GUEST POST- Author Interview
ILLUMINATE-ALIVE, SHE CRIED by Jamie Haden
What or who Inspired you to write “Illuminate-Alive, She Cried?”
My daughters inspired me to write Illuminate-Alive, She Cried, the second book in The Talisa Santiago Series. A couple years ago, I was doing research on Native Americans in the public library when I asked my oldest daughter to check out a book. She said there was nothing she wanted. I laughed and told her I would write a novel for her to read. Twelve weeks later, I gave her Spirit Seeker.
How did you come up with such interesting characters for this novel?
The characters in Illuminate-Alive, She Cried are a mix of many different people I have met throughout my life. Talisa Santiago, the protagonist, was definitely the most difficult character for me to write. I had to separate myself from her, let go of my own moral philosophies and beliefs, and allow Talisa to experience life and love in the way that seemed natural for her, not necessarily natural for me.
Who is your favorite author(s) and why?
I would have to say Harold Robbins and Milan Kundera, two opposites for sure. Robbins because The Betsy was the first book of fiction I read as a kid. I snuck it from my dad and kept it in a brown paper bag. As for Kundera, I picked up The Unbearable Lightness of Being in a used bookstore in college. I had never heard of him, or the book, but as soon as I read the prose, I was hooked.
What is Jamie most Thankful for?
I am most thankful that my daughters are healthy and safe.
Tell us about you and your family.
I met my husband when I was eighteen in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were college students from West Virginia working there for summer break. Five years later, we eloped and ran off to Tennessee. We’ve been married for nineteen years. David is my best friend.
What are your hobbies?
I love to play around with black and white photography, and try different wines. We have a few cellars and are always on the lookout for a new Burgundy (my favorite) Bordeaux or Barolo. I think it would fun to open a little wine shop/bookstore.
How would you describe the words (as related to your novel):
love, friend, great grandmother(gg), grandfather, tricksters & shaman
In one word:
Love- Difficult, Friend-Safety, Great-Grandmother-Awakened, Grandfather-Holy,
What genre(s) do you like to read?
Literary, Fantasy, and Hardboiled Fiction. I’m obsessed with Noir. I can’t get enough.
I would like to put a Excerpt from your novel… you can give it or I can choose it… just something that you want the readers to read from this interview…..
Sure, I’d love to. Thanks for asking. Okay, to set the scene: Dakota and Talisa are alone on the beach talking. Talisa has just learned her life is in grave danger and she must leave the island for one year. Dakota speaks first:
“My old man explained there were three types of spirit people. The first he called healers, mediators. When a healer fell into trances, their soul would leave their body and venture into other realms, different realities. Some of them were channels for the spirits and acted as mediums.”
“Shape-shifters can travel the same way, can’t they?”
“Sure, but we are of dual nature. We fully possess two souls, that of man and animal.”
“What did Dad say about the third type?’ I asked even though I knew the answer.
“Spirit seekers held a special place in his heart, and he called them the eyes of the world. These visionaries walked the earth to seek sacred knowledge. Spirit seekers didn’t need to experience a trance to soar far. They had unique abilities.”
“You tell me.”
“It wasn’t easy for me. My mother and I left the desert when I turned seven years old. We moved around a lot, always to the water, and she refused to talk about my past, my heritage, or anything Native. I never fit in anywhere, just another outsider. Nasty kids teased me, made jokes. Life proved to be difficult. Then a year ago, out of the clear blue, Mom announced we were moving to Silence, an island off the coast of North Carolina. She said we would be at the mercy of the sea. No cars allowed. People actually got around on golf carts and dirt bikes. I had no idea what to expect.”
“I can only imagine how you must have felt.”
“Dakota, the islanders on Silence looked like me, moved like me, thought like me. It was surreal to say the least.”
“Talisa, we knew you were coming. Jag’s dad is a ghost dancer; he saw it long ago.”
“You, Jag and Miguel knew a dark secret about me, one I didn’t even know myself.”
“We helped you, trusted you.”
“I am a spirit seeker; I have the gift of vision.”
“You can see things none of us can see.”
“But I have no idea what I am supposed to see, or what life has in store for me.”
“No one knows what life has in store for them.”
“Tonight I have to leave the island because my life is in danger. Starting over somewhere new is never painless.”
“It will be easier this time around.”
“I feel as if I am lost all over again.” I wiped my hand across my eyes.
“If you’re lost, maybe you’ll be found.”
“I can’t protect myself against those who lurk in the night. Unlike you, I am fully human,” I said.
“Are you, Talisa, are you fully human?”
I ignored his question and looked away.
Wilmington, NC August 2012
ILLUMINATE-ALIVE, SHE CRIED a novel by Jamie Haden
Some say the concept of rebirth is simply a metaphor for living a better life, a holier life. For seventeen-year old Talisa Santiago, such a resurrection is anything but a metaphor. It is her reality.
Talisa knows she can communicate with the spiritual world. She is the granddaughter of a shaman and going between two different worldly dimensions is something she realizes she is destined to do. However, what she doesn’t count on is what fate has in store for her.
After surviving the first hurricane of the season on the island where she lives, Talisa learns that her life is in grave danger. She must leave immediately and retreat to live with a secretive clan of Indians on a remote reservation deep within the Great Smokey Mountains.
Her blood brothers, three shifters who have the desires of both man and animal surround her, promising everlasting friendship and protection. Now, Talisa will put her life in their hands, depart from her mother, and begin the journey of a lifetime. However, the majestic mountains hold many secrets and danger lurks in the night. There are evil tricksters everywhere that want her dead. As Talisa falls prey to the confusion of her own sexuality, she unleashes an untamed passion that may get them all killed.
Jamie Leigh Haden is the author of Spirit Seeker, a young adult fantasy. Jamie lives and writes near the seashore in North Carolina. She has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Jamie is currently working on An Unimagined Life, the sequel to Illuminate-Alive, She Cried. Get Illuminate-Alive, She Cried on Kindle here: http://goo.gl/g6qKF or in paperback here: http://goo.gl/3V4Of
Jamie Haden www.jamiehaden.com
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