Mara Purnhagen is the author of the Past Midnight series. I found the series totally by accident and have been a fan ever since! The blend of 'ghost hunter debunkers' and Young adult paranormal is just amazingly unique and the series has been a must read for me.
Now the third part in the series, Beyond the Grave, is out this week and I couldn't resist asking Mara some questions about the series and what the future holds.
I hope you enjoy the interview and will enter the contest! Mara is giving away a signed book to one lucky entrant!
Mara - Beyond the Grave is the final book in my Past Midnight series. I think it’s a solid conclusion to the series, and everything is wrapped up. It’s bloodier than the previous books. We also get to see Bliss Reynolds in a new light. I’ve had a plan for her since I began writing the books, and I’m happy that her story really comes out in this novel.
Amber - Charlotte has already had a few paranormal experiences so far. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book?
Mara - I remember thinking, what would truly scare me? And the first image that came to mind was a grown man crawling down the middle of a street. I don’t know why that popped into my head, but it was weird and creepy and I thought, I just have to have this. I try to think about events or images that would scare me, and I go with those.
Mara - Writing the novellas was much, much harder than I expected. The novels had been completed, so I had to write stories that could stand alone and not affect the major plots. They are intended to be more character-driven than paranormal-driven. What’s nice about the novellas is that they are offered for free during the month they are released. Haunting the Night comes out on August 1 and will be free! I love that. I think it’s a great way to say thank you to the readers.
Amber - Are any of the ghosts/hauntings based on 'real' stories?
Mara - Not really. I read about a lot of common types of sightings (such as ghosts seen on staircases) and tried to make them my own. In One Hundred Candles, I mention a ghost dog. The story is very loosely based on a cat I had. After he died of old age, my kids (who were toddlers) kept saying they saw the cat sitting beneath the dining room table. I never saw him, but I loved the idea of pet coming back just to say hi.
Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?
Mara - Some of the research was very technical. In Beyond the Grave, I wanted to show Charlotte getting back to work in a different way, so I have her and Shane editing footage for a DVD. I was lucky to be able to rely on the expertise of my younger brother, who works as local news anchor in Dayton, Ohio. He took me through the detailed process of how a DVD would be put together, and I double-checked with him to make sure those scenes made sense.
Amber - What comes next? Are there going to be more books/novella's in the series? Are you working on anything else?
Mara - There is one more novella, which will be released on August 1 online. It’s called Haunting the Night, and it takes place a few weeks after the events of One Hundred Candles. Charlotte returns to Charleston for a few days to visit her sister—and to get away from something that has been stalking her.
Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the covers?
Amber - What made you want to be a writer? Were there any books or authors that had an influence on you?
Mara – I’ve always been a story teller, ever since I was young. And I’ve always loved books. I began writing stories in elementary school. It’s hard to pinpoint a single author who had the greatest influence on me. Instead, I think years of reading helped me to form my internal voice, the one I hear when I sit at my computer.
Amber - Would you ever be able to write a book together with another author? If yes, which author would you like to work with and why?
Amber - I saw on your blog that CBS bought the TV option to Past Midnight! Any news on that? You must be really excited!
Mara - I’ve known about the deal for a long time, but couldn’t say anything until recently. Lots of books are picked up for TV options, but only a handful make it through to the pilot stage. That’s what I’m hoping for now—to see a pilot. If that ever happens, I’m going to throw a huge party. Huge as in epic. But I’m not holding my breath. It was a nice pat on the back, though.
Amber - So I have to ask! Which actors/actresses would you like to see playing the main characters from your books?
Mara - So many actors and actresses have the same look. I’d want someone totally different—an unknown to play Charlotte would be nice. But I hear some of the cast of Glee will be “graduating” and looking for work—maybe they’d like a change of pace on a paranormal show?
Mara - I enjoyed reading Gayle Forman’s Where She Went, , Matched by Ally Condie, Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer, and The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott. As far as TV, summer is all about reruns. I am eagerly awaiting the new season of The Walking Dead, but I have to wait until October!
Amber - I know you told me in our previous interview that you have never seen a ghost but if you did get to see one, is there any particular one you would like to see and why?
Mara - I think it would be cool to tour a castle and catch a glimpse of a former king or queen. It would be like witnessing a paranormal piece of history!
Amber - Thank you again for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog!
Mara - Thanks for having me!
Past Midnight Series :
#1 - Past Midnight
#1.5 - Raising the Dead
#2 - One Hundred Candles
#2.5 - Haunting the Night
#3 - Beyond the Grave (Releases this week!)
Mara is giving away a signed copy of Beyond the Grave to one lucky entrant!
How To Enter?
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Thank you to Julie S for suggesting the question. You have an automatic entry to the contest!
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The contest will stay open until Sunday 28th of August 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.