As part of our Paranormal Month coverage we are going behind the scenes with author Erin Quinn to learn how with her new novel, Haunting Embrace, the author perfected the art of what she calls “writing through chaos”. Don’t miss your chance for a backstage pass to the story — and an excerpt of what you’ll find in the latest installment in the author’s Mists of Ireland series about Druid warriors and the cursed Book of Fenmore.
For most authors, writing isn’t just a job—it’s a calling. And like anything we’re called to—or compelled to do—it comes with its highs and lows. Highs—hearing from readers who love your books. Lows—sitting in front of a keyboard and pulling word by painful word out of an over-taxed brain.
Many aspiring writers have told me that they love to write, but can only do it when the mood takes them. I try to keep my inner snarkyness under control when I hear things like that—because I know chances are, they’ll probably never finish a book. Writers have to write, even when the mood is anything BUT conducive.
I’ve known this all along, but I had the lesson driven home in a very hard and painful way this year. I lost my beloved father in May—suddenly and unexpectedly—and I’m still reeling from the shock and hurting from the loss. I was lucky enough to have him as a daily part of my life and now that he’s gone, I still can’t seem to wrap my head around it.
I wanted to curl up somewhere and forget about all the commitments and obligations that I had. Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you look at it—I couldn’t. Life doesn’t wait for you to catch up any more than death does. I had a deadline and though my publisher was very considerate and understanding, I knew that I had to get my book turned in. My dad supported my writing all of my life and I knew he would have wanted me to pick myself up, dust off and get back to the keyboard. As hard as it was, I did.
I submitted my book only a couple of weeks late, but turning my mind from my real life drama and pain to the world of fiction was both the hardest and the most cathartic thing I’ve ever done. I’ve always escaped into fiction, but creating it when a part of me felt broken was an overwhelming challenge.
Ironically, if you’ve read my books, you’ll know that I deal with time and death as a central theme. In Erin’s world, time is always fluid, the past is not set in stone, and death, quite often, is revocable. Haunting Embrace, the last in my Mists of Ireland series, comes out this month and uses these concepts in a fundamental way. I supposed the un-reality of defying the march of time and the finality of death intrigues me so much because each of us wages our own battle against those elements at one time or another—whether it’s watching your children grow up too fast or losing a loved one before their time—no one is immune to life’s realities. In Haunting Embrace, my characters are able to face the impossible and triumph over it as I wish I’d been able to do. I’m pleased with the way that novel turned out—although I did have to make some last minute tweaks to the ending after I’d had time to step away from the story and my grief—no one’s perfect, right?
Here is a brief excerpt from Haunting Embrace when the heroine, Meaghan, begins to realize just who the compelling Áedán Brady really is and how much is at stake:
“But in all the legends . . .” Meaghan began haltingly. “They say each person who used the Book of Fennore suffered unbearable consequences. Most of them died for it. Is that a lie?”
Meaghan turned her head, risking peril as she looked into Áedán’s eyes. His face was very close, and she could see each facet, each shade, each alluring shift in color. His scent surrounded her, elusive and male, seducing her to breathe deeply and take him in. How could she think of him as evil? Dangerous, yes. Arrogant, absolutely. But evil?
“What would you crave more than anything if you’d spent eternity alone in a world without texture, without touch?” he asked softly.
“I don’t know. Company?”
“Emotion. Feeling. A reminder of what it is to be human. That is what I asked in return for each gift I gave.”
“You wanted to feel? That was your price? Not their souls? Not their lives? But . . . why . . . how did that kill them?”
“They killed themselves,” he said bluntly, and in his words, she felt satisfaction. Not pleasure, but a sense of justice.
She frowned, trying to merge the sparse pieces he’d scattered in front of her into a picture that made sense.
Áedán went on, his voice mesmerizing, his words disturbing. “They could not bear what they became without the ability to feel. They could not bear a year of what I withstood for eons.”
“You took their ability to feel anything?”
“Anything good,” he said.
Meaghan’s eyes widened as she thought that through. Anything good. Joy, love, compassion? He’d taken their ability to experience the things that made life worth living.
“I left them their greed and anger. Their hatred.”
She swallowed hard, her heart aching for the poor fools who’d come to the Book of Fennore for help and in return had been stripped of life but not of living.
“And you enjoyed it?” she said. “Hurting them like that.”
“You want me to think you’re a monster, don’t you?”
“I am a monster, beauty. What I want matters not.”
“But now you’re free.”
“Well, you aren’t trapped in this curse anymore, are you?”
“And yet, from moment to moment, I might find myself invisible to anyone but you.”
Meaghan heard the barely suppressed violence in his words, saw the tightness in his features, felt the burst of hot breath as he exhaled.
“Do you still want to hurt people, Áedán?”
“I told you. It’s never been about what I wanted.”
“What about me?”
“You, I definitely want.”
Her face burned hot at the carnal wave of emotions that hit her, so tangible that they formed pictures in her head, yearning deep in her body.
In the end, Haunting Embrace is a love story about life and the rewards that come with embracing who we are and what we want from our time in this world. I hope you’ll find it an uplifting story. To learn more about me and my books, go to www.erinquinnbooks.com where you’ll find book trailers, contests and news!
Thanks for listening and don’t forget to hug your loved ones today and tell them how much they mean to you!
- Erin Quinn
Want more? You can pick up your own copy of Haunting Embrace in stores now. And to keep up with all of our Paranormal Month coverage — and enter to win this month’s giant prize pack giveaway — you can click here!