Book Babble

November 25 2008

I am A. Y. Stratton, and I write romantic suspense.

In September an editor from The Wild Rose Press sent me an email announcing she would like to publish the romantic suspense novel I had sent her in July. Zowee! I exploded, hooting and yelping. (I never learned to whistle.) This was it! Unless I messed things up, I was finally going to have one of my ten or so manuscripts magically become a book, something I had dreamed about since I was a kid. (My first dream was to become a cowboy, but that fizzled after I discovered horses were scary, there wasn't much work for cowboys in the suburbs of Chicago, and, of course, because I was a girl, I would have to be a cowgirl, one of those useless people on television who never were allowed to rescue anyone.)

This morning my email was full of congratulations from friends, cousins, classmates from high school and college buddies. They all said they were excited to read my romantic suspense story, Buried Heart. Just writing this makes me laugh out loud. I wonder if I'll ever get used to being a published author.

I really like the cover with the pyramid in the background and the man and woman in the foreground, their lips poised for a kiss. The lighting suggests mystery and danger, and there's plenty of that in the story.

I got hooked on ancient ruins the moment I stood among the spirits of the sacrificed virgins at the top of the pyramid at Teotihuacan near Mexico City. Eventually, my husband and I visited Mayan ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, where I conceived the idea for Buried Heart. I had thought the people who were already living in the Americas when Columbus and Cortez arrived had no written documents, besides the glyphs on their monuments. However, a professor from Yale University who was our resource in the Yucatan, told us about codices, or codexes, that survived the fires of the Inquisition.

Codexes? Fires of the inquisition? I'd never studied that in history class. Then I recalled a book I loved in sixth or seventh grade, Captain From Castile, about a young man who joins Cortez to avoid being punished by the Inquisition for crimes he didn't commit.

In Buried Heart, archeology professor Luis Hernandez (handsome, sexy, sweet, but elusive), hopes to locate a legendary codex, a remnant that might have survived the fires of the Conquistadores. He hopes the mysterious map he inherited from his Mexican grandfather might lead him to it, but so far he's had no luck. Others try to steal the map, and frighten, kidnap and kill a few people before they succeed.

The story begins as two muggers get the drop on Luis in a parking garage. In a rare moment of audacity, Lauren Richmond (funny, feisty, quietly lovely) frightens them off. Before they part, Luis astonishes her with a kiss, as if he's tossing a cigarette into a dry forest, igniting her heart and demolishing her plan to avoid even a spark of love.

Besides romance, I also write about baseball, my favorite sport, for the Milwaukee Brewers. You can read my columns at

Thanks for dropping by,

A. Y. Stratton