Today, author Ailsa Abraham has been so kind as to invite myself and my lead character (the Victorian detective Barnabas, of none other than “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab”) to have a lovely chat with her in her back garden. She graciously even provided our transportation from the United States all the way across the pond to the south of France! Unfortunately, however, said transportation arrived in the form of a magical flying carpet, which caused Barnabas no small amount of consternation.
“Oh dear,” he said, eying the carpet warily. “What, may I ask, is that?”
“Why, it’s a flying carpet, Barnabas, come to take us for our visit with Ms. Abraham,” I replied.
“Well,” sniffed Barnabas. “I can’t see why we must always be flying about to and fro in the sky, like a couple of birds. Doesn’t anyone take a proper train anymore?”
Still, despite his reluctance to climb onto the carpet, after some cajoling and a good deal of prodding I was able to nudge Barnabas aboard, and we were immediately whisked away. I, for one, greatly enjoyed the views over the Atlantic, whilst Barnabas spent most of the trip face-down with his eyes squinched tightly shut and his fingers dug so deeply into the weave that I feared he might unravel the rug entirely.
At last, we arrived safely in Ailsa’s garden, where we were greeted by Ailsa herself.
Ailsa: “Hello, and welcome to the Bingerbread Cottage, Columbkill! And thank you for bringing Barnabas as well. I’m very excited to…er, well, is that Barnabas?”
Columbkill: (sighing) “Yes it is. You can come off the carpet now, Barnabas.”
Ailsa: (looking curiously at Barnabas) “Why is he laying there with his face all mashed into the carpet like that?”
Columbkill: “Barnabas is just a bit afraid of heights, I’m afraid.”
Barnabas: (unintelligible mumbling into the carpet)
Ailsa and Columbkill together: “Pardon?”
Barnabas: “I said, I am most certainly not afraid of heights, any more than one ought to be, that is, when one is flitting amongst the clouds on a piece of fabric whilst a typhoon rages all about one.”
Columbkill (as an aside to Ailsa): “We ran into a bit of a rain shower. Just a sprinkle. It was quite pretty, really.”
Ailsa: “Sounds as though you had an eventful trip! Perhaps some tea would settle everyone’s nerves?”
Barnabas: (looking up, then rising to join us on the terrace) “Tea, you say? Ah, yes, well, I’d be delighted, please and thank you very much.”
Barnabas politely accepted the tea that Ailsa so graciously offered, as did I, and we all settled down to have our talk.
Ailsa: “So, Barnabas, are you terribly excited for your big day? Your story is coming out, is it not?”
Barnabas: (blushing just a little bit) “Why yes, yes I am, at that. Although…is that a cat?”
Ailsa: (looking to where Barnabas was gesturing) “Oh, yes, that is just Piston. He’s quite friendly. You may pet him, if you like.”
Barnabas: “I just might, at that. I’ve just had quite an adventure, you know, with the goddess of all cats, Bastet. We….”
Columbkill: “Barnabas! No spoilers, please! We talked about that, remember?”
Barnabas: “Quite so, quite so. Terribly sorry. It’s just that it was such a wonderful adventure, really, and I would so love to tell Ms. Abraham all about it.”
Ailsa: “And you shall, soon enough. Only let everyone read the book first, perhaps, and then you can talk about it all you like.
Bastet is an old friend of mine so I am dying to know what you got up to with Her.”
Columbkill: “Yes, the book is out July 26! But while you’re waiting for people to read your story firsthand, perhaps there are some things you could talk about without spoiling it for them?”
Ailsa: “I read on the back cover that there was some sort of kidnapping, and that Anubis, the Egyptian god of the Dead, called for you personally to solve the case, and thereby save the world? (Love Anubis, did you know he is the patron god of surgery now we don’t do mummification?)”
Barnabas: (bowing his head modestly) “Well, I don’t really much care for all the attention, really, nor do I want to seem boastful in any way…”
Ailsa: “Perhaps just a wee bit… my readers love to get a teaser!”
Barnabas: (interrupting) “…but I can say, in a very objective sort of way, mind you, such as I might describe the conduct of anyone else who had worked on such a case such as this, of which there are very, very few, if any, other than myself, really, if one were to think about it…”
Columbkill: “To the point, Barnabas?”
Barnabas: “Ahem. Yes, well, as I was saying, it was a case of extraordinary difficulty, and Wilfred and I….”
Columbkill: “Wilfred is Barnabas’ assistant, you see.”
Barnabas: (casting me a censoring look before continuing): Wilfred and I were placed in the most unusual of situations, and faced a host of the strangest and most dastardly foes, that I believe would have done in even the staunchest of my peers.”
Ailsa: “Sounds terribly exciting! I don’t often bump into other people who play around with the old gods. This is a real treat for me. Have some home-made cake!”
Barnabas: “Indeed it was. Perhaps a bit too exciting, if truth be told. But I assure you that the episode with the crocodiles was most definitely not my fault…”
Columbkill: “Barnabas! Mind the spoilers, please!”
Barnabas: “Of course, terribly sorry…ooh, are those biscuits?”
Ailsa: “Indeed they are. Please, help yourself. I didn’t make those so they might be better than the cake (hysterical laughter).”
Barnabas immediately set into the biscuits with an almost unseemly gusto. Indeed, between the biscuits and Piston the cat, he was too distracted to continue on with the conversation.
Ailsa: (smiling indulgently at the little detective, with crumbs in his mustache and her cat on his lap; who had only just recently had an adventure of the most exciting variety, in the most unlikely of places, but who was still able to be completely charmed by the simple pleasures of an afternoon in the Bingerbread Cottage) “Well, I do believe we’ve got all we can out of him, at the moment! Do you have anything more to add? Any further adventures for Barnabas and Wilfred?”
Columbkill: (affecting as cryptic a look as possible) “Oh yes, we have so many more adventures planned! There are more worlds to save than just the Egyptian afterlife, you know.” (leaning in to whisper quietly to Ailsa) “But perhaps we’d best not tell Barnabas about that. He does get so nervous about having adventures, and I don’t want to spoil his fun just now.”
Ailsa: “I do believe you are right on that. We’ll all just have to wait for the sequel to find out what happens next, and where he goes! But “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab is available now, is it not?”
Columbkill: “Yes it is, on Amazon, both as an ebook and a paperback.”
Ailsa: “Splendid! More tea?”
And so concluded our terrifically enjoyable interview with Ailsa in the Bingerbread cottage. Thank you all for listening in, and the buy links for “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” are listed below!
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