Friday, September 21, 2012

Mirror of Shadows by T. Lynne Tolles: Interview, Review, Excerpt


 Ella McKaye returns home for her grandmother's funeral to find she's inherited a ton of money and a run down mansion she never knew existed, called Grey Manor. Her greedy mother is appalled when the will stipulates specifically that Ella can't give her any of the inheritance. She quickly throws Ella out of her home forcing her to take up immediate residence in the spooky old mansion.

Within minutes of entering her new home she has a strange interaction with a creepy old mirror in the main hallway and the ghostly inhabitants of the past get more and more agitated the longer Ella's there. Nearly fatal back to back accidents make Ella start to wonder if she's angered some ghost or if there is something more sinister at work.

Will Ella unravel the deadly mystery before she becomes a ghost herself? Or will fate take another one of the Grey ancestors to the grave.


Excerpt (Note: Excerpt has not been professionally edited
 – still waiting for the book to come back from the editor)

It was a perfect day for a funeral, if there is such a thing - gloomy gray and cold.  The heavens seemed to be mourning along with the funeral guests with its steady tears of rain. Though she stood strong as the pastor droned on, she would never be consolable for the loss of her beloved grandmother, Rose Grey. Ella knew this day was coming for a while as her grandmother combatted bouts of cancer, a stroke and dementia but that was not enough to prepare her for the overwhelming loss she now felt.

Ella heard no voices of condolences from those that one by one took her hand in sympathy.  She only heard the rain tapping on the shiny mahogany casket covered in blanket of chrysanthemums and peonies in front of her. Occasionally she would nod her head to the speaking sympathizer but she never took her eyes off of the coffin. Instead she watched as a drop of water hung to the tip of a fern frond gathering more volume until it could no longer hold on and dropped down the curved lid of the casket and then meandered down the side stopping only for a moment by one of the carrying handles. It continued down to  mingle with some other drops at the base of the aluminum stand. It then finally dropped to the fake green grass carpet laid out to disguise the recently excavated soil around the grave her grandmother would be lowered into.

The long line of guests finally passed before her and scattered among the graveyard with their umbrellas to their warm dry cars to go on with life. How odd, Ella thought, that time doesn’t stop for a moment to acknowledge the passing of one so loved. She felt sure that she hadn’t taken a breath since she had received the call two days ago that her grandmother had died. How would she ever survive life without her grandmother.

Ella’s childhood had been hard and she grew up fast and insecure in herself. The only happy memories she had as a child were in those blessed short-lived visits to grandma Rose’s house where Ella knew without a doubt she was welcome, safe and loved.

Ella’s mother was not a bad person, but she learned at an early age that she was an anchor to her mother’s freedom. She was widowed when Ella was a toddler leaving her alone. She had no family of her own to speak and now she was a single mother to fend on her own. First the parade of men came, non of which ever seemed to measure up to her husband and then came the drugs turning the unhappy, lonely woman into a miserable and erratic woman. The two made for a rather turbulent life for Ella’s early years.

A warm hand touched Ella from behind and guided her away from the men now lowering the casket into its new home, and clearing away the fake grass carpet revealing the reality of what was happening. Goodbye grandma Rose, Ella said with out speaking, I love you so… and the car door shut on Ella’s words and the car pulled away from the curb as the wipers slapped the sides of the windshield with a squeaky but invariable beat.
4 Stars

Ella McKaye has just graduated from college when she receives the devastating news that her beloved grandmother has passed away.  She hurries home for the funeral and learns that she has inherited Grey Manor, an immense family residence that has been empty for many years, and a vast fortune.  Heartsick over the death, she barely comprehends all the nuances and ramifications of her new circumstances.  The family lawyer, and longtime friend of her grandmother, recommends a handyman for some much-needed renovations on the old house. It turns out that Grey Manor holds many secrets, and someone is determined to go to any lengths necessary to reclaim the property believed to have been stolen long ago.
This gothic mystery made for captivating reading. I loved Ella’s voice in this story.  The grief she feels over the loss of her grandmother could be felt throughout the story.  I thought some of her actions and emotions occasionally seemed more in character with a younger person, but she does grow up quite a bit over the course of the book.  I also loved watching the house take on character as certain scenes unfolded.  An exceptionally terrifying experience that really knocks Ella for a loop becomes a pivotal point later where that frightening experience is actually something else entirely – something not to fear but rather to embrace and learn from.
My favorite character is the kitten, little Boo.  Probably because of my love of cats, darling Boo is a welcome presence of contentment, love and devotion throughout this dark tale.  Boo is a powerful anchor helping Ella retain her sanity during some exceptionally stressful periods.  But even Boo was not spared from mishap, as the little fluffball is used to further someone’s evil agenda.  Boo!! Hiss!
You can always count on this author for exceptional storytelling. She writes books that keep me eagerly turning the page (or actually swiping my reader screen) to find out what will happen next.  My favorite, still, is Somber Island, but Mirror of Shadows was a very enjoyable read for me, as well.
This book was provided to me free of charge by T Lynne Tolles in return for my honest review. 
 Reviewed by Laurie-J 


Tell us about your favorite Character in the Book.

I know it’s silly, but my favorite character in this book is the family friend lawyer (Marlin Howard). Originally he was not going to play much of a role in the book – just a “Go To Guy” for advice, but I added sense of humor to him and just love the conversations he has with his wife. (Note: His wife was an afterthought too.)

Quote: Conversation in car between Meme and Marlin Howard.


“Fine, I suppose you’re right.”

“You know it, besides I can only save so many people in one night without wearing my Superman costume. Saving young women from not having safe vehicles to drive, and saving young kittens from severe bouts of loneliness, starvation and boredom and let’s not forget I still have to rescue Jeremy.”

“You know dear, that Superman suit’s getting a little tight around the middle.”

“How dare you insult Superman’s physique. Even superman gets old and goes from a six pack to a pony keg.”

“Pony keg?” Meme lovingly teased and patted his belly.

“Okay, maybe a half keg.”

“ End.


I remember reading that and grinning – that was a great little scene.  When in the day/night do you write? How long?

During the day mostly, however I do a lot of writing in my head just before falling asleep. The amount of time varies as life gets in the way of my plans.


Does your significant other read your stuff?

Absolutely No. He’s and engineer and if he can’t see it, touch it, or calculate some mathematical code to prove it, then it’s just not worth his time. He is supportive, though, for when I get in a major writing mode, he’s lucky if he has any clean underwear and other articles of clothing, to go to work in.


How do you describe your writing style?

Casual freestyle. I don’t believe in cookie cutter books and a specific regimen for an elements for a book. In this sense I’m a pantser, I suppose. It’s those who pulled away from the conformist ways and made a path for themselves that we remember in history - those who had their own way of thinking and doing things.  I believe that it is the same in the writing world. One process may work for some, but it might take away from another’s creativeness.


This way of thinking might have something to do with being born to a hippie in California – I’m just thankful I wasn’t named Moonbeam or Star (Not that these names are bad, they just aren’t for me.)


Do you hear from your readers? What kind of questions do they ask?


I do and I treasure their emails.  They get priority over anything I happen to be doing at the moment. The blood series books all ended with cliff-hangers, so most of the questions I’ve received have to do with “When is the next book due? I’ve got to know what happens.” My latest letter was from someone suggesting a book just based on werewolves, so that idea has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks.


As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?


I wanted to be a nurse or a veterinarian – however when I learned I would have to see their blood, or occasionally do surgery to help the patient, that idea was thrown out the window.


What is the next big thing?


I’ve got a few ideas for books I’ve jotted down and have been playing with. I’m presently working on a book (possibly a series) about a young woman (whose a vet in training) who rescues an orphaned hellhound pup and all the craziness that might happen from having a hellhound as a pet.  Of course the two will find themselves thrown into a mystery or two along the way and there will be lots of humor.

All my life I’ve been fascinated with vampires, werewolves, witches and monsters. Maybe it was all those late night ‘Creature Features’, or maybe I’m just a bit different. Either way, I just can’t put a good vampire or witch book down. Magic, goth, wizards, and fairies - they’re all good. 

I never intended on being an author. It had never been my life’s dream to write, but after reading a stack of books in June and July of 2009, I got an idea, ‘Hmmm. I wonder if I could write a book about vampires? There’d have to be, werewolves, though and maybe some witches just to make it interesting.’ Three weeks later ‘Blood of a Werewolf’ was complete and six books have followed.
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Signed copy of Mirror of Shadows (Paperback) along with bookmarks from all books, Mirror of Shadows Character Trading card set, and anything else I can scrounge up.  Ends  Sep 30th



NatashaMay said...

A great review and interview. Sounds like a fab read. I have a feeling the kitten is going to be my favorite too. :)

PuttPutt1198Eve said...

Mirror of Shadows sounds exciting. Thanks for giving us a chance to win a copy!

Chrisbails said...

Great interview. Love finding out about new to me authors. Loved the excerpt. Adding to my must try list. This books looks awesome, thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.
christinebails at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Kar said...

Love the synopsis and the excerpt. I'll be adding it to my TBR list :) And the author seems pretty nice! She's new for me, but I'll make sure of keeping an eye on her

sweety said...

Thanks for the international giveaway!!

Rafflecopter name - Rosemarie D

Dreadfort said...

hi i love your blog and i really hope i win your giveaway. i enter give aways all the time and never win, so here goes nothing. i tweeted about your blog and also mentioned it on my own page , i run a store called Mousehead &...tales i create clothes, bags, journal, wallets,&jewelry based off of books that i love. I usually sell them at tattoo ,steampunk,anime,comic-book, and sci-fi conventions or off the internet.I enjoy doing custom work but it seems to come out nicer if it's based off of something I read. i often find that your blog has many authors that i haven't read but am interested in. so thanks for putting in the effort to make such an interesting blog

ChrissieB said...

Great Interview Thank you for the giveaway. I hope I entered right :)

Amanda Speer said...

Your book sounds intriguing hope I win so I can read the whole thing..