There is something wonderful happening soon but we are not going to tell you what it is just yet. In the meantime enjoy a chance to meet some of my very talented colleagues.
Here is the first, Ellen Crosháin, author of Cruelty.
Hi Ellen Crosháin and Welcome. Would you like to begin by telling the readers something about yourself?
Hi, thanks for having me. Well, I’m from Northern Ireland originally but I now live in Cardiff, in South Wales with my husband and six guinea pigs. I teach English in a high school just outside the city but I am currently on maternity leave as I wait for our first baby to arrive. I’m a ferocious reader, there’s very little I don’t read or enjoy, but I’m knee-deep in Irish mythology at the moment as I write the follow up to ‘Cruelty.’
What is your book about and what inspired you to write it?
‘Cruelty’ is about Eliza MacTir, a magically Barren woman from a magical family. It is set in Ireland, in the countryside just outside of Dublin. Eliza, fed up of being ignored for her lack of power, leaves home by faking her own death. She is almost free when she is caught by the Cruel, the Family’s assassin and spy. A traffic accident leads them to being in hospital for a few days and Cornelius begins to see a different side to Eliza, as well as beginning to understand why she ran away. To escape the Cruel’s punishment, she makes a deal with him, sealed with her lost virginity. That act of sex wakes Eliza’s magic and she quickly discovers that her power is a new and strange one. Between them, Eliza and Cornelius set up an old enemy of the Family as her kidnapper so that she can return home and slot back into Family life. That is easier said than done. Her Family begin to notice that she’s different, and so too does the source of their power, the dark Fae-god Faroust who lives under their house. After the annual, horrific ritual which renews the magic, Faroust discovers that Eliza has been sleeping with Cornelius and blackmails her into being his concubine. While in his home, Eliza slowly unravels the terrible truth about their god and their magic, a truth she cannot ignore. (Insert dramatic music of your choice).
My inspiration for it was a song by the incredible Amanda Palmer called ‘It runs in the family’ about traits and problems that pass down through generations. It really struck a chord with me and ‘Cruelty’ was conceived.
How long did it take to write and how many times did you go through it before it was finally done?
Initially, it was a short story but I couldn’t leave it alone and it blossomed into something else. It took 18 months to write, 6 months to marinate (that is a really important step for me, it gives you distance to edit critically) another year to edit before I sent it to Kristell-Ink and just over a year, including working with the editor, to get it ready for publishing. As a whole, I went through the manuscript 5 times but some sections were read, re-read and edited at least a dozen times. And there are still a few things I’d like to change. Neil Gaiman said it best ‘it’s never perfect.’
Where do your settings come from? Are they taken from real places, made up entirely, or a conglomerate of the two?
My settings give you an idea of a place. Eliza lives in an Anglo-Irish Georgian house. There are lots of Georgian type houses in Ireland, left over from days of the plantations, so it’s entirely possible that this large estate could exist somewhere in Co. Dublin. It is a little bit of a fantasy though. The Otherworlds which I hint at come from Irish mythology. There are endless possibilities with the Celtic Otherworlds so it gave me free reign to do what I liked with the ones you catch glimpses of.
Who is your favorite character and why? Mine is the Cruel. Actually I was rather sorry for him.
I also love Cornelius. Eliza comes in and turns his whole world, his whole reason for existence, on its head and all he can do is hang on for the ride. He’s never quite sure if he can trust Eliza (for that matter neither am I!) and yet he can’t let her go. He is utterly devoted to her, but he doesn’t tolerate any nonsense either. If she goes too far, he reigns her back in, often sharply. He’s a good balance for her but he does have to cope with the fact that their god is sleeping with the woman he loves and that she is in real danger the entire time she’s with him. He puts up with a lot but he’s not weak or a pushover. I really enjoyed writing him.
Did you like your bad guy, or were you gleeful about his ultimate punishment?
I like Faroust. He started off as an absolute bastard, pure evil through and through, but as I was writing him he wouldn’t stay in that box. I wanted him to be evil, a Fae creature who was having an awful joke at the expense of the stupid mortals who worshipped him but he was funny, passionate and compassionate, and had a bit of a tragic backstory. I found myself empathising with him, and so does Eliza. His whole existence is taking care of the Family and at one point, they turn from him. Faroust, stranded in the mortal world because of his bond to them, just snaps at their betrayal. That said, nothing excuses what he was doing to the Family for a thousand years. Nothing. He thoroughly deserves his comeuppance. It is a fitting punishment for his cruelty.
Are you an outliner or a pantzer when it comes to start a book? If the latter, do the ideas come to you in one big lump, or are they piecemeal?
Outlining doesn’t work for me; because I handwrite everything, things sort of just develop on their own. I usually decide how things are going to end (though that’s never set in stone either) and work up to that. Things reveal themselves to me as I am writing and I am usually surprised by the choices my characters make.
Finally, where can the book be purchased and what are your plans for the next ones?
Amazon is the best place to get ‘Cruelty’. I am currently writing the sequel. It’s set twenty five years later and it’s going to be a lot more heavily involved with the Otherworlds, the Fae, the Sidhé (high lords and ladies of Fae) and Queens of Faerie. Some old favourite characters are going to resurface, but there’s lots of new ones to meet too.
Links for sale UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1909845655
And here is my review of Cruelty from Amazon.
on February 28, 2015
That being said, I loved it. This is a story that starts off strong and builds up momentum from there. Eliza is the only member of an Irish Fae family born without a shred of magic and as such she is treated like a cripple they are ashamed to have around, all except for one, the ‘Hound’, another fae treated almost as bad as Eliza. Unable to bear the shame she feels she brings to the family, she runs away to spare them from her flaws, and so the Cruelty begins.
The story has vibrant, intense emotions as well as heartbreaking and thrilling love scenes. As Eliza’s sexuality comes alive, so does her need to survive at all costs. Layer upon layer of intrigue and misdirection are gradually unravelled until a stunning ending. I am not really sure what I liked the most, the characters or the highly original story. Of the characters my favorite is the ‘Cruel’ as he handled himself well in various circumstances. Even the bad guy is well drawn and sympathetic to a certain degree.
I hope there is a sequel or prequel to this as I would get it in a heartbeat. This is a must buy!