The Bridge of Deaths
Astrological Cook – Producing Change with Pluto
Pluto really is the little planet that could as it is the key force of transformation in our lives. Pluto has a scary image because it deals with death and rebirth – but without dying to the old there can be no room for the new. So use Pluto to change those parts of your life that you feel need work. Our guest today is MCV Egan, author of “Bridge of Deaths”, a book about a mysterious plane crash which she investigates using past life regression, a very Plutonian activity!
INTERVIEW with Toi Thomas author of ETERNAL CURSE ~ Giovanni’s Angel
— Eternal Curse sprung from a dream how, have dreams influenced you in your life?
I haven’t had a lot of experience with dream involvement in my life. Before experiencing the reoccurring dream that inspired me to write Eternal Curse, I didn’t remember most of my dreams. For the most part I could always tell whether I was having good or bad dreams, and few nightmares have crept through my consciousness and stuck with me.
— Have you ever had a dream of premonition?
I’ve never experienced a clear full on premonition, especially not in my sleep, but daydreaming is a little different. There have been a few times when I thought I had imagined something and it turned out to be real, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these premonitions. Sometimes we are influenced by things around us without realizing it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in such things. People often go on about whether such things are heaven sent or of the devil; I think it depends on the person and the circumstances.
Having said that, I do find that I have a habit of bringing up subjects that seem rare, odd, or out of place, only to have them become quite relevant soon after. I’ll spark up a conversation about someone who was famous years ago only to find out a few days later, they have just passed away.
— How much of the characters stems from your dreams and how much stems from your creativity?
This is a difficult question to answer quickly. The only two characters to appear in my dream were the gray man and the old man. They are, in the book, about 75% of what they were in my dream. I only changed them a little and added to them. All the other characters I made up.
I guess the question would be how much of these stem from creativity or familiar relations. While I did consciously craft each of the other characters in this story, about half of them are based on people I know in some small form or other and all the characters seems to share some kind of similarity with me. I’m over this book, even though I tried really hard not to be.
— Do you try to dream in a special way? I have personally read books that train you to have lucid dreams. And I wonder as you had a dream that impacted you to write a book, if you have made the effort to dream up another book?
Whoa there, that quite a few questions.
1st- I don’t try to dream in a special way unless I’ve just seen something disturbing. Then I curl up with a teddy bear, squeeze my husband, and try to think happy thoughts. I think it works. Like I said, most of the time I don’t remember my dreams.
2nd- It’s funny that you ask about training myself to have lucid dreams. I bought a book on that years ago for my husband because he was having some strange dreams. He used the book and it helped a little so he simply added it to the bookshelf. After I wrote the second draft of Eternal Curse, I thought maybe I should look into that book and see what it says about dreams. I read one or two page, but never applied anything I read and became distracted, never returning to finish the book.
3rd- I haven’t been losing sleep just waiting to dream up my next book. After writing Eternal Curse I think my overall creativity was sparked and ideas began to flow through my mind constantly. I don’t pursue every idea right away, but I do write every idea down and add as much detail as I can. If ever I am without ideas, I have plenty to go back to and explore.
With that being said, I did have another short dream series that has inspired me to write another book, but unfortunately it didn’t last as long as the first, so I am having to create most of the story from scratch. The one thing that stands out from the dream is a magical sword and a royal bloodline. I can’t wait to see where this will take me.
— Do you encounter your characters whilst day dreaming?
During the time in which I was writing my story, my characters followed me around everywhere; now, not so much. I do however find myself talking to Mira sometimes. I think because she’s a combination of many women in my life including myself, she feels like an old girlfriend who’s with me whenever I need her.
— What is your system when writing? Are you a meticulous outline planner or a pantser?
I am definitely an outline planner. I outline everything. If my I know how I want my story to end, I outline the whole story from beginning to end. Then I outline individual chapters before moving on to outline the lives and details of my characters. I also make lots of lists. I write down idea I may or may not use and keep track of what is in progress and what is done. My book 40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse give a clear picture of just how much work and effort I put into my writing, especially how much went into writing Eternal Curse.
— What is easier for you, story line (plot) or setting?
Plot is by far the easiest thing for me, everything else is a struggle. I love writing and will always do it, but that doesn’t mean every aspect of writing comes to me naturally. Coming up with ideas, themes, transitions, twists, catalysts, and climaxes are the easy part. Going back to build worlds and add in all the details is where I seek, greatly and humbly, advice from others.
— Do you see spin offs or a series stemming from secondary characters?
Absolutely! The primary series is already in effect. The Second book is finished and awaiting editing and the third is very much a reality.
As far as spin offs go, there is so much going on with the characters and the world of Eternal Curse that it would be impossible to tell the whole story in 3 to 4 short books. I think there will definitely be spin offs down the read and perhaps I’ll even do some collaborations with some other authors.
— And for fun….Favorite food? Favorite drink? And I must know WHY BATMAN?
Favorite food: It changes, but I do really enjoy rice dishes.
Favorite drink: Apple Juice; what can I say, I’m a big kid and I need my vitamins.
Why Batman? Why not? I appreciate his background story. Aside from him being filthy rich, he is essentially an orphan and orphans hold a special place in my heart, which is evident in my writing. Many hero and villain stories begin with what happen in the early years. After Bruce Wayne watched his parents get killed in front of him, he could have easily been turned into a villain, but he chose to be a hero. He doesn’t have any special powers and he is really smart. He defeats most of his opponents simply by using his mind; he out thinks them. Aside from the fact that he’s the only comic book hero with a cape that I like (not big on capes) and he has a similar attitude to mine, I like Batman because from childhood to adulthood the fact remains that someone like him could exist, even if he doesn’t. There are real people in this world, without special powers, willing to fight to save others and that’s Batman represents to me.
Author of the Eternal Curse Series
REPOSTED WITH LINK FROM KIM TALKS BOOKS
Brunnsviken in winter. Photo: Tord Malmgren
As I write today’s post, the view outside my window is one of pale gray sky and snowy sidewalks. On Friday we had our first proper snowfall of the winter. We Stockholmers were beginning to wonder if there would be any snow before Christmas–and it was getting a bit depressing, the dullness of the winter darkness, the heavy sleep feeling that settles upon you and makes you feel perpetually tired. You need snow to break it up and remind you that Christmas is just around the corner.
Interview with Alison Williams author of THE BLACK HOURS
‘Look upon this wretch, all of you! Look upon her and thank God for his love and his mercy. Thank God that he has sent me to rid the world of such filth as this.’
1647 and England is in the grip of civil war. In the ensuing chaos, fear and suspicion are rife and anyone on the fringes of society can find themselves under suspicion. Matthew Hopkins, self -styled Witchfinder General, scours the countryside, seeking out those he believes to be in league with the Devil. In the small village of Coggeshall, 17–year-old Alice Pendle finds herself at the centre of gossip and speculation. Will she survive when the Witchfinder himself is summoned?
A tale of persecution, superstition, religious fundamentalism, hate and love, ‘The Black Hours’ mixes fact with fiction in a gripping fast-paced drama that follows the story of Alice as she is thrown into a world of fear and confusion, and of Matthew, a man driven by his beliefs to commit dreadful acts in the name of religion.
5 ***** Amazon review
"The Black Hours" is an enthralling book, well researched, and beautifully written.
I was disappointed when I reached the last page - didn’t want it to be over!
(Alison’s) quality of writing is tremendous, her ability to take the reader back in time outstanding, and her talent for making history engaging is enviable.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
I feel very strongly that the victims of Matthew Hopkins have largely been forgotten – all too often they are just names on a list in a book or in a museum. We tend to forget that they were real people, with real lives, families, dreams, hopes and fears. What they suffered was dreadful and I felt compelled to give them a voice. Although ‘The Black Hours’ is fiction and Alice never existed, the methods Matthew Hopkins uses in the novel are all methods actually used on real victims. I hope, in some small way, the novel pays tribute to those real victims.
Was there any research involved in your work?
Lots and lots! As a writer of historical fiction I have to be so thorough about the smallest detail, down to the level of making sure that certain words were actually used at the time in which the book is set. I did an enormous amount of background reading, including the infamous ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ or ‘Hammer of the Witches’ - a 1486 treatise on the prosecution of witches which was a thoroughly unpleasant read! I also spent a lot of time visiting the villages and towns in Essex in which the book is set and also visited the cells of Colchester Castle, where Hopkins interrogated suspects.
What authors inspire or influence your work?
I adore Hilary Mantel – her writing is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I think she has brought the historical fiction genre to a whole new level; absolutely meticulously researched, intelligent, thought-provoking and entertaining! I also love Karen Maitland and Elizabeth Kostova – both write beautifully. Their work has a wonderful atmosphere about it; you become so immersed in the worlds they create.
Favorite snack when writing.
I go one of two ways when I’m engrossed in writing – I either forget to eat at all or I eat without thinking about it. I’m a vegetarian but that doesn’t mean that I always eat healthily. I have a bit of a crisp addiction – particularly salt and vinegar Pringles. I also eat a lot of toast (quick and easy). And endless cups of tea of course.
Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?
I have a group of friends that I met (online) while completing my Masters in Creative Writing. I know that they are totally honest and I completely respect their opinions. Aside from that my husband (he’s an ex-journalist and is great at proof-reading!) and my 17-year-old son Scott – it’s not always true that family will tell you what you want to hear. Scott is actually my harshest critic. He certainly doesn’t believe in sugar-coating criticism and he can be relied on to tell me the truth.
Share with us your biggest hurdles in the writing process?
Time! Juggling work commitments, family and everything else is a real challenge. I have two children and, despite the fact that they are teenagers, they still take up a huge amount of time - driving them around, clearing up after them (I know, I know!), washing, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog etc! I’m lucky enough to be able to write practically full-time (I also do the admin for my husband’s company and write articles for websites) but there are so many distractions – people tend to think that if you’re working from home you can drop everything to meet up for a coffee or have long telephone conversations– it’s really not that easy!
Where can readers find you and your book(s) online?
Alison Williams has been writing ever since she can remember – scribbling down and (badly) illustrating stories in exercise books whenever she wasn’t actually reading (which was most of the time when she was awake). After getting married and having two children, Alison worked in education until deciding to bite the bullet and do what she had always wanted to do which is to write full-time – it only took her until her forties! Alison now works as a freelance writer with articles published on line and in magazines. From 2011-2012 she studied for a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Glasgow. As part of her studies, Alison wrote my first novel ‘The Black Hours’ – available now on Amazon.
Alison is fascinated by history – but not so much the kings and queens, the emperors, the military heroes or the great leaders. More the ordinary people whose lives were touched by the decisions, the beliefs and the whims of those who had power over them and who now fill our history books. When Alison was about ten years old she went with her family to visit Winchester Cathedral. As she wandered through this magnificent building with its arches, its pillars, its carvings and beautiful windows, her mother was looking less than impressed. Wasn’t she inspired? Awed? No, not at all – ‘All I can think of’ she said ‘is the poor buggers who had to build it.’ And that remark has stayed with Alison since. She wonders just what was it like to be one of those ‘poor buggers’ toiling to create the soaring gothic arches of Winchester cathedral? Or a 17th century mother living in London, scared to death as the plague took hold? How did it feel to a woman in Berwick-Upon-Tweed on The Scottish border in 1296 watching the English troops storming through the town? And what about all of those accused, tortured and horribly murdered in the witch trials that swept through Europe? How did it feel to be one of those women, terrified and desperate? It is this that Alison finds fascinating – how it was for the ordinary people, caught up in events they couldn’t control. It is their stories that she wants to tell.
Once the bug bites, you are infected. A few notes on my novels by ROBERT CRAVEN
I’ve always loved adventure books - the first ones I can remember reading as a child were ‘The Viking Adventure’ by Clyde Robert Bulla and ‘Gorilla adventure’ by Willard Price and it was that ‘pull’ of being transported to other times and locations that stayed with me.
In secondary school, I took Fredrick Forsyth’s ‘The day of the jackal’ out from the school library only to have the librarian, Brother O’Sullivan, stop and have me return it because of its ‘adult content’. He recommended I read Alastair Maclean instead - I read all of his ones available in the library. Then I took out ‘The day of the jackal’, I didn’t quite understand the ‘adult content’ at the time but loved the idea of the anonymous assassin.
The authors I still love to read are Martin Cruz Smith, Robert Harris, Ian McEwan, James Clavell and Stephen King and I hope ‘GET LENIN’ is in that vein; a page-turner, pot-boiler, the sort of book you see on a shelf in an airport bookshop and buy while waiting for the boarding call.
The main character, Eva Molenaar, started out in the very first drafts in a modern setting as a young Editorial assistant for a London publisher. Taken into his confidence, she uncovers material pointing to a sunken U-Boat off the Irish coast with Lenin’s sarcophagus aboard and the publisher’s direct involvement with it. I thought that time-wise it wouldn’t work as the publisher would already be in his late 80’s and the plot would involve flashbacks all the time. Then I looked at making her British, but again felt it wouldn’t work & eventually settled on Polish and moved her story into the 1930’s. She’s modelled loosely on Nancy Wake an Australian spy who fought alongside the French Resistance and the 1940’s film star Ava Gardner.
To a point, GET LENIN is about manipulation of mass media to meet an agenda, which Nazi Germany and Russia perfected in the 1930’s - and is as relevant today as nearly 80 years ago.
Spy master Henry Chainbridge is condensed into all of the voices saying that Hitler and Stalin cannot be trusted; he’s the lone voice of reason. He is cool and composed and is based on a musician friend of mine (who has since sadly passed away) and when writing and developing the character, I heard his voice first and built the character from that point.
Chainbridge’s associate, Peter De Witte is Dutch, handsome, urbane & blind. He’s a character who overcomes his disability and is the creator of the Braille code that Eva uses. As Eva’s lover, he sets up the emotional conflict later in the book when Eva meets the German captain Klaus Brandt, a man she should not be attracted to, but is.
After Get Lenin was released, I had the idea to create a sequel and develop the relationships further and create another conspiracy and peril for the characters to deal with. I wrote Zinnman and saw the potential for a series spanning the conflict. I have a third novel due early 2014, titled ‘A finger of night’ and at this moment the raw first draft of the fourth adventure, working title ‘Hollow point’.
The only decision now, is to either kill Eva off at the end of the war, or allow her to continue her adventures into the early days of the Cold War.