Kim started sneaking into the basement to read her parents massive collection of science fiction, fantasy, and gothic romance when she was nine years old, and she spent her teenage years writing reams of Awesome Novels. This might have worked out better for her if she had not written them during math class. Today she’s promoting Seven Turns, a genre-busting mystery-romance-ghost-fantasy story.
About the book:
Callaghan McCarthy has ninety nine problems, and believing in ghosts is not one of them. The ghosts around her find this very amusing, and they need her help with a problem of their own. She has arrived at Vale House, an “authentic haunted bed and breakfast!” with everything she owns in the back seat of her car in a desperate bid to find inspiration for her next novel before her fans give up on her forever.
As Cally comes to know and love the eccentric denizens of the run-down southern town the locals call Woodley, USA, she begins to realize she has wandered into the midst of a host of secrets nobody will talk about in front of people who are Not From Around Here. While a disembodied internet entity and the ghost of a teenage Taino pirate attempt to help her understand her new role among them, she must prevent a murder, a fire, and the exploitation the innkeeper’s sweet mentally ill daughter, all while navigating a world of ghosts and faeries without whose help she will not succeed.
All this she must do while struggling to hold onto – or must she let go of? – her sanity.
What’s the page count and publication date?
Seven Turns is 358 pages long and was released on May 8! Both the ebook and print versions are available now on Amazon and on the Solstice website.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I love stories that are built in worlds you can return to again and again. It’s almost as if some settings become beloved characters in their own right. The world of literature has given me so much pleasure and opportunity for personal growth. When I made up my mind to give something back by contributing something myself, I wanted to create a town that is every bit as much a main character as the people in the story, a place people will love to return to and visit, regardless of which main character the current volume is about (there will be several, eventually!)
What genre is your book?
Hah, that’s the question I love to hate! It takes place in a modern, but somewhat run-down, small southern town, and has elements of cozy mystery, but the mystery isn’t really the focus of the story.
It also has a touch of romance that just kind of snuck in there. I didn’t plan it – it just happened – but all the best love affairs happen that way, don’t they?
There is also a ghost who becomes a very major character – but no, this is /NOT/ a horror story! I don’t care for gore and mayhem, and I’m writing for other people who don’t care for it either. Any evil in my fictional world has its roots in the desires and aspirations of ordinary humans, just like in real life.
Oh, and there is a race of people living at the edge of the meadow who aren’t strictly human, but you had better not let them catch you calling them “faeries.”
So, I don’t know, what genre would you call that? I have been trying since I started writing it to pin down the answer to this question and have had no success so far. I’m only thankful that Solstice Publishing was willing to take a chance on this weird genre-bending author when so many others were not.
Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?
Absolutely character driven. The characters do seem to tell me the plot when I don’t know what to do next, though. Maybe it’s not the book, so much, but me who is driven by the characters.
What makes your book unique?
There is that weird blend of different genre elements I mentioned above but, mostly, I think what makes it unique is the quirkiness of many of the side characters, who are themselves affected by the quirkiness of the place in which they live. I have tried to weave an enchanting atmosphere that will cradle and soothe the reader even amid the chaos.
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I call myself a “plantser.” That’s a cross between a planner and a pantser! I make plans. I know where I want to start and where I want to end up. I have a rough idea how I intend to get there. I even make outlines! But it often happens, when you start actually writing, that the story has other plans. I’ve learned to trust this and go with it – even when it sometimes takes a sharp left turn into territory I had no idea even existed!
How do you develop the names for your characters?
This is always hard for me. Mainly I start by establishing their ethnicity, and then I search for names that are popular in that culture. I don’t want something too common, but I don’t want anything that sounds too contrived, either. My main characters have names that actually mean something in the ancient languages of their ancestors (I’m kind of a linguistics nerd) though the characters themselves are generally not aware of the meaning. I often spend weeks and weeks intensively searching for just the right name. When I stumble upon it, I know instantly that it’s the right one.
How do you decide on the setting?
The setting decided on me! Sometimes I suspect it really exists, out there somewhere…
Do you have a writing mentor?
No, but I have had encouragement from some of my favorite authors: I will always be grateful to Charles de Lint for telling me to stop whining and start writing. “You know the drill: Writers write. So do it.” I’ve also received reassurance from Marly Youmans (my all-time favorite underrated modern author) that I am not, in fact, obligated to pick a single genre and stick to it if I ever want to see print. Now, if I were to make a list of authors who have encouraged and influenced me without my ever having corresponded with them, it would go on for pages, so I’ll save that for my blog someday!
What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
Having a schedule and sticking to it has made all the difference between actually writing and just talking about it. I have found I must defend my writing schedule fiercely. The moment I created it, life immediately began to conspire to throw me off it, but I have been very stubborn about fighting back. I write three days a week from nine to three at my favorite local coffee shop (may I plug them? It’s the Wake Forest Coffee Company, whose shoes Starbucks is not worthy to shine!) Sometimes I’m on such a roll that I stay longer or go back on the weekend. They have a wonderful guitar and cello ensemble, “/Clairvoyance/,” who plays there on Sunday mornings. Perfect ambiance to which to write – I will have to dedicate a book to them one day!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that, as I mentioned above, I’m so grateful to Solstice Publishing for being willing to take a chance on a non-genre-adhering author such as myself. I hope they find out it was worth the risk!
Where can we find you?