By: Amy Lignor
Jane Austen is regarded as THE superior artist when it came to creating a romance that simply never died. Still, to this day, all ages see the most romantic couple of all time being Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice.
When it came to creating ‘Tallent & Lowery’, I longed to present a couple who readers would route for; yet, combine the romantic factor with the action of Indiana Jones and a mystery that made it impossible for even the most hardcore addicts of suspense to see the next surprise waiting around the corner. The duo’s love is NOT carved in stone at the beginning; in fact, upon first meeting him, Leah wants nothing more than to call the cops when she walks in on something criminal he’s doing at her library. I didn’t want the furtive glance, or the heat flowing on contact; I wanted to create a passion that neither of them assumed they even owned so that they would have to use this emotion in order to get over their own vices and discover that they were a lot more alike than they first thought.
Leah Tallent, the Head Librarian of Research at the NYPL, is a woman who seems more than snide, except her sarcasm is simply a veil to keep people at bay. Unlike Austen’s heroine, Leah is wealthy, yet wants nothing to do with that wealth. She moved away from her home in CT to the City in order to just disappear with her books. She’s a loner, and has no interest in a fancy car or landing a marriage. In fact, she wants to stay away from marriage as long as possible. Her similarities to Elizabeth Bennet are many, though. She says what she feels; she stands on her own two feet; and her mind is that of a card catalogue. She knows all these pieces of information that others wouldn’t know; all filed away in an extraordinary mind that no one is allowed to see – unless they’re on the end of a barb she’s thrown.
Gareth Lowery is unlike the beloved Mr. Darcy. Although he is strong, large, and can shut someone up with a look; he uses his charm in order to get what he wants. The quality he lacks, however, is the ability to charm Leah. He is wealthy, but Gareth hides behind his own veil of shyness, determination, and a longing no one would guess he has. And as the story progresses, you can see that this couple is beyond confused that their walls seem to be falling as fast as they try to build them back up.
I love writing ‘Tallent & Lowery,’ not only because of the extraordinary puzzles that I get to research and weave together, leading readers on a mystery each time out by combining strange (yet real) locations and infamous people from the past; but also because I love delving into the dialogue between Leah and Gareth. Yes, they take verbal swings at each other, learning which buttons to push and attempting to learn each other’s characters. With each mystery, however, they open up even more. I am so ecstatic when readers tell me that they were shocked or amazed to learn ‘such and such’ about Leah’s past or Gareth’s motives. It means that I’ve done my job. And with four left in the series, I hope to continue the surprises.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy will always be my favorite romantic couple, but when it comes to a couple that shares that kind of passion and must rely on each other’s minds and strength to survive extremely frightening experiences, then Leah & Gareth are the ones who fill my mind. I may be prejudiced…but they are a couple who definitely fill me with pride.
Until Next Time, Everybody,
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