Message From The Author

Cate Tiernan

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult

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Author's Message

Sometimes it’s hard for writers to pinpoint where inspiration comes from--characters and situations seem to spring fully formed from someplace that we somehow have access to. With my series Sweep, the original idea (a teenage girl discovers she’s a witch) wasn’t mine. I took that idea and then created a whole world (fifteen books) from it, but I myself did not come up with the plan to write about a teenage girl who discovers she’s a witch.

With my four-book series Balefire, I knew I wanted to write about New Orleans, where I’m from. I made the city a character, and described all the parts of it that I loved and knew. I created people who would interact meaningfully with the city, and developed situations that would take advantage of the unique atmosphere that New Orleans offers. It’s shaped me as a person and a writer, and I loved exploring all that in Balefire.

There were thirteen main characters in Balefire, and I found each of them compelling and fun to develop. But like so many other writers, I was drawn to the ones who were the most tortured, the most uncomfortable in their skins. One of those characters was a woman named Claire, an immortal (as were all of the Balefire characters). I just loved Claire. She was a mess--abrasive, self-destructive, selfish. And so, so much fun to write. And a person so obviously in need of love and understanding, making her all the more appealing--what would happen if someone were to offer her that love and understanding?

Which is where the main character of Immortal Beloved comes from. Nastasya is a reincarnation of Claire (not literally! but figuratively), and she was the inspiration for everything that happens in the Immortal Beloved trilogy. Like Claire, Nastasya is abrasive, self-destructive, and selfish--and like Claire, is desperately in need of love and understanding. It’s one thing to take a happy, well adjusted person and explore her emotions and relationships, but I find it so much more fascinating to take a really screwed-up person and show how even she can be redeemed by love.

I let Nastasya really plumb the depths of wretched, hurtful behavior--just pushed her more and more until she seemed pretty irredeemable. Then I set out to redeem her. Bit by bit, I’ve been pulling her back, connecting her to others, forcing her to learn painful life lessons, and watching excitedly as she’s come to life on the page. Nastasya’s struggle with her own humanity, her own personal journey is what I hope readers will relate to and find meaning in. And that, for me, is the essence of why I do what I do--through exploring characters, I explore myself, and by sharing that exploration with readers, I hope to connect with them through a shared experience.

Thank you, Claire and Nastasya! I value your lessons!

- Cate Tiernan

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