F oodie writer Suzanne follows the Inca Trail into the Argentine Andes searching for unusual recipes. In a tiny adobe pueblo, she meets a younger man and finds herself desperately attracted.
When she receives a threatening anonymous note she wonders whether Diego is somehow involved and when further strange and frightening events occur, she visits a Shaman for answers. Drawn into a fascination for ancient magic herbal arts, they travel north into Brazil and live a dream on the beach. But Suzanne, still fearful of old losses is again pulled into magic and attends a mystical Candomblé ceremony that unleashes a series of mishaps and a tragic outcome.
“And Then the Magic Began” is a Love Story Travelogue for modern independent women set in glorious mountain and beach landscapes among the mysterious tribes in the Andes and the Amazon. Exploring tribal rituals, including the legendary ayahuasca experience, Suzanne develops her psychological awareness and discovers the true nature of the feminine.
“Heartbreaking” – New Zealand Reader – 84k words -345 pages
“Not erotic like ‘Last Tango in Buenos Aires’ but still as addictive as love.” Fifty Shades reader.
Q : What was the inspiration for this second novel?
TJ: I knew I wanted to write a love story set in the archetypal ‘cougar’ mold but without that cliche aspect. To explore the reality of two people who fall in love but are doomed by age difference.Some women nowadays don’t appear middle-aged and the fact that the love of their life is a generation younger is really tragic.
Q : But there’s also a real ancient tribal wisdom aspect to the novel
TJ : Yes. I live in the Andes in Northern Argentina on the borders with Bolivia and Chile, the southernmost point of the old Inca Empire where there’s still a great tradition of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the rituals associated with worshiping her. Most indigenous people go to the Shaman for plant healing rather than regular doctors and so do I. He not only heals imbalance, he can read your entire psyche.
Q : And you touch on Ayahusca
TJ : Yes – It’s becoming quite fashionable for people to go to the Amazon in Peru and Brazil and take the plant drug but it’s a big deal, very mysterious, not something to be played with like a 60s acid trip
Q : There are some great locations in the book. Did you go to them all?
TJ : Setting is always a main character in my books. I have visited all the locations in NW Argentina, the Andes where I live. Suzanne and Diego, the book’s lovers move to Brazil to live on the beach. They search for the ultimate beach escape and find some amazing locations. It’s a real paradise setting. And of course the Amazon – one of the most magical and mystical places on the planet.
Q : And food features highly
TJ ; Ah – Another main character. Every location has its own food that makes it interesting to explore. As a cookbook writer, Suzanne gets to share this with the reader. She loves Diego partly for his natural skill in cooking. I was tossing back and forth the idea of including their recipes in the novel but that has been done so much.
Q : How does this book differ from “Last Tango in Buenos Aires” Your first novel?
TJ : I am always learning the writing craft, playing with it and will continue to do so. “Tango” explores the nature of relationships between independent western women and Latino men from a country that was locked in military Junta for many years. The cultural collective attitude was one I wanted to explore.
Q: What are you writing now?
TJ: A novel that’s been demanding to be written for a decade or more. Narcissism is the demon of our culture and Narcissistic abuse is an unsung tragedy that is life-destroying unless we are able to see it as a learning tool. I want to explore how some people can psychologically destroy a person they claim to love.
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