The Witch of Napoli
Published as… Historical Fantasy
Michael Schmicker’s Boom Baby Blast
1. One Random Fact: I refuse to try an Ouija board. All in the mind? Simply the power of suggestion? I’m not so sure.
2. Fictional Character You’d Really Like to Be: The globe-trotting Indiana Jones. I love archeology, foreign languages, and ancient history; I spent three years in Southeast Asia as a freelance correspondent traveling by steam train and prop-driven, World War II DC-3 planes; and am fascinated with the Orient’s older gods and cultures.
3. Your Authorial Theme Song: The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” There’s more to reality than what we see.
4. Favorite Part of Being a Writer: Being a tiny part of that great, glorious, fraternity of writers which includes Dickens and Twain, J.K. Rowling and Agatha Christie, David McCullough and Umberto Eco. True, I’m barely inside the door, but when people ask me “What you do?” I can honestly answer ‘I’m a writer.”
5. Name of Your First Pet (Can include family or significant others…): “Boot Dog” – he was a part Labrador, rescued from the local dog pound. I loved him fiercely. I’ve always had dogs.
6. Music, Television or Silence While Writing: Nature. I live and write high on a mountaintop in Hawaii, overlooking Diamond Head. Outside in the garden, with the door open and the sun shining, I hear a slight breeze in the coconut palms, and an occasional dog bark in the distance.
7. Early Riser or Night Owl: Night owl. When I need a break from writing, I walk outside and look at the stars –Orion in the winter, Scorpio in the summer. In The Witch of Napoli, my heroine Alessandra “pointed her finger at the luminous arc of galaxies that glittered above their heads, her finger tracing its majestic sweep across the zodiac.” I do that often.
8. Favorite Season: Fall – in New England. Hawaii is my home, and I will never move, but when I retire I hope to spend my Octobers in Connecticut, where I lived during my grade school years. I traveled one year to Jakarta on a newspaper assignment with a well-known Swiss photographer who had traveled the globe, from Tokyo to Rio, Paris to Deadhorse. He told me of all the places in the world he visited, he always preferred to spend his autumn in New England. The colors!
9. Did You Always Want to be a Writer: Maybe from birth. I read the newspaper daily as a kid trudging around the neighborhood pushing my bike, delivering the Danbury News-Times. I was writing limericks at seven, and published my first short story at thirteen. National Scholastic Writing Contest. I forget what the plot was about, and I’m sure I’d be embarrassed to read it today, but it put stars in my eyes. I’m in the Principal’s office, St. Peter’s School, Danbury, Connecticut, nervous and excited, flanked by Father Hitchcock and beaming Sister Arlene in her starched nun’s coif. A guy is handing me a small gold key and a printed certificate. My mother, bless her soul, kept the clipping for years in a tin box, and surprised me with it when I scored my first op-ed byline in the Asia Wall Street Journal. Writers have always been my heroes.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me, Mia, and my aloha to you and your readers! By the way, I’m a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society (yes, there is such a group, headquartered in England), and I post my Hawaii sunset shots on my Google Plus page.
About the Book
Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra’s mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know – does the “Queen of Spirits” really have supernatural powers?
Nigel Huxley is convinced she’s simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England’s Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. The Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe.
Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.
About the Author
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.