Veronica G. Henry is joining us today to talk about her novel, The Quarter Storm. Here’s the publisher’s description:
A practitioner of Vodou must test the boundaries of her powers to solve a ritual murder in New Orleans and protect everything she holds sacred.
Haitian-American Vodou priestess Mambo Reina Dumond runs a healing practice from her New Orleans home. Gifted with water magic since she was a child, Reina is devoted to the benevolent traditions of her ancestors.
After a ritual slaying in the French Quarter, police arrest a fellow vodouisant. Detective Roman Frost, Reina’s ex-boyfriend—a fierce nonbeliever—is eager to tie the crime, and half a dozen others, to the Vodou practitioners of New Orleans. Reina resolves to find the real killer and defend the Vodou practice and customs, but the motives behind the murder are deeper and darker than she imagines.
As Reina delves into the city’s shadows, she untangles more than just the truth behind a devious crime. It’s a conspiracy. As a killer wields dangerous magic to thwart Reina’s investigation, she must tap into the strength of her own power and faith to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy her entire way of life.
What’s Veronica’s favorite bit?
VERONICA G. HENRY
The characters in my novel, The Quarter Storm, are as rich and complex as a traditional New Orleans gumbo, but one my favorite things about my story is the city in which it is set. Whether you favor the moniker, The Crescent City or The Big Easy, I had so much fun researching and writing about this southern treasure, that I felt it deserved the nod as my favorite bit.
I visited New Orleans after I wrote the first draft of The Quarter Storm. Would it have helped if I had made that trip before? You betcha. Would that have saved me the time it took to undo everything I got wrong? Without a doubt. But I’ve never been one to do things the easy way.
It’s a strange thing to feel at home in a place you’ve never visited, but that was exactly my experience in New Orleans. The city had a heartbeat, a soul. It was alive with a unique history, traditions and culture that provided the perfect backdrop to build a story.
My protagonist, Mambo Reina Dumond, calls the Tremé part of the city, home. As the oldest black neighborhood in America, I’d known from the earliest outline that this was where she would live and operate her Vodou healing practice out of her garage, aptly named, Le Petit Temple Vodoun.
As a jazz enthusiast I was anxious to visit Louis Armstrong Park, named for the musical giant. It is also home to historic Congo Square, the place where free persons and the enslaved were allowed to gather on Sundays to worship, trade and play music. After my visit, I changed the site of a public ritual to this location.
Just north of the French Quarter, Tremé was where the country’s most famous Voodoo Priestess, Marie Laveaux, lived and practiced. Her first marriage was to a refugee of the Haitian revolution–and my protagonist? A Haitian-American who relocated to New Orleans with her family as a child. Madame Laveaux is buried in St. Louis Cemetery, one of New Orleans famous above-ground resting places. I visited her tomb and it was such a unique setting that I decided it would be the location of the novel’s final battle scene.
Even from my brief visit, it was apparent that New Orleans is a city with more stories to tell and an abundance of other settings to traverse. Much too much to cover in one novel. Luckily, I get to explore more sites and history in the next book in the series, The Foreign Exchange.
Veronica G. Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has been a bit of a rolling stone ever since. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise Workshop, a member of SFWA, and an Author Spotlight interviewer for Fantasy Magazine. Her work has appeared in various online publications. The author of the novel Bacchanal, she now writes from North Carolina, where she eschews rollerballs for fountain pens and fine paper. Other untreated addictions include chocolate and cupcakes. For more information, visit www.veronicahenry.net.