Guest Post

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today with a guest post for your reading enjoyment! :) Please help give them a warm welcome!

Just exactly what does the reader of a “guest blog” want to know from the writer? Is it our vision for the book or inspiration for the setting and characters, perhaps?  With each request we are taking a leap of faith that our subject has been thoughtful and well-chosen. One frequently asked question is, “As a brother and sister team, what challenges were presented in collaborating to create the book?”
First we drew on our own experiences and tailored them to work together. As writers, generally, we write about others, not ourselves…or at least that is what I had believed until undertaking this book.  However, I quickly learned that many of my own thoughts or perspectives and life experiences became a potent influence as I developed the dramatis personae.  Even in a fantasy setting, it is our imagination, perhaps a collage of memories of persons and places, which brought forth the flow of words.  Our inscape is present even if not necessarily evident to the reader. Who I am, as a person, is an obvious reality to those who know me well when reading The Jinn and the Sword just as certainly my brother’s individuality is apparent and translated into the language of the characters who speak for us and to us. What I have found most astonishing is what we learned about each other during the writing as well.
The poetically written Prologue and Epilogue were both written by my brother, an attorney, CPA and judge.  Rob is all about word precision, an expert wordsmith, so most who know us would not have attributed such flowery sentiment to him.  The beauty of those words is what inspired me to join him in bringing his inspired plot and outline to life – I found them irresistible.  The point is, however, that as a writer of legal decisions, each word is deliberately and cautiously chosen because there are consequential legal ramifications attached to each writing. This crossover of writing from precision to beauty and sensitivity seem irreconcilable and yet he drew poetic and prosaic inspirations from his own inscape.  The Prologue and Epilogue are just two examples which were the product of his sensitive nature. Here is a favorite quote that I wish I could claim was solely mine…not just the adding of a few words and moving around one or two:
“And thus, in this moment, Francesca Lupo acquiesced, releasing herself to experience the utterly irresistible metamorphosis of the girl into the woman…an exquisite transformation tenderly and profoundly touching her embryonic soul.”
Dear reader, is not proof that a lawyer, one dedicated to the precise, is capable of writing with great sensitivity?  And I, as an interior designer, always seeking creative and beautiful solutions to functional and mundane problems, found myself capable of writing scenes and words that would likely be attributed to him – the opening scene for example.  All gruesome and terrifying…along with other phrases such as “look for exculpatory evidence” or “suborned his cabal of malcontent janissaries to great treachery against the sultan.”  Legal terms used by me, but that more likely would be attributed to him. I think both of us were surprised by these “crossover” abilities.
We both love the use of alliteration, consonance and assonance, attempting to create an intonation and prosody of sorts, throughout the book. We both relish the rhythm of words, sometimes finding we merely loved the sound of a particular word.  “Hunt for the heretical”, “portentous pricks”, and “blasphemous brushstrokes” are examples, and another in our introduction. “…deep beneath the ancient cobbled and cacophonous streets of Istanbul…in the moments after midnight, the mysteries were manifest and multiplying.”
I do not describe myself as a writer, but rather an “expresser”.  This book turned me into a huntress, on a search for deliciously descriptive words and becoming a wordsmith myself. There is equal darkness and light in the book.  Describing light was less difficult than darkness…what “kind” of darkness did we want the reader to experience? An evil “caliginous” darkness, a hellish “stygian” darkness, a thick “atramentous” inky darkness, or perhaps a darkness created by a swaddling brume? I focused on sensory awareness such as “putrefying stench”, “foulness”, “tenebrous depths of the cisterns”, hoping the reader could smell and feel the moment. Endeavoring to entice the readers to “visually tactile” experience, the descriptions of the surroundings were created by describing even the weight and movement of fabrics or the colors of the underside of clouds.  Portrayals of people, scenes, moments with wonderful, underused words – coxcomb, quidnunc, hauteur, fallalery, felicity, inconnu, anoesis, esperance…is that not just the most lovely word? Is there not “hope” for our language if we revive the use of such exquisite and yet rarely used, or even abandoned, words?  Therein, readers, lies a mission! 
During the writing too, I was “found out.”  Perhaps my brother was also.  It required reaching in, deep to that place most sacred and protected.  In my view it would be impossible to create characters who had not experienced deep love, profound sorrow, betrayal, confusion and even the divine…all the complexities that create the human soul – our “pearls”.  Having been cautioned never to “cast them out”, I believe a writer, an expresser, I must nevertheless do this, regardless of the consequences; it would be so unfair to our characters not to allow you in.  And so we welcome you to explore all of these thoughts in The Jinn and the Sword.
It is time to begin anew our searches – both internal and external – for all those moments we want to create to captivate our reader with the next book. We will face a new, challenging “darkness,” a new fantastical beast and a new cache of clues requiring untangling. It’s  exhausting, but strangely reenergizing. We do love (almost) every minute of it!

We hope you love our story…our little “entertainment”.
With great gratitude for the opportunity and to our readers,
Sara Cook (and for, Robert Peacock) (Website) (Instagram)
Thanks for coming by the blog!

More information: 
Robert Truss Peacock is an attorney/CPA who has served as an Administrative Judge for the past thirty-two years, most recently on the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) and previously on the Corps of Engineers Board of Contract Appeals prior to its merger with the ASBCA in 2000. His inspiration for the book emanated from his study of Ottoman history and culture and visits to the magnificent city of Istanbul when he was stationed in Turkey as an Air Force JAG officer approximately forty years ago. Whenever able, he spends his free time with his twin daughters, Mary and Anne, and his grandchildren, Wilfred and Amelia.

Sara Lawrence (Peacock) Cook is a published interior designer and retired from her thirty year career as owner of an interior design business and importer of antiques. Living in Europe for fifteen years she traveled extensively for clients, business and pleasure, including a visit to Istanbul, Turkey – the setting for the novel. A self-described “collector of experiences and impressions,” she turned her creative efforts to writing, using her vivid recollections to build scenes and characters in The Jinn and the Sword, an intriguing, inspired plot and mesmerizing outline developed by her brother and co-author, Robert. Joining forces, their shared vision was to enhance the reader’s experience by illustrating the book in a manner evocative of the manuscripts of the 16th century. Leaving behind the hectic pace of suburban life, she recently relocated to the northern Great Plains in search of a more Arcadian lifestyle. She has been married forty-five years to John L. Cook, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and published author. She credits Katelyn Cook and Rebecca Cook, daughters made family through marriage to their sons, Zachary and Joshua, for their elevated artistic and editorial contributions.
“The cruelties man inflicts upon fellow man are endless and barbaric…These things are beyond comprehension and each brutal bestial act creates an individual human tragedy, the consequences spilling into many lives.”
“This is the man known for solving mysteries of the imperial courts. He is very clever and often impassive.  Be cautious.  Vincenzo Lupo is more a fox than a wolf.”
“A terrified Mehmed gazed into the distorted and grotesque face of the Shaitan, its wildly flashing eyes exuding a phlegethon of malice and drooling mouth filled with sharp, cuspidated teeth.”
“A journey within itself, Istanbul always revealed new discoveries with each visit. To cross from one side of the street to another was to walk through the centuries.”
“Il Lupo cautioned, “Apparent demeanor is an insufficient reason to rule anyone out at this time. Remember, we cannot discard clues until we are completely certain they are of no value. We must always open-mindedly interrogate our assumptions.”
“Tears still softly falling from her eyes, she slowly began to move her hips in a seductive, circling motion with arms raised over her head, her gauzy fabric draped from her fingertips as she pulled it over her face, exposing only her moist eyes. Moving with exquisite grace around the room, her motions intensified, matching the pace of the music. Roxelana’s dance was rapturous.”
“Blasphemous brushstrokes!”
“Abruptly the Jinn stiffened and sensing the presence of the three onlookers, ceased in its demonic maiming.  Turning its head slowly and deliberately in their direction, it focused its minacious gaze on them.”
“Make no mistake, Kemal.  Yes, I am a woman, but never underestimate me.  I am a match for any man.”

Happy Reading!


  1. Thank you so very much for your gracious offer to contribute a guest post! We are delighted and grateful and hope you and your readers enjoy learning a little about this sibling writing duo! Live inspired! Sara Cook

    1. :) Thanks for being here Sara! I really appreciate it.