Let Me Introduce You To…Theresa Danley

So I promised last week I’d steer away from paranormal or supernatural mysteries. Said I’d change it up a bit. And I meant it. But I still love introducing authors who’ve written books that I have great interest in and I can tell you this…the moment I heard about Theresa Danley and her book Effigy, I knew I had to introduce you to her as well. Are there any vampires, wizards, monsters, or magic in this book? I don’t think so…unless you count a brutal serial killer going on a murder spree in Mexico a monster! Ah, I see I have your attention now, eh?
But you see, this is the starting point for the premise behind Effigy, Theresa Danley’s debut adventure thriller from Whiskey Creek Press. Theresa basically has written a rip-roaring archaeological adventure lined with  suspense thriller twist. Here’s the product description for the book: 
A serial killer is on the loose, depositing his victims’ hearts amid the Toltec ruins of central Mexico. Meanwhile, a priceless Mesoamerican artifact is stolen from the University of Utah, sweeping archaeologists Anthony Peet and Lori Dewson on a desperate recovery mission south of the border. Accompanied by a reluctant colleague, an enthusiastic young journalist and a Yaqui woman in mourning, the team must decipher clues hidden within the Aztec sunstone, mystical Toltec Pyramids and astronomical calendar rounds to find the priceless effigy of Quetzalcoatl. They suddenly find themselves in a race against the coming solar eclipse, all the while dodging a corrupt Mexican police force still on the hunt for the sadistic murderer – a killer who’s chosen one of them for his next human sacrifice.

Here are what others are saying about Effigy:
Really a masterful job…An absolute pleasure to read.” — Gary Val Tenuta, author of THE EZEKIEL CODE.
Theresa Danley defly blends contemporary and ancient mysteries together in a uniquely American…or maybe that should be Meso-American…archaeological adventure that grabs you and doesn’t let go. If you need a break from Templar treasures and Masonic mysticism, EFFIGY is just what the doctor ordered.” — Sean Ellis, author of INTO THE BLACK and THE SHROUD OF HEAVEN.
Effigy emerges heads above the plethora of 2012 related literature with a fresh approach…” — Literary-Magic.com.
Theresa’s manly lady upbringing throws a little perfumed spice on the archaeological campfire…” — Ross Eddy Osborn, author of FOREVER FOUND FOREVER LOST.
Sounds pretty great, eh? Once again, I’ve added a book I’m featuring here on my DEFINITE too be read list! And I hope you do too. Something tells me this is a book not to be missed. 🙂 You can even read a sample  (the prologue) of the book by clicking here: http://www.theresadanley.com/prologue.shtml
You can pick up a copy of Effigy here:


Or for ebooks, here: http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=805

Recently, I had the great fortune to talk to Theresa about her writing, her plans for the future of her writing career, her interests, and a whole lot of other stuff. Here’s what she had to say: 

1) Effigy seems to have the perfect blend of archaeological adventure with blood-curdling mystery. Tell us, in your own words, what is this book about? 

You’ve hit the nail right on the head.  When an priceless effigy of the Mesoamerican deity, Quetzalcoatl, is stolen, archaeologists discover that their search for the artifact leads them into a web of murder, mythology and dangerous secret cults.  And that’s all after they must dodge the snares set by for them by a corrupt Mexican AFI agent.

2) What is the inspiration for Effigy? Where did the idea come from? Tell us a bit of how this story came to be. 

I was actually working on a different story set in the American Southwest when my research for that book led me to the ancient cultures of central Mexico.  The more I learned about the Mesoamericans, the more captivated I became.  It wasn’t until I began to learn about their astronomy and how that often tied into their mythology that a story began to take shape in my head.  I hadn’t attempted to write mystery-thrillers before but as EFFIGY took control of my creative mind, it became quite apparent that there was no other way to write this story!

3) Adventure-thrillers are very popular lately. What do you think draws people to these books? What do you think are some essential elements that any adventure thriller must have? 

Being relatively new to the genre myself, I can only tell you what I’ve picked up through this experience of writing EFFIGY.  First of all, I think most people, like me, are drawn to adventure.  We like excitement and watching our heroes find creative ways of getting out of sticky situations.  I found that to be the most challenging and yet, the most fun when writing EFFIGY.  It really makes you think outside the box as a writer.  I think the essential elements of adventure thrillers are spelled out right in the genre title – adventure and thrills.  In short, we all like a little excitement.  I think the mystery element also draws upon readers who like to try to figure things out.  I think people who read mystery-thrillers are not only looking to be entertained, but they want to match their own wit against the author.  Hey, I admit, when I can predict a story’s outcome, I can’t help but feel a little superior to the author who couldn’t fool me!

4) As a writer, who/what are some of your major influences (whether authors, books, TV, or movies)? How have they influenced you? 

Good question.  I love bringing forgotten stories back to life.  In the beginning, that was primarily focused on the American West, so my favorite authors in that area were the Larry McMurtry type.  That’s when I began dabbling in historical fiction on my own.  But when the native history of Mexico drew my attention, it challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.  I think the book that convinced me that I could make a great thriller out of EFFIGY was Dan Brown’s, THE DAVINCI CODE.  I went on to find other favorite thriller writers like James Rollins who continue to urge me to draw exciting stories out of the factual gems of science and history.

5) Do you have any projects you are working on now? What can readers be looking forward to in the future by you? 

I am hoping to turn this into EFFIGY a series of 3 or 4 books that follow my characters as they dig deeper into the mysteries of this unique artifact.  But even more than the effigy itself, readers can expect to discover more about the stories that are wrapped around this one physical piece of history.  That’s what has always interested me when I see an artifact – not the artifact itself so much as the lives that were and still may be affected by its existence.

The sequel I’m working on right now is called DEITY, which continues to explore Mesoamerica and touches even closer to the 2012 phenomenon that has become the center of so much interest and debate.  However, readers can expect DEITY to twist away from the usual 2012 doomsday story.  Of course, I am still holding to my desire to stay as true to the science, history and mythology as possible, so readers can still expect a great adventure grounded in true to life settings.

6) Besides writing, what are some of your favorite things to do? Hobbies? Interests? 

Ordinarily, I’d say hands down my favorite thing is horses, horses, horses.  I love them and I love riding and showing them.  However, in this season of family building, the horses have taken a back seat.  But that should only be a temporary hiatus.  Although the horses don’t take as high a priority as they used to, they are still a major part of my life and I have plans of getting back in that saddle much sooner than later!

7) I always ask this question of all my guest authors…if you could offer only one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be? 

My knee-jerk response is to never give up, but I think that piece of advice (as true as it is) has been passed around to the point of tatters.  So my piece of advice is more of a challenge to aspiring writers to step out of their comfort zones.  Don’t be afraid to try a new genre or research an entirely different subject you thought you didn’t have time for.  You never know where new paths will take you and how that experience can refresh and inspire your writing.

Thank you Theresa for a fantastic interview! We wish you the very best of luck with Effigy, plus with the entire series!

And if you want to know more about Theresa Danley and her books, check out her website here:

And her blog here:


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