Thursday, December 6, 2012
Book Blitz/Author Interview/Giveaway: Christmas Eve By Angela Burns
Little Blurb about yourself:
An ordinary person with an ordinary life, given the gift of time to pursue my dream. I am a retired Police Officer with a wonderful, supportive family who has decided to share the stories I have had floating around my head with those who care to read them.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I have always had a desire to write, just never enough time. I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old, I had written a story for my English homework, which was read out to the whole school during one assembly by the head teacher. If I were to ever pinpoint a time in my life when I had that first fleeting thought about becoming a writer, I guess it would have been then.
Then life happened! I'm not complaining about what I have achieved, or that I have been blessed in many ways with a wonderful and supportive family, however 'life' meant that more pressing needs had to be met and that time to explore writing was virtually non-existent.
I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both hips in my mid-thirties, and had around 18-months away from work whilst they tried to fix them. Although the news was awful, they say everything happens for a reason. Stuck at home day in day out meant one of two things – overdosing on daytime TV and losing the will to live, or making the most of something others don't have. The luxury of time. And so it began and 'Christmas Eve' started to write itself. 'Life' had to go on pause and I finally began to 'Live'.
How long did it take you to write (title of book you're promoting)?
'Christmas Eve' took around six months to write, edit and re-write and re-edit. As I said early is was fortunate enough to have time to commit to the project. To be honest without that time it would have probably never have materialised. However now I have it finished, and a contract with Taylor Street Publishing for more work, the motivation and momentum is there to carry me over the coming years.
There were days (that sometimes stretched into weeks) of inactivity. It's not that I lost momentum or desire, it was simple 'writers block'. For a while I would sit behind the computer, drink tea, type a sentence and then delete. After an hour of doing this I would call it quits for the day as 'it' just wasn't there.
To this day I don't know what 'it' is, or why somedays I am more inspired than others, but have learnt rapidly just to accept 'it' for what it is and that to question 'it' only frustrates you more.
One piece of advice I would give to new authors who find themselves struggling is just to relax – don't force your writing just because you promised yourself that you would have 2000 words down by the end of the day. 'It' will happen, and writing when you are not with 'it' as your colleague is futile – you'll just hit the delete button later that day.
While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot?
Every time I sit behind the computer is a challenge. It always takes me a good half-hour to warm up. Although I already know the basic structure and journey of the story I am trying to tell, I find that it constantly evolves and grows with every page I write. Before I know it I have to go back and tie-in unexpected plot / character developments with previous chapters. A simple scene that should take me an hour can sometimes last a day. That's what I love about writing though, is that even I, the omnipotent creator generally has no idea what is going to happen next!! I don't imagine my style of writing works for some, however I strive on the chaos of my writing, and really enjoy the tying in process
You run into a bookstore, where do you go first?
The toilet in the Coffee Shop.
How many books in a month do you tend to read?
Between writing and family I don't get a lot of time to read. The idea of settling down with a good book is a truly lovely, indulgent thought, however the stark reality is that writing is rapidly becoming a full time occupation for me now. The last book I read was 'The End of Mr. Y' by Scarlett Thomas, and that was about six months ago! Each time I start to read nowadays I feel a pang of guilt and think I should spend this time writing.
In all the books you've read. Who is your most favorite character and why?
The shepherd in Paulo Coehlo's 'The Alchemist'. He always strived for the best, never settling until his dreams had been realised. When I am ready to take my last breath, I don't want to ask myself the question 'What If?'
State 5 random facts about yourself.
I have a black belt in the Korean Martial Art of Kuk Sool Won.
I crashed a Police Car once while in pursuit of a suspect.
I sleep 5 hours a night.
I find vacuum cleaning theraputic.
I would love to grow my own genetically enhanced chillis.
Your favorite Genre?
Anything Paranormal or Contemporary horror. I love a good Winter ghost story.
What are you currently reading?
Anything with 'Horrid Henry' in the title to the children. Actually I re-discovered Enid Blyton's 'Faraway Tree' stories the other month, and have started to read these to my youngest son. Apparently there is not enough wrestling in it for his liking!
What is the best book you've read?
'The Talisman' – Stephen King / Peter Straub. I read it when I was younger, and it was the first book that took me on a complete journey. For that reason it has stuck with me ever since.
Any new projects coming up?
I always have two projects on the go, under different pen names. 'Christmas Eve' falls under the tamer of the two genres, floating around the softer, more emotional side of the paranormal. My alter-ego is far darker, exploring the barriers of horror. Following the release of 'Christmas Eve' this year, I will be releasing '7 Days' in Summer 2013 also through Taylor Street Publishing as a venture under SJ Ingram. I guess if you had to put me into two specific boxes, then I write under paranormal chick-lit, and he lets go in horror.
Once '7 Days' by SJ Ingram which is billed for a Summer 2013 release, has hit the stores, I will be working on another Angela Burns novel titled 'Chasing Grace', ready for a Christmas release next year. The early premise for 'Chasing Grace' is a slightly bewildered soul trying in vain to get through the gates of Heaven, having not quite met the criteria for salvation. It will be a funny, heart-warming look at the lengths some people will go to to achieve
'Christmas Eve' will be out for review at the time your readers read this interview.
Here’s your chance to market your book. Describe it. And why readers should pick it up?
The Devil lives among us. Personal demons plague us. What if you were given an opportunity to put those memories to rest once and for all?
For Janet and David Newson that gift is not far away. One Christmas Eve they will receive a present that will re-unite a torn and tormented family from a man who we can all rely on.
An homage to Capra and Dickens alike, 'Christmas Eve' is a wonderful Winter ghost story that will take you to the gates of Heaven and the pits of Hell to explain the human intricacies of fate, and leave you warm on a cold December night.
For anyone that has face adversity or tragedy in their lives, this is a journey that must be taken by us all at some time. To fulfill the present we must understand the past and 'Christmas Eve' will answer the question that has been asked for generations.
'Do you believe?'
“Jo’s on the phone.”
This simple sentence pushes her headlong into the abyss of insanity, causing her to throw up as she spirals into incomprehension, not caring which of these winter ghosts she is being persecuted by.
This isn’t real. This can’t be happening!
Repeating this mantra provides no comfort as she rocks back and forth on the sofa, sobbing wildly, floods of tears burning her, her hands covering her face. She lets out an almighty scream. Her dishevelled state and pitiful wails do not attract the revellers
as she stands and looks around the room.
The familiar faces of friends and family from the past, all gathered for their annual celebration of the holiday they once held dear, remain oblivious to her presence.
Brutally trembling, holding onto the furniture for support, she makes her way slowly through the room. Disjointed snatches of conversations resonate in her skull, feeding an intense headache of confusion.
Jo is on the phone…I need to talk to Jo. Am I dead? Are these ghosts? Am I the Ghost? Why can’t they see me?
She was right; they couldn’t see her or hear her–apart from one man.
He stands resolutely in the bay window of the room, by the grandiose tree, in mid-conversation with Janet’s boss and her partner, when he stops and glances at her, smiling warmly.
Nick! She shouts in her mind, unable to form the word.
She tries again to call out, but each time the syllables stifle in her throat, sentencing her to a wretched silence from which she cannot flee.
Winking at her, he returns to his previous conversation.
You were here on that night, damn you! Why can’t I remember
Continuing through into the entrance hall, she slowly drags her feet on the flagstones, crippled by her sickness.
I must get to the phone.
There are more people there, many more, crammed, solemn, like cattle to the slaughter. This time, however, they do not belong to her memories. None of them speak as she ambles her way through. Hunched like zombies, they study her every step as she moves pathetically amongst them.
They can see me.
Their costumes reflect the history of the life once told in this home – four hundred years of history. Mortified, she remains possessed by the miraculous chance of hearing her daughter's beautiful voice again, and has no time to question what is
As she approaches the kitchen where the phone is kept, a cold wind brushes past her arm. Horror-struck to see her other self sweep through her as she quickly walks towards the kitchen, towards the phone, another scream begins to curdle as she realises that she shares one common denominator with the guests in the
hall. They are all ghosts. The ghosts of Stonebridge Farm. It is only her determination to hear her daughter once again that chokes her cries, refocusing her.
I must … get … to that … phone.
Each weighty step exhausts her as she trudges through the walls of dead energy that surround her.
Am I dead? What the heck happened? Where’s Nick? I’m coming Jo … sweetheart … please don’t go … I’m coming.
The other Janet had already picked up the phone as she stumbles into the kitchen.
DAMN YOU, YOU SELFISH BITCH! THAT WAS MY CALL! She screams at herself in deathly silence.
Helpless and panicking, she calls wildly at the others to help her.
Please help me! HELP ME! She doesn’t know what she is doing … what she is saying! FOR GOD’S SAKE, PLEASE WON’T SOMEBODY HELP ME! I NEED TO SPEAK TO MY DAUGHTER!
About the Author:
Angela Burns is a retired Police Officer, living with her partner and children in Norwich, Norfolk. Having been given the gift of time, she now writes full time, living her ambition to share the stories that have floated around her head for so long.
Where you can find author:
Book Trailer on YouTube
a Rafflecopter giveaway