I’m thrilled to welcome my wickedly talented client, Victoria Dougherty, to the blog today to talk about The Bone Church. Victoria’s writing turns everyday things on their heads in such a ghostly, atmospheric way, and her ability to craft a line is stunning. Welcome, Victoria, and happy release day!
Kate, thank you so much for having me on your blog. You always inspire me to do my best work and I’ll endeavor to keep up those expectations here :).
In addition to what I write, you’ve asked me to tell you all a little bit about why I write what I write. That’s a sit up for half the night with a bottle of wine kind of conversation, and I wish we could do this in front of a fire, with a plate of fancy cheeses, but I’ll give it my best shot with you there and me here:
Having grown up with a lot of drinking and smoking and storytelling at my dinner table, I guess I was predisposed to continue that tradition somehow. And these were crazy stories – dangerous, true-to-life James Bond-style epics told by the eccentric, high-wire act people that made up my family. Women who’d fled across armed borders, hid Jews, learned they were Jews, had guns held to their heads, knew how to double-cross and how to cross their legs to get you to notice. Men with deep wrinkles around their eyes, a wry smile and a code they lived by, except when they didn’t. I loved their stories – their Cold War stories. Ones that played out like an Escher drawing and were filled with all manner of subterfuge. Tales with real emotional stakes that forced life and death decisions. The kinds of decisions that can never be neat or clean and affect generations. Given that kind of background, I don’t see how I could have become a writer of, say, navel-gazing post-modern novels.
So, like most writers, I write what I like and what I know.
My work is atmospheric and often blurs the line between illusion and reality. In my novel, The Bone Church, for instance, my Jesuit protagonist suffers from a series of extraordinary visions. Otherwise, I strive for a pretty straightforward Daniel Silva meets Alan Furst style thriller. I don’t stray too far off the reservation. I like my thrillers to be, well…thrillers.
One of the many reasons to read The Bone Church is that it’s such a unique, captivating story. Check out the blurb:
In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels. But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.
Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.
And what a gorgeous cover, right?
Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia. Follow Victoria on her blog, Cold. Click here to purchase The Bone Church, and click here to add it on Goodreads.