Wednesday, September 12, 2018

0 Colleen Houck, author of THE LANTERN'S EMBER, on being inspired by her love of Halloween

We're thrilled to have Colleen Houck swing by to share more about her latest novel, THE LANTERN'S EMBER.

Colleen, what was your inspiration for writing THE LANTERN'S EMBER?

THE LANTERN'S EMBER was inspired by my love for Halloween. My birthday is in October and I love chocolate above all things, so as a kid I always looked forward to the fall. I was born in Arizona so a break from the heat was nice too. I must have watched Ichabod Crane run from the headless horseman on the Disney cartoon dozens of times. It was so memorable. I loved being scared but without the gore that comes from traditional horror. Halloween monsters and paranormal creatures are among my favorite characters of all time so imagining them in this new steampunk world was very fun for me.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

The ending of the book was probably the most difficult. I'm more of a panster when it comes to writing and I didn't have everything quite figured out yet. Usually I am pretty good at writing myself out of corners but this one was a bit of a challenge. I need to know the whys and the hows even when it comes to imaginary technology so the final conflict took a bit longer than I anticipated to fine tune.

There are several scenes I really love. One of the most memorable for me is when my characters are on the airship and Ember has to wield her witchlight to overcome a storm of ghosts. The stakes are high and every character is involved in the battle. Each one of them has a secret no one else knows and everything is going to come to light soon after the storm is over so there's a lot of tension in the air.

How long did you work on THE LANTERN'S EMBER?

THE LANTERN'S EMBER took about four months to write. Other than my novellas, it was the fastest book I've ever written. This was partly due to a looming deadline and partly due to my love of the story.

What do you hope readers will take away from THE LANTERN'S EMBER?

I hope readers have a renewed sense of interest in the classic monsters. They are all magical and amazing. Like Dr. Farragut says in the book, "Are we not all monsters at heart?"

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I wrote this book entirely at home just before moving to a rental. In fact, all my previous books had been written in my West Salem, Oregon home except the most recent that I'm editing right now. For that one, I worked a lot in coffee shops and my favorite grocery store, Roth's that has an awesome place to sit and write on the second floor overlooking the produce and bakery. I can't listen to music while I write but it seems the noise of shopping is fine.

What are you working on now?

I just turned in the aforementioned book. It's my first attempt at science fiction, but it inevitably ended up with some mythological ties. Also, I just realized that it is a potential bridge for all of my worlds. Maybe someday, I'll write something where all of my universes can overlap.


The Lantern's Ember
by Colleen Houck
Delacorte Press
Released 9/11/2018

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It's difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern--one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal--or not-so-mortal--soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O'Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack's warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire--and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

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New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.


Have you had a chance to read THE LANTERN'S EMBER yet? Are you good at writing yourself out of corners? Have you tried writing in a grocery store? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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