Happy Monday, dears.
Crazy weekend. Out of town. No battery charger. Chaos.
You know, the whole lovely bit.
INTRODCUING: "The Cross of Santiago" by Evie Gaughan. Author interview! Yeah!
We’re celebrating the release day party for “The Cross of Santiago” a time-slip adventure. You can win an eBook copy of the book today! Scroll down to the Rafflecopter form to participate.
“I am running, barefoot across the cobbles.”
“Where are you going?”
“Where are you going?”
“To see Brother Thaddeus. I try to go there whenever I can, whenever father is away.”
Chris was sitting on a wicker chair that had in a former life graced his parents’ conservatory. He was sitting to the side of the treatment bed, where Amanda lay comfortably with her hands by her sides. He did not for one second take her trust for granted. However, he did feel slightly apprehensive about the fact that he had no idea what he was doing. He had read over and over the ground-breaking work of Dr. Brian Weiss in ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’, and how he had struggled to understand what was going on, despite being a trained psychiatrist. His own credentials left a lot to be desired.
Still, there was one thing Chris knew for sure; simply because there is no explanation for something, does not mean it cannot exist. They would just have to explore together and as long as Amanda was happy to continue, he would be there for her, just like he promised her brother Jay. Her soft voice broke his pensive silence.
“It’s summertime; the bog cotton is growing like little white stars on the hillside.” “Where are you now Amanda?” he asked.
“Amanda? No, my name is Annora.”
Chris felt his skin prickled by a million goose bumps. He was terrified and exhilarated all at once. ‘What is going on here?’ he wondered to himself. Even her voice had changed, she was still whispering, but like a young girl. She seemed to be more innocent and naïve.
“We’re in the garden behind the monastery. The cloisters protect the herbs and keep the air still. I bring Brother Thaddeus fish from the market and he’s teaching me to read. We speak only in English or Latin, he won’t talk to me as gaeilge; he says I can learn enough of that at home.”
“And how did you meet Brother Thaddeus”, Chris asked in a conversational tone. “I told you, I bring them the fish. The Brothers won’t come to the market.”
Chris’s voice grew softer and almost inaudible, while for Amanda, the sights and sounds of the medieval city grew brighter and louder. Until…….
An ancient love story, locked in the heart of a sunken treasure, is destined to find its happy ending... even if it takes four hundred years to do so.
Amanda Morrison does not believe in love or destiny, but when a longlost aunt leaves her a mysterious golden cross in her will, her uneventful life in Galway City is turned upside down. The arrival of Xavier, a charismatic yachtsman in search of treasure and adventure, complicates life further, as their paths seem destined to cross. While Amanda tries to uncover the truth about her family’s past, a strange series of events ensues involving hippy hypnosis, fiveaside football, scary sheep, and radical reincarnation. Though, not all in that order.
Evie has always been a storyteller. From a very young age, she held a captive audience (mostly with rope!) as she performed her party piece, which involved sitting on a high stool and telling extremely tall tales.
Things have moved on a bit since then and Evie’s love of storytelling has blossomed. Having published a number of short stories and articles for Irish magazines such as Woman’s Way and GalwayNow, she is set to launch her debut novel, ‘The Cross Of Santiago’, on September 16th 2013. A time-slip novel full of intrigue, humour and romance, it is an exciting blend of historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction.
Evie lives on the West Coast of Ireland in Galway City, where she shares her home with two sewing machines, an easel and a guitar that refuses to stay in tune. She is greatly inspired by her hometown, which is not only the setting for her novel, but also the subject of her other passion, art. She has several paintings currently exhibiting at the local gallery, featuring vibrant streetscapes and quirky designs. Evie is currently working on her second novel and short story collection.
Interview With The Author
This book sounds so compelling! Was this a story you've always wanted to write?
Yes! This story has been germinating for a long time. It was quite a big undertaking, writing a time-slip novel, as it is almost like writing two completely different stories and trying to connect them. I was so passionate about the idea and I think that’s what helped me on the days when I thought, “What am I doing?” I am hugely influenced by my surroundings and consequently the novel is set in my hometown of Galway. I really enjoyed having all my local haunts as the backdrop to this novel and fortunately, Galway is also a place of rich European history. Once I discovered that there was an Armada ship wrecked on the Galway coast, I had to write this novel! I even spent a week in the cottage mentioned in the book, overlooking the small island where the ship sank. It’s a very special book to me and I really hope people enjoy reading it.
When you first began writing did you feel an instant connection with Amanda, or did that develop later?
Amanda’s character had been swimming around in my thoughts for a long time before I typed a word of my novel, so I felt a strong connection with her from the off. I knew she would be quite headstrong and defensive, a symptom of her difficult beginnings in life. Some elements of the story require a good imagination, so I wanted the main character to be completely closed to these ideas, creating an interesting tension in the story. I also came to admire her courage for trying to overcome her fears.
Are any of Amanda's experiences in this book based off of experiences in your own life?
I suppose the central theme of belonging or finding your place in the world is something a lot of us experience. For me, it was in my twenties when I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I drew from that experience when creating Amanda’s character, because in the beginning of the novel she is a bit lost and unsure of herself.
Who are the authors that you believe most influenced you?
I suppose my biggest influence when it comes to writing would be the late, great Maeve Binchy. Her stories are timeless and appeal to such a wide audience because of her writing style. She wrote in such a conversational tone, that you almost forget you’re reading a book and think you’re a fly on the wall! I always strive to emulate that kind of one-to-one relationship with the reader, as though I’m letting them in on a secret.
Romance or Adventure?
I’m not sure you can have one without the other!
Did you hit any snags while writing this book that you felt almost overwhelmed you?
Yes! But I think that’s the case, no matter what kind of book you’re writing. There are always going to be ‘challenges’, as I like to put it. For The Cross Of Santiago, it was the historical sections that required a lot of work. While I relished researching Medieval Ireland and the story of the Spanish Armada, the challenge was translating all of these historical facts into a fictional story, without boring the reader or losing the pace of the novel. It took a lot of drafts to get it right, but it was so worth it because I believe I achieved a good balance between fact and fiction.
What advice for striving writers would you like to offer?
I have a lot of advice for writers and post tips regularly on my blog www.eviegaughan.wordpress.com.
First of all, write the kind of book you would like to read yourself. If
you’re not passionate about the story, you can’t expect the readers to
be. Secondly, it’s important to have alpha and beta readers that you
trust to help you with the editing process, but my advice would be not
to show it to anyone too soon. You need to give the story time to grow before you start listening to other voices that may distract you.
Every writer receives rejections – you get used to it (eventually!). However, some rejections come with feedback, which is invaluable. A literary agent gave me some great feedback on my novel that really helped with the plot. Finally, I would say don’t let your first attempt define you as a writer. I wrote a novel a few years ago that I never published, because in the end I knew it wasn’t my best work and you want to present your best work to the reader. So, even though it may be hard to move on from a book, you’re a writer, so keep writing!
Anything else you want your readers to know about "The Cross of Santiago" or Amanda?
This novel is like a fusion of my favourite genres – historical fiction, time slip and chick lit, so I think there is something in this story for everyone!