Sunday, October 09, 2016
Blaire Edens @BlaireEdens #AGhostlyWager #The-GoodTheBadTheGhostly
RW: What's your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about YOU?
AL: My story is common in the West. I came here with my father after the death of my mother and little brother. Papa is always in the drink and he’s quite good at building up gambling debts. When he threatened to force me to marry a man twice my age, I decided I had to do something. Here’s what makes my story different: I can speak to the dead in my dreams. It was the only skill I had and I decided to use it.
RW: Can you tell us about your hero
AL: Cole Swanson is a skeptic. Even though he works for Tremayne PSI, a detective agency that specializes in solving paranormal mysteries, he doesn’t believe in ghosts. He needs me and I need a job.
RW: What problems do you have to face and overcome in your life?
AL: Since we’ve been in The West, I’ve faced poverty and fear. Hunger and disappointment. But the two things that have nearly broken me were the death of my mother and being forced to leave my childhood home in Kentucky.
RW: Do you expect your hero to help or is he the problem?
AL: Cole isn’t exactly the problem but he’s not going to get to the solution to the biggest case of his career unless he listens to me and understands that there are plenty of forces that he can neither see nor understand. Lucky for him, I’m good at persuasion.
RW: Where do you live?
AL: I’ve been in Virginia City, Nevada for the past couple of years but with Papa forcing me to marry the undertaker as soon as possible, I’m headed out of town. I’ve got enough for a train ticket to Reno.
RW: During what time period does your story take place?
AL: The 1880s.
RW: How are you coping with the conflict in your life?
AL: As best I can. If Mama taught me anything, it was to be courageous and I intend to follow her example.
RW: That’s all the questions we have for you. Thank you for speaking to us.
AL: Thank you. I hope you enjoy A Ghostly Wager and all the other wonderful books in The Good, The Bad And The Ghostly. Happy reading!
RW: Tell us about yourself, your family, where you live…
BE: I’m a native of a small town high up in the Western North Carolina mountains. The farm I grew up on has been in our family since the 1790s. My husband is a native of the South Carolina Low Country. Both of us have very strong ties to land and family, so we split our time between the mountains and the swamps. It’s working so far.
RW: How many hours a day do you spend writing?
BE: It really depends. If I’m working on getting a draft down, I may write for four to six hours a day. When I get closer to a finished product, I slow down dramatically and find myself working for half-hour at a time. It keeps my brain fresher and the blood flowing. In addition to writing, there’s always editing and promotion so while four to six hours may sound like a short day, when all is said and done, I spend eight to ten hours a day working.
RW: Has your life changed since you became a writer?
BE: Yes. Before I started writing full-time, I worked for the federal government creating maps for farmers. I *loved* my job. I was able to help folks make the best use of natural resources and I *adored* my farmers and landowners. That was an eight to four kind of job and while there were stressful periods, overall it was a relaxing job I could leave at work. As a writer, I’m always plotting, always marketing, and always planning the next step. I wouldn’t change that for the world, but sometimes the stress gets to me and I find that I have to struggle more to create personal and professional balance in my life.
RW: Why did you decide to write?
BE: For me, it’s a way to translate the world. I use my own work as a way to explain the world to myself. I know that sounds strange, but it’s a bit like seeing your circumstances and feelings from a bit of a distance. When I start a new book, I’m usually struggling to understand an emotion or condition. In A Ghostly Wager, I was interested in figuring out what it might feel like to be a “powerless” woman in the American West. I found that it made it easier to understand how resourcefulness and the idea of using what you have is timeless.
RW: What kind of research do you do for a book?
BE: It really depends on the book. For contemporaries, I don’t do a ton of research. For my paranormals and historicals, I do a ton of research. I still remember the clock in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the thought of including something that doesn’t fit or will pull the reader out of the story terrifies me. When I researched A Ghostly Wager, I was obsessed with making sure all the colloquialisms I used were also used in the American West. I was thrilled to find the phrase “you saved my bacon” has been around for centuries.
RW: I stopped reading historicals because I found so many anomalies, and they drove me nuts. And I’m the kind of person who notices when a doctor’s standing in a “qurarantine” ward without scrubs or a mask, which was a major clue in a program I was watching last night. ;-D
RW: Would you like to write a different genre or sub-genre than you do now?
BE: I would be willing to try a couple of other genres. I’ve been considering a cozy mystery for a while but it’s a pet project at this stage and I would love to try fantasy but for the time being, I love what I’m doing with paranormals and contemporaries.
RW: Do you feel humor is important in fiction and why?
BE: Humor is very important. Not just in fiction but in life. I don’t get along well with folks who take themselves too seriously. I love to laugh, and I love to make other people laugh. When I write a line that makes me chuckle out loud, I know that, no matter what changes in a story, that line has to stay in the manuscript.
RW: What’s your most embarrassing moment?
BE: On my first day in college, I was running late to my chemistry class. When I found the building, I rushed inside and headed for the lecture hall. I found it, opened the door and started to head down the stairs toward the middle of the room. (Imagine a huge lecture hall with at least three hundred seats, all full.) Except I missed the second step and started tumbling. I went tail over tea kettle, rolled all the way to the bottom of the stairs. My head plunked against the lecturer’s podium with a thunk. Everyone in the room gasped. I was unhurt but horrified. The upside is that everyone knew my name from that point forward.
RW: If I were a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
BE: I’d suggest The Witch of Roan Mountain because it probably would tell you the most about me as an author and a person. The setting is almost like another character in the book, and I think it shows how tied I am to the mountains and the land and the culture that molded me.
RW: Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
BE: I’m a serious planner. Before I ever type “Chapter One”, I have a good idea of where the story is going. I use lots of excel spreadsheets, plan scenes and work using the Goals, Motivation and Conflict model. Sometimes things change once I get into the writing, but usually the framework remains the same. Because I write for several publishers, deadlines are a real concern so I don’t like the idea of ending up at a dead end in a book with no time to fix things.
RW: Satin sheets or Egyptian cotton?
BE: Egyptian cotton. Exclusively.
A Ghostly Wager
Even skeptical detectives need a little otherworldly help.
Annabelle Lawson hops a train to Reno to escape a marriage to an older man. Alone and nearly destitute, she spots an advertisement that might change her life. If she can use the dreams that haunt her to land a job with the mysterious Treymane PSI Agency, she might be able to buy a ticket home to Kentucky.
Agent Cole Swansby is an up and coming detective for Tremayne PSI. There’s only one thing that can sink his career: if the boss discovers he’s a skeptic. He’s under tremendous pressure to solve a case before the president of Midas Mining comes to town.
Cole can’t solve this case without otherworldly help and Annabelle is just the woman for the job. As they’re drawn deeper into the mystery of the woman in green, they may not be able to banish the ghost without losing their hearts. To each other.
Anna took a deep breath and looked out the small window that faced Sierra Street. She chewed on her bottom lip. “I dream things.”
“We all dream things.”
“These dreams are different. People who have passed visit me in my dreams. Every night.”
“Who are they?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know them.”
“Do they scare you?”
“They did at first but now, after four years of facing them every night, I’ve gotten used to them.”
“They talk to you?”
“They want me to take messages to their loved ones.”
“Do you oblige them?”
“I don’t know how I would ever find the people they’re looking for but they keep coming back anyway.”
“You’re sure they aren’t ordinary nightmares?” She wouldn’t be the first woman who’d been driven insane by the life she was forced to live here in the West.
She shook her head vigorously. “They’re not the same. Not at all. The people that visit me in my dreams are real.”
Cole reminded himself that he didn’t believe in ghosts. If ghosts didn’t exist, the living couldn’t communicate with them. Simple logic. But this woman seemed honest, earnest and for a sliver of a moment, he believed her, or at least believed she believed the dead talked to her. “Are you a widow?”
“He died in the Fire of 1875.” Her voice quavered a bit and she wouldn’t meet his eyes. The woman in front of him was lying.
“You came from Virginia City?”
“Got here last night.”
Something about her story didn’t make sense. Maybe she just looked young, but he couldn’t imagine that she was married six years ago. Even in this godforsaken corner of America, girls didn’t marry at eleven or twelve.
“How old are you?”
Anna flinched and her eyes went wide. “Twenty-three. I look young for my age. People tell me that all the time,” she said with a nervous giggle.
There was more to this story. While Cole might not strictly believe in the mission of the Agency, he was a damn good detective and he smelled a rat. She was running from something. He’d bet his paycheck on it.
“What’s your real story?”
“What on earth do you mean?”
He leaned back in his chair and looked directly at her. “Level with me and I’ll consider hiring you.”
By the way she exhaled and dropped her shoulders, he knew he’d hit the nail on the head.
Blaire Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She grew up on a farm that’s been in her family since 1790. Of Scottish descent, her most famous ancestor, John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Guardian of Scotland, was murdered by Robert the Bruce on the altar of the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries.
She has a degree in Horticulture from Clemson University. She’s held a myriad of jobs including television reporter, GPS map creator, and personal assistant to a fellow who was rich enough to pay someone to pick up the dry cleaning. When she’s not plotting, she’s busy knitting, running, or listening to the blues.
Blaire loves iced tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, and yarn stores. She refuses to eat anything that mixes chocolate and peanut butter or apple and cinnamon. She’s generally nice to her mother, tries to remember not to smack her bubble gum, and only speeds when no one’s looking. She’s the award-winning author of Wild About Rachel, The Witch of Roan Mountain, and The Fairy Bargain.
Social media links
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Blaire-Edens/e/B00NO99LJU
Buy Link: http://mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly