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Monday, February 14, 2011

Author Interview & Contest with Mara Purnhagen

Happy Valentine's Day!!

To celebrate the day of love I have a nice author guest and contest! Mara Purnhagen was a new author to me until I was sent a copy of the first book in her ghostly YA series, Past Midnight. Before I even finished reading it I was looking to see if I could get a copy of the second book, One Hundred Candles. Both were amazing reads and I loved them!

So I hope you guys will try them out too! Maybe get to know the author a little first by reading the interview below? Then check the contest and maybe win a copy of One Hundred Candles so you can see for yourself how cool and spooky this series is!

Get Raising the Dead (An E-book Novella) for Free!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest!

Mara - Thanks!

Amber - Could you start things off by telling us a little about your book, Past Midnight?

Mara – Charlotte Silver, the main character in Past Midnight, has grown up believing in residual energy. Her parents are ghost debunkers who travel the world making documentaries. They don’t believe in ghosts—until something happens that challenges their theories.

Amber - How did you come up with the idea for Past Midnight? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?

Mara – The concept came to me in a flash, but planning out the plot took a lot longer. I saw a show about paranormal investigators, and I thought, I wonder what that’s like for their kids? I originally planned on writing one book, but my publisher liked the concept so much that they asked for three. I tried to make sure that details in the first book would carry through and affect the next two titles.

Amber - Past Midnight deals with ghosts and TV shows about hauntings. Do you believe in ghosts? Ever seen one yourself? Do you watch a lot of the above mentioned ghost shows?

Mara – No, I’ve never seen a ghost! The theory about residual energy really appeals to me, though. I don’t think we can say there are absolutely no ghosts, but I do think most “hauntings” aren’t real. Having said that, here’s a link to a video that never fails to freak me out!

Amber - Past Midnight is only your second published book. Can you tell us about your first book, Tagged?

Mara – Tagged is a YA contemporary about Kate Morgan, who lives in a small town that is being covered with life-size gorilla murals. There’s a central question in the book about the difference between vandalism and art, but it’s a light, quick read.

Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Why Young Adult and why the paranormal?

Mara - Yes, I always wanted to be an author. I began writing short stories in high school, and it was a creative hobby of mine well into my twenties. After teaching high school English for six years, I developed a real fondness for YA books and wrote my first novel.

I originally intended for Past Midnight to be purely scientific. As I was writing, I realized that even with all the science, there will always be paranormal happenings that cannot be fully explained. So I sort of slipped into writing paranormal—but it has my own twist on it.

Amber - I know book there is a sequel to Past Midnight coming out soon. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Mara - My next novel, One Hundred Candles, will be out in February 2011. It takes place a few months after Past Midnight. The title comes from an obscure game in which you gather a bunch of people in a circle with one hundred unlit votives. Everyone has to describe a paranormal experience. For every story told, you light a candle. When all the candles are lit, there will supposedly be one hundred spirits in the room with you. Charlotte gets dragged into the game, and it unleashes some very strange things.

Amber - What next? Will there be more books in the series? Are you working on anything else?

Mara – There will be three novels and two novellas in the series. The novellas will only be available online, and they bridge the gap in between books. The first novella (titled Raising the Dead) will be available in January. One Hundred Candles comes out in February, followed by another novella in the summer and the third book, Beyond the Grave, will be out in Fall 2011.

After I complete the series, I’ll be working on a contemporary YA that I started writing last year.

Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?

Mara - I chose the name Charlotte because I wanted something old-fashioned and lovely. Also, I was listening to “Charlotte Sometimes” by The Cure when I began writing the first chapter. It just fit. The names tend to find me, and I know when I hear it if it will work.

Amber - I am sure that being an author has its ups and downs. What experiences have you had so far?

Mara – Being an author means you have to endure a lot of waiting. Whether it’s waiting for contracts or revisions or release dates, there’s always something beyond your control. In the meantime, you have to keep working and writing. It’s the only way to stay sane. Overall, I’ve had positive experiences. I love getting fan emails, and I always respond to them.

Amber - There are alot of online sites taking up peoples time lately. Are you on Facebook or any other sites? Do you think the sites are useful or do they just take up too much of your time?

Mara – Yes, I am on Facebook, maybe a little too much. I have family all over the U.S., and it’s been a great way to keep in touch. I’m also on Goodreads.

Amber - Alot of authors have 'soundtracks' for their books. Is there any music influenced your books?

Mara – I have a soundtrack for each of my books. The songs may not necessarily fit with the book, but they represent the music I was listening to the most when I was writing. I always write with music playing in the background.
Playlist for Beyond the Grave

1. Wide Eyes by Local Natives
2. Trinity by Paper Tongues
3. Odessa by Caribou
4. Conversation 16 by The National
5. Crystalised by the Xx
6. You and I by Washed Out
7. The End by Kings of Leon
8. Lost in the World by Kanye West featuring Bon Iver

Amber - What have you been reading and watching lately? Do you have any favourite authors/series?

Mara – I just finished reading the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. I loved it! I’m always finding new authors I love in every genre. Other recent faves include The DUFF by Kody Keplinger and Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready.

Amber - I recently got a Kindle and actually read Past Midnight on it. Do you have an e-reader yourself? What are your views on E-books?

Mara – I don’t own an e-reader, but my friends who do own one love them! The two novellas in the Past Midnight series will only be available online and for download, so maybe I should get one soon.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?

Mara – I’m not sure. Definitely something that could fly, though. A dragon, maybe? (But a nice dragon.)

Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog! I hope you will come back again ;)

Mara - Thanks for having me! Happy reading!

Try before you buy!

Get Raising the Dead (An E-book Novella) for Free!


Contest Time

Mara is giving away a copy of her new release One Hundred Candles!

How To Enter

Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes? Tell us about it! No? Tell us something else spooky ;)

No answer = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

The contest will stay open until Sunday 20th of February 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


SandyG265 said...

I've never seen a ghost.

debbie said...

I have never seen a ghost. But, I swear something was haunting an apartment I once lived in. There were loud noises every night in the bathroom. They were so loud, that it scared an elderly woman living next door to me, and caused her to move. She was the one that told me it was haunted. I always felt very creepy when I was in my apartment.

ArtemisG said...

I have never seen a ghost. The truth is that I do not believe in such things.
Thanks for the contest!!!

artgiote at gmail dot com

KMichelleC87 said...

I've caught movement from the corner of my eye in my house but never actually seen anything (thank goodness!!! love reading about that stuff but i couldn't handle it in person). My mother sister and a couple of her friends have seen a teenage girl that looked simalar to me (long dark hair) and thought it was me until i walked in from the other side of the house or just saw her walking by my bedroom. My mother once felt someone (a little boy about 2 or 3 years old) climb in her bed one night


Julie S said...

I don't have any experiences with ghosts but my husband and one of his cousins swear their grandma's house was haunted and the children could all see something weird going on even though the adults didn't. Kinda creepy since we visit there a lot.


Unknown said...

I have never seen a ghost or anything spooky but my mom said a man in black with chains would come to her bed at night when she was younger. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Alicia said...

I haven't seen one. But I think I've heard one. Every night in my grandparents house, I could hear someone walking across the attic. They said that's just the way the house settled, but I'm not so sure.

I tweeted this contest here: http://twitter.com/#!/aliciacald

Anonymous said...

I've seen a ghost. At my grandmother's house in Mexico I saw a woman walking around the patio. To get in, you have to undo about 10 locks on a thick steel-reinforced door; and no one had admitted to seeing or opening the door for this woman when I asked about it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get in otherwise, even the roof is lined with glass, barbed wire and a high-powered electric fencing.

Anonymous said...

I realize I forgot to leave my email:
faefever25 AT hotmail DOT com.

Andra Lyn said...

When I was a kid, ghost dogs would haunt my room. They would bite my fingers if they went over the edge of my bed. I finally grew so scared that I refused to sleep in that room so my mom moved me down the hall to the spare room for the night. That night there was a huge fire in the house next door. My old room's window exploded, spraying my bed with glass and fire. Definitely creepy stuff...

hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

I tweeted :)http://twitter.com/#!/hense1kk/status/37620906276687872

Unknown said...

When i lived at my Aunts house in England, strange things would happen all the time. Lights would turn on by them self. The microwave would turn on by itself. Strange noises and it was always COLD. My Nana died in the house and someone hung themselves in the early 1900's.

nhmoose99 said...

I have never seen a ghost but have felt the presence of certain people over time.

nhmoose99 at yahoo dot com

Deirdre said...

I apparently asked my dad once when I was very young why people were walking through the house. Turned out that our house was built on an old right-of-way and route to the local church.

I also remember seeing coloured glass in a window of a ruined church. No-one else ever has.

donnas said...

I saw one in the house I grew up in. I was exiting the bathroom and had angled towards my room and could just see inside. I saw a woman in an old fashioned dressing gown standing in front of the closet like she was looking for something to wear.

tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/DonnaS1/status/37736762382102528

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Kimberly (ksmeza) said...

I think I've seen a ghost. It's like when you see something move so quickly you can't really be sure unless someone else saw it too. I was walking to my room and I could have sworn I saw a person leave my room and enter my sister's. I thought it was one of my family members but to be sure I took note of where everyone was and sure enough no one was near the bedroom area, I didn't even bother to tell anyone because since no one was close by it's impossiblr that they saw it too. I have to admit i was scared of going into my room but after I checked my sister's I knew nothing was there. At night I'm sure my mind plays tricks on me and I see my music stand become a scry figure, so yeah I'm still spooked. :|
-Kimberly Meza

Jay said...

Ive never really believed in ghosts but one time after having a really bad day at school i went to sleep in my sister's bed since she was away on a long vacation and i was missing her alot and feeling super lonely. As i tried to fall asleep i glanced at the open door to the bathroom and kept seeing this dark hooded figure floating at the door way. I dont get scared that easily so I kept blinking my eyes hoping it'd go away but then it seemed like it was floating closer and closer to my side of the bed. It was so freaky and i hid under the covers till morning :(


sunlightbub said...

I've never seen a ghost but my brother reckons he has been haunted by a monk when he lived in Gloucestershire. He is so convinced that he made a little video called The Sceptic..in which his stepson had to dress up in his mum's dressing gown to be the ghost - now that's scary!!
Sunlightbub at gmaildotcom

Crystal F said...

I have never seen a ghost. I'm not sure I believe in them. I am constantly seeing things out of the side of my eyes. I look and don't see anything but it's happening too many times for it to be nothing. Makes me wonder. thank you!

Unknown said...

In the previous house I've lived for more than 20 years strange things were happening, We knew there was a friendly ghost in residence: the light switch would click off and the room become dark even though there was light in the corridor (so no blackout). And one night I woke up at 3:45 am to loud snoring. I looked up and saw the silhouette of a man lying on his back on the bed across from mine. I went back to sleep wondering if my dad had an argument with my mom and if he put away the clothes on the bed before lying down. The next morning at breakfast I asked my dad but he said that he slept in his bed the whole night, though he woke up at around 3:45 am.

To this day I don't know if it was an astral projection of my dad or a ghost, but I'm sure of 2 things: the snoring was so loudd it not only woke me up but I even heard it once awake, and that I saw the shape of a man sleeping in the exact position my dad usually does.

I didn't freak out, because I feel even safer if I think my dad visited me to watch over me in his sleep. :-)

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/38273838898749440

Posted on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=187457954628532&id=100000899165880

Thank you for the interesting post Mara, and congrats, your book covers do look lovely!

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

Cindy McCune said...

I HAVE seen a ghost...when my Grandma died of Alzheimers she came to my bedroom and smiled at me. I knew she had her memories back and that moving on was a good thing for her. There was no anger, I was not scared. I rolled over and went to sleep...she moved on.
cindymac52 at copper dot net

Lady_Graeye said...

I felt a ghost but have not actually seen him. Our previous house had it's male figure pass away in it. He was an aweful person and I believe he had things to do here before he could pass on. His job in our house was to keep my kids safe and he did it well. We first noticed him when our twin girls were babies. When they where just a few weeks old we would put them on bed w/o their pacifers. When we woke we, they had their pacifers safely in their mouths. He would protect them during the night. Our son had asthma, when he had an attack our ghost would wake us. He was a great caretaker. When we sold the house and I was cleaning it he got upset. He would turn off the vaccum at the switch, turn down th radio and he even looked me out of the house. After we moved we never saw him again. I hoped he might have moved on...

Lady_Graeye said...

Whoops forgot my email...


clynsg said...

I have never seen a ghost, but when I worked in an old hospital building, most of the staff swore that there were several ghosts that roamed the floors. When I worked nights, the ice machine was in the basement, and no one would go down to get ice for the patients, because they were certain there were multiple hauntings there. That building was torn down when the new hospital was built (which is now 30 years old and probably has its own ghosts!)--don't know what happened to the ones from the old building, since that spot is now the parking lot.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Pat said...

I've never seen a ghost and don't want to, although I watch all the ghost hunting shows on tv and 90% of the books I currently read are paranormal. I remember one night waking up in pitch dark room and felt like I was paralyzed. I could not move a muscle and was terrified - so sure something was in the room with me. I hate it when that happens.

Linda Kish said...

I have never seen a ghost but my mom swore she saw my sister after she died. I've had long conversations with my sister across a table while I slept but I don't think that is the same.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Before I was born my parents told me about a house they moved in and had to move out of. They said every night you could hear someone walking up and down the stairs. One night while my father was in bed something jerked all the covers off him. Another time my brother who was little at the time came and told my parents there was a man standing at the foot of his bed. There were rumours that the house was the scene of murders. garrettsambo@aol.com

Sand said...

Growing up when I was at one of my friends house there were times where you'd see someone pass by and then when you'd look there was nobody there.

My friend claimed that they had an old lady ghost in the house and that was who I'd seen.

She wasn't a scary ghost, she was protective of the children in the house I was told.

Roseann K. said...

I have not seen a ghost, but I've heard stories from those who have. There's no reason not to believe....

lgm52 said...

I've never seen a ghost. But, I have heard (many times) footsteps in the upper story of a two story building...and the upper story is vacant! Scary!

Meredith said...

No, but most of my family (the older group) has claimed to see them in my great-aunt's house.

meredithfl at gmail dot com