ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN DE MODE NOVEMBER 2023 VOL VI. ISSUE XXXVII | LITERATURE
Article Published on: 13TH JAN 2024 | www.demodemagazine.com
"SCENT OF BLUE LOTUS" - BY AUTHOR JENNIFER MUELLER
Taken from the diary and cuttings of Scarlett Abercromby herself. After 2 years apart due to the fighting in Soudan and 10 years with Gideon Abercromby, Major in the Cameron Highlanders, his wife Scarlett steps foot in the land of the pharaohs. A world so different than the one she had known as an abused wife. Of course, the first thing she does is see a god of a man whose blue eyes tempt her into thoughts of everything but Gideon Abercromby. Nothing more than a passing thought until she realizes she was brought to Egypt to be killed out of sight of anyone at home. Why wouldn't she beg one night of pleasure before death? Saved from an accident on the pyramids themselves and whisked from Gideon trying again on a trip down the Nile, divorce was suddenly the least scandalous part of her new life as Eve Marlowe when he turns up dead. Now if only she could enjoy a new life, but what got him killed is more worrying than his attempt on her life.
Jennifer Mueller's "Scent of Blue Lotus: The Abercromby Scandal" is a captivating historical novel that skillfully immerses readers in the complexities of the 19th century. Set within the Abercromby family, the novel is a tapestry of secrets, societal expectations, and compelling characters. Scarlett Abercromby, the resilient protagonist, grapples with the era's constraints, making her journey one of depth and emotional resonance. Mueller's meticulous research is evident in her vivid portrayal of the historical backdrop, lending an authentic feel to the narrative. The symbolism of the blue lotus, representing passion and rebellion, adds a sensual layer to the story. As secrets unravel and scandalous truths emerge, Mueller expertly combines elements of mystery and romance to keep readers engaged throughout. With well-drawn characters and an exquisite historical setting, "Scent of Blue Lotus" is a must-read for historical fiction enthusiasts, showcasing Jennifer Mueller's storytelling prowess and her ability to bring the past to life with elegance and emotion.
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JOURNEY OF THE AUTHOR JENNIFER MUELLER
Jennifer Mueller started writing as a hobby in college, the writing stuck unlike the subject in school at the time. The last 30 years of writing all started with Jennifer thinking she could do better after reading a book while working in a Montana ghost town one summer. After settling on forestry, she served in the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry volunteer in Kenya where she met her husband. Writing stayed only as a hobby for a good decade as she raised her daughter. Not until her husband asked the fateful question—why don’t you ever try to get published?
That started her journey in the early 2000s with the early Wild West days of eBooks. Over the last 18 years since her husband asked that question, she had more than 100 pieces published before she stopped counting.
That first book was never published but did inspire the Mystery on Wolf Mountain series that she spent a good decade perfecting. For reasons better left unremembered with one of her publishers she started self-publishing under the name Kapheira Press in 2014. A made-up island nation in the Aegean tangled up in the Mystery of Wolf Mountain and most books now inhabit that world even if vague enough not to notice. She currently has 17 books out in print with 18 soon to join those and more shorter pieces out as eBooks.
From ancient Egypt to the modern day, around the world wherever and whatever catches her fancy to inspire, history, mystery, romance and more. She writes where the story takes her. When not writing, she’s travelling if possible, including returning to her Peace Corps Kenyan village for 3 months in 2016 to help build water tanks.
Jennifer Mueller's literary journey is a testament to her boundless curiosity and adventurous spirit. Her writing knows no bounds, traversing through time and place, embracing the rich tapestry of history, the allure of mystery, and the complexities of romance. Jennifer's storytelling is a passport to various eras and locations, capturing the essence of cultures and societies across the globe.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE AUTHOR - www.jennifermuellerbooks.com
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW OF AUTHOR JENNIFER MUELLER WITH DE MODE
Q: Your experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and your extensive travels have clearly influenced your writing. How have these real-world experiences shaped your storytelling and the settings of your books?
A. I think the biggest influence is that I really don’t have to imagine much about what life was like in the past. No running water. No toilets. Doing clothes by hand. Relying on yourself for most everything. Shopping in a market for only what your neighbors can grow and make. The treat of anything that is different being special.
Q: You mentioned that you still "travel in your head" every time you write. Can you elaborate on how your writing process allows you to revisit and immerse yourself in these places and cultures?
A. When I start a new project I research until I can think like the person I am writing about. Even if I have to cut or rework much of the beginning parts because it’s in essence world-building. If I can think like that person then the rest just writes itself and I let it lead where it may.
Q: Kapheira Press, the self-publishing company you created, is named after a fictional island woven through your stories. Could you tell us more about this island and its significance in your works?
A. It’s a world they all exist even if vaguely, one in which the island is real. If you read everything, it’s a thread that isn’t more than a mention in some, in others, it's key to the plot. A place of refuge in some, a place to hide in others, a place where people are able to get away with things they shouldn’t because it isn’t normal society.
Q: The story of Scarlett in "The Scent of the Blue Lotus" seems to involve intrigue, danger, and a touch of romance. What inspired this particular narrative, and how do you balance these elements in your storytelling?
A. Women had almost no rights. Only changing after years of fighting to have laws passed very shortly before this story takes place. Divorce was ruin and the woman had to prove serious charges not just adultery to escape even an abusive husband. That he beat her was not enough reason to free herself.
Q: Scarlett's transformation from an abused wife to a woman stepping into a world so different is a compelling character arc. How do you approach character development, especially for such complex journeys?
A. Truthfully they just happen. I write with a start in my head, and everything just evolves from that. I never have outlines or plans usually, just a situation and what comes from it. Much of the first book is her coming to terms with her newfound freedom and how easy it would be for it to be taken away again.
Q: Your book touches on themes of temptation, danger, and the desire for a new life. Can you delve into the underlying themes and messages you hope readers take away from your work?
A. I try and give my characters what they need no matter how bad their life is currently. The women might be fighting the world, but the men they met stand by them to fight the world together. The world is bad enough, fighting everything can be depressing. I can read the news for depressing.
In a world filled with disheartening news, my narratives offer a counterbalance, reminding readers of the importance of unity and solidarity. My tales inspire hope and remind us that, even in the face of adversity, there is room for compassion, connection, and collective strength.
Q: "The Scent of the Blue Lotus," is the first in "The Abercromby Scandal" series. Can you provide a glimpse into the series and what readers can expect in terms of themes and character development?
A. What started as a romp down the Nile in 1900 turned darker with Victorian men who had never been told no to doing whatever they wanted because they had absolute rule and the lowest of women telling them no. Not to mention her finally finding love after the horrid husband she has endured for far too long.
Q: Egypt plays a significant role in your book. How did you go about researching and capturing the atmosphere and historical context of this setting?
A. In this case it is entirely down to an 1898 edition of a Baedeker’s guidebook. Anything you want to know about traveling Egypt in that era is there to find especially what would have been excavated since so much came in the last 100+ years. For the rest quite a lot has been written about spending time in the country.
Q: Writing historical fiction often requires meticulous attention to detail. What kind of research process do you follow to ensure the accuracy of historical elements in your novels?
A. I try to look up everything. Not just what they wear or furniture they have, but what cookbook they might be using, what products they would be buying if any, what they would be reading, even what headlines might be seen. They might not all end up in the final version due to length, but I’ve looked it all up.
Q: What can readers look forward to from you in the future? Are there any upcoming projects or books in the works that you'd like to share with your audience?
A. I’m pushing to get Book 2 of the Abercromby Scandal The Scent of Bay Rum out very soon. It’s in final edits and should be out in November/December at the latest. Scarlett’s tale continues in England now using the name Eve Marlowe to hide her from the scandal she was a part of in Egypt.