Since I love all things Paranormal and I love to read, I thought it might be nice to combine the two interests and feature other authors on my blog that also share those interests!  So, for my very first guest, I have Cege Smith, Paranormal author of Edge of Shadows, Heiress of Lies, and The Soul Garden.  I’m so excited that she agreed to be interviewed on my blog and I have to share that she did the same for me on her blog not too long ago!  In fact, Cege was the first person to ever interview me!  I can’t thank her enough for showing an interest in me and my book, Be Still, My Love.
So, without any further delay, let’s get right on into the interview!
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You say you like horror, paranormal romance and thrillers, what is it about those genres that interest you particularly?
That’s a really intriguing question, because I do think that what attracts me to each of them is something very different. My interest in horror grew from starting to wrap my mind around the idea that someone else’s reality can be much darker than my own. The psychological motivation behind what pushes the boundaries of “acceptable” behavior in those stories can be very compelling (and uncomfortable). I am more drawn to those types of elements than the blood, guts, and gore in them.
I like romance stories in general, but given my darker interests in things like vampires, ghosts, and ghouls, I find more satisfaction in those types of stories than straight romance.  Again it’s about pushing outside the boundaries of what’s “real” and finding an outlet of escape from the norm.
Thrillers like The Bourne books are a new genre for me. I love getting lost in plots about espionage and high stakes life/death situations. It gets the blood pumping! I think what draws me into thrillers are simply the requisite breakneck speed that the plot pulls you in and then doesn’t let off the gas until the end. You can experience a million different emotional highs and lows and come out feeling mentally exhausted. I love that. 🙂
Were you always interested in these genres?  What did you like to read as a child?
I’ve been reading and watching horror films since the fifth grade. Before that I was reading things like Little House on the Praire and The Boxcar Children and other lovely but fairly tame literature. Picture going from Louisa May Alcott to Stephen King- lol.  It was like a whole new world! And once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Are there any book/s and/or movie/s that particularly inspired you?  Can you share your favorites and maybe tell us why you like them so much?
Even today, Gone with the Wind holds a top spot on my favorite movie list. I have a bent in my writing toward strong female characters, and Scarlett O’Hara was a woman who knew what she wanted and would do just about anything to get it. What I found fascinating about her were the multiple layers of emotional complexity that were explored throughout the movie; she was strong but conniving, a risk taker but vulnerable. And sometimes, she got what she wanted only to wind up feeling empty. That character will always be an inspiration to me.
As far as being an artist on my own artist’s journey, the powerful The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron I think is a must read for any creator (artist, writer, actor, sculptor, etc.) who is feeling disenchanted or lost. It was because of that book that I took the steps towards publishing my work and getting it into the hands of readers- for some reason I just was emotionally incapable of doing that for years before reading that book and doing the 12-week self-paced course. It truly was, for me, a revelation.
In Edge of Shadows, your heroine is a divorcee who retreats into a “safe bubble” after her divorce, leading a quiet life.  But then she meets someone who challenges that “safe bubble” and ends up responsible for a friend’s house that “has its own mysterious past”…sounds like an interesting story!  Can you share what inspired it?  Did you plan it out…create an outline that you followed?  Did the characters always act the way you expected them to or did they surprise you from time to time?  For readers who haven’t yet read this book, why might they want to give it a try?  What did YOU like about it?
A house inspired Edge of Shadows. It was the first image in my mind, and the story and characters grew out of their interactions with it.  I wrote the first draft of Edge of Shadows for National Novel Writing Month 2004, and then tweaked it many times over the years. I’ve always been more a “pantser” type writer, so I let the characters have full rein. What’s cool about that is as a writer (and a reader) you don’t know for sure until the end who is good and who is bad. I feel like I’ve given each character that kind of depth because that is very true for all of us- we all have good and bad emotions and behaviors. It’s all about uncovering true intentions.
One thing that I think would attract readers to this book would be the emotional evolution of Ellie’s character – you mentioned a bit about that when you quoted my book blurb. Yes, there is a mysterious backdrop of the house and the blossoming of a new romance, but I think anyone who has been through a traumatic life event like a divorce will be able to appreciate learning how to cope with that sense of loss of what you thought your life was and then learning how to live and move on again.
You indicate this (Edge of Shadows) is the first in a series, when is the next one due out? Can you give us any information on it?
I am working on the sequel now and hope to be releasing it in late Spring/early Summer 2012. Although I’m very early into the story, I can tell you that readers are going to find out a whole lot more about the house and what’s been going on inside it.
In your book “Heiress of Lies” you are writing about wraiths and vampires…can you expand a little more on this for us?  What inspired this story?  What do you like best about this book?
I am a vampire junkie, but I held off on writing my own version of a vampire story until after Edge of Shadows and The Soul Garden.  This was the story I wrote during National Novel Writing Month 2011.   My main character, Princess Angeline, has been hanging around in my head for about 2 years now and I always saw the first scene where she is ambushed and is saved by a handsome vampire. That opening changed a little bit, but I am really excited about how that story turned out.
In this book, Angeline takes front and center stage and again we see a fairly significant emotional evolution of her character. But her destiny is to be Queen, and she’s got to have nerves made of steel. She’s fierce and beautiful, and the worst thing any enemy could do would be to under estimate her.  She’s a great character to write.
I see this is also the beginning of a series…when is the next one due out?  Can we get any tidbits on it?
Likely I won’t release the next book until the end of 2012. Since I’m not a plotter I don’t know much about it yet, other than it is going to cover the three days after Angeline’s ascension, which is where this book closes.
The Soul Garden sounds so very different from any book out there…would you agree?  What made you think of this story?  Did you get any surprises from it?  This is also the beginning of a series, right?  When is the next book due out in this series?  What sort of experience do you hope readers get out of this book?
I admit that I had a lot of trepidation about The Soul Garden because it is a very different flavor of book from anything I’ve written before and what I see within its genre.  It started out as an idea of a secret garden where people could go to seek wisdom about their lives, and evolved into what I’m calling a “non-traditional dystopian zombie story”. LOL.  It is a novella and it is meant to serve as the prequel to what will be my Twisted Soul series- it takes place about 2 years before that plotline will pick up and gives readers the background on what happened that blew this peaceful society all to hell.
Unlike my other books, this is written from several different character POVs, who each play a part in the climatic end that sets up what happens next. We also meet Cameron, who will be the main character in the Twisted Soul series, although here she is just an infant.  I expect to release the first installment in early fall 2012.
Can you offer any writing advice to fellow writers?  How about reader advice?  It’s hard to pick a book these days…there are so many to choose from…what process do you use to pick out a book?
For me, I need to give myself permission to sit down and write junk. For first drafts, I have to forget that any of those words may ever see the light of day because as soon as I start judging the merits of my work at that early stage, it’s all over. So that’s what I’d say to other writers- find a way to send your inner critic on vacation in the beginning stages of new work because otherwise you’ll never be able to finish it.
There are so many books out there now that it is really hard to decide what to read. As my writer network expands, I’m trying to support the indie community by reading works from people I’m interacting with online. But I am always sold on a good book blurb. I know other people will view the sample first, but I pretty much live and die on the book blurb- that’s why I tweak mine all the time.
You like the paranormal, obviously, do you believe in paranormal phenomena?  If so, why?  If not, why?
I am getting a lot of interesting questions around that from readers who ask me if I have some of the abilities of the characters I’m writing (I don’t). But I do believe that there are many things out there that can’t be explained using logical, analytical, scientific means. I do think there are things out there beyond our comprehension.  So yes, there are some paranormal phenomena that I believe in.
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So that concludes my interview with Cege!  If you’d like to check out her books, you can get to them via her blog (URL below) or there are links to them at the beginning of this post!  She would love for you to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads as well!
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Thanks so much for stopping by, until next time, blessings to all and Peace Out!!