Please help me welcome Ritter Ames, author of Counterfeit Conspiracies
Tell us about the main character. Who is Laurel?
Laurel is an art recovery expert who works for a foundation whose mission is to keep art available to the public. In her pseudo 8 to 5 role she tries as much as possible to meet expectations, but when conventional rules don’t work Laurel has no difficulty bending to meet her ethics a bit to meet requirements. She’s highly ethical, even if hers are ones she created.
Laurel sounds like such an intriguing character. What inspired you when creating her?
I’ve always been a voracious reader—especially of mysteries and crime. In college, I took a number of art history classes, and one professor regularly discussed works that had been stolen and never seen again. Art law enforcement experts are a very small part of any country’s police force. Italy probably has the best, and things are improving all over, but pieces still go missing all the time. The class, and my subsequent reading sent me thinking in terms of what it would be like to be responsible for trying to gain back missing art. And what you might do if official channels made the task too difficult.
Then in 2008 I wrote a short story that became the basis of the opener for Counterfeit Conspiracies. It won the contest I entered, but more importantly it cemented the core of Laurel Beacham for me. I started working on the story arc for a novel series. This month, two books in the series were released by Henery Press, Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters, and a third, Abstract Aliases, comes out October 11th.
Will this be an ongoing series?
Yes, this story arc will run over five titles. If the series is a success, of course, there will be more adventures of Laurel & Jack after the first five.
What is your favorite work of art? Your favorite museum?
My favorite work of art is probably the picture Van Gogh painted of his bedroom. I saw it for the first time in high school, when a traveling exhibit came to a museum nearby, and my cousin took me to the exhibition. I already knew about Van Gogh’s depression and his life story, so when I first saw the cheery yellow scene, I couldn’t believe it. This was a bedroom I could see myself living in. My cousin assumed someone else decorated it for him in those colors, to try to keep his mood elevated. But it was the fact that he painted it in those colors, so inviting and cheerful, that told me things about Vincent Van Gogh I’d never thought about before. That’s what I love about any form of art—the more one studies the work and the artist, the more one can see beyond the “first look.”
When art leaves me thinking about it later—even though several decades have passed since I viewed that painting—it tells me the work is a true masterpiece. I realize others have different ideas about master works, but that’s my philosophy on the subject.
As far as favorite museums go, my all-time favorite is the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Not only is it free to the public, but every imaginable kind of art is housed in its walls. During the era when “the sun never set on the British Empire,” travelers brought things back to England from colonial lands. These items were placed in the museum. So the mix is eclectic and very interesting.
However, my favorite part of the V&A museum is actually the restoration pit, which is where I have Laurel’s friend Cassie working in Counterfeit Conspiracies. A kind of glassed-in hall runs above the restoration area, and visitors to the museum can watch as restoration artists a story below work on art pieces that need a bit of restorative help. Seriously, my husband has to nearly drag me away every time. I would camp out in that glass hallway if I had the opportunity.
If you could visit any fictional place, where would you go?
There are so many real places I’d like to visit, they kind of crowd in around the fictional ones. Probably the one that first comes to mind is Brigadoon. Growing up, I absolutely loved watching old Gene Kelly movies, and the whole idea of a Scottish town that only “awoke” once every 100 years was something that fascinated me. Still does. I’d love to be in Brigadoon on the “once in a century” day that happened in my lifetime.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m loving the Agent Carter series, and up until this season I would have probably said Castle was my favorite show, but I’m having a real problem with the scripts this year. I also love Scorpion and Grimm. If I had to pick a favorite movie I guess I’d have to choose one I’ve re-watched the most times, but even with that I’m not good at only finding one. Contenders would be Romancing the Stone, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or maybe Dead Poet’s Society. And absolutely anything with Cary Grant as the lead actor.
What’s your go-to comfort food?
I love cheese. I think I would have queso with every meal if I could. And my fallback for lunch is always chicken quesadillas.
Where can readers find you online?
Oh, I’m everywhere. My website www.ritterames.com has all my contact info. My publisher has also built me a terrific author page at http://henerypress.com/ritter-ames/ . Readers can Follow me on my Amazon author page at www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW/, finding my latest tweets, blogs, and FB posts there as well as see information on my books and get updates about upcoming releases.
Before I go, Kimber Leigh, I want to thank you so much for inviting me here today, and to thank everyone for stopping by.
I'm totally with you on Castle. It was one of my favorite shows, but this season isn't as enjoyable. I also love Scorpion and Grimm too! The Mysteries of Laura is a really good one too. ~Kimber
Author: Ritter Ames
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.
The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.
Ritter Ames is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries series and the Bodies of Art Mysteries series. When she’s not writing or brainstorming new mysteries Ritter is usually trying to get her favorite yellow lab to stay out of the pond, or keep her grouchy black cat from trying to give the dog away on Freecycle. Ritter would love to live on a boat and write from far flung locations around the globe, but the dog would constantly have to be fished from the water, and her husband and cat would just complain endlessly about the dog’s smell, so staying on land seems to be the only good option to keep her sanity and not get sidetracked from writing.
Ritter tries to blog regularly at http://ritterames.com/ and subscribe there to get the latest news about upcoming releases, and inside scoops on her characters and series. She uses her Pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/ to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books. You can find her Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks and Follow her on Twitter @RitterAmes.
Website & blog: www.ritterames.com
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW/
Twitter handle: @RitterAmes