An Interview with When Darkness Follows: Beyond the Grave Series, Author, Athena Daniels. The only man who can save her, is the one she swore she’d never see again… **Excerpt**
Beyond the Grave Series
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sunset Coast Publishing
Date of Publication: 29th May, 2018
Number of pages: 303
Word Count: 115K
Cover Artist: Damonza
An Interview with Athena Daniels
Author of When Darkness Follows
Hi everyone! *waves* Thanks so much for having me here!
Tell us about your newest book.
Thank you so much for asking! When Darkness Follows was inspired by a real haunted shipwreck not far from where I live called, The Alkimos.
The Alkimos is a reportedly cursed ship with a dark history of tragedy, wrecked on the northern beaches of Western Australia south of Yanchep.
Anyone who knows me, knows of my interest and fascination with anything paranormal. I love delving into the history behind old buildings, objects and artefacts, and uncovering the real-life stories behind genuine unexplained paranormal activity.
Locals at the café near the Alkimos shipwreck will tell you the stories of horses that avoid that stretch of beach, and the dogs that act strangely, barking and staring at things only they can see… Of course, my interest was piqued, especially over the sightings of an apparition of a human figure wearing rubber boots and a dark grey seaman’s coat (oilskins), known as Harry.
The Alkimos has a long dark history, and an even longer list of mysterious and tragic occurrences and illness. Too much bad luck, some would say, to be written off as mere co-incidence.
Rachel Sommers and her two best friends don’t believe anything will happen when they sneak onto a haunted shipwreck in the middle of the night. Why would they? Ghosts don’t actually exist… right?
But Rachel and her friends disturb something that night. Something demonic. Something that lured Rachel to the ship. And now one of her friends is dead, the other is missing, and Rachel’s memory of the night is gone. There’s only one thing she knows for sure: whatever killed her friend has followed her home.
Over a century ago, an act of bitter jealousy and revenge tainted a crystal ball with an unstoppable evil. And when the deadly object eerily turns up in her bedroom, Rachel’s nightmare really begins.
The only man who can help her, is the one she swore she’d never see again.
Ex-Special Forces detective Daniel Smith takes the case the moment Rachel’s name appears on his screen. Rachel is the only woman he’s ever loved, but despite their explosive chemistry, she’s determined to keep him at a distance.
With Rachel’s life on the line, the disturbing truth about her ancestry and the possessed object she has inherited must be uncovered. But is it already too late? Daniel will risk everything to save the woman he loves, but how can he win this lethal game of cat and mouse against a killer that is not flesh and blood?
Sounds like an awesome story. Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
Writing isn’t easy, but I love writing, so for me the process itself is a pleasure. The hardest part of writing When Darkness Follows was when Rachel’s best friend, Rob, was under the influence of the dark entity the friends came into contact with on the haunted ship. It’s hard to go to the darker places, then slip right back into everyday family life.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
My first novel, Desperate was published through Evernight Publishing in January 2015. Since then, I’ve written the first four books in my Beyond the Grave series: The Seer’s Daughter, The Alchemist’s Son, Girl Unseen, and When Darkness Follows. In November this year, I will be releasing a novel not part of the series. It is something very different to the paranormal series and is under wraps at the moment. I will be releasing details in the next few weeks.
I can't wait to hear more about it.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
That is such a good question. Nothing about writing or publishing has been what I thought it would be. When I first wrote Desperate, I never even considered being published. I wrote it between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. as a creative outlet for ‘me’. There’s a certain freedom in writing that way. The novel was edited by chance when an author I followed on Facebook said she had openings in her editing schedule. A few months later she followed up with me wondering if I’d managed to get published. I hadn’t done anything with it at all! She encouraged me to submit the novel, and after I did I had three offers for publication within four weeks. I signed with Canadian publisher, Evernight Publishing, and my first romantic thriller, Desperate was published in January 2015.
After that, I set about learning everything I could about the craft of writing and the ever-changing world of publication. One thing I try to remind myself often is to tune out the negativity and often conflicting advice out there and remember the creative freedom of when I wrote my first novel just ‘for me’.
Excellent advice. What was your most difficult scene to write?
I’d have to say the most challenging scenes are the darker ones. The serial killer, Lucky and demon-possessed Rob.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing a novel that I’ve been working on for quite a while now. I actually set it aside to write When Darkness Follows, but I’ve since picked it back up again. It is scheduled for release in November and is not part of the Beyond the Grave paranormal romance series. It is something very different but all details are under wraps at the moment. I will be releasing the title and more information in the next few weeks. :)
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
My favorite character so far would have to be the psychic medium, Pia from the Beyond the Grave series. How cool would it be if you could communicate with those who have crossed over?
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
That’s also true for me. I have always loved reading, and always have a book or six on the go at once. My first romance was Forever, by Judy Blume. My first series was the Flowers in the Attic series, by Virginia Andrews.
I remember reading Flowers in the Attic, too.
Thank you so much for inviting me here, and for featuring my latest release, When Darkness Follows!
ExcerptRachel wrapped her arms around Daniel’s neck and kissed him back with a ferocity that surprised her. All the emotion, the turmoil, of the last two weeks, the last year, moved through her. She couldn’t remember why keeping away from him was so important. Something about self-respect and needing to be more than just an occasional fuck to someone.
Daniel crushed her to his body, his tongue delving inside her mouth, tracing across her teeth. He took control of the kiss, like the man controlled everything else in his life. The heat of his mouth set her blood on fire, and her body submitted to his natural dominance.
He groaned, holding her to him so tightly she couldn’t breathe. But she didn’t need her own oxygen when she could breathe his.
Daniel walked her away from the water to where the sand was dry and still warm from the sun. He fell to the sand, pulling her down on top of him. She laughed in surprise.
His sunglasses fell off his head as he looked up at her. He cupped the back of her neck, guided her head down and kissed her hard. She couldn’t think, couldn’t feel anything but him.
Her soft, white denim skirt slid up her thighs as she spread her legs and sat on his hips. His erection, firmly encased in his jeans, pressed against her lacy white panties. She rubbed against him, needed to, and his eyes flickered closed. He groaned, the sound sending fire racing through her veins.
“I want you so bad.” Daniel’s grip tightened on her hips, the roughness in his tone thrilling her.
This was what was familiar between them. This rawness and this uncontrollable desire.
“Tell me you still want this.”
“I said tell me.”
The bite of authority in the command made her blood race. Her mouth dried, and she swallowed twice before she could speak.
“I want this.”
Daniel squeezed his eyes shut, and when he opened them, emotion swirled heavily in his gaze.
“Tell me you still want me.” His body went rigid as he waited for her answer, and her heart stuttered to a stop.
“I want you,” she said, the truth and a lie all at once. God she wanted him! Right now, in this moment, she wanted him more than her next breath.
Daniel sat up, cradling her in his lap, her legs wrapped around his hips as he kissed her again, long and deep. She thrust her hands in his thick hair, holding him hard as his hands ran up her thighs, his thumbs tracing along the seams of her panties and making her core clench with anticipation.
He lifted the hem of her top, his palm scorching the soft skin on her stomach as he moved to cup her breast. His expression looked pained, his chest rising and falling as his breathing grew labored.
As much pleasure as he gave her, she loved watching how much simply touching her aroused him.
“A year,” Daniel growled. “A whole fucking year.”
She cried out as his fingers found a hardened nipple and squeezed. Pleasure, white-hot and overwhelming, filled her, stole her breath.
His other hand slid the thin fabric of her panties aside, his thumb gently tracing along her slick entrance. Her heart skittered in her chest, her pulse roaring past her ears.
“You need this too,” he said, his voice a low rasp. “Don’t tell me you don’t.”
Tears burned her eyes, and she squeezed her lids closed to hide her reaction to his words. She needed him? Dear God! She fucking craved him.
And then he’d leave…
And she’d be left empty, wanting him. Frustration caused her to cry out at the same time his thumb slipped inside her, and the sound was disguised as pleasure.
Frustration and pleasure: those two extremes described what she had with Daniel perfectly.
Max barked, and they both looked up to see him bounding through the thick sand toward them. He barked again, and Rachel followed his gaze and noticed two people at the top of the sand dunes, making their way to the water.
“Fuck,” Daniel growled.
How like Daniel to always make her feel as though they were the only two people in the world. She pressed her forehead against his, his ragged breath warm across her skin. Before the couple could see them clearly, she rolled off Daniel and tugged her skirt back into place, her body still tingling with the feel of his touch.
In 2016, Athena was nominated for Author of the Year and Best New Author in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
Her novel Girl Unseen won the Silver Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite® International Book Awards and was awarded a Silver Medal in the 2017 Literary Titan Book Awards. Girl Unseen was an “Official Selection” in the New Apple Literary Awards, and was also nominated for 2017 Book of the Year in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
The Seer’s Daughter was the solo Medalist Winner in the Suspense/Thriller category of the 2016 New Apple Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.
The Seer’s Daughter was also a finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards in Suspense and in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite® International Book Awards. Additionally, The Seer’s Daughter was nominated for 2016 Book of the Year and 2016 Cover of the Year in AusRom Today’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
Girl Unseen and The Seer’s Daughter are both 5-star Top Picks at The Romance Reviews.
Athena has a natural curiosity about the “more” there is in life and holds several qualifications in metaphysics and natural therapies. She is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner, life coach, and feng shui specialist.
Athena lives on the northern beaches of sunny Western Australia. Find out more about her at www.athenadaniels.com, or follow her on Twitter @AthenaDaniels11 and on Facebook at /AthenaDaniels11.