Hinterland follows Nicholas who must care for his daughter and wife amid dramatic events. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?
Hinterland took eight years to write. It went through a lot of stages of development, but the story was always about the incident that occurred when Kate was a child and the consequences that had on her relationship with Nicholas. The inspiration came with Kathleen. I remember the first time she appeared on the page and she was such a strong character there was no ignoring her. It took many drafts to get her back into a corner, and to let Kate have a bigger part.
With Hinterland, it was little snippets that inspired me. The scene where Kathleen’s dresses are spaced apart in the wardrobe and Nicholas and Kate stand before them, feeling the reality of her absence has stayed throughout, and I believe when I wrote that one scene the story started to unfold.
Nicholas is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
The question, can a person change, was a driving force behind this novel- Also there is the notion of the cycle of abuse and our ability and need to change it. From the start, Nicholas’ childhood was marred by his father’s drinking and violence. He loved and hated that man. Nicholas would have wanted acknowledgement from his father, but he was also afraid of becoming a man just like him. This duality is what drives Nicholas. This aggression that simmers under the surface and his gentle love for his daughter are two very separate parts of him, though both scare him.
The former because an act of violence years ago cost him the love his life. While his love for his daughter makes him feel small and helpless. There were a few times over the years where I questioned if I liked Nicholas. Ultimately, I believe the mistakes he makes are done for the right reasons but is very much up to the reader to agree or disagree.
One reviewer wrote that she felt an air of evil around Nicholas, another wrote that he was a caring and loving father, and neither interpretation surprises me since Nicholas’s actions are open to interpretation.
The novel explores many different kinds of family issues. What were some themes you wanted to focus on?
From the very first draft of Hinterland, I wanted to examine how childhood trauma can affect the adult. At first, Kate was a young woman trapped in a bad marriage, and to gain the strength to escape her controlling husband, she needed to understand what happened with her mother, but it didn’t take long before I realized I had to start with Kathleen and Nicholas and move on from there.
The novel also examines the harmful consequences of keeping secrets in a family, especially regarding mental illness and how quickly we can judge those who suffer from mental illness. Nicholas felt that Kate would be better off without her mother, but he was not the first person to suggest this. How can we make these assumptions? Are we correct? Would Kate have been better growing up with her moods and unpredictable behavior or shadowed by her absence? Can we assume what is best for the children in these circumstances? These themes as well as the question of whether or not a person can change pushed the story forward.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I recently finished “Our Wandering’ which is examines memory and how we choose to remember details.
It’s set in Ireland. Mona’s younger sister Stace ran away for the first time when she was thirteen, but it wasn’t the last time. The family were constantly afraid Stace might take off. When Stace runs away again at twenty-two, Mona searches for her, while questioning what happened when they were children. Through memory and searching, Mona begins to unravel the truth and paint a picture of her sister that is completely different to what she once believed.
My agent has the book. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing something soon, but there is no date set now.
Matriarch follows the story of a British soldier who explores an exotic country and uncovers danger, mysteries, and magic. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
Actually, the inspiration was Cass, the young woman listening to her great-grandmother tell the tale. Hers is the real story in this book; everything else—while fun to write, and hopefully a roller-coaster of an adventure—is just build-up to that one moment in her life. That moment, that world-shattering revelation was what inspired the book.
I enjoyed the depth that you were able to bring to your character in so few pages. What were some ideas that informed their development?
First of all, thank you! For some of the story’s twists it was important to have characters that could be seen in very different lights. Each character needed to feel real before their arc turned, so readers could really experience the dramatic changes. Knowing where things were headed, I was able to plant some seeds in the characters’ actions and personalities early on, which I think helped add nuance to them.
For those who’ve read the book, this is most obvious with Ollie, but I think it’s most interesting with Ayla (Young Ayla). Because the change in her is really a change of reader perception. The story is framed one way, and because we tend to have certain expectations when it comes to such narratives, we impose certain facets of character onto her. Then as things progress, we see how mistaken we always were. (Which makes the climax hit all the harder.)
This is an epic adventure story that explores ideas of obsession and true love. What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?
That’s an interesting question. I actually was a little worried that people would have certain thematic expectations about the book based on the title. Which is to say they might think it’s a deeply feminist work, and then be disappointed to find most the action follows ex-soldier in the 1920s. (*I think it actually is a feminist work, only in ways not suggested by the title, which and only really apparent in the last twenty pages or so.)
And that’s the thing with Matriarch; you don’t really know what this story is until you get to the end. So one major theme would be peeling back the layers of reality we hold to be true and finding truths we could never have imagined underneath. And of course, themes of Fate and Destiny trickly backward from the end to touch every aspect of the story (which I’m pretty damn clear about right from the start!).
The feminist themes in Matriarch are a bit more subtle than you’d guess based on the title. Less about female power, and more about female agency. About the assumptions made by those in a position of power, and the harm such assumptions can cause.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on my most ambitious work yet. Where my previous books have all been 100 – 220 pages, I expect this to run maybe 400.
The title is HAPPYVILLE, a portal fantasy which I like to describe as Over the Garden Wall meets Neverwhere. It’s about a young girl who’s lost her memory and finds herself in a strange land.
The Mermaids Melt at Dawn spins several yarns into a mythical story that combines many different genres. What was the initial idea behind this book and how did it change as you wrote?
When I started writing The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, I was inspired to begin the story like an old fairy tale. I also wanted the story to be somewhat tethered to reality, especially in the beginning, so I combined my passion for vintage fairy tales and historical fiction. Rok, a Cajun boy growing up on the bayou in the 1800s, was the first character to enter my imagination, and from there, the story transformed into a nautical adventure to Barbiche Island. I have always been fascinated by mermaids and Greek Mythology, so I decided to add a flair of mythology as well.
I am drawn to stories where humans, gods, and creatures coexist. I think there is something incredible about Rok, a real human, witnessing the mermaids of Barbiche Island. Rok lifted the veil between reality and fantasy and tasted the magic that humans so often dream about. As I wrote The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, I tried to capture the magic sensation we feel when we see the first snowflakes of winter or when we catch the first wave in the ocean.
Yarn 8 is my favorite from the book. Do you have a favorite yarn?
As I created different yarns and characters, I was curious to see which ones readers would enjoy the most. Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, Yarn 8/The Curse of Rhodanthea is a fan favorite and the most treasured yarn. Yarn 8 happens to be my favorite yarn as well. Of all the characters, I think Rhodanthea embodies a beautiful brokenness and a humble strength. For me, she is the perfect blend of human, god, and creature features. My second favorite yarns are Yarn 7/The Maiden and The Lyre and Yarn 9/The Rot Spine Monster. I had so much fun writing them, and they brought back fond memories of reading Greek Mythology as a child.
Each yarn seemed to focus on a different theme or had its own feeling. What were some emotions or feelings you wanted to capture in your stories?
Each yarn captures different emotions, moods, and personalities. Much like vintage fairy tales, each character can represent the light and dark aspects of ourselves. The Mermaids Melt at Dawn illuminates common archetypal patterns that are shared by all humans. Some of the experiences I tapped into are anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, love, humility, jealousy, joy, revenge, and remorse. I also crafted the story with some moments of surprise and horror as an homage to fairy tales and mythology, which were not rainbow and butterfly stories. They often had grim and shocking endings. Who could forget when Little Red Riding Hood found the granny wolf in bed, or when the old witch planned to stuff Hansel in the oven?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to write a paranormal romance! My next book is in the early stages of the creative process, but characters and scenes are coming to life more and more every day. I hope to release my newest book within the next 6 months, and maybe it will be in time for Valentine’s Day!
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fairy tale, fantasy, ficiton, folktale, goodreads, Grendolyn Peach Soleil, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, The Mermaids Melt At Dawn, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Bill Mccausland’s Now It’s Inescapable depicts the psyche of a drug-addicted physician. Through his main character, Glen, he tells a relatable tale of how easy it is to slip into addiction, especially if you’ve lived a life full of adversity.
From the outside, Glen seems to have an incredible life. With his own practice and a beautiful wife, he appears to be the epitome of health and success, a stark contradiction to his real circumstances. As we read from chapter to chapter, his life unravels right before our eyes.
The author doesn’t depict Glen in the best of light. In many ways, he seems to be the villain of the story; reckless and unaffected by the way his addiction impacts those closest to him. On the other hand, his wife Julie is painted as the ever-supportive but highly enabling spouse. However, ultimately it is revealed that the two of them have a dangerous codependency that only births destruction. Interestingly, neither is purely evil nor purely good; each one has their own demons to fight.
This story mirrors real life by attempting to explain the complex multilayered nature of the human soul. By telling the story through the main character’s perspective, the author seems to bring us so intimately into his life. We not only see what Glen does but also why he does it and the mental process that leads to his decisions. Great details are given about all drivers of Glen’s addiction, giving us a fuller understanding of him.
However, the book contains some grammatical errors and inconsistencies that make it hard to get through this otherwise interesting story. There is also a lot of use of grandiose terms and long winded dialogues that don’t feel natural.
That aside, I do acknowledge that the author does a great job of expressing important themes through the book. The outstanding ones are the role that family dynamics play in adult dysfunction and the cyclic nature of life. Ultimately, I do believe that with a little bit of polishing, this story has the potential to be a fan favorite.
Pages: 245 | ASIN: B07GC72TTL
Tags: addiction, author, bill mccausland, book, book review, bookblogger, contemporary fiction, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, medical fiction, nook, novel, Now It's Inescapable, read, reader, reading, relationship, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
As a teenager, Lu Darlington attracted national attention when she and her friend Lisa escaped a sadistic killer known as the Professor of Death. She never told anyone about the daemon who saved her life that day.
Ten years later, Lisa shows up at Lu’s door, fleeing another psychopath stalker. But Lisa’s not the only one seeking Lu after all this time. One by one, the daemons descend:
Voracious Chama. Sinister Black Claw. Beautiful Talion.
Chama wants Lu, but Talion claims her. The women of Lu’s family have always belonged to Talion—and they’ve suffered deeply for it.
As the human threat draws closer, Talion demands that Lu bind herself to him in a harrowing ceremony that will destroy an innocent man and change her forever—but might save Lisa’s life.
Can she navigate the violent intrigues of the daemon world without being consumed by its terrible, all-consuming demands?
Liberty Bound by Nathaniel M. Wrey is a novel set thousands of years in the future from our present day, where a small city, Athenia, remains as the last known beacon of civilization. Finbarl is the main character, and he works to protect the city from the threat of Ferrals, a supposed sub-human race of creatures that seek to destroy the city, if they could ever breach the walls. Inside the city, Finbarl and the other soldiers addictively rely on the Jumblar plant to keep them sharp and ready for the threat.
The novel certainly brims with creativity, which stands in contrast with the rigid system that the characters live with in their lonesome city. There are many varied issues with class and social standing, and Liberty Bound seeks to create meaningful commentary regarding them. The author has developed a fascinating arrangement of a post apocalyptic civilization and tries to use these societal systems to bring about a provocative purpose for their existence in terms of the story told.
However, the story excels within Finbarl’s decisions and the consequences of those choices. He eventually finds himself at odds with the society he has worked so hard to become a part of, and he must decide what he is going to do once he is no longer able to remain within the social structure provided by the city. Will Finbarl find a way to re-enter the good standing in his society, or will he strive to make bigger changes to the city and the people within it? The question was clear throughout the story and I enjoyed watching Finbarl’s evolution as the novel progressed. I could empathize with his character and that connection made the novel thrilling.
All the while, the threat of the Ferral remains, putting pressure on every character, making every decision carry much more weight. The story thrives on this tension, and it makes the pages very easy to turn.
Pages: 227 | ASIN: B087YXKKT3
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dystopia, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Liberty Bound, literature, Nathaniel M. Wrey, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
When your work is savage and your world is cruel, it’s hard to find your heart. Mahoney knows this better than anyone. He lives in a world that was burned to the ground many years ago, and he knows nothing but cold, hard truth and scavenging his way through life. With the love of his life waiting behind hoping for his safe return, Mahoney is dispatched on a mission to deliver a prisoner for execution. Not one to be left in the dark, Mahoney finds himself struggling to figure out how he has arrived on the legendary Blackheart Mountain. What should have been his opportunity to hand over the one thing everyone around him wants most, may just turn into the moment that changes his life.
Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain, by Dave Matthes, is the thought-provoking tale of Mahoney, an outlaw of sorts who has made his home working for the powerful but evil Gunther Ostrander. Mahoney, by and large a loner, is accustomed to taking care of things his own way. Living in the remnants of a world he never really knew, he often uses violence as his go-to with little remorse.
I was immediately taken with the setting of Matthes’s book. This post-apocalyptic scene is striking in that it mimics the feel of the Old West in both character and setting. From the brief mentions by characters of modern times gone by to the hints of modern technology, readers are taken on quite a visual thrill ride as they try to piece together each scene. I am not a fan of westerns, but this particular book is so much more and carries readers on a captivating journey into the author’s imagination.
The notion of an almost mythical Blackheart Mountain and the ways in which it impacts the main character are fascinating to read. I am a huge believer in drastic changes as a character is developed throughout a story, and Matthes succeeds in carrying Mahoney through some major challenges to mold a character not to be forgotten. From his kindness and almost subdued nature with Cassandra to his quiet viciousness when threatened to his experiences among the Tuskatawan people, Mahoney takes shape before our eyes, and his spirit is almost palpable.
I highly recommend Matthes’s unique tale to anyone who enjoys westerns and modern takes on the genre. I think readers will be pleasantly surprised at how well the mix of action meshes with the tender character development that takes place throughout Matthes’s gripping novel.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B086TZ41WX
Tags: action, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dave matthes, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Leave My Ashes On Blackheart Mountain, literature, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, war, western, writer, writing
The year is 1942 and the world is knee-deep in the Second World War. The world is split with countries taking sides to either fight from the Axis Powers or the Allied Powers. The Allied Powers had risen up to ward off and halt the growing plague of Germans, Italians and Japanese- the Axis Powers- who decided that their countries’ original boundaries were too small. The latter, led by Mussolini, Hitler and the Emperor, had gone on a rampage annexing countries through bloody and violent take-overs. It is within this orchestra of madness we find ourselves in a hot, sunny and sandy city of Cairo in Egypt in Kathryn Gauci’s The Poseidon Network.
The Poseidon Network throws readers into a scintillating world of love, betrayal, murder and war. In this fast-paced and intricately written novel, we see the world from the point of view of Hadley, a British spy working for the Special Operations Executive, commissioned by Churchill, and holding a cover as a newspaper correspondent. His cover is essential to keep him alive in these dangerous times where Egypt is teaming with Greeks, Germans, Italians, Arabs and Britons- all with different vested interests in the ongoing war. It was a dangerous time for sleuths. The Greeks were rooting for the victory of their countrymen against the Nazi back in Greece with a few undesirable characters supporting the enemy of their people. The British were, on the other hand, preventing the imminent occupation of Egypt by the Italians. It is during this time, in his usual foregoing, that Hadley chances upon a creature of mesmerizing beauty, dark haired and enshrouded in attractive mystery. At this point the book picks up a quick pace that kept me on edge with suspense. Would he get to talk to her? Does she eventually fall in love with our ‘good ol’ boy’, Mr. Hadley? Then suddenly a girl is found dead on the banks of the Nile. Is it our mystery girl?
The cover, with sepia pictures of a lady, a sleuth and soldiers, done in a minimalistic style, I think accurately represents the style and period in which this engaging story is told. Once you are a few pages in, you come across Kathryn Gauci’s foreword informing you that the book is a fictional account of real events that occurred during the World War II. True to her word, the book is pin point accurate on the dates and times, events and certain people that were significantly involved in the war. The author has done impeccable research and uses it to colorize and energize this historical romance novel that invites readers into a globe-trotting mystery that is easy to grasp but hard to crack.
Pages: 360 | ASIN: B07ZJJ1NG8
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, historical, history, Kathryn Gauci, kindle, kobo, literature, military, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, sleuth, story, suspense, The Poseidon Network, thriller, war, writer, writing, wwII