Description: shrinking the distance between armchair and reality

Readers often comment on the vividness of my settings, which in Warp in the Weave happens to be Turkey.

Ms. Thornley’s descriptions of Turkey are so vivid, I could almost picture myself walking alongside Phoebe in the bustling streets and breathing in the air of the ancient caves”  

and  “She sucks you right into the world she creates with her vivid descriptions! I could see the colors and hear the chatter in the Turkish bazaars.”  These are only two comments plucked from reviews but all reference setting as one of their favorite aspects.

I can’t help myself. Apparently this descriptive bent began in elementary school, since my teachers remarked on it from my earliest years (probably while I was failing math).  Descriptions are like sprinkling a powerful flavor pack over a too-small world and watching it expand to magnificent proportions.

So I invite all five senses to the party. Most of my books are set in an evocative location–Bermuda, New Orleans, London, Turkey. Travel being, among other things, a sensory experience, I try to bring my readers with me on a ride much as I do on my escorted textile tours. By shrinking the distance between armchair and reality, readers plunge into the immediacy of place and time so that wherever the story takes them, they stay with me.

Warp in the Weave’s action launches in London but jettisons to Turkey, beginning with Istanbul. For avid textile shoppers everywhere, here’s a taste:

Down a set of concrete stairs, past a busy outdoor cafe, through a throng of tourists threaded by young men delivering trays of tea, I arrived at last at the Arasta Bazaar. An outdoor pedestrian arcade lined with modern shops tucked into old gray stone walls, it displayed all that had made Turkey a trade crossroads for centuries–textiles, tiles, gold, silver, jewelry.

My steps faltered. I was seeking Erdogan Sevgi Carpets, which I had yet to find, but to walk past the Isnik tile shops, the store selling silken robes and vests, the jewelry shop glittering with lapis and high-karat gold, the shop specializing in embroidered pillows, and, of course, all the other carpet stores, was nearly impossible.

Everything I loved and honored resided here, and the merchants knew how to display their offerings, how to jumble patterns and colors together so that each excited the other in a harmonious symphony. My eyes couldn’t bear to pass them by without proper acknowledgment.

“Miss, I have more inside.”

I looked up from where I stood transfixed before a window displaying a magnificent Ottoman-style carpet, not old but expertly crafted in brilliant hues and intricate patterns, probably at least 25 knots per inch. A young man wearing the Turkish street uniform of jeans and leather stood in the doorway smiling.

“Um, I’m only looking, thank you, but this is a gorgeous piece.”

Before I knew, I was sitting in the shop, sipping the small glass cup of tea Erkan offered, appreciating the show as he rolled out carpet after carpet until the floor at my feet was an overlay of wool and weaves. Most were new, the products of either small households or the many carpet cooperatives that operated across Turkey. Though handmade, they were still commercial productions and not what interested me as a collector or dealer, though beautiful nonetheless. A few emerged that were clearly older, less regular, with discolorations in the hand-dyed wool. They were pleasing but not spectacular. I insisted to Erkan that I was only looking, which he ignored while proceeding to show me even more.

Pictured a photo of two of my fiber clients in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, October 2011

http://www.amazon.com/Warp-Weave-Crime-Design/dp/1514187922/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436528414&sr=8-1&keywords=warp+in+the+weave&pebp=1436528417233&perid=1T4E2E769KFT5XWJ9FQY

Judging a Book by its Color

20111206_385

One of the antique Turkish rugs that caught my imagination with that red

I confess that my love for color and pattern means I begin imaging a cover and its dominant color scheme long before I begin writing the book. The cover appears at the edges of my mind, slowly taking shape and form until it glows like a vision in my brain.

Covers matter, colors matter.  For this latest one, I saw red, literally, but the first book in my Crime by Design series was awash in blues and cool greens to conjure the Atlantic ocean, which flowed throughout Rogue Wave.

Volume 2, fittingly enough, features that rich Turkish red, since a background of rare Turkish textiles contributes to the setting. I even researched how the artisans obtained that hue, which turns out to be a mix of sheep’s blood and a natural mordant. That a color can last without fading for hundreds of years amazes me.

I began collecting textiles while in Turkey, thinking how they’d make an excellent background for my cover. Besides hanging out at Istanbul’s Islamic Museum of Art, I brought home five kilims and one carpet from the first voyage. But the central motif–that enigmatic Goddess with Vultures motif–appeared to me much later. It turns out that she is so ancient , her story begins far back in the Bronze Age.  And that, my friends, is a true story best left for another post.

book banner lighter b righter shorter

Warp in the Weave…

Publication June 2015

book banner lighter b righter shorter

The loose ends of her past keep threatening to hang Phoebe McCabe as she begins her new life as a London textile gallery owner. Every crook believes Phoebe knows where her missing brother and his friends hid the hoard; Interpol insists the thieves may have stashed the priceless artifacts under her nose; and she’s being stalked by multiple interests, none of them friendly.

As the black market continues to infiltrate her life,  one of the thieves shows up unexpectedly, setting off a deadly chain of events that includes an unexplained corpse and gallery break-ins where nothing is stolen. If she didn’t have such strong feelings for the man, maybe she could have stopped him from escaping. Love is hard enough without falling for a crook.

And then something else extraordinary arrives in the gallery: a mysterious kilim with an ancient motif that holds a clue not only to the thieves’ whereabouts, but also to an ancient religion where God was a Goddess. Fueled by desperation, hope, and fury, Phoebe escapes for Turkey to track down  the source of the kilim and, hopefully, her brother.  Along the way, she meets an archaeologist who offers to help find the kilim’s source for reasons of her own, and together, they race across Turkey with Interpol and black market cutthroats at their heels

Against the panorama of Central Turkey’s underground cities and ancient caves, magnified by its rich textile and cultural heritage, Phoebe and Eva follow a trail that leads deep into the prehistoric past, hurling them against competing ideologies, and the mire that is the black market antiquities trade. What Phoebe discovers along the way is more than just about ancient shrines, missing relatives, and love betrayed.  She finds that what’s at the heart of the human weave may be the pattern that illuminates everything that matters.

This fast-moving suspense blends intrigue, humor, and romance against a textile-rich world interwoven with archaeology, ideology, and one woman’s quest for the ultimate truth.

Coming in June

Warp in the Weave Coming Soon

Publication June 2015

It’s been such a thrilling ride, accumulating in my fourth trip to Turkey last year, a revisit to my beloved London, followed by weaving together all the strands of Phoebe’s unfolding life. Rogue Wave launched the Crime by Design series last year and the second volume answers most of the questions posed in the first.

Are you ready for a thrilling ride?