5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, July 29, 2016!
In this supernatural thriller, shot through with biting wit, Maureen Keslyn checks herself in to Shadow Valley Manor to recuperate and rehabilitate from her last job. There, she runs afoul of the stern director and makes friends with some of the other residents, mostly older, all harboring either a secret or a grudge. With secrets of her own, like why she has her own Federal Agent checking up on her, and how she injured herself in the first place, Maureen fits right in, even as she sticks out like a thorn.
But Shadow Valley isn’t just for rest―Maureen is working undercover, seeking to find and eradicate whatever forces are picking off the residents (and staff) at a grisly clip. With her resources dwindling one death at a time, and unnatural forces seething to rise up once more, Maureen’s experience fighting the supernatural will be her only hope to destroy a clever and powerful evil―and her only chance at surviving it. She’ll need people as paranoid as she is―from the sheriff, to the undertaker’s daughter, to a cook whose knife skills in the kitchen could prove deadly out of it―if she is going to bring rest to the weary, and peace to the dead…
Exclusive interview with the author:
1) Dead Before Dying is a great title! Who came up with it? Was it the original title or did it change along the way?
The title evolved with the book. I love when that happens. The second book in this series has already gone to my editor and I still haven’t found the right title for it. But Dead Before Dying just jumped out at me and I knew it was the right title. There is a character in the book who wants to die, but can’t, because he’s already dead. And Maureen, the main character, fears that physical injury and advancing age are going to limit her in ways that will be like being dead before she’s able to die. So the title works on several different levels.
2) We’d love to hear all about the specific moment you got the idea for your book. Were you in the shower? Jogging? Out to dinner? When/how did your book idea actually hit you?
I was actually hanging out on Twitter with some friends, poking some friendly fun at the sparkly vampire craze. I started riffing on the idea that maybe a vampire who was a couple of hundred years old should actually look old, instead of like a teenage hunk. And then it came to me that a geriatric vampire would be interesting to write – especially if he was already old when he got turned. So I said maybe I should write a vampire with arthritis, in a wheelchair, who was confined to a nursing home. My writer friend Linda Grimes loved the idea and I wrote a first chapter for her as a joke. She read it and told me I needed to write more, and the idea grew from there.
3) Who’s your favorite character in the book and why? Who was the most fun to write?
Maureen, my main character in Dead Before Dying, is the most fun character I have ever written. I love that she’s older than your average kick-ass heroin and that this just makes her stronger. But Maureen does not let little things like aging or near fatal physical injuries stop her. She’s got serious skills and an attitude to match. I love that she has arrived at a point in her life where she doesn’t give a rat’s ass what anybody thinks about her. She says what she thinks and does what she pleases, all in the pursuit of dangerous paranormal elements. For Maureen, the more dangerous the situation, the happier she is.
4) What inspires you to wake up everyday and write?
Coffee. No joke. That and the rapid passage of time. I’m a little bit like Maureen in that I see time flying by and there are so many things I need to do before I get old. In my case there is no physical danger involved, just a lot of stories in my head that need to get onto the page. I have a day job, so my mornings start at 4:30 am. Coffee and my cats get me out of bed. I write from five to six and then get ready for work. If I’m still awake enough at the end of the day, I put in some more time before bed.
5) Series like these are fascinating because we want to know where the author is going and if he/she even knows where they’re going. So do you? Do you have it all plotted out in your head until the end or are you winging it as you go?
I am the poster girl for winging it. That said, I do have a general idea in my head where the series is going. And I know I want to explore each one of my supporting characters in more detail. One of the things I loved about the Buffy the Vampire show is the way each of the characters had episodes highlighting their own personal struggles and growth. So, in the Shadow Valley Manor series, the second book explores the gifts and challenges of the undertaker’s daughter, Sophronia, who has a certain affinity for the dead.
About the author:
Kerry Schafer writes fantasy with its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and, as Kerry Anne King, women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity. Fueled by massive amounts of coffee, she spins her tales in the early morning hours before beginning her day job as a clinic RN. Visit Kerry online at www.kerryschafer.com.
5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, July 29, 2016.
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