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- Shadows Deep by Cege Smith Excerpt/Interview
Posted by : Katie Jun 12, 2012
What would you consider a perfect day for you as an author?
A perfect day for me as an author is as simple as accomplishing my goal(s) for that day which should be progressing me further in my career in some way. That could mean pounding out a specific word count, editing a certain number of chapters, finalizing a book cover, writing the book blurb, or working on marketing/promotion.
My day to day life is busy, so I try to be intentional and reasonable with what I can accomplish in a day. If I set a goal and meet it, I'm thrilled. That doesn't always happen because life just sometimes gets in the way.
What sort of research (if any) did you do for this novel?
This may or may not sound strange, but I had to do a ton of backtracking to the first novel to ensure that all of my details for my characters and their backgrounds, etc. where accurate. I am in the process of writing three different series right now, so as I bounce from book to book, I don't always remember those granular details. I'd say 85% of my editing research notes included something that said "Check Edge of Shadows".
Since I am creating the world that the Bradford mansion inhabits from scratch, I had the freedom to develop a lot of those other details around the place, its history and the mythology of that world. That was the really fun part.
Is there any character in particular that you enjoyed writing about the most?
In the book my main character, Ellie, meets a witch named Lucy. Lucy was a fun character to write because Lucy creates her own rules. She's a larger than life character, but she still has a deep loyalty streak and desire to do the right thing.
Were any of your characters or events from the book based of real life people or experiences you have had?
Ellie's journey through the Shadows series started out with her getting divorced. Some of those feelings of guilt and depression came from my own experience with that life event. It remains one of the most painful and challenging times in my life, and I think that really shaped how I've created Ellie's character as a whole.
Are there any other projects you are working on that you would like to tell us about?
I am currently working on the first book in my Twisted Soul series. The series takes place nine months after the events depicted in The Soul Garden, which is its prequel I released in December 2011. I plan to release it in July 2012.
Did any of your characters give you a difficult time while writing this book?
Jeffrey, who was a secondary character in Edge of Shadows, come back in a much bigger role in Shadows Deep. Jeffrey just proves to be a bit of an enigma to me. He's keeping his true motivations close to his chest and hasn't revealed them to me yet. I'm hoping to dig those out in the next book.
Cappuccino or Coffee
Yes. J I've never met a caffeinated bean beverage that I didn't like.
What do you like to do in your down time?
I like to read and my husband and I enjoy trying different restaurants around town as time and the budget affords it. I'd like to think if I wasn't a writer I'd be a chef, but since I don't really cook, maybe I could be a food critic instead- lol.
Do you relate to any of your characters?
I have an affinity for Ellie. I think she had gone through a lot in her life and has always been the outcast. Through this series, my hope is that she is going to grow and mature in a way that shows her how strong and empowered she really is.
Letting go was one of the hardest things a person could ever do. Ellie knew that. What happened when she let go of the idea that reality as she knew it was merely a cover on a rabbit hole? She had willingly taken the cover off and fallen down into the unknown darkness. She’d surrendered. Somehow it felt easier that way. But the Voice kept picking at her even though she was deep in her hidey hole. It wouldn’t leave her alone.
“What was it like for you when your parents died?”
Ellie had answered some variation of that question what seemed like a million times over the years, but her response always paled in comparison to the effect of that one event on the rest of her life. How could she explain the depth of pain she felt when the two people who she loved most were ripped out of her life? Or the excruciating, almost debilitating sense of loneliness that followed when she finally comprehended that she was completely alone in the world?
“I was eight,” Ellie replied. “I had no other family. One minute I was surrounded by love. In the blink of an eye I was an orphan. What do you think it was like?” No one could understand what she had been through, and eventually she gave up trying to explain. Her parents’ death was just something that happened to her a long time ago. Ellie preferred to leave that buried there.
“I am sure it was difficult. But you obviously learned to cope, even thrive.”
“Thrive isn’t the word I’d choose,” Ellie said. “I learned how to survive. Eventually I learned ways to be happy again, but I did that on my own. I never felt like I belonged anywhere again.”
The Voice was silent for a while and Ellie was relieved. When it wasn’t poking at her, the darkness was peaceful. Ellie was used to being alone.
“Tell me about your ability. You’ve linked that to your parents’ death.”
Ellie was tired of the questions. They had covered the same ground over and over again. But it was like the Voice was missing some nuance, and so it all started again. Combing through her life. Looking for clues. “I noticed it the first time at the funeral. I was standing there in the cemetery, looking at their caskets, with the social worker beside me. I kept looking around for more people, but it was just the three of us: me, the social worker, and the minister. And then I noticed that the longer the minister spoke, the more these colors seemed to grow out of him. It didn’t make any sense at the time. The colors were deep purple and blue and they got more vivid every time he made eye contact with me. It scared the hell out of me. I didn’t know what to do.”
A familiar cloud of sadness fell over her thoughts as she remembered that lost little girl. “When the service was over, I wanted to kick and scream and lash out. I wanted to push over those caskets because I convinced myself they were empty and it was some elaborate hoax. Any minute they would appear to take me home. But it wasn’t a hoax. My parents raised me to think that showing emotion in public wasn’t ladylike, so as desperately as I wanted to throw a tantrum, I knew they wouldn’t approve. I looked at the social worker and she had a glow of white tinged with yellow around her. Even though I didn’t know what it meant, the colors were soothing. I had to accept that I was left with nothing but this woman to take care of me. I was naive and automatically assumed that she was kind and that she’d be good to me.”
Ellie sighed. “After twenty-five years of reading auras, I know now that she was indifferent. She probably saw a dozen kids just like me every week. Her aura meant that she was at peace and even slightly happy, but it had nothing to do with me. I was part of her job, and while I was watching my parents be buried, she was probably thinking about getting a manicure or going home and having a glass of wine. Me, I had no home left.”
“You went into foster care.”
“Yes, and in foster care I stayed until I applied for emancipation when I was sixteen.” She remembered the day that the court approved her request. It had been bittersweet.
“Your ability must have been advantageous in that kind of hostile environment.”
“If you mean it helped keep me out of trouble, then probably it did. But I was always a good kid. I studied hard, got decent grades, and generally stayed out of everyone’s way. I never gave my foster families any reason to really concern themselves with me. I wanted to be invisible. I was pretty good at it,” Ellie said. She had closed herself off from anyone who tried to reach her. It was a defense mechanism that worked well. Perhaps too well.
“Until you met Veronica.”
A face flashed in Ellie’s mind. A pretty blond with infectious laughter. Whereas her parents’ faces had faded over time, Roni’s was vivid and seemed so real that Ellie almost thought her friend was there with her in the darkness.
“Roni just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Ellie said. “She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. And for some reason she wanted to be my friend. I owe her a lot.” It was strange talking about Veronica. Those memories were under strict lock and key for a reason.
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