Quinn Colebridge is more at ease with the surreal than the pragmatic. Showing up at a sales meeting would give her hives, but creating unknown worlds is a cinch - with stories that may feature a demigoddess, ghosts and other creatures. As our Author of the Day, Colebridge chats about her characters, world building and introduces us to her bestseller in the Gaslamp Fantasy genre - Veritas.
Please give us a short introduction to what Veritas is about.
As Veritas of the Rocky Mountain supernatural society, Hester Grayson’s own soul is at stake when she works with the dead. Either they cross over to the spirit world in a timely fashion or become hideous wraiths doomed to haunt her for eternity.
Veritas is a bestseller on Amazon in the Gaslamp Fantasy genre.
What inspired you to write about a demigoddess who works with the dead?
I think because a demigoddess sounds like an invincible being, but I liked the idea of turning that around by having her in a vulnerable position instead as one who serves an agitated, unpredictable group of ghosts. In the Veritas series, the ghosts have a sort of PTSD regarding their murders. They don’t want to remember and yet they can’t move on and find peace until they do. It’s Hester’s job to help them solve the crime and bring their own killers to justice.
Why did you pick 1892 Stonehenge as your backdrop?
Stonehenge is fictitious, but as Veritas evolved, the city grew into a character in and of itself. I based the size and growth of Stonehenge on Denver in 1892 with the exception of the supernatural element and the European style of the architecture. Most of the people are immigrants, and an American accent is a rarity. Stonehenge is a piece of the Old World set in the middle of the Rockies. It is also a lodestar for evil things and influences. Hester Grayson is the force for good in Stonehenge, and her life is dedicated to protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Some of your characters have super unusual magical traits. Why did you take this approach?
Hester is blind and mute. From the outside, she doesn’t appear threatening, but she develops her abilities until she is more than a match for the super villain. Everything about Hester is unusual, so of course her magic would also depart from the norm.
Readers report that you maintained a dark, suspenseful atmosphere throughout the book. How did you pull this off?
The Victorian era lends itself to spookiness with the gaslight, fashion, and architecture. Then there are the misconceptions about those with disabilities, the social stigmas, and sometimes brutal medical practices. The atmosphere was easy to maintain given the time period.
The book contains some unexpected twists. Did you plan them out before you started writing or did they happen along the way?
I always outline my books before I write them. Then I adjust the outlines to accommodate new developments as the story unfolds. Watching the twists and turns come about astonishes even me.
Some readers compare Hester to Sherlock Holmes - did he have any influence on her character?
They are both unusual people for the time period in which they lived. Hester tends to deduce what happened in a crime from clues, logic, and observations as Sherlock does, but she’s more emotional in nature. Her heart often leads her into trouble, and she would give her life for the people she loved. Or to save a stranger in need, for that matter.
Are you planning on writing a sequel to Veritas?
Thank you for asking! Spectris: Veritas Book Two is available now on Amazon. The prequel, Isabelle and James: An Ironwood Novella, will come out in April, and Angelus Mortis: Veritas Book Three is scheduled by the end of 2018. Another five books are in the works.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?
No. I’m probably more at ease with the surreal than the pragmatic. Showing up at a sales meeting would give me hives but creating unknown worlds is a cinch. I love mystery and trying to figure out the truth behind the smokescreen.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? Favorite writing spot, best time of the day to write, anywhere you go for inspiration?
I like to write after my family goes to sleep. The house is quiet, and a little shadowy, and I can play Beethoven and Chopin on Pandora as my dog Matilda snores at my feet. Perfect writing conditions as far as I’m concerned.
Many people dismiss the genre as pure escapism—and nothing more. What would you say is the purpose of dark fantasy?
Let me clarify that my books have a spooky vibe, but they aren’t graphic or excessively dark. Good prevails, after a great struggle, in most cases. And pure escapism is a great label. Escaping into a book is one of life’s great pleasures.
What are you working on right now?
Writing the next book in the Veritas series and preparing a short story for Halloween and a romance for Christmas, believe it or not.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’d love to connect with them! Please find me on my website or join my newsletter at www.authorquinncoleridge.com