This week we have an awesome guest post, author interview and spotlight for the author of The Nightjars Promise. This book series features some awesome powerhouse women. I’ll be adding a book review later today so make sure to check it out!
THE IMPORTANCE OF JIMMY BOB
One of my favorite characters in The FIG Mystery Series gets introduced in Book 1 – The Cadence of Gypsies. Jimmy Bob Doake is the night security guard at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, and it is his responsibility to make sure nothing irregular happens during the “witches’ hours,” as he calls late night.
Jimmy Bob managed to complete the 8th grade, but dropped out of school after that in order to help his parents with his younger brothers and sisters. In spite of this, as an adult, he has the soul of a poet; and it is during those late night hours that he pens his thoughts onto paper.
Jimmy Bob provides comic relief to some of the more emotional scenes involving the FIGs and Carolina. But he also offers inspiration and hope because he is such a good and decent person trying to do the best he can with what he has. His old hound dog, Tick, does the same thing in his own way.
Jimmy Bob is very much a permanent fixture at Wood Rose, and I bring him back in The Wish Rider and The Clock Flower, Books 2 and 3, as well as The Nightjar’s Promise—Book 4 in the series. With the problems of campus politics, jealousies among students and professors alike, and rampant distrust of Carolina and the FIGs, it is Jimmy Bob who sees things with a clear eye and pure, nonjudgmental heart. As Carolina and the FIGs’ search for answers takes them to Italy, New York City, China, and the tombs of a Jewish cemetery, it is Jimmy Bob and his faithful companion Tick who give the reader a sense of permanence and security.\
How did you come up with the idea of writing about three orphans with IQs in the genius range?
When I attended NC State University I used to drive past an orphanage on the way to class each day. For some reason, that memory stayed with me over the years until I decided it was time to write a novel using it as the background. Things just developed from there, but it all started with my distant memory of that orphanage.
Are the three F.I.G.s (Females of Intellectual Genius) based on anyone you know?
I have two daughters and a granddaughter. I think perhaps I remember things from their childhood which inspired me, but Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer (the three F.I.G.s) are products of my imagination.
Did you have an idea or outline for all four books when you wrote the first book, The Cadence of Gypsies?
When I wrote The Cadence of Gypsies I only meant it to be a single release. It told the story of three highly intelligent orphaned girls who had special talents, and the young woman who was hired by the headmaster of the orphanage to “keep them on a short leash.” My publisher loved the book so much that she asked me to consider expanding it into a series. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but after giving it a great deal of thought, it made sense to write three more books about these “different” girls, with each book focusing on one of the F.I.G.s as they try to find the answers to why they were put in an orphanage and who their parents were.
In each of the books, you write about such different cultures. Is this based on fact or fiction?
Each of the F.I.G.s is so different. Dara, who was abandoned in a candy shop when she was four, is African American and has the ability to understand foreign, obscure, and obsolete languages. Mackenzie is the shy one, and she was given up for adoption at birth. Her talent is in understanding numbers and problem-solving to the extent that numbers are her friends. Jennifer is the problem-child and was 15 years old when she was placed the orphanage. Her talent is in music and art. In each case as I wrote about their backgrounds and their search for answers, I did a lot of research so that their stories seem believable. In Dara’s case, her search takes her to a little-known underground area beneath Grand Central Terminal in New York City. This is based on reality. Mackenzie’s search for answers takes her to China where she is involved in doing research. The dandelion research and the ancient Pig Dragon are based on fact. And in Jennifer’s case, the things I write about the looting of art during World War II and Jewish customs are all based on fact.
Are there any minor characters in The F.I.G. Mysteries that are your favorite?
Of course, Jimmy Bob, the caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women is special. But there are also two elderly women who play a significant role throughout each of the books. Mrs. Ball, the headmaster’s long-time assistant, basically runs the orphanage. She knows all of its secrets. She keeps Headmaster Harcourt in line, and even though she doesn’t approve of all the mischief and disruption the F.I.G.s are constantly creating on the orphanage campus, she has a special fondness for these three unusual girls. Through the years, Mrs. Ball has developed a deep friendship with Ms. Alcott, the elderly grand-niece of the benefactor of Wood Rose. It is Ms. Alcott who continues to financially support the orphanage, and the two women enjoy discussing the “expressions of creativity” that the F.I.G.s perform on a regular basis. It is quite often that the two women sit together over a cup of tea in the headmaster’s plush office when he is away.
Megan, thank you so much for interviewing me and for your interest in THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES. I have enjoyed spending time with you and your bloggers. I wish you all the best. ~Barbara
Join us for this tour from May 4to May 22, 2020!
Book Title: The Nightjar’s Promise (Book 4 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 130 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Gauthier Publications (Hungry Goat Press)
Release date: April, 2020
Content Rating: PG. There are some themes that deal with the Jewish Holocaust and some frightening scenes appropriate for young adult and adult readers.
Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius)
who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed
rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at
Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing
the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they
hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were
supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old.
Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the
other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if
ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too
difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at
Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out.
As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts
thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while
Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date
October 11, 1943. That is the date during World War II when the
Nazis—the Kunstschutz—looted the paintings of targeted wealthy Jewish
families and hid them away under Hitler’s orders. And as Carolina waits
for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her
gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the
As they search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding
it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to
destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.
Buy the Book:
Amazon.com ~ Add to Goodreads
Coming Soon to Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Bookstores Everywhere!
Meet the Author:
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.
Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.
Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories. Her award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).
Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese, and Earl Gray – Reese’s best friend.
Connect with the author: Website~ Goodreads ~ Facebook
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