I have published six historical mystery thrillers set in 1820-1840 England/America, Egypt/Greece, Canada, Brazil, Russia and India.
Look and Listen
BiographyI was the Project Manager of NASA’s highly successful Mars Global Surveyor Mission – a spacecraft that orbited Mars for nine years, returning two hundred thousand images of the planet and relaying pictures from the Mars Rovers. I haveMr. Thorpe published six historical mystery thrillers of the Darmon Mystery series about a couple from Kent that solves international crimes during the 1830’s. These novels include: Message of the Pendant, The Forth Conspiracy, Patriote Peril, Fair Wind to Bahia, Desperate Crossing and Without Redemption. I grew up in North Hollywood reading science fiction. As an amateur astronomer, I built telescopes and spent many a cold night in Fraser Park taking pictures of nebulae, galaxies and comets. During summers while attending UCLA, I worked at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center with the original seven astronauts, Lowell Observatory and JPL. Upon graduation, I started employment at Eastman Kodak (Lunar Orbiter) before returning to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. There, I spent 38 years participating in the defining moments of Mars exploration by Mariner, Viking and Surveyor spacecraft. Ultimately, I managed the Mars Global Surveyor Mission through most of its ten-year operational life. I have published numerous science articles on Mars photometry and also taught astronomy in Glendale College’s extended day program for nearly forty years. With a career in space exploration, you might wonder why I chose to write books of historical fiction rather than science fiction. It could be that many years in one field leads a person to other avenues of interest. A catalyst for my stories can be found in the novels by Jane Austen. Her vivid portrayals make it easy to imagine similar characters involved in more adventuresome activities such as murder mysteries of the period. The research required to create accurate settings is not unlike the practice in science, and typically, a year’s research was necessary to put the mystery/thrillers into authentic historical periods for each country. And then, there are similarities in the difficulties facing characters surviving in a foreign country during the early 1800’s, not unlike landing on an alien planet. Having chosen to write historical fiction, a big question was how to transition from writing objective science papers to writing prose in the genre of literature, how to build suspense, make characters come alive and develop a story. A suitable writing style requires considerable reading, advice in novel writing and practice, practice, practice, some of which included fan-fiction writing on the internet. Early papers can still be found in the archives of the Republic of Pemberly homepage. Besides the Austen books, the era was interesting and turbulent. Nations struggled with self-government, having emerged from colonialism or repressive monarchies. Word of the French and American revolutions spread worldwide. Tensions flared between traditional royalists and young radicals who promoted new ideas of democracy to free themselves from repressive social classes. As a result, conspiracies abounded and murders were common. Into the mix, are thrust the Darmons, who solve mysteries occurring worldwide in between 1820-1845. William and Elizabeth, her sister Emily and brother-in-law Charles and youngest sister, Victoria. They’re world traveling aristocrats whose money provides access, but encounters with other cultures makes them truly “fish out of water.”
InspirationI enjoy doing book signings and meet and greet in bookstores. This can be fun as said on the TV show, Pawn Stars: “You never know what is going to come thru that door.” Recently, a father and two teenaged sons passed by my table. I asked, “How about a mystery” to which he responded: “No thanks, I’m here for a specific book, something like How to Coach Soccer for Dummies”. One of his sons, looking horrified, burst out: “You think we’re dummies?” Another question I often get is: My son reads everything, is this book appropriate for an 8 year old?” Events of the past are often glossed over when presented in textbooks. We sometimes think our ancestors were primitive and uneducated because they lacked today's technology. Unless one experiences the reality of past circumstances thru historical fiction, their true relevance may be missed. I hope the Darmon series enlightens readers to challenges of the time and gives a better appreciation of the choices made by our forbearers.
Favorite NB Titles
There are no favorite titles