“Over here. She’s over here.” A group of men with long beards were running towards me, spears held high in their hands. My heart started thumping madly. My first impulse was to run but I knew it would be useless to try to escape them. I tuned to the stone, pressed my hand on its frigid surface and prayed. Take me back! Oh please God. Take me back. Someone grabbed my arm. Petrified with fear, I froze. Then I turned to face my capturer. He was wearing a sheepskin over his shoulders and a dirty white tunic gathered at the waist with a rough piece of rope. His gray beard was matted and a necklace of tiny bones hung around his dirty neck. The other men gathered around me, looking me up and down, wide-eyed and babbling to each other in a strange language, fascinated, I was sure, with the oddly dressed spectacle of a woman in front of them. One of the men poked me with his finger. I grimaced. They dragged me between the stones and into the circle, through the crowed of primitive people. Everyone stopped and stared at me. The air was thick and fetid with the stench of feces and sweat. I felt like a lamb being led to the sacrificial altar, and perhaps that was exactly what I was."
Please leave me a comment that includes your email addy for a chance to win a PDF copy of Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge. Contest to run Feb. 18th – Feb. 25th. Three eBooks will be given away to three lucky commenters.
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary I'd conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters. In my teen years my journal became my confident, revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild notions within its pages. Later, I started to write short stories and poems. I have always been a writer. I think it’s innate.
Tell us about a favorite character from your book.
That would have to be my protagonist’s Auntie Em. She is hardy English rose; all tough and abrasive on the outside but all soft and mushy on the inside. My readers tell me that they love the unique British humor, lingo and antic’s of this character. She is part my mom and part my grandmother. The best parts and some of the worst.
Tell us about your current release.
My current release is, Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit, book two of my trilogy. This story is about a young girl who goes to visit her aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage in England. She had waited all of her life to visit that enchanted land but it doesn’t take her long to realize that her fairytale kingdom has a sinister twist. One night in her attic bedroom she is confronted by an entity that taunts her for the rest of her stay and long after that. Later, at the age of twenty, she is to discover that this entity is someone she had known century’s ago.
I have created a world into which my readers can escape and an atmosphere that will evoke their imagination, stir their emotions and engage their senses. This trilogy contains elements of romance, mystery, humor, horror and sex. It was inspired by my own experiences at a remote little cottage near Stonehenge. In book number three (due to be released this fall) I will revel which parts of this story are true and which ones are fiction.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
At first, I thought I would write a book, getting it published, then sitting back and collecting the royalties but I was surprised to find out that those days are over. Most of us are not salesmen, public speakers or comfortable being in the limelight but we are expected to promote ourselves, as well as our books, even by the big publishing houses. The internet is the most powerful tool an author has to market their books. I blog, do online interviews, reviews, facebook, twitter, and try to keep a consistent online presence. It can be extremely time consuming but it’s an important element in establishing your writing career.
Do you have any suggestions for would-be authors? If so, what are they?
I have lots. Here are a few. Writing a successful novel depends on four things – a little talent, lots of determination, a vivid imagination and skill. No one can teach you the first three but skill is something you ‘can’ learn.
The average reader demands several things of a novel – a strong plot, action, well developed and colorful characters, believable character motivation, a well defined back ground, a strong style that brings vivid images to mind, and good grammar. Readers want to be entertained and if you can put emotion, dreams, and desire on paper, you ‘can’ write a novel.
I have leaned that rejections, are part of the writing life, how to cope with them and how to move on. At first they were like nagging little gremlins, suggesting that I didn’t measure up. I had to learn how to distinguish myself from my work, to set up boundaries between myself and my creation. I have discovered that perseverance, patience, and bold determination are what most published authors have in common. Never – ever, give up!
Have you ever seen yourself as a character in a book or movie?
Oh yes! I have seen (in my minds eye) my trilogy on the Big Screen! I am playing the part of my protagonists Aunt. I know her well. She is my mom and grandmother all rolled into one. And I had no problem imitating the English accent, as I grew up there and still visit, often.
What makes you happy?
Being with my family, writing, reading, cooking, entertaining, traveling, going for long walks in the country and daydreaming. I also like to sit on my back porch and ponder; with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate. Yummy!
If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?
A bright eyed, bushy tailed, chirpy bird! I love the mornings and I’m always up by 5am. I can almost hear the groans, from some of your readers.
What inspired you to write this trilogy?
Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and was lead by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this trilogy. It is from my mystifying experiences at that strange little cottage, that this story has emerged.
My books are available in print or eBook format, at – http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com http://www.amazon.com
Please come visit me at my website – http://www.paulineholyoak.com
Thank you for inviting me Laurie. I had a blast!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am an award-winning Canadian author. A dreamer and lover of fiction. I grew in
in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” It is
nested between the notorious city of Canterbury
and the medieval town of .
I came to Dover
(as a nanny) when I was 21 years old, in search of adventure and a new life. I
now live in Canada
with my sports crazy husband, adorable sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat.
We have two grown children. They are the gems in my treasure chest. Alberta