Today we're sharing a guest post by Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist's Apprentice, on sale today in trade paperback!
About the Book:
Harry Houdini's one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.
Boston, 1926. Jenny "Wren" Lockhart is a bold eccentric--even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman's dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.
In the months following Houdini's death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini's ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he's known as one of her teacher's greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton's defender.
Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren's carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age's bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist's Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life's stage.
From the Author:
Irish novelist and poet James Joyce once wrote: “Shut your eyes and see.”
It’s a favorite quote, but one that came to hold a deeper meaning as I began to research and write the stage story of Jenny “Wren” Lockhart, the famed female vaudevillian in The Illusionist’s Apprentice.
She’s a character I’ve always wanted to write: fiercely independent. Interesting and eccentric. Wounded, but still with wings strong enough to help her soar above her past. Beautiful, but so in heart-depth more than by what she looks like on the exterior. And above all, I was drawn to the idea of a character who could master a “shut your eyes and see” way of life.
This character would have to know who she is at the core and know it so completely, that no manner of evidence (or illusion) she sees with her eyes could shake that foundation. Her brand of authenticity would anchor her behind the scenes so that even when performing under the shimmer of stage lights, she would always remain steadfast.
It was both exciting and challenging to imagine a fictional entertainer who apprenticed under the famed Harry Houdini. Magician, escapologist, illusionist, athlete, actor, writer, entertainer, thrill-seeker, and by some accounts, even a wartime spy– call him all of those things and we’ve merely chipped the iceberg of the man’s legendary status. He was, to nearly all who’ve studied the treasure trove of archives about his fantastic life, the greatest there ever was in his field. That kind of passion became the heartbeat for this book, and the foundation for the fictional character who would evolve into his apprentice.
Imagine this Houdini-inspired author stepping into a living room for a brainstorming session filled with award-winning, bestselling suspense writers. All around me were women who are skilled and passionate enough to be called some of the greatest in their field. And as one of two historical authors invited into their mystery-writing fray one autumn afternoon, it was the perfect recipe for Wren’s persona to take shape.
As a writer, I had to shut my eyes and see this character before I could write a single word of her story. I had to dispel with the ideas I’d already formed in my own mind– about illusion and fame, mystery and magic– even about Houdini himself. I listened to the mentors in room, absorbing their passion of the writing craft. For in order to write an apprentice’s story, it became clear: I had to become an apprentice myself.
There’s something magical when what the world sees in us manages to meet up with who we are inside. It’s a gift to know who we are at the core, and to live that out with authenticity. The experience of a day, a character, and a research journey into Houdini’s famed world became that to me– an illusion made real.
For daring to live as our authentic selves, I like to think Houdini– and Wren– would give us a standing ovation.
The Illusionist’s Apprentice is available wherever books are sold. For more on Kristy Cambron and her books, visit her website at KristyCambron.com. Connect with Kristy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel. Her first Bible study DVD and study guides, The Verse Mapping Series, will release in spring, 2018.
Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.