Tell us a little about Dark Night of the Soul.
Well, it’s the story of Jayden Schroeder. She commits suicide and finds herself in Purgatory…or hell…or something. She is assigned to a team of warriors. There is a Marine, a Samurai, a Knight, a druid and….well…another guy. They fight demons that are attacking other suicidal people that are still living.
What’s Jayden like?
She’s a pain in the ass. An absolute brat. You will not like her at first, I guarantee. Some beta readers suggested that I just go ahead and kill her off. She’s 17 and half for most of the story. She’s really hurting and confused. The story takes her on a journey though, and I think you will start noticing changes in her as she grows and matures.
Who are the other characters?
There’s Neala, she the druid and also the Guide for the group. She’s a take charge kind of woman. Baldric the Brave is the knight. He’s ruggedly handsome and a bit scatterbrained. Shin is the Samurai, she’s got a bit of attitude. The other guy…well, he’s an enigma for a while. Then there is Marshal Britton. He’s a Marine. All of these warriors are in this place because they have also committed suicide.
Why did you write on such a difficult, if not taboo, subject?
I’m not sure. I do know that my family has experienced more than its share of suicide and depression. I myself have struggled with both in the past and continue to struggle with depression. I was thinking about how people often see suicide in a black and white manner…it’s right or it’s wrong. I myself look at the world in endless shades of grey (not those shades, AH!). I wanted to explore my thoughts further and Dark Night of the Soul started forming in my mind. I used it as a canvas to paint my ideas and questions.
You say there are no answers in your book, why did you leave the question of euthanasia unanswered?
Because I don’t know the answer. I don’t know that anyone has the answer. All I know, is that we are all connected, that every action affects others…deeply. I honestly just hoped that DNOTS would cause people to think. That people who don’t understand those who are suicidal, might see them in a different light. That people who are experiencing, or have experienced suicidal thoughts, might see themselves and their situations from a different angle. Most of all, I just wanted to tell a good story and not sully it with rhetoric.
It sounds very depressing.
On contrary, most reviewers have commented on how hopeful it is. Though the subject matter is dark, I did bring Jayden, and some of the others, full circle. Out of the darkness and into the light. I’ve also had people comment on how they laughed out loud. Yes, there is humor.
Did you have any help writing this story?
Of course! As always, I run my first drafts past my good friends at www.thenextbigwriter.com. I was very nervous about this book, but their reactions and suggestions propelled me forward. I always write with my critique group’s eyes on my work.
So what’s next?
I’m working on a sequel to my steampunk romance, Fate War: Alliance. I’m also entertaining ideas about expanding a post-apocalyptic short story I wrote, Hope – I. Believe it or not, I’m seriously considering delving in Amazon’s new thing, Kindle Worlds. It’s basically fan fiction. Since reading Hugh Howey’s, Wool series, I’ve wanted to write in it. I’ll keep it on the back burner though before my Fate War fans forget about me.
Date to be Published: 7/1/2013
What comes after life? Jayden Schroeder is about to find out. At the end of the road of despair, she ends it all and finds out that living might not have been so bad. Thrust into a strange and disparate world, Jayden joins a team of warriors from all places and time. Together they battle demons to save the souls of the living, all the while on the run from the end of all things - The Judgment.
Will she fight for a second chance to spare those she loves? Or surrender?
Dark Night of the Soul is a fantastical journey, both literally and figuratively for Jayden’s soul. Action adventure, fantasy, romance, and dark humor twist together to create an afterlife tale that will keep you thinking long after the final chapter.
My senses snapped back with sharp clarity. I laid on my back staring at dappled sunlight through a canopy of green leaves. My fingers curled around the soft dirt and twigs beneath them. I was afraid to move, unsure of where I was or what had happened. Hadn’t I just killed myself?
I turned my head enough to see forest to my right. The same on the left. I chanced sitting up a bit and propped myself up on my elbows. Forest in front. My gaze fell to my legs.
“What the hell?”
I wore camo. Ugh. But I wasn’t fat. I looked at my hands. They seemed older. My boobs! I copped a feel then tugged the collar of my khaki and brown camouflage shirt out and took a peek. They were perfect.
I pulled a strand of hair in front of me. Blonde. Now my heart was pumping.
I scurried to my feet trying to take in more of myself and my surroundings. I wore full military garb with a handgun strapped to my hip. A really big gun lay on the ground next to where I woke up at the edge of a camp with a fire and tents, and everything.
And me. From what I could see, my body looked perfect, just like Becky Greenwood, the cheer captain. I bet my face was too. I bet I even had blue eyes. I must be in heaven. But why camo?
“Damn it! Who ordered the newbie?”
I spun to face the gruff male voice behind me. There at the edge of the camp stood a group of five people that my mind struggled to assimilate. A knight in shining armor, a female samurai, and another man dressed in a gold foil jumpsuit stared at me.
The man upfront, who had spoken, wore camo pants like mine and a black shirt. A woman next to him eyed me. She looked like a druid or monk and carried a staff. In a thick Irish accent, she snarled.
“Welcome ta hell, brat.”
Who is E.M. Havens? I’m a lot of things. The word that seems to define me most at the moment is mom. It can be all consuming. Not only am I a mom of three (one of them is a teenager…pity me), but I also home-school (pity me more). I share this awesome responsibility with the love of my life, best friend, and soul-mate husband.
Add to that, the twenty-five chickens, twelve turkeys, ten guineas, nine pigs, three barn cats, two Great Pyrenees guardian dogs, a Chihuahua, a house cat, and a goose, it makes for one crazy, full, and certainly entertaining life.
Somewhere in there I find the time to write. I started out young writing poems, then moved on to songs. I actually have a Bachelor in Music with a secondary in Science because I can’t stand English. Yes, the writer hates English. I like to read the story for the experience of reading the story, not to nitpick each letter and comma. But I digress.
I eventually found blogging and really enjoyed sharing my life that way. When an unfortunate turn of events separated me from my music equipment, I decided to use my overactive imagination, my love of reading, and my new found hobby, prose writing, to release some of my creative energy. I wrote my first novel and loved the experience. Fate War: Alliance is actually the second novel I wrote and the first to be published. Now I’m working on my third and several sequels to Fate War!
So that’s pretty much me, sitting in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, reading, writing, collecting eggs from the coop, and being a schoolmarm. It’s a pretty great life.