A famous archaeologist, last rumored to be in search of a hidden Maya city in Guatemala, has gone missing. Her daughter. Serena, worried and overcome by strange visions, abandons everything to search for her mother and the answers to the apparitions that have begun to haunt her.
Her mother wasn’t the only one searching for Mah K’ina. The Baron seeks to plunder the city for its untold riches and is willing to eliminate anyone that gets in his way. Out of her element and desperate to save her family, Serena must now rely on her past to show her the way.
“Now’s our chance. We have to go before someone figure’s out we’re missing!”
A rush of adrenaline flooded her system as Serena followed the rest of the group to the side of the helicopter, ducking and sticking to the shadows as much as possible. The landing pad was strangely quiet in the absence of the recent commotion; every sound they made seemed to echo cruelly across the opening.
They reached the side of the helicopter without incident, and Ryder creaked open the driver’s door and motioned for everyone else to pile in. Serena ducked in the passenger seat while Hunac and Madeline slid into the back seat. Tossing their bags in the small open cargo space in the back, everyone looked at Ryder expectantly.
Serena noticed he seemed nervous for the first time since she’d met him. Sweat rolled down his face as he tried to make sense of all the dials and switches on the dashboard. It seemed as though there were at least a hundred different things to look at.
I hope he knows what he’s doing… None of this makes any sense to me.
“Put on your headsets, folks. It’s about to get really loud in here.”
Serena put on her headset and looked behind her. If Hunac was nervous, it was not evident on his face. Her mother, however, seemed to fear for her life. Serena reached back and laid a hand on her knee, awkwardly, and gave her a reassuring smile.
“Here goes nothing…” Ryder muttered to himself.
He moved so quickly, Serena couldn’t keep up. She knew that time was of the essence. Once the rotors began to spin, everyone would know exactly where they were.
The engine cranked up, and she heard a mechanical whine as the rotors started to turn. To her left, she could see the two men fly out of the building, dazed.
The tall man frantically pulled out his radio, speaking rapidly to someone on the other side. Serena had no idea what he was saying, but a moment later, the man seemed to realize exactly what was happening.
He turned to yell at the man next to him, and they both ran back into the building.
Please hurry! We have to get out of here!!
Then the ground shifted nauseatingly before her, and she realized they were slowly rising into the air. The helicopter rolled forward, tipping dangerously down. The blades spun mercilessly close to the building where the men had gone. They flew out now, running madly away from the landing pad.
“Ryder!! Pull up!”
“I’m trying, darling. It seems I’m a little more rusty than I thought.”
The aircraft pulled back then, leveling out before rising again. Serena saw a jeep coming into the clearing now, men jumping out and pulling out their weapons.
They were high enough to be above the trees, but nowhere near out of the range of the assault rifles. If they did fire, however, the chopper would most likely crash into the trees. The Barón came out of the jeep last, looking up and making this realization himself. He raised his arm, signaling his men to lower their guns.
They were too high for her to be sure, but it seemed almost like the Barón had seen her and smiled. It wasn’t a good smile, either.
*** A PGRB EXCLUSIVE: HOLLY McCAGHREN ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS FOR VIVIAN ***
1. What inspires you to write ‘City of the Divine Sun’?
I have always loved a good mystery. Combine that with ancient artifacts in steamy jungles, and you have a recipe for inspiration. 🙂 The mystery behind the Maya civilization is one that is particularly intriguing. There is this massive, incredibly advanced civilization that is spread across South America, and one day, every single one of the cities are abandoned. No one knows exactly why this happened, although there are more than a fair share of crazy and unbelievable theories (including aliens!). For me, it just seemed like there was so much material there to write about, and so many different directions to take it in. Doing the research for this book was so fascinating. I can’t tell you how many rabbit trails I almost lost myself in while studying the rich history of the Maya. It is definitely something to investigate if you ever get the opportunity.
2. Prior to publishing said book, do you have any feelings unleashing ‘City of the Divine Sun’ to your readers (e.g. nervous, excited, worried)?
I have to admit, I was very nervous. Taking on this kind of project, even though it is fictional in nature, is very intimidating. I wanted readers to enjoy the story that I wrote, while also inspiring them to learn more about the Maya people and culture, who are very much still alive and well today. A civilization that can leave behind that kind of legacy is worth looking into.
3. And lastly, what is your advice to aspiring Indie writers in this tough industry?
Get connected! That’s the number one piece of advice I can offer. Even though there are more opportunities and resources than ever before, if you don’t integrate yourself into them, they will do nothing for you. Meet fellow authors, find a critique group, attend conventions. If you can’t travel, there are plenty of resources online that serve the same purpose.
Also, there is an incredible amount of technology available to help you. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Goodreads… all of these things will help get your name out there.
Don’t be afraid to advertise. If you’re like me, and writing is more of a hobby than something that pays the bills, there are plenty of affordable ways to advertise. I’ve used Facebook, and Goodreads, but I’ve found that the most effective way thus far is advertising on blogs that are specific to your genre or target audience.
Lastly, don’t give up. This is a tough industry and more often than not, you will hear negative feedback over positive. Take it with a grain of salt, and remember, that the more you write, and the more feedback you receive, the better quality your novels will be. You don’t have to please everyone!
I was born and raised in the Houston, Texas area, and have lived in Texas my whole life! (Gotta love humidity!) I currently live in central Texas with my husband and two sons.
Nothing makes me happier than settling down with a good book, but they aren’t always easy to find! Some of my favorites (in no particular order) include: Jane Eyre, The Blue Sword, Dracula, Ender’s Game, Heir to the Empire, and the Harry Potter series. I love a good scifi/fantasy book, but it certainly isn’t limited to that genre.
You can read all about my current/published novels on my webpage,www.hollymccaghren.com, as well as on Goodreads. Happy reading!