Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fire and Shadow by Susan J McLeod with Interview


1)      First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

I live in Upstate New York, which has a rich paranormal history, so the seeds were sown early. I have a brother and three sisters, and my parents were wonderful. They always encouraged us to learn and nurtured our talents. I work for a family foundation composed of incredibly generous philanthropists. They sponsor so many different programs. One of them is Zara’s Center, a school for AIDS-impacted orphans in Zimbabwe. I’m donating all the profits from my upcoming novella Shell and Shadow to them.

2)      How long have you been writing?

Since the first book was put into my hands. I scribbled in all of my books. I was telling stories that no one could understand! But since the writing made sense? I was about seven when The Adventures of Dusty the Fairy was launched.

3)      Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have to be indoors, at my desk. I’m not one of those authors who can sit in Starbuck’s or bask in the sunshine on a beautiful day. Firstly, I don’t have a laptop! Secondly, I can’t concentrate unless I’m in silence. I’m too easily distracted!

4)      Why did you decide to write Fire and Shadow?

I wrote Fire and Shadow because people liked my first novel, Soul and Shadow, so much. I didn’t intend for it to be a series, but I got such nice reviews and fan mail that I wanted to give people more.

5)      Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

I love Stephen, my main character’s ex. Lots of my readers want him out of Lily’s life, but I understand why he’s the way he is and he is such a reliable, good-hearted man. The things he does for her!

6)      How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

I don’t care for Yvette. She’s arrogant and there’s something forbidding about her.

7)      Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I proofread and edit as I go along. That’s why it takes me approximately a century to get a novel finished. After I’ve read it at least 200 times, it goes off to the team of editors at Imajin Books. If it’s being self-published, I still use a professional editor. The importance of that cannot be overstated. It’s one of the top standards by which people will judge your book.

8)      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Listen to music, walk in old cemeteries, spend time with friends, read. It’s a complete fabrication that I’m addicted to computer solitaire!

9)      Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I used to read voraciously until I became a full time author. Now, between working, writing, research and marketing, not to mention social media, I don’t have a lot of free time. I like science and archaeology so I search out those articles online. And I subscribe to history and archaeology magazines. I do always keep up with Phillippa Gregory and anything she’s written.

10)   Do you ever find that people judge you by your books?

Yes. In the same way that it can be hard to separate an actor from a role he plays, some people assume that my characters reflect me. But I don’t have psychic powers, see ghosts, or bond with spirits from the past! I’m fascinated by the paranormal, but I also have a healthy amount of skepticism.  

Fire And Shadow
Lily Evans Mystery Series
Book 2
Susan J McLeod

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Publisher: Imajin Books
Date of Publication: October 10, 2012
ISBN: 1926997832
Number of pages: 152
Cover Artist: Ryan Doan

Book Description: 

“When the dead need to speak, she must listen…

Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But "normal" is the last thing she finds.

When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.

With the help of the enigmatic druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.

They were coming for her. 
She, who burned in the world like a flame, whose beauty drew all men, whose knowledge was so powerful it had to be buried. 
How could such a life end in fire as well? 
She should have foreseen the danger, yet she had depended on love and laughed in the face of hatred. She'd had time. She'd had her position and her man and her power. The people could whisper and cross themselves as she passed by, but did they not come to her for potions still? Did they not seek help when their families or their animals ailed? Hypocrites and cowards, all of them. Who would speak for her when the unthinkable happened? Who would protect her in her own home? No one. 
She was alone. Her husband was away and could not fight for her. She could see the mob approaching the house. Their malice was a palpable entity. The madness in their eyes told her she was doomed. They broke down the door and burst in, Reverend Lacy leading them, quoting scripture while his parishioners chanted and prayed. The loathsome figure of Amos Woodbine wielded his heavy walking stick, his face twisted in triumph. For a moment, rage overcame her fear. 
"Lecherous dog! This is how you treat your own family? I swear, you shall not long outlive this abomination." She pointed an accusing finger at the crowd. "And the rest of you— what courage, what character you possess. You bring a rabble against one small woman? How proud you must be of your virtue."
Her dark eyes flashed and she tossed her long, silky hair. More than one male heart stirred. But there could be no stopping the mob now.
 "Silence, witch! You have worked your last evil upon this town." The reverend twitched with excitement. "I consign thee to the depths of Hell." 
At this signal, everyone threw their torches to the floor. The wood quickly began to burn, aided by the oil in the lamps. She glanced about wildly, seeking escape, but the cowards were blocking the doors and windows from outside. Smoke began to fill the room. Although it was becoming hard to breathe, she managed a last defiant shout. "Fools! You cannot destroy me. I shall return." 
The flames crept closer, hungry for her flesh. She screamed with all her might. Then she crumpled, unconscious, to the floor. 

She awoke to darkness. She was but a shadow now, lost in that dead world, yet not wholly alone. Sometimes she could hear his voice— her husband's— and it brought both joy and anguish. The man she had thought to spend eternity with, their love reduced to memories and whispers. 
"Rose? Where are you?" His words were filled with longing and pain. "When shall I see you again?" But she had no answer to comfort him.

Her only hope was the portrait— her image on canvas, a gift from her husband. Into the painting had gone his love and passion and a spark of the power between them, a spark of her soul. It had been hidden carefully in the attic of the old mansion. The precious book that was the repository of her knowledge was secure as well. She and Jacob had buried it only days before, after that mad preacher had first visited their house. The book had been almost complete, but they had sensed the animosity of the town growing. It had been best to take every precaution to keep the family safe while they made their final plans. 
Alas, she had not believed the townspeople would strike so quickly. Jacob had been hunting in the woods with the wolf, and when he returned, he'd found their home a smoldering ruin. Before he could even grasp what had happened, he was dead. Four shots from a townsman's gun finished the murderous business of the day. But she would not lose him. Somehow she would escape.   

Her portrait was discovered twenty-five years later by a new generation occupying the old Woodbine homestead. Struck by its beauty, they hung it on the wall with their other pictures. All were entranced by its magic, but only one had the power to understand it. Lara, a sickly girl of eleven, gazed often into the dark, painted eyes. Rose reached out and touched her mind, trying to tell her tale. For a time, it seemed that Lara would help. Rose tried to give her strength, but the frail child succumbed to illness, and the family moved away. 
Rose's portrait was purchased by a merchant and carried into the next town. Over countless years it passed from owner to owner, until at last it returned to the blighted former home of murderer Amos Woodbine, the identity of its subject long forgotten. But the spell it cast had not lost its power. 
The woman in charge of what was now the Morrisville Museum was unnerved by the painting and loaned it to an art gallery. Rose had waited for so long to find the right connection. Now she could feel it. 
Her time was coming.

Susan J.. Fire and Shadow (Kindle Locations 148-155). Imajin Books.

About the Author: 

Susan Jane McLeod has been writing since she was seven years old. At age eleven she won a county-wide essay contest and her professional career was launched. By the time she was nineteen, her poetry had appeared in several magazines, including American Girl and Seventeen. She also won an honorable mention in The Writer. 

She grew up in Rochester, New York, with three sisters and one brother. In her early thirties she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given a 50-50 chance to live. After two surgeries and chemotherapy, she is cancer free today.

She has worked at several jobs ranging from a baby store to a research consultant, but her favorite was managing a bookstore, surrounded by her passion: literature. She is currently employed by a non-profit foundation that runs Zara’s Center, a home for AIDS-impacted orphans in Zimbabwe.

Susan has published several short stories and two novels. The first, Soul and Shadow, is an award-winning paranormal historical romance. The second, Fire and Shadow, is classified as paranormal suspense. Both books have been in Amazon Top 100 bestseller categories.

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