Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Kathleen O'Neal Gear Interview - Cries from the Lost Island

Photo Content from Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Born in Tulare, California, Kathleen O'Neal Gear is one of six children. Her parents, Harold Arthur O'Neal and Wanda Lillie O'Neal, left Oklahoma and Arkansas during the Dust Bowl and moved to California. For most of Kathleen's youth, her parents owned and operated a small farm in the central San Joaquin Valley of California, growing primarily cotton and alfalfa. But at the same time, her father authored more than fifty short stories, and her mother worked as a newspaper journalist.

Kathleen received her B.A., cum laude, from California State University in Bakersfield, and her M.A., summa cum laude, from California State University in Chico. She conducted Ph.D. studies at the University of California in Los Angeles and did post-graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Her family always spent their summer vacations visiting historical and archaeological sites around the United States. Those trips left indelible impressions. She worked on her first archaeological excavation at the age of ten, and won her first writing contest at the age of thirteen, where she took first place in the American Legion essay contest held at Tipton Elementary School.

In the 1980's, she worked for the United States Department of the Interior as the Wyoming State Historian, and later as the Archaeologist for Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska. She has twice been the recipient of the federal government's "Special Achievement Award" for outstanding management of our nation's cultural heritage. In 2015, she was honored by the United States Congress with a "Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition," and the State of California honored her by passing Joint Member Resolution #117, saying, "The contributions of Kathleen O'Neal Gear to the fields of history, archaeology and writing have been invaluable. She and Michael currently operate an anthropological research company called Wind River Archaeological Consultants.

Kathleen began writing full-time in l986 and has over one hundred non-fiction publications in the fields of archaeology, history, writing, and buffalo conservation. She has authored or is in the process of publishing 10 novels under her own name, and co-authored 37 international bestsellers with her husband, W. Michael Gear. Their books have been translated into at least 29 languages. She and Michael live on a buffalo ranch in the Owl Creek Mountains Mountains of northern Wyoming.

Tell us your latest news.
My new book, CRIES FROM THE LOST ISLAND, is getting some great reviews, which makes me very happy! It’s always rewarding to see a book you love receive critical acclaim from reviewers and especially from readers.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Tulare, California, but I live in beautiful northern Wyoming.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Awards and recognitions are always fun, but the most rewarding experience is having a reader tell me they loved my book. I’m always delighted to hear that my work made someone’s life a little better.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I want them to think about the grandeur and tragedy of ancient Roman Egypt, and I hope they will learn something about the true love story of Cleopatra and Marcus Antonius. I also want them to enjoy Hal’s journey to help Cleopatra find eternal rest on the Island of the Two Flames.

In your new book; CRIES FROM THE LOST ISLAND, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
My book is about sixteen-year-old Hal Stevens, a budding historian with only two friends: Roberto the witch and Cleo Mallawi, who says she is the reincarnation of Queen Cleopatra. Cleo also says she’s being followed by an ancient Egyptian demon, Ammut, the Devourer of the Dead.

When Hal and Roberto find Cleo dying in the mountains of Colorado, it appears she may have been telling the truth. Her last plea sends Hal and Roberto off to Egypt in search of the Island of the Two Flames with famed archaeologist (and Cleo’s uncle) Dr. James Moriarity. Ancient ghosts and demons haunt their journey.

What part of Hal and Roberto did you enjoy writing the most?
Their friendship and absolute loyalty, and their love for a woman who’s been dead for over two thousand years.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d love for Hal and Roberto to spend time with either Wanderer from PEOPLE OF THE RIVER, or Dusty Stewart from THE VISITANT.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Make time to read a great book this weekend. Any book.

What part of Cleo did you enjoy writing the most?
Cleo is one of those heart-breaking characters that you wish you could enfold in your arms and tell her everything is okay…even though you know it isn’t. But she does find peace in the end.

  • I’ve lived on a buffalo ranch in northern Wyoming for 28 years.
  • I love Shetland sheep dogs.
  • My husband, W. Michael Gear, makes amazing pizza.
  • My favorite beer is the One-Eyed-Buffalo Brewery’s Session IPA.
  • I’m an award-winning archaeologist.
  • My sister, K.S. Jones, is the award-winning author of the YA novel, SHADOW OF THE HAWK.
  • My parents were both writers.
  • I was on my first archaeological excavation at the age of ten.
  • My favorite tree is the fragrant Rocky Mountain Juniper.
  • My favorite bird is the Common Crow. (They’re very smart)
Best date you've ever had?
The best date I ever had was with W. Michael Gear the day he asked me to marry him. We were sitting in the hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming. It was a warm and sunny March day, and we were so happy. Still are.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I watched my beloved Mike get center-punched by a buffalo bull. Fortunately, the bull was just trying to move him out of the way, not trying to kill him.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I lived in Israel for several months in the 1970s. It opened my eyes to an entirely different culture and landscape. I’ve never looked at the world the same way since. I cherish those months.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I wouldn’t go back in time in my life, but I would go back to Cleopatra’s barge at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. I want to know why she pulled out her ships and fled in the middle of the battle. Did she lose faith in her husband and betray him to his enemy, Octavian? Was it the only way she could see to save herself, her children, and her kingdom?

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Get butted by a buffalo calf. Straightens reality pretty quick.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
Today, I fed the buffalo hay, filled their water tanks, worked on my book, THE ICE COUNTRY, and had a great glass of wine with my Michael.

This standalone fantasy brings an ancient Egyptian mystery to life against a modern background, in a tale expertly crafted by a seasoned anthropologist

Set against the glory and tragedy of ancient Roman Egypt, this novel brings to bring to life the greatest love story of all time.

Sixteen-year-old Hal Stevens is a budding historical scholar from a small town in Colorado. A virtual outcast at high school, he has only two friends: Roberto the Biker Witch and Cleo Mallawi. Cleo claims to be the reincarnation of Queen Cleopatra. She also believes she's being stalked by an ancient Egyptian demon, Ammut, the Devourer of the Dead.

But when Hal and Roberto find Cleo murdered in the forest near her home, it appears she may have been telling the truth. Her last request sends them journeying to Egypt with famed archaeologist Dr. James Moriarity, where it quickly becomes clear that Cleo has set them on the search of a lifetime: the search for the lost graves of Marc Antony and Cleopatra.

But they are not alone in their search. Cleo's murderers are watching their every move. And not all of them are human...


"O’Neal Gear brings a historian’s flair for details to the dig site and manages to keep her present-day story from becoming overshadowed by ancient Egyptian myth with convincingly flawed young protagonists and numerous red herrings surrounding Cleo’s murder." —Publishers Weekly

"Terrific... Maze Master combines wild imagination with solid science and history to create sensational suspense." —Lee Child, New York Times-bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

"From the very first page, you'll know you're in the hands of a master storyteller.... Maze Master is both thrilling and mind-bending." —Tess Gerritsen, New York Times-bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series

"Gear brings her own voice to the story...and the result is a crisply written, lively, and quite satisfying novel." —Booklist
You can purchase Cries from the Lost Island at the following Retailers:


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATHLEEN O'NEAL GEAR for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of Cries from the Lost Island by Kathleen O'Neal Gear.