Linda Tiernan Kepner pays my blog a visit with her answer to the question What Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with, and why?
Another fab author from New England, Linda is part of my Meet the Authors series. Her book Vale of Vampires is available now. Check out the excerpt below.
Her short story “Quicksilver” will be in “Decopunk,” an anthology to be released in July.
Take it away, Linda…
Peggy Jaeger asked me: What Literary character(s) would you like to have dinner with, and why?
I’m influenced by intelligent heroes and heroines. And I think the food would be as interesting as the conversation!
Archie Goodwin. Somewhere that we wouldn’t have to dress up, although he likes his dancing and a good night on the town. I would like to know if it was his love of food or adventure that made him agree to become Nero Wolfe’s leg-man. After all, he showed he really didn’t need Wolfe to survive in 20th-century New York City, and yet he says, “Yes sir,” and goes out on the next errand. Robert Goldsborough is doing a wonderful job of answering some of these questions about the pre-Rex Stout era of their partnership in the prequels he’s writing. Maybe he has talked to Archie Goodwin.
Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane (aka Lady Peter), together or separately. The characters in Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey novels (continued by Jill Paton Walsh) are probably much smarter than me, but I think we could find something to talk about. It would be interesting to get Harriet’s slant on being a woman writer in a time that discouraged women writing. That’s an interesting time period, between World Wars 1 and 2. I never knew much about England’s role because my Irish-American family was so rabidly anti-English they wouldn’t even cross the border to Ontario for Sunday afternoon ice cream. And it was only ten miles away.
John Watson, M.D. I had a crush on him when I was in high school. I thought he was much cooler than Sherlock Holmes. He was ex-military, a man of action, and intelligent enough to have an advanced degree. Good-looking, too, at least in the early years, a tanned ex-soldier. I borrowed The Complete Sherlock Holmes from my high school library and renewed it continually for almost a year. I never saw the old movies, with Nigel Bruce whuffling around for comedic action, and I’m glad. The modern movie/TV Watsons are much better.
Dr. Leonard J. McCoy from the classic Star Trek series. I read the books based on the TV scripts, but they were done by an English sci-fic author who had never seen the show (James Blish). As I got older, I appreciated Blish’s writing more. He made those characters into thinking men. But McCoy’s twinkling blue eyes, his Southern background, and his skill made him very foxy, didn’t matter if he was the oldest guy on the ship. He started as an “extra” in that program, and ended up as a star. The books showed his compassion and his common sense.
Melville Dewey, aka Melvil Dui. I know, not a literary character as such – though I think someone may have written a novel featuring him. (There was a good long biographical article about him in AL – does that count?) I’d like to know how he transformed the Baconian theory of knowledge into the Dewey Decimal System (and the LC system), and how he decided to form the American Library Association. But I’d only want coffee with him, because a) he was an 1890’s university librarian, so he could be preachy; and b) he was a masher who diddled with the funds of the ALA and with more than a few of the female librarians, and got himself kicked out of the organization in disgrace. I’ll bet I’d probably end up paying for the coffee, too.
(Book 2 of The Vampire of Manhattan series)
At Good Hope Hospital and Hanford & Bogie Publishing, life goes on. Dr. Benjamin Smith has become the official physician of The Vampire of Manhattan. Dr. Aden Drinan grudgingly acquires a mentor in Brooklyn. Bill Sniffen gallops off to Canada after a hot story. Rosa resists being packed off to Italy. Jenna McArdle wrangles authors, editors, publishers, and the health issues of her last remaining family member, Jimmy.
Then Sniffen vanishes in Canada, and Jenna goes looking for him. During her travels, she meets a wise vampire hunter, a kindly Quebecois trapper, and a sophisticated vampire lord. Then Jenna also disappears, and the doctors begin searching for her. The jaunt to Canada promises to be a walk in the park. Central Park. After midnight. On a very bad night.
“So that’s where you stand.” Fletcher set down the glass with a thud.
“That’s where I stand.” In one smooth motion Drinan refilled the glass, again without asking.
“You don’t screw up, Drinan, that’s the pisser.” Fletcher took another sip of the cognac in the spirit in which it was given. “They can gossip about your women and bitch about you skipping hospital meetings, but there’s not a doctor alive who’d say that Aden Drinan ever ditched a patient.”
“That’s the way I want to keep it.” Drinan also sipped cognac. Looking into the glass, he added, “That’s what’s important to me.”
“More important than your women?”
Drinan met his gaze. “Yes.”
Fletcher seemed greatly subdued, more than two shots of cognac should have done. He stood. “I’ll think about what you’ve said.”
“All right.” Drinan stood, too, and saw his guest back out into the darkened halls of the Doctors’ Annex. He shut the office door and sat down again in his chair. Thoughtfully, he put the cognac away. Fletcher was a good doc. All he needed was a little time.
The telephone rang. Drinan looked at the clock. Six o’clock on a Friday evening. A fine time for an emergency. Just when he wanted to get out of the office for a while, and play in the darkness. He could pretend he was not here; but he never did.
“Why, you still are at the office.”
Her voice made him smile. The weariness melted away. “Hello, Jenna. What can I do for you?”
“Do you have a date?”
“Well, then. The Rainbow Room. Eight o’clock.”
“That’s the best offer I’ve had all week.”
“It must have been a heck of a week.”
“It was. Are you getting too liberated, or may I still pay our way?”
“Oh, you may, if you insist. I admit I’m going to ask you for a favor.”
“Not the Secret Life of Aden Drinan, I hope.”
“Oh, no. Not at all. Something far more mundane. I will go out and buy you a boutonniere, though.”
“I can live with that,” said Drinan. “Thanks, Jenna. I don’t know how you knew I needed some time away from this.”
“I have psychic powers,” Jenna said. “Some experts in the field have told me so.”
Linda Tiernan Kepner has loved genre fiction – science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and romance – since she was a child, although not much was available in “serious northern” New York State. Except for Canadian television and books available in school libraries, there was none to read – so she wrote her own. She has been writing since third grade, but truly published since the 1990s.
Linda’s science fiction and fantasy short stories have appeared in Absolute Magnitude magazine and anthology; Reality’s Escape; Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Dreams of Decadence; FantasticStoriesoftheImagination.com; and the anthologies Little Shop of Poisons and Potions, The Apothecary on the Street of Dreams, The Life and Times of Griswald Grimm, and Decopunk.
So far, Linda has published seven novels: Play the Game and Planting Walnuts (science fiction); Second Chance and Second Chance Sister (romance); The Whisperwood Ordinaire (fantasy fiction); and the paranormal series featuring the Vampire of Manhattan, Loving the Vampire and Vale of Vampires.
Find Linda here, most often: