Friday, August 4, 2017

Interview - Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan

Columbkill Noonan, author of the just released “Barnabas Tew” and the Case of the Missing Scarab” drops in to talk about green living from the perspective of a biologist, the one little change you can make that will change the world, and, of course, her book!

So, Columbkill, you used to work for the Maryland Department of the Environment, and you are currently a faculty member in the Biology Department at a Maryland university. What, in your opinion, is the key to green living?

Lawns! Slightly unkempt lawns, that is; dotted with dandelions and clover flowers and little brown patches. We all get upset by the idea of corporations dumping pollutants into our waterways (as we should!) but what many people don’t know is that the single greatest source of pollution in our streams, rivers, and bays is…lawn chemicals! (Who knew? Sounds crazy, but it’s true!) Pesticides and herbicides are obvious culprits, but it’s fertilizers that are the most insidious. They seep through the groundwater and make their way into streams, where they feed algae, which then overgrows everything. Too much algae can kill off other aquatic vegetation, damage oyster beds, and cause fish kills…all terrible things! The solution, of course, is to be lazy about your lawn…no more chemicals. It’s a win-win, really.

Less yard work for you and healthy waterways for everyone (not to mention that butterflies and bees and all sorts of wonderful things that can now safely visit your garden…hello, baby bunnies!) So, my yard may have little dandelion heads popping up, and the grass is nowhere near as lush as my chemical-using neighbor’s, but I’ve got all the bunnies, which are way better than grass, I think!

Do you have any suggestions for how someone might make a change to their daily routine that could make a difference?

Right now I’m absolutely obsessed with the bulk food aisle, where everything’s in bins and you bring your own container and fill it and pay by weight. Weirdly I was a bit nervous to try it at first, because I didn’t quite understand how it worked. Then I just thought, well, what’s the worst that could happen? I brought my little container, and marched over to the customer service desk, and asked how to do it. They just weighed my container and it was done. So easy! It saves the environment from all that packaging waste, and it’s way cheaper to buy things this way, too. Right now I’ve just finished making a soybean and wheatberry salad (both bought in my little containers from the bulk food aisle) that I cooked up all morning. Then I added some fresh parsley from the garden, along with some chopped up red, yellow, and orange peppers (which, sadly, did not come from the garden, because I am terrible at watering my plants and whilst the parsley survived this abuse, the pepper plants did not. I murdered my pepper plants, really, and the tomatoes are in terrible danger, as well). But we all have room for improvement, right?

Now, on to your book, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab”. What would you like to tell us about that?

“Barnabas” is a fun, quirky, old-fashioned detective caper with a twist. The main character (Barnabas, of course) is a detective in Victorian London, although not an especially good one, if truth be told. He’s quite distressed by his lack of success, but things begin to turn around for him when he’s sent for by none other than Anubis, the Egyptian god of the Dead, who needs Barnabas to solve a very important case (one on which the fate of the world depends). Barnabas is in quite a bit over his head, and terribly perplexed by his strange new surroundings as well, but he is also persistent and surprisingly resilient for such a nervous little fellow.

I won’t offer any spoilers, but I will say that Barnabas learns a great deal about himself, and has some extraordinarily exciting adventures in the Land of the Dead. I must confess I had a great deal of fun in writing this, as well. Egyptian mythology is incredibly rich, and there are some really amazing characters that were very exciting to explore. It was also very interesting to me to think of these exotic gods and goddesses, and how a very prim and proper Victorian detective like Barnabas might react to them. Of course I have a biased opinion, but I think that he handled himself smashingly (indeed, he surprised even me more than once!)

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab
Columbkill Noonan

Genre: Mystery/Mythology

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Date of Publication: July 26, 2017

Number of pages: 273
Word Count: 84,467

Cover Artist: Adobe Stock/Lynea/Soqoqo

Tagline: Baker Street isn’t the only place in town

Book Description:

Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to make a go of it in Victorian London.

Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is riddled with anxiety and plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients. Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely.

The land of the dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the land of the living if Barnabas (together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) cannot set matters to right.

Pulled from his safe and predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world.

“You see,” said Anubis, “Khepre has gone missing. Are you familiar with Khepre?”
Barnabas shook his head.
“Khepre is our scarab beetle. He is responsible for rolling Ra across the sky every morning and then down beneath the earth every night. Without Khepre the sun cannot move. The sun will no longer rise and set as it should.”
“That is why it is so hot in here?” ventured Barnabas, proud of his deductive skills. He had noticed almost immediately how very bright the light was in this place and that the air was intolerably stuffy.
“Exactly,” said Anubis. “And if this continues for much longer, the heat and the constant daylight will spill out onto the mortal world. There will be famine and death and chaos. You can see that this must not happen.”
“Of course,” agreed Barnabas. “That sounds perfectly dreadful.”

“Dreadful, indeed,” said Anubis. “That is the task that I have for you. You must find Khepre for us. The fate of the world depends upon it.”

About the Author:

Columbkill Noonan has an M.S. in Biology (she has, in turn, been a field biologist, an environmental compliance inspector, and a lecturer of Anatomy and Physiology).

When she's not teaching or writing, she can usually be found riding her rescue horse, Mittens, practicing yoga (on the ground, in an aerial silk, on a SUP board, and sometimes even on Mittens), or spending far too much time at the local organic, vegan market.

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1 comment:

Columbkill Noonan said...

Thanks for having me on your blog! 😊