Today I have the talented and well-traveled author, M.S. Spencer. Her life traveling around the world was used a a background for Lapses of Memory, which was newly released on March 15th. I’d have to say I’m a bit envious of her adventures. Tell us a bit about your journeys and how you incorporated them into your book. By the way, I love the cover.
My traveling life began at the age of six months, when my family moved from upstate New York to North Carolina. From there we went to Maryland, and soon thereafter were winging our slow way halfway across the world to Turkey. I once counted up the number of significant moves in my life…and stopped at twenty-five. I have lived or traveled in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the US, Central America, and South America. I’ve seen the Peacock Throne in the Golestan Palace in Iran and ridden a stallion across the Egyptian desert. I’ve swum with pink dolphins and gone fishing for piranha. I’ve watched as thousands of migrating cranes land on my roof in Istanbul. I’ve even begged for cigarettes from the sailors on a battleship in the Port of Tangier J (See Excerpt below.)
It’s been an adventure.
Lapses of Memory incorporated bits of those adventures, or uses impressions I have of the exciting events occurring during those years. It follows the exploits of two journalists, Sydney Bellek and Elian Davies, as they travel the globe reporting on various world catastrophes. The first time they meet as adults, Elian is about to infiltrate a fictional Greek revolutionary group, and Sydney is off to Cairo to study Arabic. The next time, however, they are both covering the initial stages of the revolution in Iran and only barely escape. Again a few years later we find them rivals in the search for a scoop on the Lebanese Civil War. During their journey, their love grows and deepens.
Blurb: Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret.
Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?
Excerpt: The Couples First Kiss: Port of Tangier
By luck or accident, Eddie’s parents had chosen the hotel next to Sydney’s apartment building, so they saw him every day. She and Eddie spent hours scouting the beach for what Eddie dubbed valuables—shells and sharks’ teeth and interesting flotsam. They kept their treasures in a shoebox under Sydney’s bed. Life seemed as good as it would ever be, or so Sydney told her diary.
The day before he had to leave for Marrakesh, Eddie met her at the front door of the hotel. “Let’s go down to the port. Ali says he has a surprise.”
They made their way to the bustling docks. Dwarfing the usual jumble of fishing boats and ferries at the wharves, a huge gray destroyer lay at anchor, its American flags flying proudly. “Wow, what’s that?”
A sailor passing by them said, “It’s the USS John Paul Jones of the Sixth Fleet. She’s come in for a weekend’s leave. See that little kiosk over there? You can get tickets for a tour if you like.”
Sydney started to head toward the kiosk, but Eddie held her back. He pointed at a gaggle of local kids standing near the ship pointing and yelling. “There’s Ali. Let’s see what’s going on.”
They ran along the pier, gawking at the sailors in their brilliant white uniforms who stood at attention on the decks. A couple of the other kids waved their arms, calling the sailors. Eddie grinned at Sydney. “You wanna jump in and see if they’ll throw us something?”
“No, it’ll be fun. Ali says he and Yusuf do it all the time.” He took a flying leap and landed butt first in the oil-ringed water. He came up spluttering and waved at her. “Come on in, the water’s disgusting!”
When you’re thirteen years old and in love, you sometimes do the darndest things. Holding her nose, Sydney dove off the pier. She made the mistake of opening her eyes before she surfaced and was nearly blinded by a silt soup thicker than the Nile at flood stage. Something nipped her toe. She shot up out of the depths, kicking frantically at whatever slimy sea creature lurked in the muck. Together they swam over to a couple of brown-skinned boys and waved and shouted along with them. “Hey, sailor! Throw us sumpin’!”
Pretty soon, they had a crowd of uniforms hanging over the railing, tossing cigarettes to them. Sydney wondered what her mother would do if she saw her little Pollyanna screeching and spitting out scummy water while she fought over soggy Winstons. To be on the safe side, she yelled in French. That way the headlines wouldn’t read “Underage American girl caught fraternizing with the Sixth Fleet.” One sailor leaned far out, pointed at her, and sent his Dixie cup hat floating out. She lunged for it, but instead her head slammed into Eddie’s. Dazed, she threw her arms out hoping to find something to grab on to and hit a bare chest. Two arms went round her, and before she could struggle out of them, two lips came in contact with hers. A moment later, they were gone. A hand took hers and guided her to the dock. “You okay?”
“Eddie!” Then she couldn’t think of anything else to say.
He grinned at her. “We’d best get back.” He pulled her out of the water.
They picked up their towels and walked home. Sydney kept her mouth closed, the better to savor the tingling feeling the kiss left on her lips. At the door to her building, he stopped. “We’re leaving tomorrow morning early. I’d…I’d like to see you tonight. Can you get out?”
She shook her head. “I’ve used up my three late nights. I have to stay in.” She hoped the tear that welled up wouldn’t fall.
Eddie’s face fell instead. “I don’t want to say goodbye, Sydney. What happens if…”
“If we never see each other again?” A sudden weight crushed her sternum, reminding her of that first climbing ascent in a plane when she was five. Never?
“Look, I’ll figure something out.” He checked the sun. “I’ve got to go. I promise, I’ll see you tonight.” Before she could move, he bent forward and kissed her again, then threw his towel over his shoulder and strolled jauntily away.
Now for the all important question: “Where can I find this book?”
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lapses-of-memory-ms-spencer/1115291373
More about Ms. Spencer: Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Be sure to look her up at her various sites:
Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor
For her calendar of events:
Romance Books 4 Us: http://www.romancebooks4us.com/M.S._Spencer.html