12 January 2015

Beyond: RJ Loom

    R.J. Loom was born and raised along the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, where she still resides with her husband, two teenage children and two spoiled dogs. She loves books, music, travel and anyone with a great sense of humor. When she’s not writing, she can be found with her nose in a book, looking for more books to add to her “to-be-read” pile or spending time with her family. 

What was your inspiration for this book and the main characters?

It was a cold stormy night…

Okay, it wasn’t. It was actually a very uneventful day in the fall of 2012 when the idea of The Ilia Stone first came to me. I had made the mistake of turning on The History Channel. I say it was a mistake because I am aware of the channels I need to avoid so I don’t get sucked in, rooted to the couch while hours of my life disappear. The History Channel, Bravo, the ID channel, HGTV…for me, they are to be avoided at all costs if I have any hopes to be productive.

Anyway, mistake made.

Clash of the Gods was what drew me in on this particular day and of course it was a marathon. I lounged on the couch for hours while I watched the stories of Aphrodite, Medusa, Hades and many other Greek Gods. It was during the episode about Zeus when my mind started churning out questions.

What ever happened to the Greek Gods?

What if their powers existed today?

How could they exist today?

I blame it on the ADD. AWOLNATION, anyone? No?

Carrying on…

Enter the yet to be named artifact (at the time). With it came visions of old world maps and the artifact’s journey from Ancient Greece to the U.S. in present day.

That’s when I really got excited about this idea. I have always loved in the books I’ve read when an author would take actual historical events and give alternate explanations about why or how they happened. This journey provided a perfect opportunity to do that. It also gave me the opportunity to try to explore other time periods I have a particular interest in…

Nazi Germany? I have a huge interest in WWII which stems from growing up hearing stories my dad told me of how he and his family survived during the war. He was born in the Ukraine and they immigrated to the U.S. by way of Germany after years of starvation, disease, bombings and traveling from one displaced persons camp to another in search of safety.

14th Century Europe with the Black Plague? A pandemic that wiped out 30-60% of an entire continent’s population? Aside from that staggering statistic, I once took a trip to Scotland for my brother’s wedding. While there, my family and I took a tour of Mary King’s Close which is a series of hidden streets which lie beneath the city of Edinburgh. One of the claims is that plague victims were walled up and abandoned there to die. I think I was scarred by that little tidbit and very much wanted to pull my shirt up to cover my nose and mouth while making sure I didn’t touch anything. Yes, a completely rational thought, I know. (Insert sarcastic smirk here.)

Over the next several weeks I mulled over the idea of this journey. I didn’t write anything down until early to mid December of that year. And once I started writing, the characters shoved me out of the way and took over.

By took over, I mean their journey became front and center.

The characters in The Ilia Stone were not inspired by any people I know specifically. They are the culmination of many personality traits and attributes I’ve encountered in my life, all pieced together. But their journey is one I think most can relate to. We are all influenced by others (whether we want to admit it or not) just as we impose our own influence.  We believe lies and ignore when we think people are hiding the truth. We are all faced with tough decisions and challenges which at times may seem impossible. We cope in different ways – be it through addiction, humor, distractions, denial, shutting down or building walls others need to break through. Each of us is on our own journey to find our own happiness.

And it is in our power to make the choices to get us there. It’s all a matter of choosing which version of ourselves we want to be.
 Nia Williams could never have imagined the way her ordinary life would be turned upside down after the death of her grandfather. A chance find unwittingly has her discovering the truth of an ancient Greek myth, plunging her into a world where the legends she only read about in her history books become her reality.

Plagued with a strange link to others’ past, she follows the path of an ancient artifact around the world and throughout time as it reveals its story to guide her to contain powers once thought lost to the rise of modern religion.

Two men affected by the artifact vie for her allegiance; Gabriel, a man haunted by his own past, and smooth talking Viktor who wants Nia to embrace a life she never imagined.

A love sacrificed… An impossible decision…

As lines blur between right and wrong, how much will Nia be willing to sacrifice?

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