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.
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?
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!
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
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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.