The Lily Cafe is thrilled to welcome author Willow Healy! She is the author of the historical thriller Strange Karma, which is set in the past and the present and surrounds the question of who climbed Mount Everest first.
Title: Strange Karma
Author: Willow Healy
Publisher: Booklocker,com, Inc.
Publication date: August 13, 2020
Genre: Historical Thriller
The Inspiration Behind Strange Karma
About Strange Karma
Excerpt 1: Modern Day
Lake District, England, present day
Odds are, when you receive an inheritance, you know the person you inherit from, but that wasn’t true for Cynthia Graham. Try as she might, she couldn’t come up with any memories of Lydia Dunton. Cynthia had wrongly assumed that her grandmother was long dead. But now, this recently buried stranger filled her thoughts, and left her with the unanswerable question, how could she have not known about Lydia Dunton?
Double–checking the address on the business card, she stood motionless until a fierce blast of wind spurred her to action. Time to put a face to the voice and meet the solicitor, Mr. Jones.
Inside the old Victorian, she was greeted by a motherly woman with a short, gray bob. “Terrible weather we’re having. You must be freezing, you poor lamb. I’ll make tea.” She then pointed to a corner, “Go ahead, miss, leave your suitcase over there by the printer. I’ll tell Mr. Jones you’re here.”
Cynthia smiled ruefully to herself at the term “poor lamb.” At 5’8”, she towered over the motherly woman.
Cynthia then was shown into the solicitor’s office.
After shaking hands, he got down to business. “May I see your documents?” His manner was dry, but not unkind.
Cynthia handed over her U.S. passport, birth certificate, and her mother’s immigration papers and death certificate.
As he read her passport, he glanced up to examine her.
Assumedly he was going over passport details with a lawyer’s thoroughness: hair color red, check; eyes blue, check; twenty-seven years old, check.
The gray-haired woman entered bearing a tray holding a teapot, two cups, and a plate of cookies. Carefully she set the teapot and porcelain cup ringed with a festive holly pattern in front of Cynthia. “This’ll warm you up.”
Cynthia smiled her thanks.
Having found her documents satisfactory, Mr. Jones’ manner warmed. “What do you know about Lydia Dunton?”
“Unfortunately, absolutely nothing. You see, my mother died in a fire when I was eight.” Just uttering those words brought back the horror.
Excerpt 2: The Past
from Chapter Eleven
London, England 1923
October and November drifted by and, much to Mrs. Laughton’s great displeasure, Sandy continued to call on Emma. Because of Mrs. Laughton’s intense dislike, Sandy tried to meet Emma in alternative locations whenever possible. Christina Broom’s photography studio and house on Munster Road became a favorite rendezvous point.
When he first met Mrs. Broom, Britain’s first woman press photographer, he guessed she was in her sixties, and to Sandy’s mind, her face held tremendous strength and appeal. It was a face which tragedy had visited, yet where humor lurked. Emma had told him that in addition to freelancing, she had a stall at the Royal Mews,where she sold her postcards.
“So this is the young man you’ve been telling me so much about. Feel free to wander and look about. I have to mix chemicals in the darkroom.” Mrs. Broom told him.
While Emma cropped a picture, Sandy admired the photos on the walls and was pleasantly surprised to find Emma’s photos included in the display. Her Thames series captured the river’s moodiness with mists rising from the river and men hard at work on the boats. Two fishermen pulling up a net full of swirling silver fish caught his eye, and he felt inordinately proud of her.
“Nice. I like them.”
“Tomorrow, I go on a shoot. Would you like to come?”
“Absolutely!” Sandy tried not to think of the chemistry class he’d once again be missing, but well, what else could a chap do?
They met early at the St Paul’s station, and for a change, the weather was sunny.
“Where to now?” he asked after kissing her on the cheek. “Or are you going to blindfold me and keep me in suspense?”
She laughed. “St. Brides. Mrs. Broom has an assignment to photograph Christopher Wren designed churches. I’m assisting her with the smaller ones. Did you know that the first printing press was housed at St. Brides?”
“I didn’t,” he replied as he helped carry her supplies. And for the rest of the morning, he watched her take photos of the church from various angles, focusing mainly on the arched windows and the famous wedding cake steeple.
“Done,” she said, as she packed up her camera.
Sandy was reluctant to let her go. “Lunch? Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is nearby.”
They walked off Fleet Street and down a narrow alley to the pub constructed around the same time as St. Brides. Once inside, they maneuvered a tiny passageway to a private nook upstairs. The room was so dark that the elderly waiter seemed to materialize out of nowhere to take their order. After finishing the meat pies, Sandy took Emma’s hands into his and took a deep breath. What if she says no, he thought, then what would he do? “I appreciate this is sudden. But I have to tell you how I feel. I love you. I need to know how you feel about me.”
She offered him a smile. “I care. Very much. But there’s mother. She suspects I’m fond of you and wants you justto go away. She’s accused me of being too independent, bohemian, and influenced by modern thinking. I told her I’d see who I want to see.”
“I’ll be up again next weekend,” he said, kissing her hand.
“Up to London again? After all the lectures you’ve missed? Rather risky, old chap, the tutor won’t be happy,” Dick remarked, his tone worried, as he and Sandy prepared for crew practice.
“Dick, I’m pulled in all directions. With my studies, keeping fit, and Emma. And, well, between you and me, I’m proposing soon.”
Dick let out a long, low whistle. “She’s a lovely girl, but you’re not even done with school yet.”
“I’ve cadged an invitation to the Lovelet’s party through Tommy Barnes. Emma said she’d be there.”
“Does Emma know you’ve lobbied for a good part of the year to be part of the Mount Everest expedition?”
“Not yet. I’ll tell her once the committee informs me if it’s a yes or no.”
Dick waved an envelope his way. “Marjory writes that she’s back at Cornist Hall and invites
us for a visit this weekend. She insists that I bring you along.”
A blush spread over Sandy’s cheeks. Marjory! He’d meant to contact her to tell her that their affair was over. Tomorrow, he’d call; it had to be done. “I’m afraid I can’t go, old man.”
Excerpted from Strange Karma by Willow Healy, Copyright © 2020 by Willow Healy. Published by Booklocker,com, Inc.
About Willow Healy
I’ve lived, traveled, and worked all over the world. I use my experiences and adventures in Japan, Nepal, Tibet, Lesotho, Germany, and Canada, as a source of inspiration to write novels set in exotic locales and populated with memorable characters.
In Japan, I taught English to businessmen, and in Tokyo worked on NHK television and radio. In Nepal, I was marketing manager for a resort in the Himalayas. In Lesotho, Africa, I was representative for a Canadian parastatal which brought out short term volunteers to assist with a multitude of wonderful projects. While in Canada, I did marketing for a Native American art gallery specializing in stone sculpture. In the United States, among other things, I was a travel agent and customer relations manager for a software company.
I love discovering new and exciting authors, artists, musicians, hiking and travel.
2nd in RWA Kiss of Death’s Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
Semi-finalist in 2020 Adventures Writers Competition
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Connect with Willow Healy
Thank you so much, Willow!
The author, Willow Healy, retains all rights to the guest post, excerpt, and trailer, published above, which may not be copied, reproduced, modified, sold, or distributed without the author’s express permission. To contact Willow Healy to request permission to utilize the above guest post, please send your inquiry to Kat via the Contact page.
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