suicide, and telepathy destroyed his marriage—but he didn’t poison his wife, and he couldn’t have caused riots at his concerts, killing his fans…or could he? Now an unknown enemy is trying to frame him for rape and murder. Aura reader Marguerite McHugh finally gets a close encounter with the mysterious star, but it’s nothing like she expected. When Constantine finds her after she’s been drugged at one of his shows, she’s pulled into his quest for the truth. As dangers mount and murders pile up, Constantine and Marguerite are forced into an ever more intimate relationship. Only by facing their fears and working together can they unmask the killer before more innocent people die.
And now, let’s hear from Barbara…

Interview with a Spirit Guide

 It would have made more sense to interview Constantine Dufray, the vigilante Native American rock star from the kinky little town of Bayou Gavotte, but he never tells interviewers anything significant about his true self, and Marguerite McHugh, the heroine of his story, won’t talk to reporters at all. (Not that I’m one—far from it—but I knew she would refuse.

So I went for Constantine’s spirit guide. As the author of Heart of Constantine, I have the good fortune of being able to talk directly to The Bird, as I think of him. He has been Constantine’s guide for years. Mostly, he’s a voice in Constantine’s head (as he is in mine), but frequently he takes temporary possession of some bird or another. He agreed to the interview on condition that I drive to a specific spot in the countryside and bring cookies.

Me: I could start this interview with a lot of flowery compliments, but I know better than that. You’re a straight-talking, no-bullshit bird, judging by the conversations I’ve written between you and Constantine. What sort of bird are you occupying at the moment? I see a bunch of crows in that pine tree; there are two mourning doves on the power line, and a hawk sailing overhead…

The Bird:  Tsk. Why do you think I made you come to the middle of nowhere? To make a statement, that’s what. There’s a field right ahead of you, containing…

Me: Oh. My. God. It’s an ostrich farm. Yikes! I don’t like ostriches. I mean I really, reallydon’t like them. They’re big, pushy and obnoxious, and those legs pack one hell of a kick.

The Bird chuckles as an ostrich lopes toward me. I back well away from the fence. Ostriches look cheerful and innocent, but they’re nothing like Big Bird, I swear.

The Bird: Just my little joke.

I scowl. Generally, I am a bird fancier, but he knows about my dislike of ostriches, which dates from a trip to Africa many years ago. I now eat ostrich burgers with gusto, and if I had the money, I would buy an ostrich hide handbag to make a statement of my own.  

The Bird: Imagine the damage I could have done to Constantine one of the countless times he ignored my advice! But I never could get him anywhere near an ostrich. He may be the most ornery, uncooperative human being alive, but he’s not stupid.

Me: Um…  (The big, head-bobbing, goofy-looking bird is distracting me. Also, one hesitates to offend a spirit guide.)

The Bird (who clearly reads my mind): Constantine never hesitates, and you’re the one who writes his lines. In fact, I blame it all on you. You could have brought an ostrich into the story, but did you even think of it?

Me: No, to my great chagrin, I didn’t. I can just imagine the scene! (I would have let Constantine get away unscathed. He deserves to win from time to time.) But it’s too late now. The thing is, though… I’ve heard Constantine complain about you in much the same vein. (I’m trying to remain at least somewhat tactful, so a compliment seems in order.) It’s awfully disrespectful of him. I mean, you’re a spiritual being, right? Omniscient and all that.

The Bird: Hah! You asked that question for the sake of your readers, because you know perfectly well it’s not that simple. I can bring things to Constantine’s attention. I can tell Constantine what to do and what not to do, but not why. I don’t even knowwhy; I just know. That should be enough, but humans always want an explanation—either that, or they disobey out of sheer contrariness.  (Big sigh.) Can you spare a cookie, by any chance?

The ostrich sticks its head over the fence. I steel myself and offer it a molasses cookie. It snatches it delicately from my trembling hands, just like it stole toast off the breakfast table in Africa.

Me: (taking a deep breath of relief) But Constantine will be better now, right? Marguerite is right for him, and he’s right for her. 

The ostrich grabs the whole box of cookies and lopes smoothly away. Inside my head, there is silence. I don’t need the bird’s reassurance about the one aspect of my stories over which I have control. It’s why I write romance—there is always a happily ever after.
Thanks, Barbara! 

Barbara is graciously offering one lucky commenter a print or electronic copy (your choice) of Heart of Constantine or any book in the Bayou Gavotte series.These are great reads and you want one. So…if you had a spirit guide, what form might it take (close your eyes and see what animal first pops into your mind). Hm…a seal? Seriously?

24 thoughts on “A Spirit Guide, an Author, and Rampaging Ostriches–Meet author Barbara Monajem (and G*veaway)

  1. Hi, Sandy. A wolf is a great kind of spirit guide — familiar and protective. There are books about spirit guides that explain which animals have which characteristics. I wish I could find mine to comment on here, but I’m doing work on the house and many of my books are packed away. 🙁

  2. Hi, I don’t know how I missed this one. So I would love to have the first one. I would have a tiger as a spirit guide. Thank for sharing! evamillien at gmail dot com

  3. I think I would pick an owl. I would love to have the first book since I am new to this series. It sounds like one I will really enjoy.

  4. I was once told by someone that my spirit guide was a dolphin. I thought that was a bit unusual. Your book looks great. I will definitely at this series to my TBR pile. Thanks for the contest.

  5. A snow owl. The goddess Athena, Harry Potter and Polgara (The Belgariad series) used snow owl. After all, owl is a symbol of wisdom and I would like to have a wise spirit guide.

  6. I would definitely pick a cat. Just a common variety house cat, or one of the exotic species. They are certainly mysterious enough to qualify as a spirit guide. The book sounds really interesting. I will have to check it out.