Interview with Brian J. Purcell, Author of The Divination of Celia Connolly

07 Jul 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Divination of Celia Connolly?

The Divination of Celia Connolly is the first book in a new mystery series. The series revolves around Celia Connolly, a private detective who uses magic to solve mysteries. She is quirky, witty, intelligent, and crass. She often seeks guidance from her friends and mentor, Maya Patel. In The Divination of Celia Connolly, Celia investigates a case for an attorney to help get his client out of jail. The investigation leads to a series of murders with a personal connection to Celia. Numerous obstacles and challenges hinder her pursuit for justice, but she continues to move forward, even when her advisers tell her to rest. It is a mystery full of unapproved magic, conspiracy, intrigue, and wonder as she navigates a world with real magic.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I was inspired to start writing by a junior-high teacher who liked an assignment enough to let me read it to the class. I’ve always been an avid reader, starting with The Boxcar Children and Goosebumps and progressing through Harry Potter and then more explicit mysteries from the likes of Robert Ludlum and John Grisham. My favorite stories were always Sherlock Holmes books. At the end of it all, the support of my Great Aunt, Sister Maura Purcell, always inspired me to push myself.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

My top five books are more a list of my favorite series and books: 1) Sherlock Holmes Adventures, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; 2) The Matarese Circle and The Matarese Countdown, by Robert Ludlum; 3) The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan; 4) The Game of Thrones series, by George R.R. Martin, and 5) Ready Player One.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

I think my first guest choice would be J.K. Rowling. She weaved fantasy and mystery together perfectly in the Harry Potter series, and I would ask her what her inspiration was for creating her world and the mysteries within it.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is immersing myself in the world I create, and letting the characters grow in ways I did not imagine at the outset of the story.

What is a typical day like for you?

Typical days for everyone changed recently. I am lucky enough that my job allowed me to work from home during the pandemic. As a tax attorney, most of my time working is spent researching and writing about tax laws and policy throughout the country. I’m also a big sports fan and I love to watch soccer and baseball when they are on. I find time to fit in reading new books, which has been true crime and legal thrillers, and writing my stories.

What scene from The Divination of Celia Connolly was your favorite to write?

I think there is a tie between two scenes for me. In one scene, Celia is being interrogated by agents of the fictional Bureau of Magic Use and Regulation (BMUR), playing with the English language and frustrating the agent. The second scene was at a park early in the book which started to build the magical world the series is set in. Introducing magic to our world was a challenge, but it was fun and interesting.

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Brian J. Purcell is the author of the new book The Divination of Celia Connolly.

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