Amy Lignor tells the story of how the characters Tallent and Lowery from her new series Tallent & Lowery came to be.
I think it’s amazing where story ideas come from. For me, they usually ‘pop’ up during the most mundane times. I can see, hear, or dream something that I literally have to go research immediately, and what evolves from that one minor moment becomes this fascinating, out-of-control roller-coaster ride that I LOVE being on.
Oddly enough, ‘Tallent & Lowery’ has been the largest and fastest ride of my life. I truly thought Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery would be characters who stayed with me for one book and one book only…but soon they became constant companions.
The idea was spawned during a very boring day at the office. A friend of mine and I were entering the holiday season and the office was basically dead. We were having coffee, trying to think of things to do, and she spoke about her horoscope. I never thought much about those things; they were like Chinese fortune cookie proverbs that always said I would meet the love of my life the next day. (Kiefer Sutherland is still on the market, so I always assumed them to be lies).
But that day we were searching a website for her ‘astrological’ background of all things and I saw a very small notation about the 13th sign; the one that was thrown out by the Vatican because it denoted, to them, a demon-like creature. This creature, by the way, was a man with a snake, which actually became the basis for the logo of the American Medical Association.
Ophiuchus, the 13th sign, started my mind racing. And that night I ran across a TV show – I swear on my beloved dog – that mentioned the same sign, as well as a link it had to Andrew Carnegie. I am a huge proponent of libraries, and the NYPL is literally the place I want to live and die. That building, of course, is linked to Carnegie, and I found research that linked the man to a rather evil person that led me to the next link. Suddenly I had this puzzle that began with a sign and met up with everything from the haunted Winchester House in California, to the street where ‘The Ripper’ made his most hideous kill; to Loch Ness; a work by Poe; and, on to Glastonbury. Now, the locales are real, but the steps of the puzzle were enhanced and it is a work of fiction.
When I thought about a character that would be strong enough to understand these pieces of the puzzle, I knew they would have to have a card catalogue of a mind, like a librarian. Leah Tallent – her intelligence, sarcasm, fun – everything about her, just seemed to build inside my head. And when I knew that there had to be a duo to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, Gareth Lowery became her opposite in every way…and it worked! (LOL)
Research is power to me. There are so many secrets embedded in what we now see as nothing but legends and myths, even though they were once very, very real, that I can’t stop myself from uncovering data that’s not well known, and then enhancing it for the story.
In the end, what began as one book turned into what will be a seven-book series, and I couldn’t be more proud or more excited to see where the characters will take me next. I am extremely humbled when I receive the letters from readers and reviewers who say they immediately had to run to their computers, get on Google, and look up the information on these places for themselves. They were as excited as I (still) am when I watch Indiana Jones.
Just another reason why nothing beats a great adventure!
Until Next Time, Everybody,
*Thank you for having me – I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season!