Welcome to the Katherine Eddinger Smits blog. This post continues the series of interviews with authors of A Darker Shade of Evil. Many thanks to Muffy Wilson for compiling these interviews.
Tagline 1: A kiss on the hand may be continental, but demons are a girls’ best friend.
Tagline 2: Is love’s truth something to be cherished or feared?
When Rita Hawthorne hikes to the Hollywood sign as she contemplates her future in film, she meets stunning and persuasive Leo Baph. As they look over the city after sunset, her wishes are kissed into the darkness and carried unto the demon’s ears.
Rita’s success happens overnight, and she credits Leo—her muse. They cohabitate happily for several years until Leo simply disappears one day. The only proof Rita has of his existence is a piece of parchment with some Latin words written on it—and a smudge of blood appearing on a line at the bottom.
As time marches on, Rita remains youthful and vibrant, starring in roles for much younger women. Until one day, she notices crow’s feet. She manages to throw herself into her work for several more years before she realizes her career is on the downswing—and she misses Leo.
Against her better judgment, a middle-aged Rita trudges up the foothills to the Hollywood sign once again. There, she wishes for Leo to return to her, staring over the city after sunset.
And he does—but he doesn’t look the way she remembered.
After learning of Leo’s true self, can Rita allow herself to love him?
INTERVIEW WITH MARILYN HARLOW:
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
My favorite fictional hero is still Wrath, from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. He’s a true leader, ya feel me? Really though, Beth is one lucky chick. I’d totally climb in his black satin sheets. I could probably put Roland Deschain, from Stephen King’s The Stand in this category, too.
What is your most treasured possession?
My grandmother’s pearls. My mom’s diamond stud that I wear all the time. The quilt made from my mom’s T-shirts.
Which living person do you most admire?
That’s a super hard question. I admire different people for different reasons. I admire my 6-12th grade band director for his dedication. I admire Liz Crowe for her tenacity. I admire Maddy James for her positive attitude.
What is your greatest fear?
The progression of RA.
Who or what has been the greatest love of your life?
Mr. VampBard is one of them. He ‘gets’ me and puts up with my yammering about characters and plots. I also have to say that Oldest, Middle, and Youngest are my heart and soul. Even though they’re grown.
What is your greatest regret?
Not being able to spend more time with my kids. I worked too much when they were growing up. Being a teacher meant putting in tons of hours—and I worked in a foster care facility, so I didn’t have summers off.
If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?
Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia or Meg in A Wrinkle in Time. They were both brave and learned how to use their talents.
Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
The Great Gatsby. I’ve re-read it yearly since 1985. The dichotomy between the decadent opulence of the 1920s and Gatsby and Daisy’s lifestyles in sharp contrast to their happiness always chokes me up.
What is your favorite journey?
The Hero’s Journey, of course. Joseph Campbell brilliantly narrated it.
What is your favorite quotation?
Write drunk, edit sober. –Ernest Hemingway.
Dogs or Cats?
Cats. I have three—two of them are black.
What do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most admire in a woman and/or a man?
Honesty and compassion.
Which book that you’ve written is your favorite?
Authors don’t have favorites—all their books are their children.
What are your writing quirks?
I am a methodical planner—but my plans always go off the rails.
What do you do as a hobby?
Knitting and I’m dabbling in digital graphics. Learning Photoshop is proving to be a challenge.
Which are your three favorite books?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
The Stand by Stephen King
Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?
Music or images. Sometimes, I’ll be listening to a song and an entire plot lands smack-dab in the middle of my brain. Other times, I’ll be perusing a stock photo site and a story smacks me upside the head.
What is your Writing Routine?
Choose music. Re-read previous scene (without editing!). Read notes for the scene I need to write. Write the scene.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends. Emotional scenes exhaust me. Most others energize me.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I can write a novella in a week—first draft, around 30K words. The editing takes three or four days before I can safely send it off to my editor.
Do you have any Social Platform Links for your friends, fans, and readers?
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeelylah/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Deelylah-Mullin/e/B01LZ0HJPF/
MailChimp Landing Page (newsletter sign up) https://mailchi.mp/21f5717a8fac/deelylah
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/happily.ever.after.romance.syndicate/
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Depends on the book. Before starting Distilled, I researched bourbon-making for about a week. I decided what elements I wanted to include, roles different characters could have, and how I would create the world around those things. Sometimes, I’ll research as I’m writing. Like, Google Earth is a spectacular way to see a neighborhood for Contemporary.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It turned me into a plotter. I used to think I could pants my way through any form of writing—after all, that’s how I did things in college and got As in my creative writing classes. But, when working on something like a novel, there’s too many balls in the air to not plan at least a little. Much different from writing short stories.
What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
Having money to get things done. Cover art and editing are NOT cheap. I work a #dayjob as an editor for a literacy non-profit and that pays for my writing habit.
What are you working on now?
I’m on a paranormal kick. I have started using my paranormal pen name, Marilyn Harlow, to keep the divide with retailers. But, Marilyn won’t have her own social media—it’s not a secret that Deelylah = Marilyn.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I’ve always been a fan of Marilyn Monroe, and her movie, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” popped into my head while I was contemplating things for this book. I think it’s going to turn into a series.
What inspires you to write?
I write every day. Sometimes, it’s a poem or song lyrics (with accompanying music) or it might be a chapter of a WIP. Maybe, if I’ve written a lot for work that day, I’ll create some other type of art.
How did you conduct your research for Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend?
Hrm. This one is a toughy. I’ve had the concept for this book for a while. I’ve looked up images to inspire me, but haven’t had to do much research, overall.
What would your friends say is your best quality?
I’m honest and creative. Those qualities have made for some interesting conversations.
Are reader reviews important to you?
I read reviews and let them inform my writing moving forward. And, Amazon’s algorithms—Necessary evil of the business.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I do some yarn work—either knitting or crocheting. I paint a bit. And, we have the never-ending home improvement project.
Tell us about your other books?
I have a series—Teachers’ Lounge—that is about a fictional town in Michigan. The school has a ton of teachers, apparently, even though the town is pretty small. There is a historical/paranormal/zombie story, which is the origin story for the town. Most of the titles are contemporary, but a few are paranormal. I started writing this series on a dare from a former colleague (I’m a retired teacher—but I now work for a literacy non-profit).
Distilled is a stand-alone, and it’s set in Liz Crow’s Love Brothers world. It’s about distilling bourbon. The main characters have issues, and there’s a crazy ex on the loose. What couldn’t you love?
Manhattan Melody is the first title of the On Tour series. Three band members are rising stars, but we see their humble beginnings in Manhattan Melody. As well as Leo and Mia’s story. Leo is the bass player for the band and Mia is an adjunct college professor who bartends to make ends meet.
Spark is the second title in the Mercy General series I co-write with Paige Prince. It’s about a firefighter who gets involved with the widow of a police officer—and her 5-year-old son. It’s a hard topic, but the end is TOTALLY worth it.
A Howling Good Time is available in Romance Collections Guardian anthology. It’s a werewolf shifter romance, and they’re looking for the virus that causes the shift.
If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
I have three kids and three step kids—I’m a modern-day Carol Brady—yet, I never had an Alice. I want my goddamn Alice!
Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
Don’t overthink it. Sit your butt in the chair and write. You can plot or you can pants—or a combination of the two—but don’t put it off. I believe everyone has a story to tell.
Oh, and get a good editor. They make all the difference.
What are your Top Writing Tips?
- Have a good editor.
- Make sure your covers look professional.
- Have a plan.
Finally, what are we likely to find in YOUR nightstand?
On my side table, there’s an alarm clock, my cell phone, and my watch. Maybe a stray hairclip I forgot to take out before my head hit the pillow.
Marilyn Harlow is Deelylah Mullin–but Marilyn writes the paranormal stuff.
Deelylah is the empty-nesting author of contemporary romance.
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A Darker Shade of Evil
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Marilyn Harlow – Bestselling Author
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Katherine Eddinger Smits grew up wanting to be a mermaid but discovered to her dismay this was not a viable career choice. Instead, she became a clinical social worker and helped veterans and their families.
Now she brings social work training and experience to her stories of mermaids, mages and magical creatures. Within the context of fantasy and romance, her novels explore real-life issues of self-acceptance, body image, relationship dynamics, and fears and phobias. Mystery, suspense, and a little sex add spice to her books.
She is the author of four paranormal romances.
Katherine and her husband divide their time between Florida and West Virginia. Their children and granddaughters live in Virginia.
Besides writing, Katherine is a blogger, mom, Mimi, dressage rider, and clog dancer.
Sign up for her quarterly newsletter and receive a free short story! Newsletters always include contests, freebies and fun. http://katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com/