Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am delighted to welcome Tina O’Hailey to my blog today, especially as she has kindly answered my questions! Please read on to discover her replies, as well as more about her and this book, ‘When Darkness Begins’ . . . .
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
The series started when I moved to TN in 2005. I had written a thriller with these lovely characters and was in the re-write process. When I moved to TN I fell in love with caving. I asked my characters, Brandy and Susan, “What would you do if you were cavers?” and a new book was born. That book, called ABSOLUTE DARKNESS, was published in 2018. Together, they found the character Alexander basically living in a cave. He’d been there for 10,000 years. I had to find out WHO he was and WHERE he came from and WHY he was so tragically falling in love with Linears (mortals, like you and me). My editor put a note in that manuscript that asked a simple “what if?”. I asked that what if —and uncovered the origin of Alexander in this new YA novel WHEN DARKNESS BEGINS.
What is your writing process?
Everything in my life is ritual based. Some call it OCD, others efficiency…
When I write non-fiction I task myself to a chapter a month with an added month in the schedule for “nothing”—when something will break, or I just won’t feel like it, or something throws me off schedule.
For fiction—I’ve found that I think about the setting, world, basic outline, and characters during the early summer while on motorcycle rides; research and read books in the genre in the fall during my commute to work; finalize the outline by October; then blurt out the rough draft in Novel November; write more at a slower pace in December; then edit gently from January–June; edit harshly the following summer, and turn it into the publisher by September. That said, I MAY slow down just slightly this next year to write in a new genre.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
I tend to start with an outline in a sketchbook and idea fragments. Then eventually I work that into word documents on the computer. When I’m full on writing—it is at the computer. I type wicked fast and my handwriting can not be read nor can it keep up with my brain. I tried recording my thoughts when I drive but ended up telling myself what to write more than writing: a total mess.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
I do like Alexander. I wanted to know what he was like as a child. His name was Aithagg then. He’s lived so long he’s changed his name often. Who was his first love? What tragic thing happened in his past and makes him stand alone—away from all of his kind? Why does he fall in love with Linears repeatedly? How did he survive 10,000 years? I had so many questions and I was able to explore them in When Darkness Begins. His people are Vechey and they have evolved via a grand-design to be mostly immortal. Their matriarch and shaman, Eterili, is eternal and reincarnates with the universe. This time around she brought the Vechey into being. Alexander is just a pawn in her universe and I find him so tragic for that. He’s not even aware.
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
Part of me would like to be Eterili. There are many upsides to her life: immortal and has lived through thousands of universe timelines over the eons. Each time the universe collapses and is reborn – she is with it. She has seen everything, learned everything, and she can’t be “killed” in a traditional sense. The down side is that if she does get “killed” she has to wait—conscious and aware—for the universe to collapse, regenerate, and for her dust particles to coalesce until she can be born again. Boring. Also, when we meet her she is so very old and seemingly decrepit that she has let all personal hygiene go.
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
Alexander was first called Al. (Cue a 1980’s song in your head, please.) But it didn’t suit his very polished, very gentlemanly manner. As I wrote Absolute Darkness he became Alexander very quickly. For When Darkness Begins I wanted him to have a different name as a child to signify that he has to go through a transformation before he becomes Alexander. I used a name generator for that! His and all of the other pre-historic names came from a name generator. Then I was going by feel. Aithagg. That felt young and naive.
Thank you so much for kindly answering my questions and, as your rituals work for you, I’d keep them going!
Read on to discover more about When Darkness Begins . . . .
If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
US PAPERBACK: https://tinyurl.com/skcnw8j
US KINDLE: https://tinyurl.com/ych2kb7r
UK Paperback: https://tinyurl.com/y9yjgx8b
UK KINDLE: https://tinyurl.com/y8824kbb
Author Bio –
Tina O’Hailey is a professor in animation and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves (if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet), whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee. Tina was once struck by lightning.
She has served as an artistic trainer for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Electronic Arts. Any movie credit she has is minimal and usually found in the special thanks section. The meager credits do not account for the great honor it was to teach talented artists who worked on numerous feature films and games.
She has authored animation textbooks “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation” published by Focal Press and the Darkness Universe novels “Absolute Darkness” and “When Darkness Begins” published by Black Rose Writing.
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Many thanks to Tina O’Hailey for answering my questions and to Rachel’s Random Resources for providing other content for this post and organising the tour it is part of.