Check out Grimbold books for a whole lot more wonderfull books for #99c on the Amazons just for the weekend starting now until the 4th inclusive. Don’t miss out. hyperurl.co/GrimboldBooks
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!
I got asked this question this evening and yes, it is a valid one. The ivory towers are now a thing of the past, along with the dinosaur, which is a typewriter. My office is all high tech with a wall of screens, a desktop, fax/copier, modem, router, phone, keyboard, desk, ergonomic office chair, fan, etc. Perhaps not as romantic as a solitary being in an ivory tower but we move with the times. Yes, I have posters, paintings and collages on the wall along with banks of bookshelves. No, this isn’t the limit of my library, just the most relevant stuff I might need for research. My personal predations occupy one entire wall in my basement, floor to ceiling.
I don’t know that I would call writing lonely any more although it was once. I am talking to people on and off all day about this and that. Things like what is the word for…(description of the thing) and other writerly things as well as just chat. I talk to my publisher and my colleagues and then there is social media marketing, which takes up at least two hours a day. In this world, time makes no difference. Cyberspace connects people in the blink of an eye. If out of a working zone frame, then emails and direct messages can be left and will be answered when the person in the other time zone picks up in their waking time. It is not really that much different from working in an office and interacting with colleagues there.
Actual writing is not lonely when the words spill out because it is like a movie running only instead of being behind the projector, watching what is happening on the screen, a writer is behind the screen pulling all the images onto that strip of fabric between the audience and themselves. I think we would all say the same about our characters being very much alive, although they only live in our imaginations. Our worlds are formed right down to the last petal on the ultimate flower and be sure we have figured out a season for all things. Weird really as I don’t know where I am going with a story as I am writing it, although some can plot out an entire novel before hand. Mine up sticks and run away from me, wilfully going in what ever direction they please. The thing seems to take off on a life of its own. Maybe folks would think I am lonely, although this is not what I feel, which is in a crowd, although I can’t see the folks but they are there in cyberspace an unseen but very real presence.
Today I have the privilege of featuring in a Jennifer Loiske interview. Go check it out and find out about my books and about me. Perhaps there are things you didn’t know.
This is something that flares up every so often. I can only assume the people who spy on others are so bored that anything is better than what they have in their lives. However, the notion that someone might be weird enough to watch me sit at my desktop is unnerving. Yes, I do have a webcam stuck to the top of my monitor with bluetac, a semi-sticky putty type adhesive a tad like gum. Over the lens of my webcam is not another lump of bluetac. It will come off easy enough when I want to use the device and in the meantime? Good luck looking through a sea of blue.
What I was supposed to be doing today, aside from marketing my book, was going through my pictures to get good ones of Kid 3 in her very young days. Well that didn’t work out too well as we had a major storm front rolling in and my power got sketchy. This also put paid to another plan, which was to go with Kid 2 after she finished work to her place to help plant some landscaping. Where the heck is that weather fairy, for I really need to snap her wand.
On the flip side, since there always is one, we were in no danger of another flooded basement as we have now purchased a generator. Yeah. Of course, I won’t have a web connection if the power goes down, but I will have power to the sump pump, can finish cooking supper, have the furnace running in winter and have the lights on. Oh, and I can also watch a dvd.
On another bright note, I also got to talk on Skype with a very dear writing friend, Susan Curnow. She has two very good books out right now. Games of Adversaries and Voice of the Land. Highly recommended. Go check out my reviews on Amazon. We were finalizing arrangements for our visit to the Curnows this weekend. Any author would give their eye teeth to be so near a dear colleague and BFF. Yes, we all natter on the web, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to shooting the breeze in person. I am very privileged to have met three of my dear friends in person. Of course, I see more of Sue as we are in the same Province and I am so grateful for this.
So what happens when two authors get together? LOL. The dh’s go do their thing and the girls get together to talk serious BOOK. Nothing either of us has ever written is unknown and unread by the other, so this is serious, deep and highly pleasurable. We effortlessly skip from book to book in our discussions. Yes, it is one of those special bubbles in time and space where work becomes pleasure. Any outsider would be at a total loss once we get going in our world.
This is going to be my wonderful weekend of absolute joy. Oh and not only work. We have been friends for over ten years, so there is catching up to do and shared outside interests. Hey, I get to go see her wonderful horse again! So looking forward to this.