Today I’m fortunate to present Erin Eveland, author of Darkness.
Hi Erin, thank you for agreeing to this interview!
Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?
Erin: I live in Michigan, USA; in the same state I was born. I live in a completely different area than where I was raised. Now, I live in the outskirts of Metro-Detroit, in an area which I like to call the country suburbs. I grew up in the heart of Mid-Michigan country, a real backwoods with a small town. It’s funny how neighbors around here think we live in the country but the sticks where I grew up, well, I knew kids who could fix a refrigerator before they hit puberty, people carried coat hangers and duck-tape for car repairs and if you saw someone on the side of the road – you stopped and you helped them out.
Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?
Erin: An honest story is a good story. No matter what kind of story it is. As a writer, I believe you know your story is working when the characters start taking on a life of their own. They become your children and even though you have given them life they start choosing their attitudes, behaviors and what to do with it, no matter if you like it or not. They can become unpredictable and stubborn. This becomes extremely frustrating. You may have a clear path for them, but suddenly their telling you, “Nope – Nada, I’m not going down that road no matter how you’d like to write it.” I think that when writers don’t listen to their inner character, the story becomes forced, manipulated and ultimately unbelievable – which ruins the magic of any story. In my last novel, Darkness, one of my characters, Nathan, was never intended to become a “Master of Darkness.” I had a plan for him, or so I thought. One night of writing, the character Nathan decided he was going in a completely different direction. I didn’t like it at all, but I was overly compelled to write the story the way I felt the character wanted it. Honestly, I still feel like I wrote that moment in the story with my eyes closed. A close friend of mine was reading the manuscript and she told me that when she came to that part in the story she threw the manuscript on the table because she couldn’t believe Nathan would do such a thing. She wanted the character to remain “pure” if you will. She yelled at me too, I might add, which was very funny. But no matter the ‘disappointments’ in regards to that character, because the character brought to life his personal path – the story in turn has a genuine life of its own. A formulated story, where the characters are not allowed to breathe their own life, reads like stick people walking on flapping paper. It’s the same as talking to someone in front of you; you hear what they say but you feel their eyes are lying.
Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?
Erin: I always like to try new things. One day I thought, “Today I’m going to write a story.” Which I did, and discovered I was a horrible writer. A lot of people make the mistake by thinking they’re a reader – they can become a writer overnight. At that time, I just wanted to write a story even though I was writing material I could eventually become blackmailed with. Yeah, it was that bad and I might have burned it all one night in a fit of disgust. But maybe because I’m stubborn, I stuck with it and after two years of continuous writing, reading books, meeting others, I would like to say I started to pull it together.
Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Erin: There isn’t one, but there should be. With children at home, scheduling etc… life gets unpredictable. I’ve spent numerous nights and early dark mornings trying to fit in blocks of uninterrupted time.
Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Erin: I guess it’s weird to people that I like to write in my garage. It becomes my bat-cave for writing. I find that’s the place I can shut out the world and not look at chores of the house or yard that always needs to be addressed. Recently, I tore down my makeshift desk and officially moved my desk, bookshelf, papers and all in the garage next to my wood burning stove for the Michigan winter.
Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.
Erin: The title is Darkness, which is the first book in this dark fantasy series.
Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
Erin: Hummmm…well, a lot I’d say, especially because when I started working on it I have learned so much by completing Darkness, and by completing it – I don’t mean the first draft. Ha! By that time I had a few short stories published, finished a novella and had other works in the making, but this was the first steak I slapped on the table. I will say something that really threw me was the fact this story turned into a series with multiple characters and paths that intersect. When the idea for the novel, Darkness, first came to me I only envisioned one book, but by the time I started working on it, I realized that the book was a bit too big for my britches. Even the second book in the series, Shadows in which I am currently working on, has become more of a monster than I anticipated. I saw the story beginning to end, but that didn’t matter when I started writing it. It all comes back to allowing your characters to tell you the story when you’re messing it up, not the other way around.
Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
Erin: Sure. I chose this little bit because I had mentioned this character, Nathan, previously. This is the first time we hear from Nathan in Shadows, book two in the series:
Nathan didn’t know if he was alive or dead. He tried to pull his muddled thoughts together. His body and mind felt trapped as though he were entombed; the blood drain from him, his brain scrambled and pulled out with a skewer and placed alongside other jars that must rest near his body, those which contained his other internal organs, neatly sealed and packaged for death. Maybe this was death. Maybe this was eternity, his personal hell.
Nathan had died, that much he was sure.
There was a mirror – a cracked oval mirror in the trailer. It was starting to fall apart at the frame because the frame was on fire. There were hands in the reflection of the mirror, his hands, and they seemed to move to cover his face because he too was on fire. He was aflame inside and out.
Nathan had heard himself cry out in the inferno, a scream that went mercilessly unanswered as he was whipped with long black threads like that of fiery eels, before the fire engulfed him. He saw his fingers in the mirror, burning to bubbling peaks. His singed hair melted around his brow like fine wax and a horror covered his face as he saw his blood starting to pour from his flesh like lava. That was inside Catherine’s trailer. That is what Catherine did to him. But he knew it wasn’t she who attacked him. It was the dark essence, the black power, and if he were still alive it would be from its pyre coffin he would arise.
Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?
Erin: Shadows, the second book in the Darkness series, which I’m really looking forward to. In the next year I would also like to publish a side line horror novel I’ve written entitled The Pile. The Pile is a story I wrote for myself, but I think that fans of the horror genera, which seems to have been quite depleted these past few years, would get some fun out of it.
Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Erin: When I started writing, the only computer in my possession worked about as good as a toaster that only burnt the bread. So, for months I was consuming boxes of pens and notebooks while my interest in writing became stronger. I was addicted. I knew that writing was something I never wanted to stop doing in my life, but I also knew I really needed a computer and I became pretty desperate about it. To make a long story short, I ended up selling damn near all of my music equipment, amps, heads, instruments, accessories etc… to buy myself that computer. It was a hard, emotional process to let go of my music equipment, but after that I was so happy I did.
Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?