Happy Tuesday everyone! Yet another wonderful author interview for you all to enjoy today, with the lovely Annalise Hulse! I’ve also got a review of her novel, Gifted. Read on!
Annalise Hulse lives on the small island of Jersey with her husband, her son, a scruffy hairball of a dog and a mildly psychotic cat. She is the author of “Gifted”, the first instalment of the paranormal suspense quadrilogy “The Evangeline Devine Series” which is available on Amazon.com
“Twin”, the second instalment of the series, is scheduled for release in Autumn 2012.
When she is not busy at her day job or writing, Annalise likes spending time with her family and friends, watching movies (the scarier the better), drinking red wine, eating stinky cheese on digestive biscuits, watching her son play football, reading (especially Stephen King) and laughing as much as possible.
Hello Annalise, it’s a great pleasure to have you here, welcome to my blog.
Hi Miranda – thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here too.
As everyone knows in my interviews-random question first! If you could be any character from any book, who would you be and why?
I think I’d have to be Matilda Wormwood from Roald Dahl’s book “Matilda”. She’s clever and brave, loves books and has magical powers! Plus, now I’m 38 I’d love to go back to being a kid again. I’d quite like to be Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games too – just so that I could be totally kick-ass and look good wearing a lycra jumpsuit!!
I think I’d like to be for that reason alone! Your novel, Gifted, sounds really interesting. Can you tell us more about it?
Gifted is the first instalment of The Evangeline Devine Series, a YA supernatural suspense quadrilogy (with a bit of romance too!) that focuses on 17 year old Evangeline – Evie to her friends – and the strange events that unfold when she develops the ability to communicate with the dead after she nearly drowns. At first she just wants to be rid of her new “gift”, but when someone close to her dies, she is forced to accept it and use it in her quest to find the truth…….
Gifted is actually only the start of a much bigger story which develops over the series, but I don’t want to say too much and give the game away!
Hmm……intriguing! So what inspired this novel?
I’m a huge fan of the supernatural genre and I’d say that about 80% of what I read is in that area – I’m a diehard Stephen King fan! So I really wanted to write something in that genre too because it’s what interests me most and it’s what I’m familiar with. And it just so happens that Jersey, where I live and where the series is based, is the witchcraft capital of the British Isles. We may only be small (45 square miles) but we have a very dark history – druid burial grounds, witch trials, ghostly black dogs that roam the cliffs at night – you name it, we got it! (we’re also really friendly and have great beaches too – so don’t be put off if you were ever planning on visiting!) I used to make my Mum and Nan tell me the stories over and over when I was a kid, so they were a big influence behind “Gifted”. The Tombolenes are based on real Jersey legend and the story of Esther is also loosely based on real events that my Nan witnessed during the Nazi occupation of the island during World War II. The stories I’ve been told about local witchcraft are a feature as the series progresses too.
What books do you read? Do you read books in your genre, or books very different from it?
Like I said before, my preference tends to be for the supernatural genre, although I tend to read books that are perhaps a bit darker than the Evangeline Devine series, with more of a horror element. That said, I’ll give any book a try that looks intriguing – I’ve been on a big YA dystopian bender recently and I’m loving it! The only books that I probably would avoid are Mills & Boon type romances or anything that was overtly religious.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer? Do you remember what inspired you?
I started writing when I was really young, probably 7 or 8 and it was because of my Mum really. As a former school teacher, in the school holidays she’d always nag me to do something constructive rather than just lolling about watching cartoons all day and so I’d write stories – typical 8 year old girl stuff – discovering I was actually a princess or finding magic slippers. Then I went through a big black eyeliner and tie dye leggings phase in my teens and wrote lots of terribly serious, angst-ridden poetry heavily influenced by The Cure and Pearl Jam – really cringe-worthy stuff about the heartbreak of lost love (the geek that I’d been dating for approximately two weeks and who had dandruff and rode a motorbike that sounded like a hairdryer) and the general torment of being a misunderstood 15 year old (you realise how great it was once you hit 30!). It was all very bad, though I’m sure I thought I was the next Sylvia Plath at the time. My writing got kind of patchy after that, because I got distracted by general life stuff like taking professional exams, getting married, having my son. I’d do odd bits here and there, but it’s only been in the last eighteen months that I’ve really come back to it seriously. I needed a project I really felt strongly about to get me back into it and when I came up with the idea for the Evangeline Devine series, it was my husband that suggested I stop talking about it and actually do it.
Where can we find your novels?
Gifted is currently available on Amazon (US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT) in e-book format only, but it is currently being looked at by a publisher, so if anything comes of that then it should also be available in paperback. I’ll be posting updates on my blog, Twitter, Goodreads etc as and when I get any news.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Tons! I’ve got enough plot outlines planned to keep me going for about the next decade. Inspiration is never a problem – its finding the time to write it all! Twin, the second instalment in the Evangeline Devine series should be out in November time and then I’m hoping to get the final two books written and released in 2013. After that I’ll be working on finishing a novel that I already started – it’s a black comedy with a supernatural twist with the working title “Midlife”. I’m also planning on releasing a few short horror stories in between time too – but they will be quite a lot darker than what I’ve written before.
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has downloaded Gifted so far and to all the bloggers and tweeters and Goodreaders who have helped to promote it. I only released it in April and I’ve been blown away by the interest and support that it’s received. I really loved writing it and it means so much to know that people actually seem to enjoy reading my ramblings too! It makes all the mornings of rolling into work with one eye still shut because I stayed up half the night writing totally worth it.
What really happens when we die?
It wasn’t a question that seventeen year old Evangeline Devine – Evie to her friends – had ever thought about much. There was no reason why she should – her life on the small island of Jersey with her family and best friend Seth was untouched by tragedy, idyllic even.
Until the day that Evie nearly dies herself. When Seth pulls her from the watery depths that nearly claim her life, Evie is no longer the carefree girl she was. For now she is the recipient of an unwelcome supernatural gift. Now the dead are all around and impossible to ignore.
But when someone close to her dies mysteriously, Evie is forced to embrace her new power, for she may be the only one that can prove that it was no accident. Someone is getting away with murder.
With only the spirit world for guidance, Evie sets out to uncover the truth and find the vital evidence she needs to get the case re-opened.Soon she finds herself torn between her feelings for best friend Seth, who she’s begun to see in a whole new light since he saved her life, and the powerfully charismatic Piers Du Pont, who she finds herself inexplicably drawn to, even though he might just be the killer that she seeks.
As events unfold, dark secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested to their limits and Evie discovers that the path that Fate has chosen for her is more terrifying than she ever could have imagined.
Life, should she survive, will never be the same again……….
I really enjoyed this book. I know I’m not the target audience, but I can see mothers and daughters alike trying to fight over who gets to read this first! One of the best points of the story was the voice of Evie. She had a very strong voice as she narrated this story, but she also sounded her age, something that is sometimes missed when adult authors write younger characters. The descriptions were very powerful, such as when Evie enters a soul’s essence, and were vivid and entertaining. It was also rich in characters, and they had me showing every emotion throughout this book, from smiling to crying! It was great to see a wise old Grandmother character as well, as she is someone who doesn’t always show up any more!
I thought it was interesting that the author did some of the chapters from other characters points of view, but I also felt it was unnecessary. Seth’s sometimes felt a little too similar to Evie’s, which may very have been the point of course. But I didn’t think it was needed, I would have preferred to have it told just from Evie’s eyes, so that we could be as she was, guessing about everyone’s motives.
This was a great book. I thought it was a great twist of originality on ghosts and the afterlife. I also loved Evie, who was yet another of those female characters who is strong and actually decides to do something, rather than waiting for the story to come to her! The storyline was engaging and well-flowing, although it took me a little while to get into the story further after the initial ‘incident’ at the beginning. I would recommend this book (across all ages, I might add) to anyone who wants to read a book that seems realistic in it’s approach and descriptions, but uses a chilling genre at the same time.
I would give it………4/5 stars!