Cover reveal for Gears of Brass steampunk fairytale anthology featuring SA Larson & interview with Gwen Gardner for Ghostly Gallows

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And now, Gwen Gardner talks about her Indigo Eady books, including Ghostly Gallows

Tell us about your main characters
Indigo Eady is a sixteen year old teen psychic and ghost whisperer. She’s American, but when her father dies she goes to live with her uncle and cousin in a small medieval village in England called Sabrina Shores. She was little prepared for how much spirit activity dwelled in a place so old, which leads to a lot of mishaps and mayhem! Simon Eady is her cousin and best friend, who is just starting to discover his own psychic abilities. Badger Bagley is Indigo’s love interest and Simon’s best friend. Together the three find themselves investigating the case of the missing paranormals.

In what ways do they change?
Indigo probably changes the most. Initially she took a back seat and tried not to upset the status quo with her so-called ‘gift.’ She was uncomfortable with her abilities because of bullying from those who didn’t understand it. But since it’s exactly the skill needed to find missing ghosties, she grows into her part in the investigation.

Give us your favorite line from your protagonist
“What do you mean by under the weather? He’s dead, how can he be sick?” ~Indigo, Second Death.

From an antagonist
She cackled humorlessly. “Not you, dear boy, though I daresay you will be scrumptious when the time comes. A nice pure soul is quite satisfying.”

An emblematic, teaser paragraph
I jumped to my feet. “NO! There must be some mistake!” I yelled into the room before I realized words had left my numb lips. Anyway, they were drowned out by a cacophony of voices erupting simultaneously. Lights streaked haphazardly around the room as spirits joined their friends in a maelstrom of objections, all heads and fingers turned toward me. The proceedings had turned into a truly English parliamentary mash-up of dissent and I feared I might be headed to the gallows for being an imposter.

What keeps you going when your inspiration flags?
I feel so lucky I can do this. When I was growing up, there were no expectations of me, except to go to work when and if I finished high school. So, I didn’t have any dreams until much later in life. When my husband first mentioned that I could go to college (I graduated at 41) I was flabbergasted. I could do that? My lifelong love of reading led to a love of writing. I started writing my first novel at 50. As any writer will tell you, writing is an addiction. I can’t stop. It’s such a high, even when the low times make me question what I’m doing. Bottom line is, I’ll never forget how lucky I am to have found something I love doing, perhaps more so because it happened for me later in life.

Best words of advice you ever received?
“Lower your standards.” When I first started writing, I was afraid to put a word down wrong. It made it nearly impossible to write a line or a paragraph when I was never satisfied with what I’d written. I joined a guided writing group and the hostess told me to lower my standards. Perfection comes with editing. You can’t edit until you write something. So I let myself be less than perfect. And anyway, I’m an imperfect perfectionist.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve received bad writing advice, but what I’ve learned is to be aware of the rules and guidelines. Just because there’s a rule doesn’t mean you have to follow it every time. i.e., I’ve read never use “I was” or  “there was.” Sometimes, though, that’s the only way to say it.

Can you offer writing advice to aspiring and new authors?
Writers are notoriously hard on themselves. Just get what you want to say down on paper, no matter how bad you think it is. Practice writing, share with critique partners, then perfect it in editing. It’s a process, so give yourself a break.

Which do you enjoy writing most: action, romance, setting, dialog?
Interior dialogue. Getting inside Indigo Eady’s head can be hilarious. She cracks me up!

A hint of what you’re working on next?
I don’t want to give away my theme or plot. Writers are a secretive lot! But I’m thinking of calling my next series, I’m So Scrooged. Clearly it will be a bit snarky *wink*

How is it writing a trilogy? Biggest challenges? Fun aspects?
The biggest challenge is providing back story without it being an info dump. Information dumps are boring to a reader so it’s important to give it to them in pieces they can handle, and that don’t slow down the momentum of the current story. A good rule of thumb is to not use more than a line or two of back story at a time. You can also relay it through dialogue. The fun aspect is using the same characters. You’ve been inside their heads, and you know their quirks and faults. And yeah, you love them like your children!

What is the most important theme of book one? Book Two?
In Second Death, book I of the Afterlife novella series, Indigo and her fellow sleuths don’t understand what they’re up against. The theme is investigating the disappearances of members of the Sabrina Shores spirit community. They have a small measure of success, but realize at the end there’s a lot they don’t understand.
In Ghostly Gallows, book II of the Afterlife novella series, the investigation deepens and intensifies as the sleuths finally realize what they’re up against. And it’s not pretty!
The Afterlife novella series is about investigating and finding missing paranormals. To go beneath the surface, the characters involved in the investigation each have their own reasons for caring so much about finding the missing spirits. Every incremental success is empowering to these teens as they’re still discovering their own self-worth. On a deeper level, the theme is about those of different backgrounds coming together in a cooperative effort for the common good of humanity.

Care to share a hint of what’s to come in book three?
Well, the kids come out alive. But let’s say that while Indigo stood before the spirit-judge Lord Greyheart, the peanut gallery was not sitting back quietly. The ghosties were taking odds and money was being exchanged down to the last minute as to how much trouble Indigo was in and what her punishment would be because of her questionable investigative methods.

Ghostly Gallows blurb
The case of missing paranormals is far from solved. Hundreds of Sabrina Shores’ spirits are still missing. In Second Death, Indigo and her friends escape an eternity underground in evil clutches. Back aboveground with a few missing ghosties happily in tow, one truth is painfully clear: the size of their problem is bigger than the village cemetery itself. Now in Ghostly Gallows, new information leads Indigo and her fellow investigators to the ruins of Gallowsgate Prison, long abandoned by everyone and everything except malevolent spirits. It’s not called Gallowsgate for nothing when the noose swings a little too close to home. 

Much to her chagrin, Indigo Eady is a celebrity among spirits. She’s the girl who can see and speak with them. She has a proven track record in helping spirits find their murderers, so it’s no surprise when she’s drafted onto the Missing Paranormal Committee. Who better to help them than the experienced teenage ghost whisperer- investigator and her friends? 

Connect With Gwen Here: Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Goodreads

Buy Ghostly Gallows Here:  Amazon / B&N / Google Play

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter. Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series and Afterlife series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face – but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate – not necessarily in that order.

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