Monday, September 16, 2013

Virtual Book Tour [Interview] The Case of the Displaced Detective Series by Stephanie Osborn


The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival is a SF mystery in which brilliant hyperspatial physicist, Dr. Skye Chadwick, discovers there are alternate realities, often populated by those we consider only literary characters. Her pet research, Project: Tesseract, hidden deep under Schriever AFB, finds Continuum 114, where Sherlock Holmes was to have died along with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. In a Knee-jerk reaction, Skye rescues Holmes, who inadvertently flies through the wormhole to our universe, while his enemy plunges to his death. Unable to go back without causing devastating continuum collapse, Holmes must stay in our world and adapt. Meanwhile, the Schriever AFB Dept of Security discovers a spy ring working to dig out the details of – and possibly sabotage – Project: Tesseract. Can Chadwick help Holmes come up to speed in modern investigative techniques in time to stop the spies? Will Holmes be able to thrive in our modern world? Is Chadwick now Holmes’ new “Watson” – or more? And what happens next?


Having foiled sabotage of Project: Tesseract by an unknown spy ring, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Skye Chadwick face the next challenge. How do they find the members of this diabolical spy ring when they do not even know what the ring is trying to accomplish? And how can they do it when Skye is recovering from no less than two nigh-fatal wounds? Further complicating matters is their relationship. For the ups and downs between Holmes and Chadwick are due to something more than the occasional clash of demanding, eccentric personalities. Chadwick acknowledges to herself that she has fallen in love with Holmes. Knowing he eschews matters of the heart, however, she struggles to hide it, in order to maintain the friendship they do have, preferring said friendship to total alienation. Holmes also feels attraction – but fights it tooth and nail, refusing to admit to the fact, even to himself. After all, it is not merely Skye’s work the spies may be after – but her life as well. Having already lost Watson to the vagaries of spacetime, could he endure losing another companion? Can they work out the intricacies of their relationship? Can they determine the reason the spy ring is after the tesseract? And – most importantly – can they stop it?


In 1980, RAF Bentwaters and Woodbridge were plagued by UFO sightings that were never solved. Now a resident of Suffolk has died of fright during a new UFO encounter. On holiday in London, Sherlock Holmes and Skye Chadwick-Holmes are called upon by Her Majesty’s Secret Service to investigate the death. What is the UFO? Why does Skye find it familiar? Who – or what – killed McFarlane? And how can the pair do what even Her Majesty’s Secret Service could not? The Case of the Cosmological Killer: The Rendlesham Incident is the third book in an exciting and popular science fiction and mystery series.
Ending and Beginnings


After the revelations in The Rendlesham Incident, Holmes and Skye find they have not one, but two, very serious problems facing them. Not only did their “UFO victim” most emphatically NOT die from a close encounter, he was dying twice over – from completely unrelated causes. Holmes must now find the murderers before they find the secret of the McFarlane farm. And to add to their problems, another continuum – containing another Skye and Holmes – has approached Skye for help to stop the collapse of their own spacetime, a collapse that could take Skye with it, should she happen to be in their tesseract core when it occurs.
The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings is the fourth book in an exciting and popular science fiction and mystery series.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
Oh, I have to choose just one? That would be hard. Seriously. 
I distinctly remember reading The Hound of the Baskervilles as a kid and being scared witless. I was maybe in 2nd or 3rd grade and the legend of the hound, for an excitable, nervous child with an extra-vivid imagination, prone to dreaming in color (I still do), was terrifying. 
Later in elementary school I remember reading Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time. I had discovered science fiction around 3rd or 4th grade and I think I found Wrinkle in...5th? I'm not sure why it grabbed me so. I think it made the universe a lot bigger than just 3D, and what we can see...
In high school, in addition to the usual suspects in science fiction, I rediscovered Arthur Conan Doyle. The school library had that big compendium of all the Holmes stories, you know the one: rust and mustard dust jacket, several inches thick. I wagged that thing all over campus, back and forth on the bus home, until I'd read it cover to cover. I was devastated at the ending to The Final Problem, and I mourned Holmes badly. I came very close to simply turning the book back in to the library, but I wanted more Holmes. Then I got to the Adventure of the Empty House, and all but turned handsprings down the hall at school. As an adult, I ran across that same volume in a bookstore once, and it graces my bookshelves to this day, well thumbed.
To show you the degree to which it impressed me, when I was writing the prologue for The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival, and had to recreate the events (from a very different point of view) leading up to Holmes' transition -- the Moriarty case, Holmes being stalked, fleeing to the Continent, the battle at the Reichenbach Falls -- I wrote it all from memory. Yes, I did go back later and double-check my details, but didn't have to change a thing.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Well, not to be plebeian, but I'm pretty happy where I am. Oh, I've thought about moving to Florida, or the Colorado Front Range, or even the Pacific Northwest -- because I've traveled to all those places and loved them -- but in the end Huntsville AL is home. This is the place I come back to, my refuge, my domain, and my "castle."

 How did you know you should become an author?
Heh. I sold a book. Up until then I wasn't sure!
I've written since early elementary school. The first thing I remember writing was a poem; the second, a play. It was horribly derivative, looking back on it, but it must have shown SOME promise, because my teacher not only permitted, but encouraged, me to cast it, direct it, and perform it for the class. In high school I tried my hand at a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and submitted it to the school's literary magazine. The entries were blind-judged, meaning the evaluation committee had no idea who had written what. I found out much later (after it didn't make the cut) that the English Lit teacher had read it and decided it was a plagiarized copy of an actual Arthur Conan Doyle story. Unfortunately I think that says more about the teacher than it did my budding writing skills.
Still and all, I made the honors program at university partly by dint of my writing skills. So the ability was there. It wasn't until I tried to start a novel franchise for a particular film that I discovered I really did have entire books in me, though.

Favorite Food?
Chocolate milkshake or a chocolate malt. But I have to be careful not to eat 'em too often!

What was your favorite children's book?
(Isn't this a duplicate of #1?)
I don't really have any one favorite. I was an omnivorous, voracious reader and usually had my nose in a book if I was awake.

Most of my friends and family just call me Steph, and always have. One or two people have called me Stevie.

You have won one million dollars; what is the first thing that you would buy?
The first thing I would do is to donate 10-15% to my favorite charity/ministry, actually. Then I would probably look at buying a bigger house with a little more land around it, farther out from the city. I grew up in the country, had 5 acres of yard growing up, and I miss that sense of space and the ability to just get out and ramble around among the trees and across the grass. Miss watching the squirrels gambol and the deer wander across the yard. Or just sit on the front porch and watch the sun set and the lightning bugs come out to play.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Truthfully, I had a blast watching the first Men In Black film. I wanted to start a book franchise to expand the universe. I mean, it was based on a comic book, but the comic was actually very different from the film, and I wanted to enlarge the adventures. I had a blast and wrote several books in an MIB series, but couldn't sell them because there was only one publishing house with the rights and they weren't accepting unagented submissions...and at that time, with no other works published, I didn't have and couldn't get, an agent.
I'd been playing around with another manuscript. This one was about a space shuttle disaster that turned out NOT to have been an accident, and the ensuing investigation and cover-up. One of the publishers I'd submitted for the MIB project said I had definite style, and did I have anything original so there wouldn't be any copyright issues? I sent her what I had of that book, and she said for me to finish it and submit it, because it looked good.
Long story short, I did but she didn't. But Travis S. Taylor was my writing mentor at the time, and he acted as my agent, submitting the manuscript to Twilight Times Books. Lida Quillen is the head of TTB, and I think Travis emailed it to her on a Thursday. By Monday I had contract in hand. Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281 was released on Tax Day 2009. My first foray into professional publication was also my first official foray into writing science fiction mystery. The rest is history and all that.

Print or Ebook?
I read both, because I prefer print, but ebook is more convenient for travel.

M&M’s or Skittles?
M&M's. I'm a chocoholic. (See "favorite food"!)

What book are you reading now?
I have several I'm working on, mostly to help me write the next Displaced Detective books. One is for research, The London of Sherlock Holmes or something like that. And I re-read Conan Doyle, and I read some of the Victorian-set pastiches. It refreshes my feel for Holmes...and occasionally shows me what NOT to do.
I really need to get back into reading more science fiction, but I'm always a bit hesitant to read books that are directly in the category(ies) in which I write. I mean, okay, I read Holmes, but only the stuff where he's in the Victorian Era, and I write him in the modern day -- so it's the same, but different. I just have this fear of inadvertently pullling in someone else's concept and writing it into my books. Plagiarism and piracy are anathema to me, but it's entirely possible to do it subconsciously without intent. And I don't want to do that.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?
Making sure I kept Holmes' "voice" true. He isn't the same Holmes that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about -- that one lived in a different continuum -- and he's forced to stretch and grow and change a bit. But I wanted to try to keep the personality right. Mind, I was writing these years before the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey films, let alone BBC's Sherlock and CBS' Elementary. My favorite period depiction of Holmes was and remains Jeremy Brett's performance in the Grenada series. So I knew I had "nailed" Holmes whenever I could hear Brett's voice delivering the lines!

Can you share a little about the current title you are working on?
I'm working on several at the moment, actually. I'm writing the sequel to Burnout, tentatively titled Escape Velocity. It picks up pretty much where Burnout ended, and extends the story. I'm working on book 4 of the Cresperian Saga (a series about Earth's first contact with aliens, when the alien starship wrecks in our solar system, and some of the lifepods make it to Earth. The aliens are stranded, and various political groups around the world want them and their technology). It's titled Heritage.
And I just turned in book 5 of the Displaced Detective series. It's called A Case of Spontaneous Combustion; Holmes is called in to investigate events in a little hamlet on the Salisbury Plain outside London. All of the inhabitants have died, at the same time and in a most gruesome fashion, that does appear to indicate a case of mass spontaneous combustion. I'm working on book 6, A Little Matter of Earthquakes; it'll be set on the West Coast. Book 7, The Adventure of Shining Mountain Lodge, is finished but I'm polishing and editing it. It's set in and around Rocky Mountain National Park, where an illegal alien shows up amid tall snow drifts, clad in thin rags, begging for help. They manage to get him to a hospital in Boulder, but barely: he's hemorrhaging from every orifice. Then he screams about the blue light around the rock, and dies...
 And I'm brainstorming more ideas past that!
Few can claim the varied background of Stephanie Osborn, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery.
Veteran of more than 20 years in the civilian space program, as well as various military space defense programs, she worked on numerous space shuttle flights and the International Space Station, and counts the training of astronauts on her resumé. Her space experience also includes Spacelab and ISS operations, variable star astrophysics, Martian aeolian geophysics, radiation physics, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons effects.
Stephanie holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in four sciences: astronomy, physics, chemistry and mathematics, and she is “fluent” in several more, including geology and anatomy.
In addition she possesses a license of ministry, has been a duly sworn, certified police officer, and is a National Weather Service certified storm spotter.
Her travels have taken her to the top of Pikes Peak, across the world’s highest suspension bridge, down gold mines, in the footsteps of dinosaurs, through groves of giant Sequoias, and even to the volcanoes of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, where she was present for several phreatic eruptions of Mount St. Helens.
Now retired from space work, Stephanie has trained her sights on writing. She has authored, co-authored, or contributed to more than 20 books, including the celebrated science-fiction mystery, Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281. She is the co-author of the “Cresperian Saga,” book series, and currently writes the critically acclaimed “Displaced Detective” series, described as “Sherlock Holmes meets The X-Files.” She recently released the paranormal/horror novella El Vengador, based on a true story, as an ebook.
In addition to her writing work, the Interstellar Woman of Mystery now happily “pays it forward,” teaching math and science through numerous media including radio, podcasting and public speaking, as well as working with SIGMA, the science-fiction think tank.
The Mystery continues.

You can visit Stephanie Osborn’s website at


Stephanie Osborn said...

Michelle, thank you so much for having me! It was a blast, and your questions were fun!

LisaR said...

I loved this interview, and your blog is delightful too. I'm a big fan of this series and can't wait for the next book to come out.

Unknown said...

Great interview! I am a big fan of Stephanie Osborn's and am waiting on pins and needles for the next Displaced Detective series. I was always a voracious reader, but haven't found anything in several years that would hold my attention. Until I discovered Ms. Osborn's works, I had nearly given up on reading as a hobby. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us, Stephanie.

Unknown said...

Stephanie what a great interview!
Not only are you an amazing author but you love chocolate too =P
No wonder we get along! <3

Michelle, I just love your blog!! Its inviting and the little blue bird is so cute ;)

Unknown said...

Great Interview :) Love the Displaced Detective Series !!!