Paranormal Headliner: Deborah Hughes (and a Special Treat!)

Today I am welcoming Deborah Hughes, author of Be Still, My Love. Deborah has had some real life paranormal experiences that definitely shaped her work. And she’s met Stephen King!!  (I swoon in envy.)  As a special treat, Deborah is offering up a Numerological Evaluation to one randomly chosen reader!  (Read on to hear more about how to score that…)

A Little About Deborah

Deborah Hughes moved into a haunted house at the age of seven.  She lived there for seven years and that experience spurred her to learn all she could about the bizarre world of the paranormal and the supernatural.  The more she read, the more she learned, the more she realized how little she knew. This realization has led to a lifelong search for knowledge, truth, and enlightenment.  The writer in her is constantly inspired.  From the age of eight, she scribbled down the stories that streamed like movies through her mind.   She enjoys the process of their evolution from thought to completed book and hopes others will enjoy those stories as much as she does.

Where are you from? 

Deborah: I was born and raised in Bucksport, Maine.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  

Deborah: I have honestly wanted to be a writer since the age of eight when I wrote my first story.  I decided then and there that I wanted to grow up and write books.

What do you do to unwind and relax? 

Deborah: I read quite a bit but I also love movies.  If I need something that requires more action, I love traveling and sightseeing.

Deborah on Writing

Your bio mentions that you had some experiences as a child that influenced your decision to write. Can you share a bit more about that? 

Deborah: I moved into a haunted house when I was seven.  We lived there for seven years.  I lived in fear for all seven of them.  Although nothing bad every happened to us, the fact that unseen people…dead ones!…really freaked me out.  When I became more proficient at reading, I started checking out books from the library about ghosts and hauntings.  I wanted to understand the phenomena.  It was only natural to start writing stories that involved ghosts.  I love romances, too, so I like to combine both of those passions. One of my favorite people in the world, a beloved uncle, encouraged me to follow my dream of being an author.  I was 14 when he died.  I swore I’d dedicate my first book to him and I have.

How did you come up with the title for your book? 

Deborah: It came from the book, actually.  I was nearing the end and Tess’s husband, who is dead (she’s a medium), says to her, “Be still, my love” when she managed to live through a particularly dangerous situation and I loved it.  I thought how fitting since this is what the story is about…Tess needs to get past her husband’s death and he needs to move on in the after life.  Not to mention, the two restless spirits Tess was trying to help…well, she was trying to “still” their anguish as well.

Are your characters based on people that you’ve known, or situations in your book things you’ve encountered in real life? 

Deborah: I have certainly based a lot of the situations that Tess encounters with my own experiences.  For instance, Tess holds a seance and I’ve done that.  The way she experiences the spirits or encounters her spirit guide…they are similar to my own.  As for the other characters, no, I didn’t base them on anyone I knew.  I think there is a lot of me in Tess but I can’t say that any of the other characters are similar to anyone I know.

What are your current projects? 

Deborah: I am nearly finished with the sequel to “Be Still, My Love“.  The town in which “Be Still” took place is a fabrication but the next story takes place in Bucksport, my hometown.  There’s a cool legend associated with the town’s founder Jonathan Buck.  Supposedly his grave monument is cursed by a witch.  The story is brought to Tess’s attention in “Be Still” and I thought, how cool would it be for Tess to go to Bucksport and try to figure out if that witch’s curse has any basis?  I’m really enjoying the story and learning a lot of Bucksport’s colorful, tragic history.  I also have another book which I’m preparing for publication called “No Matter What”.  It’s about a young girl who was burned for witch craft and is now reincarnated to save her spirit which now haunts the estate where she lived and died.  Some of the people who took part in her death are also reincarnated and they are all trying to work out issues associated with that past life event.  I’m very excited to share both stories with the public.

What is the hardest part of writing? 

Deborah: Finding the time to actually write!  Seriously, life has a way of getting in the way of my make believe stuff!  (smile) Writing the stories is really not a problem for me, I’ve been doing that since I was old enough to string words together.  For me, it’s marketing my book that I’m finding the most difficult.  It sucks up even more of my valuable time.  So, the hardest part is getting enough uninterrupted time to write.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out? 

Deborah: Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.  Nowadays, anyone can write and publish.  How successful you are as a published author depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put into it.  Be prepared to put in a lot of both.  And believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe you have what it takes to be a writer who can produce stories others will want to read, then it’s probably not going to happen.  Take a look around you.  There are successful people whom you can’t believe are successful.  In your opinion, they might not have the level of talent needed to be successful…but in their opinion and belief…they do.  And they are.

Deborah’s Paranormal Perspectives

What’s your definition of the paranormal genre? 

Deborah: Well, nowadays it seems to mean anything involving vampires and werewolves and the like.  It’s a bit frustrating because when I do a search for ghost stories, it’s hard to find them!  Most authors categorize their ghost stories under the paranormal umbrella and there are so many vampire books that ghost books get buried.  I think we’re going to have to come up with another genre subdivision for ghost stories.  I categorized my book as “ghost” and “gothic” but people looking for those sorts of books normally do so by searching the paranormal so it’s going to be hard to find my books in a general search.   The Paranormal Genre is a pretty broad category.  The Supernatural Genre is pretty much the same though that seems to be more associated with horror.  By “horror” I mean, terror and possibly gore.  My books are spooky but there’s no genre specifically designed for spooky ghost stories.  It’s a bit of a paradox.

How do you feel about the boom of paranormal fiction recently?

Deborah: I think it’s not going away.  The paranormal is a wide open realm of possibility.  There are no rules and the imagination is not limited by set parameters.  I think it’s great that writers have flocked into this genre with such enthusiasm and creativity.

Is there a specific paranormal sub-genre interests you the most? 

Deborah: Obviously my sub-genre is ghost stories!  But I enjoy all of it…the whole spectrum of the paranormal.  It’s all fascinating.

What scares you?  

Deborah: Evil.  I know there is negative entities in the world and I know that I’ve brushed up against it a time or two.  I know there was something not “nice” in that haunted house I lived in.  I prayed a lot while I lived there.  I believe my faith kept us safe.  I have a hard time watching true horror because it does scare me.  Dying horribly, painfully…it’s the worst thing ever.  I get spooked sometimes while writing my stories but I don’t get terrified.  I make sure that the entities in my stories cannot overpower the characters.  Because, it’s that sort of thing that would scare me.  A lot.

What is your favorite paranormal book?  

Deborah: The Reincarnation of Audrey Rose.  It inspired me to write “No Matter What”.  But I also love Jacqueline Frank’s Nightwalker series.  And really, I could go on here because I love so many.  The Shining by Stephen King is another favorite.  I met him right after reading The Shining; it left quite an impression on me.  I was 16 at the time and worked at a party he was hosting.  He took time out of his busy day to come talk to me and my friend…the kitchen help.  I thought, someday, I’m going to be like him.  (smile)

What is your favorite paranormal movie?  

Deborah: I loved The Sixth Sense!  What a great spooky movie that was!  I also like Poltergeist.  It got a little weird toward the end but I think it’s a great paranormal movie.  The Entity is another great movie.  Again, it’s hard to give a favorite because there are so many but those are at the top of my list.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild in your writing that you scared yourself? What was it?  

Deborah: Yes!  I scare myself all the time. I’ll be working on a spooky scene and then suddenly one of the kid’s toys will come on or I’ll hear a knock somewhere.  I truly think sometimes that writing spooky stories invites the spirits to come around.  When writing ghost stories, you get in that groove and begin to feel the spookiness of what you are writing.  It becomes almost real.  In “No Matter What” the little girl, Lynn, finds an old ragdoll and she and her mother bury it.  Later, when Lynn goes to her room…the doll is on the bed. I was not expecting that to happen. It gave me the creeps!  Lol.  Little things like that spook me enough that I sometimes have to stop and think about other stuff.  You get in that mood and suddenly your skin is broke out in goosebumps and the more you write, the more you begin to think someone is standing behind you.  Creepy.

What do you think draws people to paranormal novels? 

Deborah: We need to be taken out of the norm…the ordinary…and experience something more, something out of this world.  The paranormal cannot be predicted and it certainly isn’t “normal”.  It’s paranormal and it’s exciting.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas? 

Deborah: Yes!  I think there’s some truth to art imitating life imitating art.  As I said, I’m working on a book now that is based on an actual legend.  While researching that, I found out some other mysteries and now I’m thinking I’d like to explore those as well.  There’s something exciting about taking something that happened but has unknown elements and creating something to explain the unknown elements.  It makes it seem more real somehow and thus, spookier!

Connect with Deborah

Website: www.deborahjhughes.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DeborahJHughes

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Deborah-J-Hughes-Author-Page/257975100917551

Purchase Be Still, My Love on Amazon here.

A Little Something Special:

For one lucky reader, Deborah has offered to do a Numerological Evaluation of his/her birth name or birth date.

What’s a Numerological Evaluation You Ask?

Each letter has a numeric value and each numeric number resonates to a specific meaning.  Since every letter has a numeric value, everything that exists can be reduced to a single number value (0 through 9) using a specific formula.  Our names and birthdates are two things most associated with our lives and the numerological value placed on those two things are supposed to give us insight into our life purpose, talents, and characteristics.  It’s fascinating and can pretty accurate (and fun!).

What Do You Need to Do to Win?

Pop a comment on this post to say hello or ask Deborah a question. That’s it! One random winner will be selected on March 13th, 2012.

Thank you for visiting Deborah!!

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Paranormal Headliner: Mia Darien

Today I am welcoming Mia Darien, author of Cameron’s Law and When Forever Died, as my first ever Paranormal Headliner!  I’m introducing this series as a way to highlight other authors writing in the paranormal realm. One thing that intrigues me about Mia’s books is that she is writing a whole series of standalone books that share a common setting: the town of Adelheid, CT. It looks like there is quite a bit of paranormal adventure going on in Adelheid! So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in as we get to know Mia better.

A Little About Mia

Mia Darien has lived in New England all of her life and knows that no matter where she goes from here, New England is always going to live in her. Presently, she still lives in the land of snow and fast talkers, with her husband, her son and her pets. She writes a bit of everything genre fiction (horror, romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction) and thinks it sounds like an odd joke: a unicorn, a space monster, and a pair of zombie lovers walk into a murder investigation…

You mention that you hail from New England, and you seem to have a strong affinity for it. For someone who has never visited there, what things make you love it the way that you do?

Mia: It may just be sentimentality. I was born here, I’ve grown up here. I lived in the same town my entire life. But it is more than that. New England is beautiful. I’m not good at describing scenery (my books are proof of that) but it’s green and full of hills and every autumn, the trees look like they’re on fire. I live in a rural area, farm country, where it’s quiet and peaceful. That suits me very well. I can walk down my dirt road, after it stops being a road, and see history from two hundred years ago where stone walls used to wall off pastures but are now full of trees and wetlands, and how it used to be the main road from my town to the neighboring town. It’s just full of history and personality. My husband, who was born and raised in the South, sometimes says it’s not always a *nice* personality, but I say we’re at least always honest. 😉

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Mia: Oh, all kinds of things! For a while, my best friend and I were going to open up a veterinarian’s office. At another time, I wanted to be a police sketch artist. When I was fourteen, I got hit by the writing bug and wanted to be a published author, and I’ve stuck with that since.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Mia: My husband would say I don’t do either very well! It’s true, I always feel like I should be doing something productive. I guess when I need to chill out, I like to read. I write as a hobby as well as for publication, so that unwinds me and I’m working on fitting time for World of Warcraft back into my schedule.

Mia On Writing

What is it about writing that brings you back to the page for more?

Mia: I can’t stop. In fact, I’ve tried. There were a few years when life was too insane and I just couldn’t write. Times when I felt like it was too much and I should stop, but the ideas wouldn’t go away. I kept coming up with characters and story lines that wanted to be written, so I kept writing them down and leaving them for later. Now I have more stories than time to write them, and the knowledge that I just can’t stop. I have to keep writing, or my head really might explode.

How did you come up with the title for your books?

Mia: “Cameron’s Law” is fairly self explanatory when you read the book. My entire premise is that there is a law that makes preternatural creatures legal. It is officially the Preternatural Rights Act of 2010, but is named informally after the man (werewolf, Harvard Law student) who began the process, Cameron St John, hence Cameron’s Law. “When Forever Died” is actually a line from the story, when one character is explaining something to another. To say any more would give away a plot point!

Are any of your characters based on people that you’ve known, or situations in your book things you’ve encountered in real life?

Mia: Yes, actually. Have you ever seen that t-shirt in catalogs: “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel”? Well, in my case, I only make characters after people I like. Sadie and Dakota are both a little bit of me. Sadie Stanton’s name comes from family names. Vance Johnston is a little bit of my husband. Sarah Beaumont is after a friend of mine. My family and friends always sneak in there in parts, even if it wasn’t a conscious choice. As for situations, not specifically. But everything I see, everything I feel, read, watch, learn about, all eventually goes into the mix and comes out into a story in some way or another.

It looks like you have a lot of work planned for the future of your series (6+ more books- WOW!). What has been the thing that has surprised you the most in crafting storylines that all converge in the same town/same place?

Mia: I’m not sure if anything has surprised me about the whole thing, or the town, but the characters like to surprise me. I recently – in the book I’m writing now – had what was supposed to be an innocuous conversation turn into something I had to adjust my plot outline for. Sneaky vampires. It’s always the characters that surprise me the most, saying or doing things I didn’t see coming. But that’s the fun part, too.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Mia: There are a lot of hard parts to writing. Just getting it done, for starters. Making sure it’s a story that doesn’t suck, is consistent and well written. Then the inherent anxiety that comes with releasing it to the public: oh no, are they going to like it, is anyone going to read it, are they going to pan it… and so on.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Mia: Keep at it. It’s hard and takes a lot of work, you’ll want to throw yourself out a window at some point, but you just have to stick with it if you want to move forward. Listen to advice, but not all of it ’cause your head will explode. Read, read, read.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Mia: Oh, my. That’s a tough one. It’s hard for me to know what my “quirks” are, but one thing that I have found that differentiates me as a little odd, compared to other writers: I hear about a lot of authors that write to music, and what music inspires them. I listen to television shows and movies while I write. You would think it would get in the way, but it doesn’t. I think it’s something about hearing dialog and ongoing stories that inspires me more than music.

What is your favorite supernatural creature to write and why?

Mia: I don’t know that I have a favorite creature, actually. Vampires are fun because I love making dead jokes. (I write in First Person and all my character have a hint or more of sarcasm in their wit.) So, they’re great for the lack of a heart beat jokes and such. But Dakota and her unique nature are an absolute blast. And I have some other unique creatures in the pipeline that I bet will be as much fun, so I don’t think I can actually pick a favorite.

Mia’s Paranormal Perspectives

What’s your definition of the paranormal genre?

Mia: I’m pretty broad about this. Paranormal is defined as anything “extra” normal, and that’s how I view it. If it has vampires, werewolves, faerie folk, witches and what not, I would define that as paranormal. Though I suppose I’d have to further define it as these creatures in our world, at any time. If it’s another world then it’s sci-fi/fantasy.

How do you feel about the boom of paranormal fiction recently?

Mia: It worries me, to be honest. I love that it’s popular. It’s “okay” now to be a vampire freak. But at the same time, I worry about the genre I love being flooded with substandard story-telling. People writing paranormal *just* because it’s popular and sells well, not because they love it, and there by weakening the whole thing.

Is there a specific paranormal sub-genre interests you the most?

Mia: You know, I don’t think there is. I just like good stories. It’s all about the story.

What scares you?

Mia: All manner of things! I’m anxious by nature, and neuro-chemistry, so real life can be pretty frightening. 😉 But seriously, reading books and what not, I can get spooked by things that strike too close to home, like zombie fiction that’s more realistic than outrageous can give me the creeps. Or mysteries with particularly realistic killer perspectives.

What is your favorite paranormal book?

Mia: The first Vampire Files book by P. N. Elrod, because it’s the first in a whole series I love a great deal and highly admire. If you want to put modern definition on classics, then I’d go with “Dracula.” I have an audio version that is so fantastic that I’ve listened to it repeatedly.

What is your favorite paranormal movie?

Mia: You know, I really don’t know. I’ve liked a lot of the blockbuster paranormal films, despite some defects. (Underworld, Blade) But there was a low budget indie time film called Demon Under Glass that was fascinating. I’m still waiting for someone to get “Dracula” right.

What do you think draws people to paranormal novels?

Mia: I think it’s just something in the nature of humanity that’s always been there. I watched “Ghost Hunters” for a while and that, by nature, proves my point but beyond that, I had considered doing a ghost hunting story. Still may, but it’s down the line. I was researching ghost hunter sites and read a fascinating article, which had a part that I’ve always remembered. If you look back in old lore and read stories of the faeries, the wee folk, and how they used to kidnap babies and so forth, the descriptions of many of those stories sound a lot like people’s descriptions of aliens in more recent time. From mythological to science, it’s the same thing. People have always had these fascinations with things beyond themselves. Vampires and shifters in particular are so much like humans but not that it’s easier to imagine, I guess.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

Mia: I wouldn’t say I research to get the ideas. I just research and read about these things because it interests me, and ideas may or may not come. Like, I’ve written a historical romance focused during the time of the Beast of Gevaudan. I don’t qualify it as paranormal, but I did read about the Beast for the first time in the Werewolf Encyclopedia. (Fun book.) The French film ‘Le Pacte des Loups’ is also about the Beast. I was obsessed with Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Norse mythology in middle school and onward. Norse mythos has made its way into my story “When Forever Died.”

I particularly enjoy regional stuff. I have two books on regional vampire stories, one in New England and one from the South, and then two books of ghost stories, same regions since I have ties there obviously. So, I can’t say I go to this stuff to get the ideas, but it definitely gives me ideas when I read it. And even if it didn’t, I’d read it anywhere because it’s just fun and fascinating.

Connect With Mia

http://www.miadarien.com – Site & Blog

http://www.twitter.com/MiaDarien

http://www.facebook.com/author.miadarien

http://www.goodreads.com/mia_darien

Thanks so much for chat, Mia!

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