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Masheri Chappelle Author Interview

Welcome to Ink & Magick. I'm your friendly neighborhood witch. What kind of spell can I get for you (or your character) today?

I would love for you to conjure a constantly growing audience of readers, with whom I can share my inspirational and spiritual experiences as a medium so I can provide them with hope and faith in the divine and their divinity.

Uhhh... I think the couples of the world can take care of populating the Earth without any help from me. But tell me about your #Paranormal, #AfricanAmerican, #HistoricalFantasy, #FamilySaga The Oracle Files: Escape.

Cursed by her mother at age seven, Elizabeth is forced to battle Malachai, an angry West African ghost, as she emerges from slave to Quaker to "Blue Vein" Socialite, in the harsh Black and White world of 1850 New York. With the help of her Quaker father and her spirit guide, she creates a shelter of love wherever she goes. However, the raging storm of racism, the looming threat of slavery, and Malachai's relentless hauntings pelt her life with indomitable fear. After a painful betrayal sends her running into New York's dangerous Five Points,  she emerges with a gypsy's secret to battle Malachai and racism. Freed from Malachai's ghostly grip, and ready to embrace her secret "Blue Vein" world, she quickly discovers her freedom will cost more than she is willing to pay. 



     He could still see her head. A round dark circle moving through tall green Elephant grasses. The glint of Gambian sun reflecting off of the Portuguese soldier’s metal helmet guided him to the direction to which they were running. He prayed his sister, Nyima, would keep her captor in the open grasses.      Like a gazelle he cut through the grasses mined with elephant dung. Tsetse flies joined the chase clinging and pricking his body hungry for his blood. The drum pounding sound of his heart blended with the distant clanging of the armored Portuguese soldiers that chased him. He was thankful their bodies were slowed by the weight of their metal chests and helmeted heads. The laden squad of soldiers moved like a slow herd of water cows. Their heavy armor, tall grasses, and the hot sun allowed him to widen the distance.      His eyes stayed focused on Nyima as she was pulled through the grasses. He gripped his spear. When he got close enough, he would send it into the heart of Nyima’s captor. He had no doubt the iron tip of his spear and his perfected throw would be strong enough to go through the soldier’s metal chest, but he needed to be closer. He had only one chance to free them both, and escape before the other metal soldiers caught up with them.      Nyima looked back. He caught a glimpse of her eyes. Her head turned back as she continued running forward, faster. Her free arm pointed to the left. She and the soldier disappeared into a dense brush, which immediately slowed them down. He took his last strides through the grasses and then ducked into the dense brush so he could run parallel with them. The coolness of the shade energized him. His eyes quickly adjusted to the shaded darkness, and his ears listened for their movement. In front, to his left, he heard them pushing and fighting their way through the dense brush. Suddenly his nose was punched with the pungent stench of lion. But it wasn’t an ordinary lion. It was Jatoo Jinoo, an oversize lion that had terrorized their village since he could remember. Jatoo Jinoo had a distinguishable roar and his urine an unbearable stench. Jatoo Jinoo’s spray of urine covered the brush around him forcing him to freeze. His eyes scanned the surrounding brush. He could not see Jatoo Jinoo but he could still hear their movement. Nyima was moving further away.      “Aaaaaeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiii!” Deemaa! Deemaa!” Nyima’s voice cried out into the canopy of the jungle. Her voice was punctuated by the grunt, grunt, growling of Jatoo Jinoo. Without thinking he rushed through the jungle with his spear raised in the air. He had only one shot to save Nyima. The grunts of the Jatoo Jinoo grew stronger, which meant it was preparing to attack. As he ran, his foot was pierced by sharp rocks and broken stems and branches.      He saw the silvery chest of the soldier. The soldier’s sword was drawn. Nyima was pressed behind the soldier. His eyes suddenly spotted a massive bulk of brown fur just feet away. He had only one shot to make, and only one target to choose; Jatoo Jinoo or the soldier. Jatoo Jinoo lowered its body and then pushed off into a leap. His arm drew back and with all of his soul he launched his spear into the air. Thoomp! Thump! Jatoo Jinoo’s speared body fell to the ground within a foot of Nyima and the soldier. Bang! Craaaaccck!     A single blast from a gun exploded into the air.     “Malachai!” Nyima screamed.     Malachai turned and saw a flash of white light coming at him. It appeared to come from the metal chests of the soldiers. The moment the light entered his feet his body trembled. What kind of weapon is this?     Malachai jumped back out of the light and then bolted into the darkness of the jungle to hide until it was safe to come out.

Wow! There's a lot going on here. Tell us more about the research you did for this novel?

The research I did for, The Oracle Files: Escape was primarily for clothing, location, architecture, and layout of NYC. I wanted people to be able to see the locations, get a feel of the location's brightness or darkness, or filth or cleanliness, wealth or poverty, and more importantly the smell. Most cities back then, depending on the sanitation and plumbing had distinct odors. Finding maps of NYC and New Hope, PA back in 1846 and 1849 were helpful in the movement of the characters within the story. Maps help to determine how far they could travel in a day, and when they did what were some of the streets, if there were trees and fields instead of actual city streets, and historical landmarks were always important. Those kind of geographic details help to make the story more dimensional and believable.

I agree! What about your supernatural beings? How do you handle ghosts?

As a medium and intuitive, my supernatural beings were normal to me. I felt the need to make my ghosts/spirits very human with real unresolved issues. Giving them supernatural powers to connect and speak with characters in the physical world and physically shake their world— like the Amos' Cornfield scene or the scene in Emma's kitchen—was my way to convey a characters' emotional desire to communicate their unresolved emotions with those in the physical world. It was my way to convey the seamlessness of our emotions between the spirit and the physical world. When you read and see which characters have telekinesis and how each character utilizes their abilities, the reader will see that the power is equal in both the physical and spiritual realms. I hope it will get the reader to think about if we are truly limited in the physical realm or if we are conditioned to believe we are.

A real medium! How has that affected your work?

Being a medium, an intuitive, has been a blessing in telling this story. The scope of my storytelling is far greater. Additionally, the kinds of spiritual gifts I give my characters allow them and their story to have more dimensions and of course more conflict to resolve. Lastly I feel as a medium, that I am providing an authentic view and experience of the spiritual realm. It is my hope that my readers walk away with less fear any stereotypical beliefs they had about mediums have been replaced with appreciation of our purpose and the work we do.

I hope so too. Who is your favorite (or least favorite) character and why?

My favorite character is Jonathan Beeson. He was so dimensional, physically real, and deeply spiritual, celestial all at the same time. I can't say too much about him, without divulging some spoilers, but he is the sage in this story. He is my Yoda.

If you could time-travel, would you travel to the future or the past? Where would you like to go, and why would you choose that time period?

I've remembered quite a few past lives, so I'd probably like to travel to the future so I can bring back understanding to help guide myself and others. When you know better you do better.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

There are a few things I believe readers can do to help make The Oracle Files: Escape successful. The first is having online discussions with me on Facebook—that would be a great start. That kind of exchange is always a wonderful way to cultivate readership and more dialogue. I also feel, creating a book group discussion—I would definitely find a way to show up, listen and respond to readers. Another way would be to write Amazon reviews and share the book and their reading experience with family and friends.

All excellent suggestions. What can we expect from you next?

Presently I am working on my play, The Observation Deck, about a psychic woman who is locked up in a psychiatric ward because her husband fears she will reveal the dark soul hiding within him. Readers will also see book two The Oracle Files: Freedom—Elizabeth's chance meeting with Lincoln changes the course of American history forever.

That sounds great! Well, thank you so much for stopping in to chat with me today, and good luck in the future!

Masheri Chappelle is a playwright and novelist. As an undergrad and Smith Scholar at Smith College, her plays were produced at Smith College, and Third World Theater Series at the University of Massachusetts, and her play, The Roomer, received a NY reading with actors Moses Gunn and Isaiah Washington.

In 1989 her focus on writing expanded to include novels. Her first novel, The Descendant, book one of a trilogy, was published in 2009. Since then, she has added another novel series to her literary projects, The Oracle Files: Escape. In addition to working on her novels, Masheri is completing her full length play, The Observation Deck, which will be completed by fall 2019. Book two of The Oracle Files series: Freedom, will be completed winter 2020, and Book two, Silent Partners, of The Descendant trilogy will be completed winter 2021. Masheri Chappelle is a New Hampshire Writers’ Project Chair and Trustee.

You can connect with Masheri Chappelle on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn

You can get your copy of The Oracle Files: Escape on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Read Chapter 1 of The Oracle Files: Escape for free here!

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    D. Lieber has a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

    Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.

    Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).

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