1. Tell us about yourself.
I was born in England, where I grew up in huge and drafty old farm houses (one was part 16th century, part 17th century and part Victorian – and partly sinking into the marsh). These houses all had more than an occasional paranormal activity.
I eventually moved to California and while living in the Santa Cruz Mountains I bought a ranch with a portal through which ghostly visitors would drop by all the time. (This will be written about in book three!)
But it was not until I visited Hawaii, that a series of events occurred that made it mandatory to write about my experiences. During a session of meditation at the Kilauea crater I again experienced a visiting spirit. This time I was given a strong and clear message. I must write the ghost’s stories.
Now living in the high deserts of Arizona, I am an author and a commissioned artist. I am an Ordained Minister; with a degree in Metaphysical Psychology and working on my doctorate, this study is to assist me in my communication with spirits and higher beings, as well as to write to help people with their own communications and dreams. I am also a certified riding instructor, voted one of the top instructors in the US in 2009.
2. Tell us about your book and where it can be found.
The story is called The Black sand Beach, book one from the Paradise Saved series. Set in Hawaii in 2007, it follows the two opposing groups as they battle over the development of a black sand beach. Ancient burial grounds and historic ruins are the least of the items to be protected but the developers and the construction crew find it is not only the locals who are unfriendly, the land itself appears to rise up in protest.
Hawaii for the winter, accompanying her husband on a construction job, seemed like the most wonderful opportunity for Jess. That is until members of her husband’s crew started dying and she gets visits from a ghost with a vengeance. In order to save the man she loves, Jess turns to a new friend, Trudy, to find out why the beach seems to want to kill everyone. Then, finding out more than they bargained for, the two women realize the only way to leave alive and stay alive, is to appeal to the Mother of the island, the Volcano Goddess, Pele, and to stop their husbands from working on demolishing the goddess’s beach.
On the sandy shore, Pele stepped closer to the water’s edge. She had to take care approaching the water because a chance wave could hurt a fire elemental. Also, she remembered all too well the last time she tangled seriously with her sister; that time they had fought, Pele lost and gave up her mortal life.
“Sister,” Pele whispered to the ocean, “the destroyers are coming again for our last sacred heiu.” She leaned as close as she dared and held out her hands beseeching the ruler of the deep waters to help her. The sunshine glistened along the ripples of the water and sparkled through the empty waves with a joyful disregard to the goddess. Seabirds swooped splashing into the water with effortless grace, appearing moments later with a hapless fish, in blissful ignorance of the troubled immortal. Pele tried again to reach out to her sister, searching for the right words in her appeal.
“Let us join our powers once more and wash clean the mark of change with your magnificent waves. Let us restore our mother’s land and ensure that we alone keep hold of these shores. I feel a great danger drawing near again to our sacred world, my sister.”
Her tears fell hissing into the damp wave’s edge, blending smoking black pearls with the sparkling black sand grains.
She waited, fear and need battling within her, pulling her from the water and tugging her reluctant steps back in anticipation of a reply. The waves beckoned and approached but left empty and mocking without a sign that their ruler had heard the plea.
Pele’s sorrow quickly changed to anger at the lack of response.
Typical. As ever, her selfish sister chose to ignore Pele’s appeal.
“What was I thinking?” Pele stood there silently curling her hands into fists, her brows darkening as she glared with narrowed eyes at the frothy waves playing at her feet. She admonished herself for even trying to ask help from this empty body of water.
Pele’s anger grew, and the shore began to tremble beneath her feet.
As if prompted by the rebuke, out of sheer derision, the ocean responded with a tall crested wave. Pele gasped and staggered back from the edge as her dangerous, watery sister suddenly rose up high before her.
3. What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?
I wrote in school and won awards, got into magazines all that sort of great stuff, but squandered my talents writing marketing copy for years. I had a job a teenager or geek would have killed to get, totally wasted on me, though – I tested Atari prototype games and wrote the copy for the instruction booklets. The marketing team loved my stories for the fantasy fight games, they really looked forward to the next installments! It was later, after my visit to Hawaii in 2007 that I sat down for 7 months and did not get up until I finished my first full length novel.
4. Who has inspired you as an author?
So many inspiring writers to choose from! One of my favorites is Terry Pratchett, a British fantasy author, very funny writer, very clever, too. Another is Thomas Hardy, spectacular stories that live within you forever. Barbara Erskine writes wonderful supernatural. J.K. Rowling for her amazing success with her Harry Potter books… then I also work with highly talented authors at Moongypsy Press, amazing inspiration there!
5. What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Since this is my debut book I can only tell you what the initial reviewers said. One reviewer said that it was a definite for a Robert Redford movie, it was so good. Others have said it reminded them so strongly of Hawaii, the Aloha came through, and the spirit of Hawaii. All of them said they wanted more!
6. Do you have a specific time or place that you write?
I have an office with a computer center, I have multiple screens for writing and researching at the same time, so I can have a lot of information up to help me research the facts of the areas and the people I write about. I write when I am inspired, and have a number of projects I work on at the same time – anytime between 5:00am to midnight. I take breaks to walk across the desert with my dogs – that’s when I get a lot of inspiration and sit back down to write it before I forget.
7. What’s next for you?
I am working on Sedona’s Sorrow, book two in the Paradise Saved series – it is going to kick some butt – Jess, the heroine in the series, uncovers cults, finds lost tribes and generally puts the world to right while saving her husband from near death and her friend Trudy from the dangerous Dihn Dohn Yoga cult.
See my web site: Vanessa’s Site for more details.