YA Author Spotlight Presents...
1. Do you have a movie that you must watch every Halloween? What's your favorite scary movie? Do you have a favorite scary character or character type?
My favorite scary movie is “Silence of the Lambs.” I know it’s not scary in the traditional sense with monster and ghouls and ghosts, but still, I’ll never forget how terrified I was the first time I saw it in the theater!
2. Do you have any Halloween traditions like decorating your house, having house parties, wearing costumes, etc.?
Not to sound like a party pooper, but I don’t. I don’t have kids so maybe that’s why. Sometimes my husband and I skip it entirely and go out to dinner, and sometimes we say home and pass out candy, it all depends. Though, rest assured, when I do pass out candy, I make sure I buy the “good stuff!”
3. If you do you dress up for Halloween, what will you be dressed up as this year? What was your all-time most favorite costume that you ever wore? Why?
Hmmm, don’t think I’m dressing up this year, but my favorite costume was at age 4 or 5 when my mom made me a flapper costume consisting of this gorgeous little turquoise fringed dress, long beads, a feathered head band, and lipstick—I felt extremely glamorous and even begged to sleep in it!
[since there's no image to offer you here, we'll stick in one of Marie Antoinette & Count Fersen, taken from the movie with Kirsten Dunst, but it represents the costumes that Damen and Ever wore to Ever's Halloween party in Evermore.]
4. Are you superstitious? Do you find yourself knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder? If not one of these two, what is your superstition?
I am definitely a jinx-fearing person. I absolutely will not announce good news until it is fact—any sooner, and I’m sure it’ll disappear!
5. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, have you ever had a ghostly encounter and tell us about it?
Yes and yes.
I’ve had several encounters through the years that I could find no logical explanation for that have led me to believe that some form of energy lives on long after the body is gone.
6. Tell us 3 funny or strange things that happened to you, or someone you know, on past Halloweens.
Hmmm, drawing a blank here, sorry!
7. If you could be any paranormal creature, what would it be and why?
I would be a shape shifter—I think it would be so cool to experience life in different forms!
Now, let’s get to your writing:
Although I’ve always loved paranormal books, TV shows, and movies, I wasn’t so much focused on the genre, as the particular story I wanted to tell. I’d just gone through this terrible time of grief, losing three loved ones in five months and then nearly losing my husband to leukemia (he’s in full remission now), and the big questions of life and death, mortality and immortality were looming large in my mind and Ever and Damen’s story was sort of born from there.
9. If you could describe your paranormal writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please be creative and look beyond words like vampire, werewolf, etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.
The price of physical immortality—is it worth it?
10. Do you prefer playing tricks on people or bestowing treats? Does that show through in your writing? If so, how?
No, to the tricks, I hate it when people are made to feel awkward or bad, and a big YES to the treats! I hope it comes through in my writing since I try to show people going through tough times, stumbling and falling along the way, but then ultimately getting their reward at the end of the difficult journey.
11. Who decides what creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one stirring the cauldron?
Me. Although sometimes the characters take me in new directions I didn’t expect or see coming . . .
12. What was the creature that you had the most fun creating and why?
I loved writing Riley’s 12-year-old ghost character and am thrilled to revive her (so to speak!) when she gets her own series in Fall 2010.
Also, I hate to say it, but Roman is also a blast—he’s self-serving, narcissistic, and more than a little evil, but really, really fun to write!
13. If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
Well, I would love to meet Damen, though for purely selfish and shallow reasons, though I hope to never run into Drina, she’s a little scary!
SHADOWLAND in stores 11.17.09
She always believed he was her destiny—but what if fate has other plans?
Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever. But just as their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into a bleak afterlife in the Shadowland, an eternal abyss for lost souls. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…Jude Knight.
Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soul mate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them from the darkness inhabiting his soul, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…
“Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Everything is energy.”
Damen’s dark eyes focus on mine, urging me to listen, really listen this time. “Everything around us—” His arm sweeps before him, tracing a fading horizon that’ll soon fade to black. “Everything in this seemingly solid universe of ours isn’t solid at all—it’s energy—pure vibrating energy. And while our perception may convince us that things are either solid or liquid or gaseous—on the quantum level it’s all just particles within particles—it’s all just energy.”
I press my lips together and nod, his voice overpowered by the one in my head urging: Tell him! Tell him now! Quit stalling, and just get it over with! Hurry, before he starts talking again!
But I don’t. I don’t say a word. I just wait for him to continue so I can delay even further.
“Raise your hand.” He nods, palm face out, moving toward mine. Lifting my arm slowly, cautiously, determined to avoid any and all physical contact when he says, “Now tell me, what do you see?”
I squint, unsure what he’s after, then shrugging I say, “Well, I see pale skin, long fingers, a freckle or two, nails in serious need of a manicure . . .”
“Exactly.” He smiles, as though I just passed the world’s easiest test. “But if you could see it as it really is, you wouldn’t see that at all. Instead you’d see a swarm of molecules containing protons, neutrons, electrons, and quarks. And within those tiny quarks, down to the most miniscule point, you’d see nothing but pure vibrating energy moving at a slow enough speed that makes it appear solid and dense, and yet quickly enough that it can’t be observed for what it truly is.”
I narrow my eyes, not sure I believe it. Never mind the fact that he’s been studying this stuff for hundreds of years.
“Seriously, Ever. Nothing is separate.” He leans toward me, fully warmed up to his subject now. “Everything is one. Items that appear dense, like you, and I, and this sand that we’re sitting on is really just a mass of energy vibrating slowly enough to seem solid, while things like ghosts and spirits vibrate so quickly they’re nearly impossible for most humans to see.”
“I see Riley,” I say, eager to remind him of all the time I used to spend with my ghostly sister. “Or at least I used to, you know, before she crossed the bridge and moved on.”
“And that’s exactly why you can’t see her anymore.” He nods. “Her vibration is moving too fast. Though there are those who can see past all of that.”
I gaze at the ocean before us, the swells rolling in, one after another. Endless, unceasing, immortal—like us.
“Now raise your hand again and bring it so close to mine we just nearly touch.”
I hesitate, filling my palm with sand, unwilling to do it. Unlike him, I know the price, the dire consequences the slightest skin on skin contact can bring. Which is why I’ve been avoiding his touch since last Friday. But when I peer at him again, his palm face out, waiting for mine, I take a deep breath and lift my hand too—gasping when he draws so close the space that divides is razor thin.
“Feel that?” He smiles. “That tingle and heat? That’s our energy connecting.” He moves his hand back and forth, manipulating the push and pull of the energy force field between us.
“But if we’re all connected like you say, then why doesn’t it all feel the same?” I whisper, drawn by the undeniable magnetic stream that links us, causing the most wonderful warmth to course through my body.
“We are all connected, all of us made of the same vibrating source. But while some energy leaves you cold and some leaves you lukewarm, the one that you’re destined for? It feels just like this.”
I close my eyes and turn away, allowing the tears to stream down my cheeks, no longer able to keep them in check. Knowing I’m barred from the feel of his skin, the touch of his lips, the solid warm comfort of his body on mine. This electric energy field that trembles between us is the closest I’ll get, thanks to the horrible decision I made.
“Science is just now catching up with what metaphysicians and the great spiritual teachers have known for centuries. Everything is energy. Everything is one.”
I can hear the smile in his voice as he draws closer, eager to entwine his fingers with mine. But I move away quickly, catching his eye just long enough to see the look of hurt that crosses his face—the same look he’s been giving since I made him drink the antidote that returned him to life. Wondering why I’m acting so quiet, so distant, so remote—refusing to touch him when just a few weeks before I couldn’t get enough. Incorrectly assuming it’s because of his hurtful behavior—his flirting with Stacia, his cruelty toward me—when the truth is, it has nothing to do with that. He was under Roman’s spell, the entire school was. It wasn’t his fault.
What he doesn’t know is that while the antidote returned him to life, the moment I added my blood to the mix it also insured we could never be together.
For all of eternity.
Unless we can find an antidote to the antidote, that is.
“Ever?” he whispers, voice deep and sincere. But I can’t look at him. Can’t touch him. And I certainly can’t utter the words he deserves to hear:
I messed up—I’m so sorry—Roman tricked me, and I was desperate and dumb enough to fall for his ploy—And now there’s no hope for us because if you kiss me, if we exchange our DNA—you’ll die—
I can’t do it. I’m the worst kind of coward. I’m pathetic and weak. And there’s just no way I can find it within me.
“Ever please, what is it?” he asks, alarmed by my tears. “You’ve been like this for days. Is it me? Is it something I’ve done? Because you know I don’t remember much of what happened, and the memories that are starting to surface, well, you must know by now that wasn’t the real me. I would never intentionally hurt you. I’d never harm you in any way.”
I hug myself tightly, scrunching my shoulders and bowing my head. Wishing I could make myself smaller, so small he could no longer see me. Knowing his words are true, that he’s incapable of hurting me, only I could do something so hurtful, so rash, so ridiculously impulsive. Only I could be stupid enough to fall for Roman’s bait. So eager to prove myself as Damen’s one true love—wanting to be the only one who could save him—and now look at the mess that I’ve made.
He moves toward me, sliding his arm around me, grasping my waist and pulling me near. But I can’t risk the closeness, my tears are lethal now, and must be kept far from his skin.
I scramble to my feet and run toward the ocean, curling my toes at its edge and allowing the cold white froth to splash onto my shins. Wishing I could dive under its vastness and be carried by the tide. Anything to avoid saying the words—anything to avoid telling my one true love, my eternal partner, my soul mate for the last four hundred years, that while he may have given me eternity—I’ve brought us our end.
I remain like that, silent and still. Waiting for the sun to sink until I finally turn to face him. Taking in his dark shadowy outline, nearly indistinguishable from the night, and speaking past the sting in my throat when I mumble, “Damen . . . baby . . .there’s something I need to tell you.”