The Cadence of GypsiesOn her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.
Characters Are your Friends by Barbara Casey
When I first starting working on the first book, The Cadence of Gypsies, in The F.I.G. Mysteries, there were several things I knew from the outset that I wanted to include. For one thing, I knew it would involve an orphanage. It would also involve the Voynich, the most mysterious manuscript in the world. And I knew it would involve three orphans who were unique. Over the next several months, I began fleshing out my three main characters:
Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.
Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.
Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.
Since all of my books are character-driven, my husband prepared himself for what he knew would come. We would have three new strangers move in with us as I got to know the people who would occupy both my mind and the spotlight in my new novel. He knew from past experience that there would be times I would call him by another name, such as Dara or Mackenzie or Jennifer, that he would say something to me only to be answered by an unseeing, glassy-eyed stare, and that later, when I wrote about the emotional trauma my three new friends faced, he would need to comfort me as I cried.
I know this sounds silly, but that is how I create. My characters literally move into my mind as I get to know them—as I flesh them out into the people I want them to be, or, to be more exact, how they want to be, while my life in reality continues around me and in spite of me.
Many of the secondary characters in The Cadence of Gypsies, Book 1 of The F.I.G. Mysteries, were so strong that I needed to bring them into Book 2, The Wish Rider.
There is Carolina Lovel, of course, the teacher at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women who has been given the responsibility of looking after the FIGs. And Carolina’s boyfriend, Larry Gitani, as well as her gypsy mother, Lyuba, who continues to play a part in her daughter’s life as well as the FIGs’ because she has “the gift.”
But there are other characters—minor characters—who simply won’t leave. They have moved into my mind and taken up residence for as long as they have something to say. There is Mrs. Killebrew, the crusty elderly woman who runs the boarding house where Carolina and the FIGs stay in New York. And there is Thurgood Harcourt, headmaster of Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women and his relic of a secretary, Mrs. Ball, who knows all of the secrets behind Wood Rose’s stone walls. And, of course, Miss Alcott, the elderly, opinionated, feisty great-niece of Horace Alcott, founding father of Wood Rose, and member of Board of Directors, who sees her role in life as being the one to give Thurgood a hard time. And who can forget Jimmy Bob Doake, night watchman at Wood Rose, who aspires to be a poet even though he only completed the eighth grade?
As they did in The Cadence of Gypsies, these characters hold a special place in my heart and mind while they play out their roles in The Wish Rider. And many of them have already let me know that they will be part of Book 3 in the F.I.G. Mysteries as well.
About the Author
Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.
Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.
Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts. Connect with the author: Website