S. A. Hoag interview: Sanna Hines

 

PhotoFunia-1467579723What is your chosen genre, and why?

Young Adult. I love the energy of books written for this age group. So far, I’ve published a contemporary YA thriller (Stealth Moves) and YA contemporary mythic fantasy (Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe). I plan to publish a YA contemporary fantasy later this year.

Most current book?

Shining Ones: Legacy of the Sidhe

12341038_1533154840343622_1502152922671167944_nSummary for your most current book

Ever feel you’re different from other people?

For police officer Tessa Holly, it’s not a feeling; it’s a fact. She can change her body any way she chooses. She will never grow sick or old.

Born a descendant of Ireland’s hero-gods, the Tuatha dé Danann (Clan of Danu), Tessa will spend her life hiding her abilities from humans and Formorian enemies—people with equally strange talents but ordinary lifespans. She’ll follow her Clan’s Rules in all things—friendships, career, even marriage.

But when her brother and a human girl are seized by Formorians bent on stealing Danann longevity, the Rules don’t help. To rescue the captives, Tessa must rely on a man no one trusts as her guide through cairns, castles and cathedrals in search of her people’s greatest treasures.

Who is your favorite character in the story?

Tessa Holly, cop-shapeshifter

Why?

Tessa starts out as a rule-follower. As she learns more about her people and their enemies, she gains tolerance and broader vision. She also falls in love with a delicious man.

What inspired you to write it?

I have always loved ancient places, particularly in Ireland and the UK, but I didn’t want to set a story in the Stone or Bronze Ages. Legends of the immortal Tuatha dé Danann raised questions in my mind: If they didn’t die, what happened to them? What are they doing today? Shining Ones answers those questions.

Would you like to share an excerpt with us?

After midnight, Keshcorran, Ireland

Bres swerved around a pothole on the Irish road. “Henry’s vehicle operates magnificently.”

“Of course. If it didn’t, he’d have it chopped into pieces and shipped back to the factory.”

He rubbed his chin. “You know, I believe he would.”

Cliodhna of the Fair Hair studied her large, blond companion. He still looked like a man in his thirties, still deserved his epithet, ‘Bres the Beautiful’, but fine lines creased the skin beside his eyes. He’d been out in this place too long. Fresh from Renewing in the Otherworld, Cliodhna was certain she hadn’t aged a day past twenty-six.

They’d been enemies, allies or lovers over the millennia. Apart for the last fifteen years, what were they to each other now?

“Time will tell,” he said.

“Oh, do stop reading my mind! You know that annoys me.”

“Not always.” Bres winked.

Cliodhna sighed. “Are we nearly there?”

He pulled the SUV to the side of the road. “We are there. This is Keshcorran. Must we climb to the caves for you to contact her?”

“She will hear my song across the ocean. The distance to the caves is no obstacle.” Cliodhna reached for the door latch.

“Wait.” Bres went outside to hold open her door, extending his hand.

Surprised, she took it. Bres kissed her fingertips. “For luck,” he answered her unspoken question. Looking toward the hill, he said gravely, “And so it begins.”

Cliodhna shook her head. “No. This is how it ends.” Standing tall, she began to sing.

Friday evening, New Hampshire

Tessa Holly drove ten miles west toward Salem before she noticed her left hand had shrunk. Get a grip. Clamping her right on the steering wheel, she shimmered her left to match the other. Why, oh why, had she interviewed for her cop job as a tall woman? She’d been stuck with oversized hands, feet and a six-foot frame at work for the last two years.

Today, she hadn’t bothered to change before heading from the Salem station to Clan headquarters in Portsmouth. Tessa gritted her teeth, still fighting the battle she’d already lost. How dare the Clan stonewall her demand to know where Ben had been for the last three months! They admitted to sending him on a mission, but wouldn’t give up any details, like when he’d come back. “Be patient,” Clan Secretary Ayres advised.

Patient? Ben was the thread binding the family together now their parents lived with new identities. Tessa faced marriage to a man she didn’t know. At twenty-four, she wasn’t ready to be so alone. She felt her world unraveling with her big brother gone.

“Answer,” Tessa barked at her buzzing car phone.

“Aunt Tessa!”

Cory?” Ben’s sixteen-year-old son never called; he texted. “What’s wrong?”

“You’ve got to come to Island Lake. Right now. Lia’s gone.”

“Slow down. What do you mean ‘Lia’s gone’?”

“Lia McHugh’s my new girlfriend. Her father found a rock cave in the woods. We were looking at the thing when Lia heard singing and rushed inside. She didn’t come out.”

“She’s trapped? Island Lake is Atkinson Fire District. Here’s the chief’s direct number.” Tessa recited the digits. “And don’t forget—”

“Hang on.”

Tessa heard a man swearing and feet trampling brush. Taking the moment to check her rear-view mirror, she angled into the outer lane.

“I can’t call the fire department.” Cory’s voice dropped to a desperate whisper. “I think this is a Danann thing. The place where Lia vanished looks old. I saw this flash of light. It was…white? Pink-gold? Kind of…uh, damn. There’s no way to describe it.”

“Indescribable.” Tessa felt a sinking sensation. Entrance light? “Is Lia one of us?”

“No, she’s plain human. But how could she use an entrance? She’d need a heartstone, and I’ve never seen her with one. ’Course…”

You haven’t seen all of her, Tessa finished silently. “Where, exactly, are you?”

Cory gave directions to the McHugh summer cottage. Tessa said, “Got it. I’m approaching the exit. Be there in minutes.”

“Can’t you fire up the lights and siren?”

“I’m in my car, not a cruiser.”

“Oh. Do you think…could she be…in an Otherworld?”

“No.” Tessa merged into the ramp traffic. “Otherworld travel is only possible on festival days, and the access point is Mystery Hill. You’re a couple miles away, and today is…what? July 25th? Next festival is August 1st. If your girlfriend stumbled into a Sidhe entrance, she’s somewhere in our world. Is that her father I hear? What’s he doing?”

“Going crazy. I think he’s trying to pull the place down with his bare hands.”

“Send him away from there. Use your Silvertongue Talent if you have to. I’m on my way.” Tessa hit a stream of green lights that kept her from breaking too many speed laws. She reached the Island Lake community and what Cory described as “a road tunneling through trees.” At the end, she spotted a weathered cottage with Cory’s Jeep and a BMW parked on patchy beach grass. She pulled up beside them.

A man came out of the house. Caucasian, 30-35, medium build, fit, 6’2”-3”, 190, hair black or dark brown. Eyes? She couldn’t tell yet. He had a jacket draped over one arm and carried a flashlight. With a quick glance in her direction, he said, “Don’t want to buy anything,” and waved her off as he hurried toward the forest.

“I’m looking for Mr. McHugh!” Tessa shouted in her official voice.

The man stopped, turned, flinched when he saw the uniform and the face she’d copied from a statue of the Greek goddess Athena. Tessa crossed the thirty or so feet between them.

“I’m Sam McHugh. Police? Who called you?”

“Cory Rowan. I’m his aunt.” Now close enough to see McHugh clearly in the twilight, she observed two things that shook her.

One, he had a perfect face. Hairline to chin, every feature balanced. He should have been wearing a tuxedo and hawking liquor on some glossy magazine page, but there he stood, in a dirt-caked chamois shirt and jeans. Tessa’s Talent shrieked at her; perfect faces were rare as smooth ice on a pond. There were always differences between left and right sides. Her shapeshifting skill depended on pinpointing those flaws. Even the Hollywood glitterati had them, so why didn’t this man?

Two, she knew that face but couldn’t place it. It was there, tickling her memory, just out of reach.

He smiled when she stared too long. Bet you think I’m dazzled by your looks. I’m not, you conceited ass. “My name is Tessa Holly. I’m with the Salem force, but I’m off duty. I was heading this way when Cory called to say there’d been a problem, something about your daughter?”

“Yes,” McHugh said, his eyes (blue, Tessa noted for her mental report) narrowing. The pupils constricted when he spoke. “She wandered away, but we’ll find her. No need for police.”

He’s lying. “I’d like to see Cory. Will you take me to him?”

“As you wish.” McHugh nodded curtly and led off.

There was light enough outside the woods, but inside the tree line, darkness slowed their progress. McHugh switched on his flashlight. Tessa swatted at hordes of mosquitoes attacking her.

He thrust his jacket in her direction. “Here. Keeps off the worst of the bugs. Too thick for them to get through.”

Tessa slipped into denim, which smelled pleasantly of some woodsy scent, and unsnapped the catch of her own flashlight. Trotting along in McHugh’s wake, she had a sudden rush of memory.

That face didn’t belong to any Sam McHugh, but to one Aidan Orbsen, a rich man’s son who made the news years ago for murdering his equally rich wife. Tessa remembered Orbsen’s lame story about the wife being swept off their yacht by a wave. The media chalked up the innocent verdict to one more example of money buying freedom.

So Orbsen changed his name—and now his daughter’s missing. Perhaps the girl inherited money from her mother. Could Cory have seen yet another “accident”?Orbsen, a.k.a. McHugh, called back to her. “Coming?”Tessa’s attention shifted to an intense glow illuminating the forest path ahead. The light was a color she couldn’t name. Somewhere ahead was a Sidhe entrance.

Running full out, she passed McHugh and kept going. The glow became loud somehow; the sound of a waterfall filled her ears. She yelled for Cory, her voice faint as a whisper in a whirlwind.

By the time she found the source of the light and noise—a hillock with an opening framed by boulders—McHugh caught up. Gripping her arms, he turned her, said something she couldn’t make out. She shook him off. “No time! Call Cory’s mother, Maggie Rowan. In Portsmouth, under Ben Rowan. Tell her, It is in the shelter of each other that the People live.’ Have you got that? Use those words exactly. And tell her I’ll find her boy!”

Would you like to share a couple of teasers?

From the book

We are the Clan of Danu, called Tuatha dé Danann in Ireland, where we made our home for five hundred years. There we lived as our true selves, safe from all but Formorians, fierce warriors from the north with Talents like our own.

Our history became legend, legend turned to fairytale until no one believed we ever existed.

From reviews

“An entertaining, well-crafted story with unusually complex and entrancing characters.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Imagine if there was a follow up to American Gods. Set in Ireland, Wales and Northern England. Now imagine is it was written by Stephen King. That’s the best description of this book I can think of.”

“Action, magic, romance, mystery, and family turmoil create an exciting backdrop for a hazardous quest enriched by a cast of delightfully quirky characters.”

Do you have a newsletter or blog?

https://sannahines.wordpress.com/

http://sidheworld.blogspot.com/

What kinds of things do you write or showcase on them?

History and legend, images of places in the books, character introductions, excerpts, interviews, writing tips

What other places can we find you?

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sanna.hines.author/

Twitter https://twitter.com/SannaHines1

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14050716.Sanna_Hines

Amazon author http://www.amazon.com/Sanna-Hines/e/B011HCBJPE/

Kirkus Reviews https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/sanna-hines/shining-ones/

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/115977961974094249362/posts

Where can I purchase a copy? https://www.amazon.com/Shining-Ones-Legacy-Sanna-Hines-ebook/dp/B018EJ8EJ2

Do you have a website? http://sannahines.wix.com/sanna-hines-worlds

 

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June 26, 2016

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