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Publisher: Boz Books
Telling lies is second nature to Casey Clemens, whether she's talking to strangers on national television or to her mother on the phone. Casey's got a cushy Hollywood condo, an efficient cleaning lady and a rich boyfriend. (Never mind that he's married.) When Casey feels dissatisfied she fantasizes: about winning an Oscar, about finding real love or about her childhood hero, King Arthur.
It feels like an acting career, sort of, until the day before Casey's 40th birthday when she loses everything she never cared about, falls through a gap in time and lands in the 6th century war camp of King Arthur himself. He mistakes her for a wizard and takes her in. But as she finds her feelings warming to him she also finds enemies. War is fast approaching, and the Dark Ages are a perilous time for an actress with an honesty problem. That is, if she wants to make it back to the 21st century alive. Not that she could if she wanted to. Not that she wants to.
The title, Camelot & Vine, refers to the famous intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Vine St. in Hollywood, California. In my story, it’s a different intersection: a modern woman’s dangerous adventure in the Dark Ages. The heroine, Casey Clemens, starts out with faults and insecurities. Telling lies is her second nature, and she’s been doing it for years as a TV spokeswoman for a cleaning product. Her life has leveled out: she's got a cushy Hollywood condo, an efficient cleaning lady and a rich boyfriend. (Never mind that he's married.) When she feels dissatisfied, which is more and more these days, she fantasizes: about winning an Oscar, about finding real love, or about her childhood hero, King Arthur.
It feels like an acting career, sort of, until the day before Casey's 40th birthday when she loses everything, falls through a gap in time and lands in the 6th century war camp of King Arthur himself. He mistakes her for a wizard and takes her in. But she has no magic, and as she finds her feelings warming to the king she also finds enemies. War is fast approaching, and the Dark Ages are a perilous time for an actress with an honesty problem. That is, if she wants to make it back to the 21st century alive. Not that she could if she wanted to. Not that she wants to.
RH: What kind of research did you do for Camelot & Vine?
I did a lot! And I loved it. I wanted to tell a “real” story, even though many of the characters come from myth. For example, if a person such as King Arthur had existed, who was he? When did he live? Where? What was life like then? I learned that someone like him might have lived in the late fifth or early sixth century in post-Roman Britain, so I set the story at 500AD. Because we have very little contemporaneous writing from within Britain, I studied archaeological as well as historical texts. And the myths are so varied and complicated, I had to simply choose one interpretation and go with it.
There’s a picture on my Facebook page of a few of the books I read: http://bit.ly/28vwEge
RH: What makes this book stand above the rest?
I’d say it’s Casey’s voice. She’s the person telling us the story. She starts out as flippant and fun, but as she goes through this major learning process in her life, her voice changes, first to frightened, then to brave. She starts out unhappy, but in the end she takes responsibility and does what she must do. It makes her a better person.
RH: What made you want to become a writer?
I’ve always been a person of language and words. I started reading early, and I majored in Creative Writing. My mother was a writer. And I like to talk! I work in the voice-over business. Perhaps writing was inevitable for me.
RH: If Camelot & Vine could be a movie, who would play Casey Clemens?
I’ve imagined my perfect cast, but I don’t say who it is because I want readers to picture their own ideals for the roles. For Casey, it has to be an actress who is adept at both comedy and drama. She walks a line between worlds in more ways than one. Guinevere has to be young. Lancelot has to be physically imposing. King Arthur could be handsome, but it’s more important that he be tough. The story is very cinematic and would make a great movie.
RH: What is your next project?
I’m working on a mystery about a library archivist who comes across a photo that puts her life in danger and changes who she’s always believed herself to be. She must solve the mystery of the man in the photo to find out who’s stalking her, and to save her own life.
RH: Where can we find you on the web?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Petrea-Burchard/e/B00BA6U2NI/
RH: What does your writing sanctuary look like?
I live in an old house with Craftsman touches, like wooden built-ins and a handmade tile fireplace. My office is a small room at the back of the house, where I can look out over the back yard. But I can write almost anywhere if I need to. Coffee shops are good, and airports. Anywhere no one pays attention to me, where I can be invisible.
RH: Do you have any tricks when it comes to getting into the writing-mode?
I write at the same time every day, the first thing in the morning. Having gotten into the habit, I’m primed and ready when I sit down with my coffee, and I can dig in and write immediately. I can usually do 2-3 hours before I have to quit for breakfast.
RH: List the last three books that you've read:
Right now I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I just finished Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. Two Pulitzer winners in a row! Before that I read a classic, I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. If it didn’t win a Pulitzer, it should have. I hope the lessons of these great authors rub off on me.
RH: What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Connection. To my husband, my dog, nature. Connection is my reason for writing.