EYES OF THE TIGER, my 100th book, is not a story that came easily to me. I got the idea when I saw my first Bollywood movie, Om Shanti Om. The theme of karma and reincarnation generated ideas for a reincarnation romantic thriller. It took an amazing amount of research, multiple tries to get it right and an incredible developmental editor who helped me see at last what I needed to do to make it an unforgettable story. Throughout the process, the story obsessed me.
Gems and jewelry speak to Gemma Hewitt, inspire her designs, and send her across the globe to seek out historic pieces. After her mother is brutally murdered, Gemma inherits her famed jeweled collar, which she hopes will lead her to her mother’s killer. Instead, she’s thrown back to 1901 India where she sees a young woman (Mayura) about to be married with a pendant that matches the collar. When she’s hired to find the entire bridal suite, she hopes she can use the jewels to save her family’s fortune. Can she trust the handsome, enigmatic British reporter/photographer Raj Sinclair who promises to help her on her quest, or is he the one she should be running from?
The gems and jewels of Mayura’s bridal suite create both the danger in the story and the link to three past lilves during the British Raj. For the jewels, I chose to use the stones of the Navagraha, which represent the planets that have a cosmic influence on humans.
The collar’s main stone is a ruby, which represents the sun to bring light into a life. The ring, with an emerald as it’s central stone, governs communications, travel and knowledge. The hathpool’s pearl indicates psychic abilities. The yellow sapphires of the earrings bring good fortune. The coral of the tikka give one the strength and courage to meet strife and struggle. The blue sapphire of the baju bands (armbands) indicate change and misfortune. The kammarband with its hessonite makes the wearer potent enough to fight enemies.
The most important part of the bridal jewelry is the mangal sutra, which is not worn by the bride before the marriage. Rather, it is tied by her husband around her neck as a symbol of their union. Mayura’s mangal sutra is a string of black beads and a central diamond, which governs love. Each piece of the bridal jewelry was marked by a tiger’s head on the reverse side, it’s eyes cat’s eye gems. It’s designer was said to imbue his work with his magic.
I already had the idea and much of the research done when I traveled to India with another author and her husband in 2010. There I learned so much of what I couldn’t know from book/Internet research. I absorbed the sights and sounds and the people (who must be the most polite people in the world). We stayed in hotels that were once palaces, toured forts with incredible artwork especially in the separate quarters for women, and thrilled to a stay at a tiger preserve.
Over the next year, I began writing the story between contracts but I stalled out for quite a while. Still, my story of a love that wouldn’t die refused to let me be. I finally spent an entire year writing the book while working on other projects. I was thrilled that my obsession paid off when I went to contract with Tule Publishing Group.
Now it’s time to celebrate EYES OF THE TIGER in digital and print formats, and to knowing this very special book to me is my 100th published novel.