Sunday, October 21, 2012

End of Mae by Angela Yuriko Smith: Character Interview, Excerpt



Mae was a born writer. Her life's passion was to find the ultimate story. In her quest to find the truth behind the Jersey Devil disappearances, Mae uncovers something much more sinister wandering the Whitebog area at night.

Little did she know that the ultimate story would be her own... and she'd by dying to tell it.

Mae woke up suddenly.
Her legs were cramping painfully underneath her, but she didn’t dare move. She sat for a moment, eyes still closed, listening for the sound that had alerted her.
The night was quiet around her. Muffled breathing emanated from the cardboard box next to her and then a muffled thump issued as the occupant inside changed position slightly.
The night had turned cold very quickly, and Mae felt the chill sink deep inside her joints. She would be hurting tomorrow, but the ache would be worth it if it brought her closer to unraveling her mystery.
Satisfied that nothing was happening, Mae’s thoughts drifted to the soul inside the box. Poor Bea. An alcoholic, penniless, and mentally lost, the old lady existed on the fringes of life and reality. Mae was here, in part, to guard Bea from whatever was supposedly roaming the bogs, snatching up homeless ‘pineys.’ But mostly, Mae was crouching behind a battered refrigerator carton in the dead chill of a winter midnight out of curiosity. She had to know if there was a truth to all the Jersey Devil stories going around.
Mae admired Bea’s courage, despite the aversion to Bea’s hygiene. The poor ancient creature was clearly terrified of this area after dark. Bea believed her own stories of comrades vanishing out of their nightly hovels never to be seen again. She said it was the Devil who came and took them, who came to claim the souls that were his while they were still breathing. Mae believed in crafty serial sickos more than devils and thought she just might have a shot at a big story this time. All the elements were there; spooky area, homeless victims, a mystery with history… She might even get Time or one of the other biggy publications interested. Mae liked the Community News where she worked, but it was time to move on to bigger waters. Mae just needed one good, meaty story.
Without moving her head, she glanced down at the camera in her hands. A tiny green ready light blinked back at her reassuringly. Mae just hoped she didn’t sit here like this all night for nothing. Mae wanted to at least hear some interesting noises to write about. There were plenty of homeless that still holed in the Whitesbog woods at night. Mae suspected a few of them were probably hoping for a demonic figure to take them away. For them, life was like living in Hell already.
Suddenly all the hair on Mae’s neck stood up, and the night instantly grew frigid. Something was wrong. Mae listened to the silence in vain. There was no sound at all except her faint breathing. Then Mae grew aware of an unpleasant and hot sensation on her leg.
She started in spite of herself and looked down. Liquid was streaming from the edge of the box and had started to seep into Mae’s equipment bag and pants. An acrid, humid odor hit her nose, and Mae shuffled backward to get out of the offensive flow.
“Bea! Wake up! You’re peeing on yourself!” she hissed. Mae was disgusted. No mystery was worth getting peed on. She pulled her bag to safety and stiffly crawled around the edge of the box. Mae was going home. Bea could sleep on her couch if she wanted, after she took a shower.
Mae grabbed the edge of a corrugated flap with every intention of telling Bea so, but the words turned stone on her tongue. The first thing she saw was Bea, lying half out of the box. Curled in a fetal position, her face was partly visible from underneath the matted hair.
Bea’s normally sleepy expression had opened up with hyper awareness. Her eyes bulged from their sockets like red veined grapes about to explode. Her lips were peeled back from her teeth in a mock snarl and her jaw was convulsively shaking.
Mae forgot the cold, her wet leg and her mission in a glance and felt raw terror gripping her like a fist in the pit of her stomach. Her friend was having a seizure, and Mae didn’t know how to help her.
“Bea! Are you okay?” Even in the electricity of the moment, Mae knew how stupid her question sounded. Mae moved forward to grab the old woman, thinking she might drag her to help, when a dark blur shot out of the box and clamped itself around the back of her neck and head.
Pain shot out from below her ears as the grip tightened. Mae’s vision began to black out, and she was dimly aware that she had collapsed on top of Bea. A sharp corner pressed into her chest, and Mae realized that she was still clutching her camera. Barely aware of what she was doing, Mae managed to twist her arm out from her body and struck out at whatever it was that had her.
Mae felt the camera strike bone and then twist out of her hand as she lost her grip. Whatever held her was coming out of the box; Mae heard the cardboard scraping and was aware that the iron grip around the back of her neck was loosening a fraction. She felt herself being dragged forward by her skull, and she kicked out hard with all her strength.
Her foot struck solidly, and Mae heard a hiss. The grip faltered even more, and Mae wrenched herself free and started scrambling. Every thought in her mind was gone except for the desperate need to get away from whatever large and scary thing had been hiding inside that box.
 A hand clamped around one knee, and she was suddenly paralyzed with pain as Mae felt her leg being pierced at the joint. Mae opened her mouth to scream but found a large, cold hand quickly clamped around her nose and mouth. She struggled for breath as whatever it was that had her, dragged her to her feet. Mae felt breath on her neck and then a snout sniffing her hair and ear vigorously.
“Plaaaaaaythaaaaang…” hissed a whisper when the sniffing paused. The hand around Mae’s face loosened slightly and she sucked in air that tasted of stagnant lake. Her eyes were peering over the hand on her face into the darkness. There was no movement. Mae kept herself still, desperately trying to figure out how to get out of this.
“I maybe juss bite it dead.” The whisper came from behind her, stirring in her hair. Mae was aware her body was beginning to tremble uncontrollably. Her arms were pinned to her sides by what felt like an abnormally long, bony arm. Mae realized she was going to die and briefly wondered if anyone would ever find her body.
In desperation, Mae swung both her legs forward and then kicked backward—hard. She felt the heavy Doc Martins she had worn make contact with legs, and whatever creature was holding on to her lost its balance and staggered forward with a grunt. The arm that had held her was thrown forward, and Mae hit the ground and started rolling.
Mae rolled until she thought was out of reach of her attacker and then tried to jump to her feet and run. She staggered forward as her injured leg collapsed and then felt a crack on the back of her head that sent a black flash of pain through her brain like a shockwave. Mae fell to the ground and lay still.
A hand grabbed Mae by her hair and jerked her around to a sitting position. Dazed, she forced her eyes to open partway. An out-of-focus face was peering intently back at her through smudged eyes, a hint of red that looked like dull rubies that had baked in flames. Long and black, Mae thought the face staring back looked like it was carved out of obsidian, wispy bits of hair the color of iron clinging to its scalp randomly. It seemed to smile, because a hundred shiny little black daggers appeared in a split beneath what looked like flared nostrils.
“Oh yesssss… you suffer now…”
Mae watched numbly as an arm, the size of a small tree, rose up and smacked into the side of her head. She was barely aware of the pain as she slid gratefully into darkness.

Interview with Mae from End of Mae 

Today I have a very special guest to interview.  Welcome Mae. Thanks so much for this chance to learn more about you.  Let's start with an easy one.  Who is your favorite author?

You can laugh at me, but my favorite author would have to be Angela Yuriko Smith.  If it weren’t for her getting into a fight at a writer’s conference over fiction vs. nonfiction I’d have never been born.  It’s not unusual - many babies have been conceived after angry words.  Angela just happened to conceive me in her imagination and birth me thru her fingers.  It was just as painful a process as regular birth she says, only longer.  I think she’s exaggerating.

Lol!! I really doubt that.  What is the next big thing?

Hopefully me when Angela finishes the second book.  Trying to be the next big thing was what got me in trouble in the first place but now I really do have a fantastic story to sell to the big publications. I’ve suffered enough to get it that I think I deserve to be recognized for my journalistic abilities… namely digging up an amazing story.  Not only did I dig it up but now I’m stuck in it getting more behind the scenes coverage than I want.  I hope that when I get free from this mess I can sell this story to maybe even Newsweek or Time.  I do worry that I won’t be taken seriously tho.  Saying “I met the Jersey Devil” sounds more like a tabloid fantasy than serious journalism.

Yep...I can see that as a bit of a problem. But I bet if anyone can sell it, you can.  Who should play you in a film? 

I would love to see Kate Beckinsale play me someday.  For those not familiar with the name, she’s the spunky actress that wows us in the Underworld movies.  Interesting thing about me though is that I’m never actually described in the whole book but everyone who has read it knows what I look like.  Angela did that on purpose because she wanted me to be created by the reader.  I’ve got several different faces already and have even been thought of as strawberry blonde.  With no description of me cemented into words I morph into something different for everyone.  To my author though, I’m Kate Beckinsale with an American accent.

What would we find under your bed?

In my own house you’d probably find my portfolio of newspaper clips under there.  I’m very proud of my work, even if it’s mostly just business spotlights and covering township meetings.  I truly believe that everyone has an amazing story lurking under their skin, beckoning for me to come find it.  So far that has panned out as far as having some interesting features, but what I really want is to discover or uncover something utterly unique.  I’d love to capture proof of the Loch Ness monster, Big Foot or ghosts.  I think I have proof that the Jersey Devil is real anyways… I just have to figure out how to capture that poof.
As far as what’s under my bed in my story I think it would probably be Prym.  She always seems to be creeping around somewhere and I really hope Heylel actually does fire her.  She should actually just go to jail.  I really don’t like her and hope she doesn’t show up in the second book.  She is absolutely scary nuts.  I’m not kidding.

Well, that sounds reasonable. Good luck capturing the proof you need.  What was the scariest moment of your life?

The scariest moment in my life is hands down the moment I saw what I think is the Jersey Devil staring into my face with all those black teeth shard-like teeth.  It was like looking at a hole lined with volcanic glass.  The shock of seeing Bea laying there convulsing combined with that hideous thing grabbing me… I’m surprised I didn’t pee my own self.  I think sheer terror froze my bladder.  Getting clubbed in the head probably helped too.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

I wish I could say sorry to Bea.  I don’t know what happened to her but I don’t think my scrawny friend could have survived the thing that attacked us in the woods.  I hope she did… maybe it left her alone when it attacked me.  If I could I’d tell her I was sorry for making her go out there when she was so afraid.  Homeless people know.  I took advantage of her need for booze to get what I wanted.  I didn’t see it like that at the time but it’s true.  We never know how much we’ve used someone until they get hurt… and then it’s too late.  If you can hear me Bea, I’m sorry I got you to take me into the woods that night.  You guys were right.  There’s something out there.

Well....umm... moving on to happier subjects. What makes you happy?

I know it sounds sad, but work makes me happy.  Maybe that isn’t exactly true.  It’s the discovery that comes from my work that makes me happy.  As much as I complain about writing little pieces on the Veteran’s meetings or what the school board thinks, to me showing the mundane in a new light is a challenge.  I want everyone to read my plainest stories and feel genuine interest.  The story I got on the local racecar driver was an easy one.  The real challenge is filling up 500 words on the local ice cream joint that people will actually read.  Writing about boring stuff is exciting.  That being said, I’m ready for some real excitement.  I was ready anyways.

I'm sure your author has plenty of real excitement in mind for your next adventure.  Thanks so much, Mae! It's been a pleasure chatting. 

Angela Yuriko Smith adored creating stories, mostly scary ones, since she knew what a story was.  As she grew older she learned to tone down her love of the macabre and focused her writing on nonfiction pieces for newspapers and online publications.  This was all very good until she wound up having a shouting match with a fiction writer over whose genre was superior.  To prove to him that nonfiction writers did indeed have imagination she started End of Mae that night.  Her dark tendencies resurfaced and she found herself caught up not only in the story of Mae and Heylel but in her own as she found a long lost facet of her true self.  In the end she completely defected to the fictional camp although she sometimes acts as a double agent.  You can always catch up with her on her blog,

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Enter for a chance to win a Print or Digital copy of End of Mae.
2 Winners - Print (US only) / Digital (Intl)
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow the author on  Twitter  for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends November 17th 11:59 PM Central Time.


katsrus said...

Great excerpt. Very creepy. Enjoyed your interview Mae. Thanks for the giveaway.
Sue B

Jen Haile said...

I love the story concept! Can't wait to read it!

Amanda Ray said...

Sounds like a great book- looking forward to reading it

M.A.D. said...

End of Mae sounds fantastic (and I've long been fascinated by the Jersey Devil & Mothman legends). Can't wait to read this book - plus that cover is (wait for it) ... TO DIE FOR lol ;D
Mary DeBorde M.A.D.

Goldenmane said...

Great concept. Wonderful interview with Mae. I enjoyed the excerpt. I actually think I once saw the Jersey Devil. Driving at night on a deserted road in South Jersey, I saw the gleam of a pair of eyes as I rounded a curve and my headlights played on the trees. They were about 15 feet above the ground. Too high to be a deer, too wide apart to be a raccoon or an owl. And as my car approached, a large dark shape flew away. Sadly there was little moonlight so I could see exactly what the shape was, but raccoons and bobcats don't fly.

angela s said...

looks and sounds interesting.would love to read it.thanks for having this contest

The Loopy Librarian said...

Love the cover! Looks and sounds creepy. Would love to read it.

Brooke said...

I love the concept and the cover. I find character interviews so very fun and find it a great tool for book promotion. I wish more people did them.

Karen Arrowood said...

Scary! I wouldn't be able to rerad this at night.... but I still want to read it. I have heard stories about the Jersey Devil, but I do't think I have ever read one. Thanks for the opportunity.

adrienne warren said...

I love stories about the Jersey Devil, so want to win this. I'm from Maine ordinarily so you know I love a good spook