Author Spotlight: David Neilson and the Sophie Rathenau Vienna Mysteries

If he were to fail to meet her standards, she just might pull her gun on him—a gun she carries primed and loaded in case she needs it in a hurry. But David knows to follow her lead.

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Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a man can’t create a living, breathing, believable female character. I am continually astonished at the sensitivity with which David Neilson builds his main character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. I think Sophie truly does live in his head, and she directs the stories he writes. If he were to fail to meet her standards, she just might pull her gun on him—a gun she carries primed and loaded in case she needs it in a hurry. But David knows to follow her lead.

In an online interview, he tells us that Sophie does, indeed, resonate in his head. “She knows she’s the star turn and she doesn’t tolerate rivals. I can catch her sometimes thinking whether she’s tough enough in one scene, or vulnerable enough, or self-righteous enough.… the best moments for me come when Sophie says or does something outrageous, for example, getting to get into a ball for free by pretending that a non-existent husband will pay, or trying to con a Jesuit rector into believing she’s a rich patroness.”

Who is this woman, you ask. “An investigator in Mozart’s Vienna, she’s tousle-headed, modest of bosom, large of hand, acid-tongued, and inclined to be self-righteous. Getting involved in the direst conspiracies of her day, she needs all her wits to come out in one piece.” That’s how David described her in an interview with Sue Seabury on her blog, The Technopeasant. Mozart’s Vienna in the 1770s hardly evokes a society in which a liberated woman might thrive as a private investigator. But Sophie manages to be the woman all women want to be.

The Prussian Dispatch and Lay Brothers, books one and two of the Sophie Rathenau Vienna Mysteries, bring you the adventures of this remarkable woman. In the first, Sophie is caught up in an international conspiracy when she is hired to locate a missing government dispatch sent from Prussia to Vienna. To complicate matters, she must keep a vengeful Chancellor at bay and deal with a past that threatens to engulf her. In the second, she’s managed to escape to Munich where intrigue comes in the form of a request from a friend who needs help finding a missing priest. In searching for him, she raises the ire of the increasingly corrupt Jesuit Order whose efforts to silence the priest turn deadly.

I promise you that if you love strong women characters and historical fiction at its finest, you will fall in love with Sophie Rathenau and the stories she drives David Neilson to tell. Visit Sophie’s website, which is a treasure trove of information about Vienna in the 1700’s, the politics, the people, the architecture, and the fashion.

Visit David’s Pinterest page, another place to see images of the people, places, and fashion of Sophie’s world. You can also view the trailers for each book:

The Prussian Dispatch

Lay Brothers

The third book, to be released soon, is Serene. In it we will find her protecting the rebellious Austrian Archduchess Isabella in Venice, a place Sophie had been warned never to return unless she is prepared to die. If something happens to the Archduchess and Sophie manages to escape Corona Mundt’s threat, the Austrian Chancellor will exact his revenge. It’s a lose-lose situation. Having had a preview of this third book, I’m eager for it to be published.

Karen J. Mossman: Author Spotlight

A secret is a secret for good reason. Kerry O’Brien has a secret so terrible it burns inside her. All she wants is to be part of a normal family, but with a step father like Bill, that is impossible.

A New Feature

I’m pleased to introduce a new feature to my blog called Author Spotlight with Karen J. Mossman as my inaugural author.

Karen J. Mossman is originally from Manchester in the UK, but she has now settled into retirement with her husband of nearly 40 years. She lives on Anglesey, a small Island off the North Wales coast and says, ‘Retirement means I am busier than ever as I’m able to spend more time writing. I’m also an avid book reader and blogger. When I am not working on my computer, I belong to an embroidery club where I cross stitch. I am also involved in Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institute. So, retirement has improved my life by enabling me to do the things that make me happy.’

Karen’s book is called The Secret.

Catch up with her on social media: Facebook Twitter Google+ Website Book Blog

The Secret

Image 1A secret is a secret for good reason.

Kerry O’Brien has a secret so terrible it burns inside her. All she wants is to be part of a normal family, but with a step father like Bill, that is impossible.

Set in the 1970s when secrets like this were only ever whispered about, Kerry somehow keeps her humour by pretending everything is fine. Then she meets biker Tommy, and he has his own secret; one that impacts on her.

Kerry’s secret becomes harder to keep and the tell-tell signs are harder to hide. Can she keep it together? Can Tommy and Kerry get it together?

Then the worst happens and Kerry’s secret is a secret no more.

Universal Link, Amazon UK, Amazon US

What Readers are Saying

Karen Mossman’s The Secret is the beautifully written story of high-spirited, Irish-born Kerry O’Brien who struggles to walk a tightrope in her dangerous home life. Set in Manchester, England, in the 1970s, a more “innocent” time when family secrets could be even more deadly than today and the cloud of secrecy over domestic abuse made it hard for victims to find a way out.

Lynne Murray

The story is gripping and interesting, the romance warm and simmering. I absolutely loved the ending, which gives the story an almost fairy tale-like feeling. All in all, it was a very enjoyable two hour read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of the genre.

S. Anderson

I really enjoyed this book and I was automatically drawn into the characters world, from the very first page. Tommy treats Kerry like a queen, and it’s so refreshing to read a story where the man respects and truly loves the girl.

Jenna Hodge

The characters were so real and the story definitely so believable. These sort of secrets unfortunately still go on. Let’s hope others can find the strength, just like Kerry, to come out the other side.

Lindy-Lou