Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interview and Giveaway: A Hold on Me by Pat Esden

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I’m a native New Englander and perhaps its from the long dark winters or the rambling old house I grew up in, but I’ve always been both terrified and in love with all things paranormal. I suspect that’s what led me to write gothic paranormal.  

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires, that fascinates you so much?

I like vampires and werewolves. But I’m more interested in ghosts, demons, and magic in general. I like the idea that some of these things may be real—there just beyond the mundane.

What inspired you to write this book?

Johnny Depp and our shared love for the old TV series Dark Shadows inspired me to write A HOLD ON ME. I was writing a different novel at the time, but when I heard Depp was working with Tim Burton on a remake of the show, it struck me that having fun and creating something you’ve always wanted to try was important to me as well. However, I didn’t have the desire to create a campy remake of Dark Shadows. I wanted to write a gothic novel that had an atmosphere reminiscent of the show and also to the romantic suspense novels from the same time period—but with an updated flare and sizzle to make it appealing to contemporary readers.

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?

I often use placeholder names until the right one hits me. It has a lot to with the sound of the name, as well as it fitting the character’s heritage and the time period. There are often hidden meanings in my character’s names. However, the name of one of the main characters in A HOLD ON ME was chosen differently. My mother chose Chase’s name. It is a surname on my mother’s side of the family. My mother passed away before the book was sold, but his name remains a tribute to her.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Yes, Annie, the main character.  I knew what she was like, but it was hard to keep her consistent and not interject myself into her character. Also, A HOLD ON ME is written only from her point of view. I had to always keep in mind that I might know what was going to happen later in the book and series, but she did.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I love all my characters for different reasons. I’ve grown particularly fond of Annie’s cousin Selena. She’s smart, headstrong, and has a wild streak that makes her fun—but she’s also naïve. I’d love to write a novel just from her point of view.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

When the idea for A HOLD ON ME first came, I visualized it starting with an older teenage girl standing in the ocean while her father watched from the shore. Behind them were cliffs and a mansion. This scene didn’t end up being the beginning of the novel, but it still is there almost exactly as I first visualized. To me this scene represents the emotional core of this story.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

Definitely. Continuously. So many details of this and all my novels are cool, real life things.  My Pinterest boards hint at some of these details. This is especially true in BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book 2, Dark Heart series). 

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

It’s perhaps not the most interesting, but I recently went to a car dealership and asked the salesman to help me figure out the best way to break into the trunk of a Mustang. The locking systems change from year to year and I wanted to make sure I had the details right.

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?

A HOLD ON ME starts with Annie having only a narrow view of a much larger—nearly epic—story. Book 1 doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but Annie’s world has changed and she has a whole new set of challenges and decisions to make.  I’d recommend reading the novels in order, for the reader to discover the mysteries and fall in love along with Annie. BEYOND YOUR TOUCH (book 2, Dark Heart series) will come out August 30th and a third book will come out early in 2017.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

For me writers block is a huge sign that I’ve taken a wrong turn. I need to stop and rethink about what I’m trying to work on. A large part of writing doesn’t happen sitting at a computer, it has to do with feed and listening to my instincts and muse. I’m better off to take a day off and do something not related to the story than worry about being seemingly blocked.

A Hold on Me
Dark Heart Series
Book One
Pat Esden

Genre: New adult gothic/paranormal romance

Publisher: Kensington Books

Date of Publication: February 23, 2016

ISBN-10: 1496700058
ISBN-13: 978-1496700056

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 90k

Book Description:

She never wanted to return.

He wants nothing more than for her to leave.

But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.

Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.

Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self.

Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy...

Indiebound     Amazon    BN    Books a Million

Chapter 1

“There are things darker than night, darker than the souls of wicked men or a woman of unchained passions. Believe me, for I have known them well.”
Josette Savoy Abrams
Beach Rose House. Bar Harbor, Maine

Most people went to church to save their souls, but not Dad and I. We went there to see the priest about treasure.
It was a cold day in February and the church was an abandoned stone chapel on a back road near our home in Vermont. With its gloomy stained-glass windows and carvings of gargoyles under its sagging eaves, the chapel was exactly the kind of place where antique pickers like Dad and I could find the weird treasures and the gothic furniture our customers loved to buy. And, as luck would have it, the bishop had given the local priest permission to sell the entire contents as he saw fit.
The priest glanced once more at the grungy pews and the statue of St. Anthony with its chipped fingers and peeling paint. “Now that you’ve seen everything, are you still interested?”
Dad gave my shoulder a squeeze. “What do you think, Annie?”
“Ah--” I let my voice crack as if my jitteriness was nerves instead of excitement, then I met the priest’s eyes.  “One price for everything, right?”
“For all the contents. That doesn’t include anything that’s part of the structure. No windows, attached light fixtures, doors, none of those sorts of things.” His tone left no room for debate.
Dad looked down, scratching his elbow while I took a scrap of paper and a pen from the turned up sleeve of my bulky sweater. I jotted down the offer he and I had covertly agreed on when the priest had turned away for a moment, then handed it to the priest.
The priest’s brow furrowed as he studied the paper.  He ran a finger under his collar, cleared his throat, and finally glanced at Dad. “Perhaps you should look at this before we agree?”
Dad waved off his suggestion.  “This was her idea. The offer is hers to make.”
“All right, then,” the priest said. “We have a deal.”
I counted out a thin stack of hundreds and gave them to him.  In turn, he passed Dad the church keys, all neatly labeled.  The truth was, he wasn’t the sort of person who would have ever believed a twenty-year-old girl with ripped jeans and a stud in her nose could know the first thing about valuing antiques—as Dad and I had hoped.
“Sorry I can’t stay and help,” he said, “but I have to get back to St. Mary’s in time for Mass. When you’re finished taking what you want, leave the keys in the box outside the door. I hope you find enough to make this worth your effort.” 
“I hope so too,” Dad said, without cracking a smile. But, as soon as the priest went out the front door, he did a little victory dance and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Perfectly played. If I’d given him an offer that low, he’d have thought I was up to something for sure.”
Every inch of me tingled with anticipation. “So, where do you want to begin?” I asked.  
Dad jangled the keys. “It appears the priest neglected to give us one very specific key. The one to the only room he didn’t take us into or even mention.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me curious.”
“The sacristy?”  I said.
“That would be the one. Did you notice how he fidgeted with his collar, too?”
“I figured he thought everything was junk—that he was nervous I’d offered too much and that you’d back out.”
“That’s possible. But don’t ever underestimate your opponent. There could be something else behind his uneasiness. Perhaps he hid something in the sacristy, something of value he hoped the diocese would forget. Priests are men, after all. They come in all shades of honesty, like the rest of us.” He stroked his chin, a sure sign that he was about to launch into one of his home-brewed tales. “You remember the story about my wicked great-uncle Harmon and the Canary Island sirens? He always claimed to be a spiritual man, forthright and faithful to his wife. . . .”
I loved listening to Dad’s crazy stories. But, as he began an abridged version of a tale that easily could have gone on for an hour, the word faithful sent my mind veering in a different direction--to me and Taj and a matinee of Romeo and Juliet, to his practiced fingers slipping under my skirt, up my inner thighs. The rush of desire. His words hot and moist against my neck:  “Oh, baby, c’mon. I want you so bad.”
Men come in all shades of honesty for sure.

About the Author:

Pat Esden would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Visit her online at

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Pat Esden said...

Thanks for interviewing me. I appreciate it. Great questions too!

Renee Rousseau said...

I enjoyed your interview and Chapter 1. Congratulations!