Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man – Guest post by Ciar Cullen

Today I’m proud to introduce Ciar Cullen, author of Lillian Holmes and the Leaping Man. 

At the cusp of the twentieth century, an heiress turned detective enters a world of deception and danger and must learn to trust her nemesis with both her life and her love.

Tormented by a tragic past, Miss Lillian Holmes nonetheless found the strength to go on, to become the greatest female detective of her time. To make her uncle proud. Except…he was not truly her uncle. Sherlock was a fictional character, and Lil was less a true detective than a sheltered twenty-six year old heiress with taste for mystery…and  morphine. But then she saw him. Leaping from her neighbor’s second-story window, a beautiful stranger. With the recent murders plaguing Baltimore, here was a chance to  reveal the truth.

Except, the Leaping Man was far more than he seemed. A wanton creature of darkness, an entry point to a realm of deception and evil, and to a Truth she had waited countless years to uncover, he would threaten far more than Lillian’s life. He would take both her heart and soul. And she would rejoice in it.

Read an excerpt here.

She has written a guest post for the blog today in honor of her book tour with Virtual Writers. Let’s see what Ciar has to say about her heroine. 

My Heroine, a Most Unusual Woman

 Baltimore, 1899

Single heiress, 5’8”, on the too-slim side, brunette. I love to read books that women shouldn’t read, especially the novels of A.C. Doyle and other mysteries. I ride a velocipede at night to avoid public scrutiny, avoid balls and gay evenings with my peers, and prefer the company of a few close friends. I am prone to the Melancholies, but find that reading helps soften my anxiety. I seek a companion who doesn’t want my money, who doesn’t bore me to tears, who would favor an adventurous wife over a normal lady. Are you out there, anywhere? No, I think not. 

My heroine, Lillian Holmes, is not so different from many of us (especially introverts)… she craves love, but doesn’t feel as if any of the gentlemen who come knocking on her door are sincere or interesting. She loves her books better than shopping for dresses or new bonnets. She treasures her one close friend, Bess, but feels she often fails her. She has chronic depression, but no one recognizes the disease, and she turns to the medicinal of the day, laced with morphine. Lillian craves adventure, fantasizes about being something more than a woman locked in the gilt cage of her mansion. She’s just like so many of us, except that it’s 1899.

Unlike the women in Pride and Prejudice, for example, a woman of means in this era didn’t need a man’s hand in marriage to survive. But she has the same longing for love, for partnership. Lillian does find love, a happy-ever-after (well, as long as she disposes of all of her enemies), but it is in the last person she would have expected…her nemesis.

Writing this book got me thinking about unusual women in literature, and about the reason so many of us love them. Of all things, I thought about Nancy Drew. First written in the early 1930s, Nancy Drew was a most unusual girl. She had a few close friends, and a boyfriend, but nothing gets in her way, not even handsome Ned Nickerson. She will solve the case, and you know it from the first page. I remember clearly going to the big Hutlzer’s store in downtown Baltimore with my grandmother, and as a special treat, she would buy me the newest Nancy Drew book. Looking back, I see what many feminist literary critics have mentioned—a somewhat anachronistic sketch, filled with tension between the era and the wish-fulfillment of the reader. And looking back, I realize that all those Nancy Drew books got deep inside of me, probably had a little to do with me pursuing a doctorate in archaeology, and certainly colored my rendering of Lillian Holmes. Thanks, Carolyn Keene (all several dozen of you, including the man who started the series). Oh, and by the way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my hero is named George (although that’s another girl in Nancy Drew) and her best friend is a plump Bess. It’s a nod of thanks.

Thanks so much, Ciar, for sharing your thoughts with us. You can enter the raffle below.

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I encourage each of you to visit Ciar at the tour other stops along the way. Click the banner below to see more details.

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I hope you find time to snuggle up with a good book this week!