Indie Author Spotlight – Lisa Marie Gabriel and “The Cougar”

Indie Author Spotlight – Lisa Marie Gabriel and “The Cougar”

I’ve got another fantastic indie author for you today – Lisa Marie Gabriel and her new novel, “The Cougar.”

At Home In Golden Ears December 2012


Lisa Marie Gabriel is a UK based author, composer, musician and poet. She divides her time as best she can between family and friends in England and in British Columbia which she loves and considers her second home. “When I go to BC, you are most likely to find me in Golden Ears, probably hiking the Lower Falls Trail, or simply lazily dreaming by the side of Alouette Lake. I also absolutely adore Victoria – and boats – I love boats!”
She has recently published her first novel, The Cougar, which was inspired by her love for Golden Ears and an interest in vampires and shape shifters. As a writer, her first love is poetry but she has also written music education material, has edited and published The Cat the Bat and the Burglar for Colin Edward Mason and enjoys photography and design too. “I consider myself a Renaissance woman” she says, adding “unfortunately I do not possess Berenice’s immortality!”

Lisa is also an established composer and musical arranger and has recorded her own album, Flying to Meet the Sunrise, which is available on CD (exclusive to and MP3 format. She has also executed musical commissions for other writers including A Peaceful Celtic Spring. Other books released by Lisa on Amazon include the poetry anthology “A Whisper of the Romantic in the Eye of God” and a technical dissertation analysing the songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams, “On Wenlock Edge 100 Years On”.

Of her latest work of fiction, The Cougar, she says “It’s a penny dreadful, a rollicking read; though I hope it has a little artistic merit too. It was fun to write and I hope you will find it as much fun to read. I wanted to convey a few challenging ideas about love and spirituality in a light way and also what a treasure the forests of British Columbia are. In that respect, it is a work written out of love!”
You can follow Lisa on Facebook.
And here’s the book!
The Cougar cover
Angela Bradley’s marriage is on the rocks. She and husband Owen take a second honeymoon to try and remedy the situation, a trip of a lifetime to British Columbia, but little does Angela know that saving their marriage is the last thing on Owen’s mind. He has arranged to meet up with Ingrid and continue his affair. Whilst there Angela meets Berenice, an elegant widow of Italian descent, who is seeking to come to terms with her husband’s violent and tragic death. The two women seem inexplicably attracted to each other, but Berenice is older…. much, much older…. and she has an amazing secret or two up her sleeve! This Gothic romance novel flits from Renaissance Florence to the forests of modern day British Columbia as the story of the two women unfolds and Owen comes to a sticky end. It is suitable for adults 18+ to read as it deals with themes of vampirism, shape-shifting, death, and explicit love scenes….
You can buy it on Amazon (on Kindle or in paperback).  You can also buy her other books:
And here’s an excerpt from “The Cougar:
The journey to Gubbio was harrowing. Berenice and Raffaelo travelled at night over rough roads, often uphill, and in the daytime they would rest hidden away like gypsies in the forest clearings. The bread was soon gone. There was no question of stopping at an inn to rest or eat. They had no intention of leaving any sort of trail for the mob to follow.
“I know it is hard my love,” Raffaelo said to his wife, “but you are the only thing on this Earth that really matters to me. If I lose you, I might as well be dead.”
He would bring spring water to her when he could, which he diluted with grappa to disinfect it. Neither of them had eaten in days, and Berenice was weak and feverish.
“If you die, I shall never forgive myself. This horrible mess is all my fault!”
“What do you mean? How could that be?” she replied and stroked his cheek with her soft hand.
Raffaelo looked distant, he knew she needed to eat something soon; she was far too weak and ill.
“I must find something for us to eat,” he told her, “I won’t be long.”
In a little under half an hour he was back, cradling a dead roe deer, in his strong arms.
“How did you do that?” she murmured in wonder.
“Something I learned as a boy in Umbria” he answered. “We country boys all know how to track the Capriolo!”
Raffaelo cleared the ground for a small fire, built up in a cone shape. Inside there was down from dandelions and slivers of birch bark. This he surrounded with small dry twigs, then larger ones. He took a tinderbox from his pouch and struck a spark, then coaxed the tiny flame to life. When the fire was established, he built it up with larger pieces of wood and laid logs around the rim to dry out.
With consummate skill, he skinned and removed the entrails of the deer and then constructed a makeshift spit from straight branches of common elderberry or Sambuca trees. He crushed a few purple Sambuca berries with the flat of his knife and rubbed it into the carcass to marinate the meat. Berenice was fading in and out of consciousness by now as she was so hungry. Raffaelo roused her with a gentle shake and handed her a mouthful of the purple berries he had gathered.
“Eat these, they will not harm you!” he said and she took them from him, trusting his knowledge and skill.
Raffaelo continued to turn the carcass over and over above the now merry fire until it started to look brown and the juices were running onto the embers below. Taking his knife from his belt again, he cut slices from the back of the deer.
“These will be the best, my love, they are the most tender.”
She took the meat he offered gratefully and ate. “What about you?” she asked.
“I had my share while you were sleeping. I am fine!”
After her meal, she again fell into a slumber, Raffaelo knew that evening would be approaching soon and they would have to be on their way. Using his knife, he butchered the roast carcass, wrapping the shoulders, forequarters and hind quarters in some fine muslin they had brought. The head and neck of the Capriolo he tossed to one side while he kicked earth over what remained of the fire to put it out. On the deer’s neck were two small wounds in the jugular. They were about the same distance apart as the canines of a very large cat….
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve got an interview with Lisa…
Who is your favorite author?
That is a question I can’t answer because I don’t have one. I never have! There are many authors I love, but my reading tends to be capricious. I admire Oscar Wilde because of his exquisite language, humour and versatility but equally well there is D.H. Lawrence, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Bronte.… so many great writers. I couldn’t be English without loving Shakespeare either. Recently I have enjoyed David Michie’s writing very much “The Art of Purring” and “The Dalai Lama’s Cat” are both beautiful books. I also greatly enjoyed Alice Sebold’s writing in The Lovely Bones. As I write about vampires, I have to say my favourite vampire authors are Bram Stoker and of course Anne Rice.
How do you describe your writing style?
Concise but descriptive: I write poetry and in poetry it is vital to avoid redundancy. I like every word to count but I enjoy imagery and musicality in language. My novel is shorter than many but I think an awful lot happens in those words on the page. I try to avoid being too wordy because I want the reader to be truly involved and swept along by the action.
Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
You should read my book because you want to be part of something rich, adventurous and strange. If the concept of immortality fascinates, but you wonder what it really means to possess it, you might well enjoy The Cougar.
Have any of your characters been modelled after yourself?
I think there is a little part of me invested in all of them, but obviously mostly the girls. Angela reminds me of when I was in my twenties, she is active, very much the outdoor type but quiet and shy. Berenice is the version of me I would most like to be if I could; she is elegant, educated and wise. Ingrid has a cold and calculating side that I do find I have to watch out for.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
I would choose Berenice, because to be so in touch with nature and so completely part of it would be wonderful. I would love to be able to shape shift, to dance with fireflies and to control life and death. Also to know that I have an infinite number of tomorrows to enjoy!
What books have most influenced your life?
Well, I have a definite longing for adventure and the wilds, so probably Wuthering Heights and She by Rider Haggard. I was struck by Wilfred Owen’s war poetry; it is so powerful, the language and musicality of his words when dealing with such a horrendous subject. In contrast, I love Dylan Thomas – he always casts magic with his words. A Child’s Christmas in Wales was something I grew up with, listening to a record of Dylan Thomas read his own work interspersed with the most wonderful music. Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” is a work I still turn to on a regular basis – I often just dip into it randomly when I feel challenged by anything in life.
If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?
Frankenstein, because I always felt the “monster” was unfairly treated by all the humans, especially his maker who always struck me as paranoid and distinctly lacking in compassion. I always found Victor Frankenstein a bit of a worm to be honest – I guess you might call him a jerk in the USA. In my version of Frankenstein, the monster does not murder Victor’s little brother William but attempts to save him. The true child killer escapes and it is only when the killer returns and attempts to murder Victor’s fiancée that the plot unravels in a very different way.
Beatles or Monkees? Why?
I choose the Beatles, because they composed their own songs and are still a musical legend.
Who should play you in a film of your life?
Well, Elizabeth Taylor is dead, Katherine Deneuve is possibly too old, Cote de Pablo is probably too young – so that leaves me with the wonderful Meryl Streep who can play absolutely anybody. I feel she could even play Richard the Third if she had a mind to; also she has a pedigree of playing English ladies extremely well.
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