Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wednesday Spotlight with E.A. West
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My special guest today is friend and author
E.A. is here today to chat with us about her newest release from Sea Crest eBooks
LLIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
But first, here is a little about E.A.--followed by a blurb and excerpt.
E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she discovered
the wonders of sharing her stories with others through writing. She picked up her
pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. Her love of writing
encompasses a variety of fiction genres, including romance and women's fiction.
Born and raised in Indiana, she still resides there today with her family and a small
zoo of pets that includes cats, dogs, and African water frogs. When she's not writing
or reading, you're likely to find her working on her current crochet project or enjoying
Blurb for Light in the Darkness:
Kennedy Drake loves exploring dark places, which makes his job as a graveyard shift
security guard ideal. While checking out strange noises
in his elderly neighbor’s basement, he discovers a hidden room with a woman trapped
inside. Chastity Mooreland has more to fear than her time trapped
in darkness. Will Kennedy believe her bizarre tale of a stalker no one thinks is guilty—and
will he help free her from a life of despair? Can Chastity look past her suspicion
of mankind to accept his offer of friendship?
Kennedy went back the way he’d come and passed through
the last doorway, stopping in amazement. The huge room was lined with cobwebby wooden shelves, some of which held a few dust-covered canning jars. A pair of wooden bins with sloping lids and three old wooden barrels with age-darkened metal rings stood in the middle of the floor. He couldn’t help wondering if the room had held a year’s worth of food in the days of horse-drawn carriages. It looked large enough.
He found a switch on the wall and turned on the lights. Two of the three bulbs hanging from the
ceiling flashed bright then went out, and he made a mental note to come back later to change them. Louise likely wouldn’t ever come in her basement again, but it would give her peace of mind to know the lights worked. He set the flashlight on one of the shelves near the door and walked over to the bins and barrels. Empty. He glanced around the room one more time, not seeing anything that would make any kind of noise without human help, and there weren’t any tracks to indicate anyone had been down there in the last six months. He retrieved his flashlight and reached for the light switch. A tapping sound from the far side of the
room stilled his hand. He turned around, but all he saw were empty shelves and a
spider busily spinning a web in the corner. The tapping grew more frantic as he slowly approached the shelves.
“Hello? Is somebody there?”
The tapping stopped. “Help me! Please, get me out of here!” a hysterical female voice
called, muffled by the wood-backed shelves.
It took Kennedy a moment to recover from the
shock of actually getting a reply. “Keep tapping so I can figure out where you are.”
The tapping continued and so did the voice, though it now sounded like the
woman was crying. “Please hurry! I have to get out of here! Please...”
Sharon: Sounds like a compelling mystery to me, folks. Let’s have a warm welcome for my guest. E.A. West—come on out!
The tapping grows louder and louder, closer and closer. With a jarring creak, a trap door opens and E.A. stumbles out, her hair shrouded in a spider web. With a smile, she dusts herself off and waves madly to her gasping fans.
Sharon: What a grand entrance! Thunderous applause explodes through cyberspace as Sharon and E.A. exchange hugs. Well, grab a seat and I’ll call Oliver for refreshments. I’ll bet you’re thirsty after all that frantic tapping.
Oliver struts out, dressed as a graveyard shift security guard. With the silver tray balanced above his head, he flashes his most beguiling smile to E.A. He hands her an icy cold Dr. Pepper and a heaping basket of honey wheat pretzels and a dish of sliced carrot sticks. He clears his throat, pumps his biceps with a wicked wink and flashes his pearly whites. “If I might be so bold as to ask for your autograph, Ms. West?”
E.A.: My autograph? Why, Oliver, I’m flattered! Of course I’ll sign something for you. Will this lovely napkin do?
Sharon: Oliver, did you forget about my drink? I wouldn’t mind a diet coke. Oliver? And about my favorite snack? Potato chips? But Oliver runs off, clutching his heart.
Sharon: Sigh. Oh, he of fickle heart! So let’s talk about Light in the Darkness. That excerpt drew me right in. Tell us about the setting, the characters, the research.
E.A.: The story is set in the fictional town of Vesper, Indiana. In this excerpt, Kennedy is in his elderly neighbor’s basement. His neighbor, a sweet old lady named Louise, called him over to investigate a noise. Kennedy Drake is a nice guy who loves dark places, particularly caves, and he enjoys exploring old houses as well. The heroine of the story, Chastity Mooreland, is running scared thanks to her stalker and she thinks Kennedy doesn’t believe her story any more than the police department. Then there’s Louise Gilbert, Kennedy’s elderly neighbor. She may be tiny and old, but she’s sharp and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
I really didn’t need to do anything in the way of research for this story. Thanks to a voracious reading habit, I had all the necessary tidbits of trivia stored away in my brain. Who knew I could use my interest in geology, history lessons on the Underground Railroad, and an addiction to mystery novels in the same story?
Sharon: What genre would you classify Light in the Darkness as?
E.A.: It’s contemporary fiction with some mystery mixed in. There’s also a tiny bit of romance hinted at, but I didn’t develop that theme.
Sharon: You know, as I’m sitting here, drawing mental images in my mind about this book, I can’t help but think about Halloween in just a few short weeks. What perfect timing! Picture it—a chilly night, a graveyard shift security guard, exploring dark places, mysterious tapping, a woman’s cries and a hot mug of apple cider. Hmmmm. How about it, folks, sound good?
A shutter bangs in the wind, a bat eeks, and a woman cries out from inside the walls….
Sharon: I must have a copy of this book. I just love a good mystery, especially around Halloween. How did you get inspired to write this story, E.A.?
E.A.: Actually, the inspiration came from an online contest a couple of years ago. The only requirements were that the story be less than ten thousand words and involve a basement. The basement part intrigued me, so I let my imagination run with it.
Sharon: I love the names of your characters. Kennedy and Chastity. Did they just come to you—or did you have to think about them long and hard?
E.A.: Surprisingly, they just came to me. Sometimes I’ll go through two or three, or more, names until I find one I like for a character, but with Kennedy and Chastity, I knew those were the perfect names for the characters right away.
Sharon: Now this book is an eBook. Do you have a preference to print or eBooks and if so, why?
E.A.: I like both of them for different reasons. Ebooks are great for short stories and for instant gratification, not to mention the tiny amount of space needed to store dozens of them. I love the feel of a print book, plus it’s nice to get away from a screen for a while to read.
Sharon: Now let’s…what is that noise? It sounds like an eerie whistle snaking through the corridor. Or like the wind hurling through the trees before a storm. Oh, dear! Is a tornado coming? Let’s make a run for it down to the basement. Quick, E.A. But the eerie humming gets louder and louder, reaching an ear-splitting crescendo. Then Oliver appears, belting out a Bob Dylan song in a scratchy, nasally monotone. He plants himself in front of E.A.
“How many roads must a man walk down…before you call him a man? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”
With a sweeping bow, Oliver presents E.A. with a huge slice of Molten Lava cake. Using the culinary skills he was trained with, he forks up a piece and feeds E.A.
E.A.: Mm...this is excellent! Oliver, how much is Sharon paying you? I’ll double it if you’ll make Molten Lava cake (minus the calories, of course) and serenade me with your wonderful singing. Might I have another taste of that delicious treat?
Sharon: (sighs as Oliver readily obliges) That will be quite enough, Oliver. Go away so I can continue my interview with Ms. West. Oliver winks and leaves, blowing E.A. kisses.
Sharon: One of these days…So back to our questions before we were so rudely interrupted. Tell us a little about your hobbies when not reading or writing. What kind of things do you like to knit and crochet?
E.A.: Well, for knitting, I’m currently working on an entrelac scarf. Probably not the best project for a beginner, but I’m enjoying it and learning a lot. As for crochet, I’ve fallen in love with adorable crocheted toys called amigurumi.
Sharon: And you love animals. What kind of cats and dogs do you have? And exactly what is an African water frog?
E.A.: I have two cats, a beautiful gray tabby girl named Annie and an adorable black tabby kitten boy named Sergei. One of my dogs is a sweet female shar-pei cross named Sashimi. The other is Mocha, a male shih tzu who loves squeaky toys. An African water frog is a species of frog that lives solely in water. They have to come to the surface to breathe, but they can hold their breath for an amazingly long time. I have two in my house: a regular one named Kermit and a dwarf named Hoppy. Both are male and have the most soothing croak! It’s reminiscent of a rusty gate creaking in the breeze.
Sharon: (stops as her black cat Freddie leaps from her lap and into E.A.’s) And I must ask. I adore superstitions, legends and lore and traditions. Can you share one of yours with me for my collection?
E.A.: A legend I recently came across is the Apache story of why bats hang upside down.
Long ago, Coyote wanted a wife, but he didn't know who to choose. Bat suggested he take the wife of Hawk Chief, who had not been seen for many days. Hawk Chief returned and was angry with Bat for giving bad advice. He slung Bat into a juniper bush. Bat's long, pointy-toed moccasins got caught and he hung upside down, unable to get free no matter how much he struggled. From that time on, bats have hung upside down, even when asleep.
Sharon: I love it and will add it to my collection. Thank you! And sadly, that brings us to the end of another Wednesday Spotlight. But before I let you go, I have my three questions. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could star in any literary fiction, which would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero and why?
E.A.: If I could live anywhere, it would probably be a Midwestern farm with some woods and plenty of pastureland. Not exciting or exotic, I know, but I’m a farm girl at heart and would love to own some horses and ducks. Hm, literary fiction...that’s a tough one. Maybe The Three Musketeers. I love that story and the loyalty the characters show each other, not to mention the action and adventure. Who would I want for my romantic hero? There are so many to choose from! I think I’d have to go with Ben Barnes. He was awesome as Prince Caspian. Or maybe Philip Winchester. He did a marvelous job playing Robinson Crusoe.
Sharon: Thank you, E.A. It has indeed been a pleasure. I hope you come back again. Good luck with Light in the Darkness. I can’t wait to pick up my copy. Where can readers buy this book and where can they read about your other books and get in touch with you?
E.A.: Readers can purchase Light in the Darkness here: http://shop.dianakaypublishing.com/product.sc?productId=16&categoryId=1
For more information about my writing or to contact me, visit my website at: http://eawest.mcphitty.com
Thank you, Sharon, for having me! I’ve had a wonderful time. And, Oliver, you’ve provided such marvelous service. Should you ever decide to leave Sharon’s employ, you can always come work for me.
Oliver grins a wicked grin and winks!