I have an empty spot today because of a mix-up in scheduling, so I thought I’d take advantage of it and do a little self promo, which I’ve never done before on Wednesday Writers. Feels odd to be in this seat instead of behind the scenes on Wednesday Writers.
Anyway, I’m going to talk about my two-time award-winning inspirational romantic suspense book The Nun and the Narc and provide a few interesting highlights about the book that I hope will pique your interest. For those visitors who’ve never heard of The Nun and the Narc here’s a quick hook.
Captured by the local Mexican drug lord after she interrupts a drug deal, novice Sister Margaret Mary risks losing her life, her vocation, and her heart when she falls for undercover DEA agent Jed Bond who is imprisoned with her. Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary. Jed knows she’s off limits, but his heart can’t help wanting this woman who’s been promised to God.
And now for the fun items.
- Sister Margaret Mary did not start with the name Margaret. Originally, I had named her Mary Margaret, but the hero kept calling her Maggie and I was force to change her name. Sometimes you just have to listen to your characters.
- Sister Margaret chows down on something interesting at the local Mexican marketplace that I wouldn’t eat even if I was starving—bugs. Why did I make my heroine eat bugs? Because I wanted to show her doing something adventurous and outside the norm. So, when I discovered chapulines (deep fried, chile powder coated grasshoppers) are a delicacy of the Oacaxa Mexico area where the story is set, I decided to have her munch down a skewer of the crispy critters.
Chapulines are eaten fried in tacos, or fried and dipped in chile powder and threaded on skewers. Put enough chile powder on anything to disguise the taste and deep fry it, (who doesn’t like greasy spicy food, I thought) and it might be palatable. Described as crunchy, high in protein and very low in fat, they seemed like the perfect snack for an adventurous heroine who is health conscious and taking care of the Lord’s temple (her body). So, when she’d skipped breakfast and found herself getting hungry at the village marketplace, Sister Margaret chowed down on a skewer of deep fried, chile powder-coated grasshoppers.
- In spite of the fact that the sister eats grasshoppers and stomps on cockroaches, she’s not without her insect phobias. She’s terrified of granddaddy long-leggers—just like me. When she and Jed are forced to hide under a trap door in a hole in the floor, she can’t bring herself to get in. In a scene that endears him to the sister, Jed plays the knight in shining armor and slays her imaginary eight-legged dragons so she will get in the hidey-hole.
- In the marketplace, Sister Margaret hides behind a vendor’s wagon of marionettes so the teenage boy she’s tailing won’t see her. The marionette with the Fu Manchu mustache mentioned in the marketplace scene is based on a Mexican marionette I once owned. I had a male and female Hispanic marionette and loved making them dance for my young daughter.
- In the marketplace Sister Margaret Mary hears an off-key polka-like tune played by a Mexican band. Polka music in Mexico? you say. Yep. This type of music had its origins in Texas around 1830 and spread back to Mexico where it become popular. Click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFKO_TljsnQ to hear a sample of the kind of music Sister Margret might have heard in the marketplace. While I created the marketplace scene, which you can read about, in the online sample at Amazon, I played a CD of this type of music to get in the Mexican mood. Since I normally work in silence this was quite a departure for me.
- Sister Margaret gets into quite a few scrapes in the book and is forced to defend herself with some interesting things. Want to know what? Well…I can’t give every tidbit away, but I’ll give you a hint—you’ll find her choice of weapons on the stove.
Here’s a not-often posted excerpt from the book that I hope you’ll enjoy.
The Nun and the Narc
Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.
Excerpt from The Nun and the Narc
Her heart sank. Two hours in the mountains might as well have been on the moon. It wouldn’t have mattered if she’d been watching the road. Directionally challenged as she was, she could never find her way back without major signposts and markers.
Lord, if you get me out of here, I’ll offer up two months of novenas.
She’d hoped Jed would know where they were. She pushed the thought aside. They’d get out. They had to. She had to believe. Best not to think about something she couldn’t fix.
“Would it be too much to ask just who you are, Mr. Jed-Jethro-Baronne-Bond, the third?” she asked, changing the subject.
“I could ask the same of you, Maggie Margaret O’Connor.”
“And that’s another thing! Stop calling me Maggie! I hate that name.”
He stood, picked up a strand of her red-gold hair, twisting it in his fingers. “I like it. You look like a Maggie to me. Fire in your hair. Fire in your green-gold eyes. A proper Irish-Catholic combination if you ask me.”
She disentangled his fingers from her hair. His touch unsettled her. “I didn’t ask you. But I did ask who you are. Mr. Bond or Mr. Baronne?”
“I’m a man of many names,” he said with a shrug. “You can just call me Jed, darling. It goes better with our cover story.”
Margaret sat down on the swaybacked bed. “And just why do we need a cover story?”
“Because we are in a Mexican drug lord’s stronghold and our stories need to gel.”
“I’ve always believed the truth is easier to tell,” she said primly. “You don’t have to remember which lie you’ve told to which person.”
“In my business, I think the truth is better hidden.”
If he meant to keep her off balance he’d succeeded. Aliases, drug lord scares, car chases, and flying bullets. And to top it off, she only understood a few words of any given conversation.
Could she believe him, or even trust him? She doubted she had much of a chance with the rest of this cast of characters.
“And that business would be . . . drugs?”
Jed spread his hands out in front of his chest, palms facing her. “Guess you caught me. A little drug deal that went bad.”
Caught, yes. But she doubted the little part. If a drug buy was what had gone down, why had the local drug lord taken after them like they were the FBI? No, there was more to this than met the eye¾a lot more.
Buy link for The Nun and the Narc
I hope you enjoyed these fun facts. I’d love to know what you think of the Mexican polka and Sister Margaret’s crunchy snack. Drop me a comment and let me know.
About the Author
Award winning author Catherine Castle has been writing all her life. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. Besides writing, Catherine loves traveling with her husband, singing, and attending theatre. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She’s passionate about gardening and even won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.
Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing is an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner, a 2014 EPIC finalist, a 2014 RONE finalist and a Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.