Hi, Carole! It’s great to have you here today. And welcome to Soul Mate Publishing.
Thanks, Cathy. I'm so happy to be involved with such a dynamic and diverse group of authors. And friendly ones, too. And I'd like to invite both my new and old readers to leave a comment or ask a question. I'll pick a winner at random and send them a copy of The Widow's Walk.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing bad poetry and political rants for as long as I can recall. During my early academic days, I was so bored with scholarly writing I didn't want to write a shopping list. But I never lost my love of reading—especially romance, fantasy, and science fiction. But I still write op-ed, opinion pieces, personal essays—and I 've written two memoirs, one about my professional life and the other about being a mom.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
In 2005, I had this very odd experience. After watching a film that glorified violence against women, I decided I was going to write a novel to put things right. Got to Chapter 7 before I realized I had no clue what I was doing. So I started taking classes and networking with other authors. I still take writing classes and am continually learning new skills and techniques. I am inspired by everyday life, and no matter how much I swear I'm not going to do it, I find myself writing fiction and non fiction with parallel themes simultaneously. It's a way to cope with the craziness of life.
What draws you to the paranormal romance genre?
Living in New York City is a paranormal or otherworldly experience. I mean, where else can I go that sometimes makes me feel like Mos Isly Cantina from Star Wars? The subway experience has inspired more than one zombie story. I wrote an entire urban fantasy novel about the neighborhood in which I work. One day, driving to the day job, this guy was walking alongside the Cross Bronx Expressway stark naked and at full attention, if you know what I mean. Other than a few honks, no one but the cops stopped.
My grandmother used to give me all the bodice ripper romance novels she'd read. And I was a Catholic schoolgirl so I devoured them. I'm also a scientist, a biologist, so I love the speculative genres. I remember reading The Andromeda Strain and The Arm of the Starfish when I was very young. So, put it all together so you get a lot of medical stuff, mixed in with romance and urban fantasy—and always a political statement in there somewhere. My heroines are feisty. Cross genre on a New York City high.
What was your inspiration for The Widow’s Walk?
As with most of my writing, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I was at our summer cottage in Upstate New York, pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up mouse poop and dead flies. All of a sudden, I decided to write a story about a woman finding a trunk of old clothes. Those two scenes were the beginning of the Unfinished Business Series. I wrote what was to become Breakwater Beach that Fourth of July weekend. Missed all the parties. My husband was so pissed off, but when you get that kind of inspiration you run with it. It had to be Victorian. I seriously think I lived a previous life back then—always fascinated with the clothing, the customs. I even have my dining room decorated with Victorian era antique furniture.
How did you decide on the setting? Have you been there?
I have been spending summers on Cape Cod all my life, and just love it there. Particularly Brewster, where the series is set. I grew up on the Bronx waterfront, which some people find hard to believe even exists, but it is so beautiful, with the East River framed by the Throggs Neck and Whitestone Bridges. My grandfather, uncles and father took me fishing and taught me how to swim and sail. So writing about beaches, and bridges, and boats and the beauty—and absolute fury --that the water can unleash during a storm is so natural. If you look really deeply into the male characters, you'll see a composite of my Dad, grandfather, and uncles who had such an influence on me and provided so much love, stability, and encouragement in what was a very turbulent time to be growing up female, and as The Bronx burned down around us.
Tell us how you arrived at Soul Mate Publishing.
I met Debby Gilbert at the Connecticut Romance Writers of America Chapter Fiction Fest. She loved the premise of The Widow's Walk and asked me to send it to her. I heard back in about a month that she wanted to publish it. I've been writing this series since that Fourth of July weekend in 2007, so I was thrilled.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
As I mentioned, the first part of the series was a novella called Breakwater Beach, published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. I have novelized it, and hope it will be joining The Widow's Walk on the bookshelves next year. I have also outlined what will be the third book in the series, with a working title of Storm Watch. A hurricane on a scale between Sandy and Katrina is headed for the Cape—and the eye is going to pass right over Brewster and The Barrett Inn.
I've lived thorough many a hurricane and Nor'easter. In fact, I wrote the hospital scene in The Widow's Walk by the light of a battery powered lantern on my Alphasmart Neo after Hurricane Irene knocked our power out for a week back in 2011. I've also been working on an urban fantasy series called Boulevard of Bad Spells and Broken Dreams—about a witch who returns from exile in Puerto Rico to face her past and find the arsonists that murdered her family.
Thank you so much for being here today! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you. Best of luck with your new release!
Thanks for having me, Cathy. And don't forget about the giveaway, folks!
Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?
Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside. Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.
Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn't until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth's needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.
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Buy link: myBook.to/TWW