Authors often get a spark of a story idea while researching, or pinning pictures on Pinterest. Jaime and I share a secret Pinterest board that we pin ideas to and bounce story ideas with each other. In high school I participated in a service project in Portland, Oregon, that for some reason included cleaning out part of an abandoned mental asylum. It was so creepy I nearly thought I'd dreamed it. But, we actually had brought out old nurse's aprons when we left, so I hadn't imagined it. But, I had actually forgotten the experience until Jaime and I started looking at these old pics and the stories of Nellie Bly who researched these places a century ago. And so, it started with pictures of abandoned old mental asylums and I kept telling Jaime, the suspense guru, that she needed to pursue this story. It morphed into a deep journey through history and the realities of anxiety until today--release day!
So, welcome Jaime:
1. What prompted the story line for this one? Or what was your inspiration?
Well, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of asylums as they used to be. My writing sister, Anne, often reminded me it’d be a creepy setting for a novel. But, to be honest, a lot of this novel was drawn on from personal experience. It was tough to write and a deep dive into my own emotions.
2. Along the same vein, I saw on another launch member's post that this book drew from some personal experience and angst. Would you be willing to share any of that?
Sure! I have an autoimmune disease many are becoming more familiar with: Lyme disease. In short, it mimics a lot of other autoimmune diseases. Mine manifests itself via what the doctors term as “non-epileptic seizures, bouts of severe anxiety, and sometimes confusion and loss of memory. So, many of the emotions (specifically Heidi’s) I relate to.”
3. Do either of the main characters particularly resonate with you? Who and why?
Well, as I mentioned above, I relate a lot to Heidi’s personal struggles with anxiety. But, I also found myself chuckling as I wrote Heidi’s point of view. Her personal style, snarky retorts, and way of filling silence with empty chatter is not far off from my own -- ahem -- personality.
4. How much of the book is based on reality?
Many of the asylum’s referred-to experiments and patient treatment were, in fact, based on true historical facts.Which is highly unfortunate. When Thea begins reading some of the patient records, they do loosely resemble real records unearthed from old asylums. Again, also unfortunate how patients were more like subjects than people.
5. Did anything happen during the writing of this book that impacted the trajectory of the story?
Wow. That’s a great question! There wasn’t anything major that impacted it, however, I will admit to visiting the cemetery several times to get myself in the moment. To be surrounded by the stories of those who lay in rest. Sometimes, it’s an eerie but peaceful place to be inspired.
6. What is the one thing you want to be sure that readers glean from this particular book?
That their identity can only be found in their Creator. I know that sounds simplistic, but I think American culture sends us on a zillion chases to “find ourselves”, when who we are is wrapped thoroughly in the One who wrote our own story.
7. What's coming up next and when can we expect it?
Echoes Among the Stones is coming this December! I’m super excited about its story. It’s also a split-time story, but this time we visit 1946, the post war American farmland, a cold case murder, and an eccentric elderly woman who hides a dollhouse with a re-created crime scene in miniature form.
For those of you who like romance, there is a romance thread through Jaime's story you will enjoy.
Have any of you heard of an abandoned asylum or poor farm in your own community?
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Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com