Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I’ve long had a fascination with ghosts and things that go bump in the night. I suppose I’m also a bit of a ghoul – ghastly murders fascinate me – I feel drawn to places and objects that have horrific histories. I dread to think what this means – but writing about it all is definitely cheaper than visiting a shrink!
What inspired you to write this book?
A story that someone told me – they were dealing with a real life Rafaela – the murderous and psychotic ex-wife in the book. It was truly terrifying and I knew that I wanted to put this crazy woman in a story. She seemed to drip with venom and evil – irristible for a writer!
Also, San Francisco. The city is almost a character in itself – I love this city, I love its history, its atmosphere, its politics and most of all its ghosts. San Francisco is riddled with ghosts.
Please tell us about your latest release.
Before there were Angels deals with a couple under siege by the husband’s unhinged ex-wife. They have moved into a haunted ‘Victorian’ with a terrible past – and yet as events spiral out of control, it begins to appear that ghosts don’t have to be dead.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Actually the names in my books are usually bastardized versions of people that I know. I like to have a little fun with it. Friends often get cameo roles. Enemies have been known to be murdered… horribly.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
I once broke into a property where somebody rather famous had died. I then got myself locked in and had to spend the night in the bedroom where the body had lain, undiscovered for some days. I tend to do my breaking and entering with an assistant/look out these days.
With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?
This is the first book. Though I am now working on the sequel and there have been some discussions about a prequel.
Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
Hah! My protagonist’s wife is very like me. She also is obsessed with morbidity and ghosts. Perhaps I should send her to a therapist in the next book?
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I have deadlines and agents and publishers to keep happy. Sure, there are days when I’m feeling less creative but I just have to write through it. Keep writing – write anything – just get your word count done. Sometimes I have to delete everything I wrote the next day, but the exercise keeps you moving forward, disciplined and often opens up different directions for the book that you hadn’t considered before. What I’m trying to say is the only way out of writer’s block is to write through it. That’s what works for me, anyway.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
The desk that I write on came from a house where the whole family was killed – there’s a blood stain on it. Apart from that, I mainline coffee. I think most writers do.
Do you write in different genres?
I do – under different names.
Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?
No, not at all – though I do need to finish one project before the next – I need to immerse myself in the atmosphere and if you’re trying to write a cook-book at the same time as a paranormal horror, I find your steak recipes can get a bit bizarre.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When I was four years old and I wrote and illustrated my auto-biography. I also included my death – which was falling from a hot air balloon at the grand old age of twenty-eight. Pleasingly, unlike some of my characters, I do not appear to have the gift of foresight. (That said, I still haven’t been in a hot-air balloon.)
What are your guilty pleasures in life?
I’m like a magpie – I can’t walk past a costume jewellery stand without buying something sparkly. Handbags are another weakness. Red wine in the bath and trashy TV on my laptop. Oh – and visiting haunted houses and hideous death scenes. At least I’m well accessorized when I do visit!
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
I’m a simple soul – give me a book and a dog at my feet and a cat on my lap and I’m happy.
What was the last amazing book you read?
The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna. Knocked my socks off – a must for any ghost-story fans.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
In the bath, in bed, in the car (not while driving!). The only time I don’t have a book in my hands is when I’m writing one.
What can readers expect next from you?
The sequel to Before there were Angels.
Where can readers find you on the web?
I’m not very good at publicity, but I’m told by my publishers that there will be a Facebook page shortly – so you’ll be able to reach me there. Please come and join me – I’d be happy to answer any questions anyone has. Also – I love to hear people’s ghost stories!!
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Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
Before There Were Angels
She was the ex-wife who wouldn't go away
When Luke leaves his wife, Rafaella, divorces her, moves to the US, meets Belle, falls in love with her, and then marries her and her two young sons, they all settle down to live happily ever after.
Until Belle spots an ad for a classic San Franciscan Victorian in which four murders have just taken place. It's ideal: it's a Victorian, it is probably haunted and it is unbelievably cheap to rent.
However, they could probably have done without the terror, torment and tragedy that pursued them in their new house.
Should they have stayed in their cozy mid-city apartment and spared themselves the anguish of what was to come? Possibly, but Rafaella was not the kind of woman who was ever going to leave them alone.
There was a time when everything was perfect, when there was pure love, and pure hope, and pure dreams – pure ecstasy.
We had it all.
But that was in the time before there were angels. Avenging angels.
And some angels will avenge anything.
When I saw her for the first time, that was it. Pure love even pure thoughts, for a second or two.
She was tall, lithe-limbed, with knowing eyes and Scandinavian white hair that invited me to dive my fingers into it to make her tense and preen.
Yes, those pure thoughts really did only last a few seconds.
Astonishingly, my immediate reaction to her was reciprocated. She wanted to rake her hands through my hair too (dark and tangled) and to run them down me as we kissed, as she told me afterwards many times when we reminisced about that first meeting.
We were a human taste explosion that neither of us had ever experienced with anyone else, and it wasn’t as if either of us was inexperienced.
Nothing had ever happened to us like this and nothing could again, or so we thought.
We were magic together from that first moment of that impossible soul fusion.
And already our best moments were behind us, and not for want of trying.
Before she became an avenging angel.
About the Author- Sarah Mathews
Sarah Mathews lives in San Francisco and has written her first book set in an architectural symbol of the city - a 'Victorian'.