Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Review, An Interview & A Giveaway: Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn by Kathleen Valentine






Book: Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn (Halcyon Beach Chronicles)

Author: Kathleen Valentine

Release date (if applicable): 10/20/2012

Synopsis: Secrets are everywhere and can lead to death in the newest release in the Halcyon Beach series from Kathleen Valentine. In this "episode", Felicia, affectionately called Fleur by her family, decides to move to Halcyon Beach, a pleasant memory from her childhood, and sell her paintings. While there, she meets and falls in love with Mitch who comes to the relationship secrets of his own.

Interwoven is the story of Lester,  the lighthouse keeper, and Cecelia, young lovers from the early 1900's. When secrets are revealed death follows and spirits remain trapped in the lighthouse forever.

Can Felicia survive the secrets being revealed in what she thought was her perfect life? Will she suffer the same fate as Cecelia?  

My rating: 4 Stars

My opinion: Another quality short novel and quick read from Kathleen Valentine. I love her ability to write her short stories that are able to really paint pictures of her characters and scenery that unravel slowly and draw readers in.

Lighthouse was no different. Unlike the better chunk of her novels, Lighthouse is told in the first person. This allows the reader to feel as though they are being told a story by the main character, almost to a point that they are part of the story.

On that note, I don't think that this was as creepy as her first book in the series, Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter but , in my opinion, had much more of a psychological feeling to it.  It was interesting to see the unraveling of Felicia which sped up as she moved into the haunted cottage.  This is something that I love about Kathleen's writing though. Kathleen is a master at writing to the psyche of her characters.

Source:  Author for Review      

Would I recommend? : Yes, it is a great short read.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Part of series











And now....The Interview!



NB) Although it isn’t a series in the traditional sense, with Ghosts of the Lighthouse in Autumn and Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter, the Halcyon Beach Chronicles focuses on eerie incidents in a small village. Will this series continue past the 4 seasons? Would you ever consider writing a “true series” with recurring characters and setting?


KV) When I wrote Ghosts of a Beach Town in WinterI had no intention of it being a series but so many people told me that they loved Halcyon Beach that I decided I wanted to write more about it. I had two other ghost stories in the back of my mind so I thought why not write them set in Halcyon Beach? Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn was based on a murder/suicide I read about a long time ago and, since all I needed for it was a lighthouse, it was simple to put that lighthouse in Halcyon Beach. The next one in the series is going to be called Ghosts of a Dancer by Moonlight and is based on a shipwreck I read about that happened in Maine but I'm putting it in Halcyon Beach, too. I'm not sure what will happen after that. 

I'm also writing a sequel to The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic. It is called The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge and it takes up where the last one left off but this time from the POV of a woman who grew up with Mattie and often played with her in GrammyLou's house.

As to a “true series,” well, the eleven stories that make up The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall are all in the same town, Marienstadt, and all contain the same characters. I am releasing it in three volumes but when the three volumes are out in digital then I'll do a digital“boxed set” and a paperback containing all the stories. Each story can stand alone but they do build to a conclusion. The last three stories, which will come in Volume 3, I think are very poignant. If you have read The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood, you have a hint of what is going to happen with Gretchen and Oliver. In the next story, Wapiti, their story continues. In the final story, A Long Day's Journey Into Light, Henry, the gorgeous but womanizing chief of police, comes to terms with his love for a woman that he has hidden since he was a boy and finally we learn his story. The whole thing wraps up very nicely.

 
NB) Normally we see if an author writes full length novels, they have difficulties writing short length novels due to the special “needs” of these little gems. I have told you frequently that I am amazed at your ability to not only write dynamic short stories, with Arthur’s Story still having the ability to make me tear up when I think about it, but you pen full length novels that suck in the reader, as well. How do you think you have done that? Does it come naturally to you? Have you trained yourself?


KV) Well, thank you. I think it comes naturally. I've been an avid reader all my life and I think that is responsible for me being able to write in different formats – because I've always read in different formats. The way I see it is that every story I tell is as long as it needs to be. I set out to tell a story and I have no idea how long or how short it will end up but a lot depends on how complex the plot line is.  

With a story like Arthur's Story the plot line was not very complicated: a young boy is abandoned in a city, he finds a way to survive, he meets someone who helps him, he loses the person and is lost and angry, he then discovers that he was cared for all along. There's not a lot of plot to it. With a novel like Each Angel Burns it is far more complex, two life-long friends in love with the same woman, murders, betrayal, plus several sub-plots. That requires a lot of room to grow.

I have gotten a fair number of reviews on my shorter works saying that they wish it was longer but if I had made it longer it would have just been filler and the story would have gotten bogged down. People say they wish The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic was longer but if I had gone off into the sub-stories the suspense would have suffered. One of my literary heroines is Shirley Jackson and she mostly wrote shorter works in order to keep the suspense sharp.


NB) I have frequently made comments that I would put you toe to toe with any major house author with the quality of your works. I know you don’t consider it a creepy read, but Depraved Heart was an engrossing, noir read that sucked me in immediately with its’ “Dark Shadows” (the 1970’s soap, not the most recent comic film) feeling. Would you ever consider working with a major house publisher to produce your works? What makes you continue to choose the Indie route? What advice would you give to authors going through the publishing process?

 
KV) Originally I tried going the traditional route with major publishers but it is a long, tedious process. On the one hand it would be great to have the advantage of their marketing and their credibility but on the other hand you have to give up a lot of control. When I was first pitching The Old Mermaid's Tale to major publishers I was put-off by some of their suggestions. One liked it but wanted me to rewrite it so that Baptiste was younger and more appealing to young women, and to tone down the bedroom scenes. Another wanted me to make it more “cinematic” (I have no idea what that means) so they could pitch it to film-makers. A third house suggested I make the setting contemporary instead of the 1960s because they thought would be more appealing.  

Depraved Heart is very dark but I think it is an important work, too. I got a call from a woman who was a psychotherapist who had worked all her life with women who went through what Rachel did in that books and she said she was amazed at how well I had constructed her psychology. She said the fact that Rachel couldn't even experience her own violation until she saw how Syd reacted was, in her experience, perfect.

So, would I ever work with a major publisher? I don't know. It would depend on what they were interested in. As for advice to new authors, do NOT rush to publish! Make sure your manuscript is clean and well-edited and then go through it again. The biggest challenge indies face is the lack of credibility created by writers who put out sloppy, unedited, and unproofed books that make all of us look bad.



NB) Although it isn’t a series in the traditional sense, with Ghosts of the Lighthouse in Autumn and Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter, the Halcyon Beach Chronicles focuses on eerie incidents in a small village. Will this series continue past the 4 seasons? Would you ever consider writing a “true series” with recurring characters and setting?

 
KV) When I wrote Ghosts of a Beach Town in WinterI had no intention of it being a series but so many people told me that they loved Halcyon Beach that I decided I wanted to write more about it. I had two other ghost stories in the back of my mind so I thought why not write them set in Halcyon Beach? Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn was based on a murder/suicide I read about a long time ago and, since all I needed for it was a lighthouse, it was simple to put that lighthouse in Halcyon Beach. The next one in the series is going to be called Ghosts of a Dancer by Moonlight and is based on a shipwreck I read about that happened in Maine but I'm putting it in Halcyon Beach, too. I'm not sure what will happen after that.

I'm also writing a sequel to The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic. It is called The Crazy Old Lady's Revenge and it takes up where the last one left off but this time from the POV of a woman who grew up with Mattie and often played with her in GrammyLou's house.

As to a “true series,” well, the eleven stories that make up The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall are all in the same town, Marienstadt, and all contain the same characters. I am releasing it in three volumes but when the three volumes are out in digital then I'll do a digital“boxed set” and a paperback containing all the stories. Each story can stand alone but they do build to a conclusion. The last three stories, which will come in Volume 3, I think are very poignant. If you have read The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood, you have a hint of what is going to happen with Gretchen and Oliver. In the next story, Wapiti, their story continues. In the final story, A Long Day's Journey Into Light, Henry, the gorgeous but womanizing chief of police, comes to terms with his love for a woman that he has hidden since he was a boy and finally we learn his story. The whole thing wraps up very nicely.


NB) What has been your favorite work that you have done and why?


KV) I genuinely loved writing The Old Mermaid's Tale because much of it was based in my own experiences and Baptiste is a very extraordinary character. But I think my favorite work so far is The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall. Every one of the eleven stories in that series is based on stories I grew up with and things that happened in my family or in my town. Even the title of the book, The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, is based on something my Grandfather Valentine did. He was a carpenter and in 1925 he and a couple of his buddies drank a bottle of whiskey on Christmas Eve in the choir loft of the Catholic church then wrote a note about it and plastered it into the wall. While they were renovating the church a priest found the bottle, got the note out, and called my father to show it to him. I could not resist using that incident for my title.

Plus I absolutely love so many of the characters in that story. I always love my characters but so many of the ones in this book are special. Peeper Baumgratz, the crazy paranoid woodsman; and Sister Ursula, the nun with her snowplow; and big, tough, soft-hearted Oliver. They are all so wonderful. And, of course, I adore Henry – he's such a good person. He certainly charms the ladies but then we find out why he has never fallen in love, and the secret he has kept for years to protect someone – he just makes my heart go pitter-pat.


Now, don't forget to sign up for the giveaway @ http://bit.ly/PImsM5

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