1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself? Hi, My name is Mary Moriarty, mother of 7, grandmother of 5. Lived in Cambodia for 11+ years during some of the rockiest years after the Khmer Rouge were ousted… well almost. They were still pretty powerful in my province… BUT that’s another story.
Love to read and you don’t want to give me a credit card in a book store. But seriously I have always loved to read and write. Finally I think as therapy I started writing a lot more in Cambodia back around after my 6th child was born which would have been the year 2000. Before that it was just blogging.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading, knitting and photography. I am a part-time paid call Fire Fighter and am on call 24/7. I love that.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
I am up anywhere between 4-5AM. Make my masala tea and check emails and get any on line stuff done. Wake the boys up by 6am and once I get them to school it’s my work time. I have all my work stuff up in my bedroom till my home office is done this spring so all my research books, papers and notes get spread out and I work. I am editing at the moment and writing (working on two projects) so just depends. Then tones go off for a fire call and everything goes flying. I’m done by afternoon so I can start after school activities for my boys.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
“My first book “The Kings of Angkor: Army of a Thousand Elephants “came from my son Brendan who is a movie Producer/Director. He wanted me to do the original research for the project knowing my love of researching. Ideas for me come from music a lot. Also I get ideas from articles I read. On my morning runs or life in general.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why? “The Kings of Angkor” struck a nerve with me and I felt a lot of connection with the characters. Too many things about the historical characters came to me before I even did the research and I knew and then researched them . I had chills up and down my spine. “The Lioness” that is on the back burner I really loved writing and really fell in love with the characters. I just don’t have the time to do a lot of the rewrites because of the two projects I am working on now.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
I don’t know if there is anything funny that people don’t know about me. I don’t know if you would call me transparent but if you know me then any funny little thing would be easily found out. But for those who don’t know me I guess it would be I am a wicked jokster.
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
My son asked me this and someone who I worked with asked “when is this certain incident going to be part of a book?” I might take my general knowledge of something and work it into what I am writing, like a very dramatic scene in my up and coming novella was based on a happening in our country that has left each and every one of us touched. I took and watched videos of this incident, over and over and the music that went along with the videos really helped create the scene I needed to create. Then I took my knowledge from work and put that in and came out with this scene that is gut wrenching. I was really drained for days writing that. Then going over it to make sure it was fine.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Female, love and bravery
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
Mystery. I love a really good mystery.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
Elizabeth Peters(Mystery), Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy), Kieran Shields (Mystery), Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale, J.R.Ward , Deborah Gafford. Janet Evanovich . Also Jane Austen, because even though she lived hundreds of years ago her writing is still here and very fresh for today.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Well for published books. My Nurung/ King Jayavarman VII . He was a mixture of everything you would want in a hero in the fictional character. Incredibly, sexy, strong, powerful and rich. He was gentle and kind and very loving and waited a very long time for the woman he loved. Most of the characters were also part of his real life character Take for instance King Jayavarman VII who ruled over most of South East Asia from Cambodia from 1181 for about 30 years. For female characters : Anna/Queen Indradevi. Very driven, knew just what she wanted. Very brave. As a real life Queen Indradevi was just that and helped to rule Cambodia and South East Asia at a time when women in most of the world were in servitude.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Finding a balance in your life to write.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer? The most important thing for a writer is to read. Also write every day.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now? Same thing I am doing , Fire Fighting.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
River cruise in Europe.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
The Kings of Angkor
Army of a Thousand Elephants
Among the mystic plains and mountains of Cambodia, a dedicated archeologist, Anna Oldenburg, suddenly finds herself inexplicably thrust amidst the life and times—ancient or modern—of the nation that once had the vision to create the magnificent ruins of Angkor Wat.
In the royal courts of Suryavarman, Anna would come to know friendship, honor, courage, and the one unimaginable love that seems as timeless and consuming as she could make of it.
The corrupting influence of power, however, courses in the veins of those who are madly after it, past or present, and Anna finds herself at the center of intrigues, threatening to destroy those who have become dear to her—even her own life.
Along with the people who have become everything to her, Anna must deal with the forces who mean to destroy her and confine her to eternal oblivion, if they could just have their way.
Anna was as happy as a woman could be. She knew she carried Heng’s well she should say Suryavarman II’s child. She walked along the paths that were bordered with jasmine. Everything looked brighter and smelled so fresh. It had taken her a while to get used to living in the time she had studied but it wasn’t all that hard. After all it wasn’t like being a peasant. She was the consort to the king.
She still couldn’t believe she had traveled back in time. But who was she to question?
She stood and drank in the scene that lay before her. The royal palace compound , her home that she shared with Heng. In times of private she still called him Heng. Though lately their time had been short together. He was always busy with affairs of state. He had been off to a battle against the Dai Viet. That hadn’t turned out well. Now they were hosting a diplomat from China.
Anna knew Heng was back at the palace. She had seen him head that way. She had been talking with servants and couriers. Funny, one of Suryavarman’s close advisors reminded Anna of Nurung . He had his loyal ones in his inner court. She stood and thought. He was always in charge of keeping her safe. She always had bodyguards around. They were afraid she would be kidnapped again like last year.
She came to the upper part. Servants moved aside and bowed low to her. It had taken her awhile to get used to it. One got up but head still bowed, eyes down, spoke. “Princess, maybe you would like to sit and have some tea.”
“No, Ome. I want to go in and see his majesty while he is here.”
“Princess I really think…”
Anna studied her chief housekeeper. She looked guilty, like she was hiding something. Why would she look guilty? There shouldn’t be anything for her to hide… She heard something. Though it was completely quiet. All the servants stood still, almost like statues. She could see they all held their breath. They were all trying not to be obvious but looked at her through their lashes. Then she heard it. A small laugh, female and it was coming from the private royal compound that she and Heng shared.
She tucked her finger under Ome’s chin. “ What do you know? What are you hiding from me?”
Ome dropped to her knees and covered her head. “ I know nothing Princess. That is I don’t want to know anything. Please don’t beat me. I am old and have been in service here all my life. You are by far the kindest mistress I have served under.”
Anna felt ashamed but was growing madder by the second. “I won’t beat you, though I feel like shaking you.” She stood up and pushed the teak doors open. She walked down the narrow hall to their private rooms. Silk curtains stood between her and their private chamber. She heard noises and what she heard didn’t make her any happier. Only the mosquito netting would separate what she feared lay in front of her. She felt her heart hammering in her chest. Her hands felt clammy. For the life of her she couldn’t move. She kept listening to what was going on beyond the silk draperies.
Ome ran as fast as her old legs would allow. She had to reach Nurung. He would know what to do. She saw him in the group of men talking. They stood over a large parchment. Battle plans. She had heard it talked about. More battles with the Dai Viet. Damn them to eternal hell.
She bowed and cleared her throat.
Nurung looked over his shoulder and saw Ome. She had faithfully served here at Angkor for years. Even though she was his aunt she was a valuable servant here. She had worked with his father in the past, the future… it all meshed together.
“Excuse me sirs.” He took Ome by the arm and noticed she trembled. When they were out of earshot he spoke to her. ‘What is it that would have you interrupt the war plans?”
Ome bowed her head. Ringing her gnarled hands she dared to look up a bit. “Anna has headed for the royal apartments…”
“Yes and why would that concern me?”
Ome stood to her full height and looked Nurung straight in the eyes. Because his majesty is back and … and has…”
Nurung saw it in her eyes and understood.
He swore under his breath and broke out into a run. Anna would loose the babies. The midwife had said she was to rest and not get excited. She carried royal twins and now she was heading into Heng’s love nest.
Damn him. He had been a meek leader at first but into his third year you would have thought he had been king all his life. Now he acted more and more like the mighty king he was suppose to be. But in his wake he made bad choices. One of his choices was the string of women he kept and had. Anna never knew but now he was getting careless.
He took the stairs two at a time and came crashing through the teak doors. He heard the muffled cry and knew he was too late.
Anna pulled back the silk drapes and though the scene was obscured by the netting she knew what was going on. The afternoon sun filter in from the opposite side. Their bodies moved in perfect unison. Bodies so perfect and beautiful and their timing was perfect you would have thought it was a movie. Their bodies glistened with sweat. She heard the soft moans of the woman. Anna should run but she was frozen to where she stood. She as horrified but fascination won out. She stood and watched as her Heng made love to another woman. Heng who was the god king Suryavarman II. The King who was now father to the baby that she carried. At one time he had made love to her like that. She covered her mouth to stifle the sob that begged to break loose.
Heng hadn’t planned on this. But one of the servant girls who had made herself available before, came in. Coy and flirtatious. She had rubbed his shoulders as he studied maps and when he had turned she had been completely naked. Everything about her was perfect. And she was his… After all he was king. He could do as he wanted. Wasn’t that what being a king was all about?
He had taken her quickly. He knew Anna would be back soon. She had been to see someone. He didn’t know and lately he hadn’t cared. She was his too. He knew she loved him and in a way he still loved her but he was king and with that came a different life and with that life came pleasures. Pleasures that he could have.
He felt himself ready to let go. He looked down into his partners eyes and saw that look of self satisfaction, smugness. She was in the presence of the king, the ultimate audience .
He thrust in her faster and harder taking her harder then he ever took Anna. When they made love it had always been special. This… this was just a way of finding pleasure and release.
He thrust in her and felt her nails claw his back. He reveled in the feeling. The slight pain with the ecstasy. He felt himself explode and with that his head went back and he growled. He heard her… “You are mine now…” then he heard the muffled scream. He didn’t need to turn to see who let out the scream. But he had to and what met his eyes was sorrow beyond any he had ever seen before. He had caused his Anna sorrow.
Anna saw his head go back. She felt each thrust. As Heng moved and thrust in that servant girl, the thrust had pierced her heart. Then he let out a growl the likes she had never heard from him when they had made love. She hadn’t meant to scream but then Heng looked at her. The servant girl, she had smiled a wicked smile. Then the servant girl had yelled for guards.
It happened so fast. She was standing there with her hand over her mouth then she was screaming and tears blurred her eyes. She had to get out of here. Get out and away. She would go back. Go ahead in time. She would leave Cambodia. She turned to run and ran into the arms of Heng’s advisor. He was always there. It was kinda like having the modern Nurung around. He was ever present… even when he wasn’t there.
She was sobbing. She felt the arms go around her and hold her fast. “Princess you must calm down.” He held her fast and tried to calm her. Having her this close was unsettling but he had to keep her calm. If she lost these babies he was afraid of what it would do to her. She had already lost two other babies.
“I need to leave… need to get far away. Never return…” She was getting light headed and dizzy. The thought of Heng and the girl. Their bodies entwined, glistened with sweat. That laugh as she was found out. The girl was now shrieking, being pulled by Ome and another servant. Kicking and screaming she was saying. “He is mine. I am his favorite now. I will be his consort not that foreigner . She doesn’t belong. I carry his seed now. Just you wait. I will carry his child and some day…” Ome slapped the girl again and again.
“You will not be consort, you are not good enough for the king. Maybe to clean his latrine but that only.” She handed the screaming girl over to another servant. Take her and don’t allow her near here again or I will personally chop off her toes.
Nurung held onto Anna but she squirmed out of his hold and ran. Heng came off the platform, tying a sarong around his hips.
“Anna wait…” he yelled. He would have gone after her but she ran too fast. Nurung caught him. “ You are so stupid. I never thought I would ever say that of you. Had I known… had I been able to find out what you were really like I could have headed this off…”
“You mean change history? Let go of me. After all I am King. I could have your head.”
Nurung let his cousin go. “But you won’t.” You know you can’t kill me as I will be king some day. You aren’t the only one who has a destiny. Good thing with being your advisor. By the time it’s my time… I will know what to do. Funny isn’t it how history plays itself out? I am learning from your mistakes.”
Heng fled past his cousin and out to the outer porch. Anna was nowhere in sight. She could be anywhere . He felt Nurung right behind him. Guards came up the steps and tied to a rope was a prisoner.
Nurung and Heng spoke at the same time. “Where did you find him?”
We found him near the wormhole. The princess has left.”
More guards came up the stairs. Not Nurung’s personal guards. His knew about the wormhole. They were his from the future. “We need to find her. Princess Devi could be in danger. You guards are to watch over this prisoner. The rest of you are to follow me. We will go find her.”
Heng started after his cousin. “What about me? What should I do?”
Nurung turned towards his cousin. “Don’t you think you have caused enough damage for one day?” Stay here. If we don’t come back with word of An- I mean the Princess, take the prisoner, draw and quarter him… with the elephants.”
The prisoner looked at both with horror.
Nurung grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him close. “How did you get here?”
The man paled. I got here the same as you… through the door…”
“Are there any others?”
“Yes… yes. They wait for me at the opening. They will catch her and I am afraid she will be dead before nightfall.”
Nurung threw him to the ground. “Not if I have anything to say about it. Turning to his General he said. “Follow me. We will get reinforcements on the other side then go back.”
The General followed at a brisk pace. “We have weapons on this side sir. If I may say so. I think we can more then handle anything on the other side if we move fast.”
“Then lets move.” Turning to Heng he saw his cousin didn’t look quite so cocky. He looked like the little boy who had been caught stealing guava’s. “You know you messed up. You have thought of no one and I mean no one but yourself this last year. You know she is pregnant with your twins…”
Heng felt like he had been sucker punched. “ No, no I didn’t know. She had said she hadn’t been feeling good.”
Nurung felt sorry for him. But he was loosing ground here. “Well if we can we will save her and the babies. But if we can’t you will regret the day you ever hurt her…”
Then it hit Heng. “You love her don’t you?
“Destiny has her as your consort but it as her as my wife. She will be spoken of in history. I’ve… always loved her. From the first time I saw her. When we came here the first time.”
“The first time.” Heng was puzzled.
Nurung shouldn’t take the time to explain but he felt compelled to. “When we were escaping you were but a baby in our Aunt’s arms. I saw Anna also escaping but it was when she is escaping the men who wait for her now. For a brief second she saw me and said my name… I need to go.”
Nurung turned. “We need to leave now. We only have a small window of time. Watch that prisoner.” He ran down the steps followed by his guard. Heng watched as they ran towards the rising foundation of the temple. The temple he had just dedicated to Vishnu. The Bakan wasn’t near completion and wouldn’t be till after his death but the wormhole was there.
He turned back to the prisoner. “How many men are there?”
“Just two but she will be taken. They will have fun with her before they turn her over. She won’t last the night…”
Heng wanted to lash out but if anything he had learned over the years as king in waiting and then king. You got information out of the prisoner first. “You have been following us, over the years?”
“Yes, we almost caught your cousin and aunt. I think you were a baby. We almost had you too.” He smiled a wicked smile. Reached into his pocket for a something, pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Inhaling deeply he studied Heng. You are him?”
Heng watched the prisoner as did the real Wat guards. “If you mean Suryavarman, yes I am him.”
“I don’t understand how you can be him and that baby I saw back in 1975.”
“It’s all to do with time travel…”
The man laughed. “Well to bad you couldn’t have seen what was going to happen to the girl. She will be killed… but not before they…”
Heng lashed out and the man went flying. “Bring him to the elephant pen. They need exercise.” He waved his hand. “Take him. I don’t want to see his face again.” Then he thought about it. “Wait a minute, before you throw his body away, bring me back his head. I will take it and place it on a pole where his friends can see as a warning to any other curious ones who may venture here.”
His guards looked at the king. They never questioned anything but for a very long time, years since the king came as a child , strange things had happened. This man that they now looked at was dressed differently. Maybe it was a strange costume of the Cham… Well it was not for them to think or question.
Anna ran, not knowing or caring who saw her. Heng had committed the worst crime against her. Not the act itself but his indifference. He didn’t care for her. He was too important. She was no longer part of his life.
She ran to the foundation of the Wat and ran to what she knew would be the exact spot of the Bakan. She looked at the setting sun and started reciting a portion of the sacred text. It didn’t matter what part. She felt her self start to move. It was like a rush, a vacume. For a split moment she couldn’t breath and then she was back or to be exact forward in time. Two Khmer Rouge soldiers stood there. Like they had been waiting for her. They smiled a wicked smile and she knew she was done for. They grabbed her and pulled at her clothes. They pulled her down the stairs of the Bakan. She bumped along the steep stairs. She screamed and thrashed wildly trying in vain to free herself. One last thump and she was at the bottom. She tried again to run but they tackled her and dragged her to a small bush . They stood over her leering and kicking her. One knelt, taking a hold of her top started ripping her clothes off her and spreading her legs. Then all of a sudden they fought over who would have her first. The one straddling her said he would take her first. The other one threw his cigarette down and pulled the other off her. He was not going to miss a chance like this and be second in line. All she could think of was how had it come to this. Then she remembered her baby. It was her baby. Not Heng’s. He had lost all rights. She saw they were side tracked for a brief moment. Here was her chance. A small one but she had to try. For the sake of the baby that she carried. She silently picked up one of the AK47s and slammed it first against one of the men’s heads. She tried to ignore the sickening crunch she heard when the butt of the gun made contact. He slumped over. She then went for the other. She hit him but not quite so well. She got up, scrambling to pull her sarong about her. To cover her some and she ran. She had to get back to the worm hole.
She ran up the stairs of the Bakan. Being 1975 Angkor Wat now lay in ruins and she knew the Bakan was in it’s finished state even if it was in disrepair. She stood in front of the Apsara. Fresh sobs escaped her. She stood in front of herself. The way she looked when Heng had had it commissioned. She had been smiling at Heng. They had made her look like a a Cambodian but it was her. Heng had said when the Wat was finished this would hang for all to see. His consort. The love of his life. A new sob broke free and she wiped the tears away.
She heard a shout and she glanced back. Saw the lone soldier take aim. She heard the gun’s report and felt the bullet hit and sink into her. She had to get further in the future. She could get help then. She turned and at that moment as she placed her hand on the Apsara she was sucked back into the vacuum of the wormhole. Immediately she saw Nurung. She knew it was him because she had seen pictures of when he was younger. Next to him were his Aunt and Heng, who she held on her hip. Heng was crying but Nurung was looking right at her. Wild eyes, as wild as she must look. Then she saw Nurung of the present and she screamed his name as she was sucked into the vortex.
In the works:
Out this spring, self published, "One Thousand years to Forever: The Making of a Queen"
Paranormal with a vampire to die for. On the Cover is Jimmy Thomas.
Have a great day!!