Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.
With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.
Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem, “Annabel Lee,” Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.
Where did you get the idea for Ashes on the Waves?
I was originally toying with the idea of an adult horror novel based on the short story, “Ligeia,” by Edgar Allan Poe. When I bounced some ideas off my oldest daughter (17) She told me that she thought I should use a poem instead. I asked her to pick one, and she came back with “Annabel Lee.” After writing a few test scenes, I realized it was a young adult novel and forged ahead.
Who was your favorite character to develop?
The Selkie, Muireann, was so fun and a total surprise. She was not in my original plan, but she just popped up and I fell in love with her. My favorite scene for her is when she doesn’t want to wear shoes because she is so enamored of her human feet. She finds them beautiful and wants them bare so she can look at them.
What is your favorite scene or quote?
I have several favorite scenes as a writer that might not be quite as appealing as others would be to readers. They are, perhaps, not the best crafted scenes in the book, but they touched me.
I loved writing the scene in which Mrs. McAlister comes into the store with her little daughter for the first time because it sets up so much of the book. The revelation of Liam’s status on the island through the eyes of an innocent child affected me. I have a child with autism, and discrimination is a hot button issue for me. Perhaps that is why this scene connected with me so strongly.
My heart sank as Megan, still clinging to her mother’s leg, stared up at me. She no longer wore her prior look of wonder and joy. Instead, she chewed her taffy, deep blue eyes brimming with distrust. The loathing her mother harbored would come later. Fear is instinctual; loathing is ingrained over time.
There is also a moment when Anna and Liam are exploring the tunnels below the mansion and he seeks her physical contact to ground him and help him overcome fear. He hasn’t had interaction with someone his age before Anna returned to the island, and it was fantastic to write from the point of view of a character who was so anachronistic, isolated, and tortured, yet genuine and not jaded.
“Ugh. It smells like something dead.” She touched my shoulder. “What if there is something dead down there?”
“Then perhaps we’ll have discharged our duty and the Bean Sidhes will stop tormenting us.”
Anna shivered and crouched down next to me and peered into the dark hole. “I’m scared.”
“What? This is not a time to make out, Liam. It’s a time to freak out.”
“I need you to kiss me.” I touched my lips to hers. “It makes me remember why we’re doing this. It makes me willing to go down there even though I’m scared.” I held my candle out to my side to be sure it wouldn’t do any harm and kissed her again, more fully this time. She stretched far away, tipping her candle on its side, letting wax drip on the boards. When a pool of wax had formed, she placed the candle end into it, effectively making a candleholder. After gluing my candle in a similar manner, she returned to where I crouched at the opening to the tunnel below. With a gentle shove, she forced me off balance and pushed me until I was on my back.
She hovered over me until my breaths came in quick gasps. Unable to stand it any longer, I pulled her down to where our bodies and lips and tongues met and I felt anything but fear. Everything but fear.
Are you in the process of writing any other novels?
Yes! I have just completed, Love Me To Death, the first book in my adult paranormal series, The Underveil. I’m currently working on the second. I am also revising a middle grade novel based on the legend of the Chinese Zodiac and have several other YA projects in the works.
How much different was writing Ashes on the Waves from writing Shattered Souls? Which was more difficult, and which was your favorite to write?
Writing Ashes on the Waves was VASTLY different from Shattered Souls. I did a good bit of research for Shattered Souls regarding the history of Galveston Island during the Civil War and the Great Storm of 1900 (Most of the historical content was cut during the editorial process), but it was nothing compared to the research that went into Ashes on the Waves.
I read two biographies, many books on Celtic Lore, and 2,500 pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems stories, letters, and essays, including critical analysis. I did four months of full-time research before I wrote the first words. Dozens of Poe works are referenced in the book. Every chapter begins with a quote from a Poe story, poem, or letter, and the chapter tone, flow, and content reflects the piece in that epigraph. Weaving the multiple works into the novel was like a 112,000-word riddle.
As for which one is my favorite, it’s impossible to say. I was certain it was Ashes until I wrote Fragile Spirits, the second book in the Shattered Souls Series, and fell in love with that world all over again. Ashes on the Waves was a tremendous challenge and accomplishment, but Fragile Spirits was just flat-out fun to write.
Do you have a favorite author, or one that inspires you?
Of course, I’d have to go with Edgar Allan Poe, but I’m a huge fan of Harper Lee. My favorite current writer is Patrick Rothfuss. I also love Justin Cronin’s works—particularly The Summer Guest and Mary and O’Neil.
What is your favorite book?
To Kill A Mockingbird is my hands-down favorite book. My favorite recent read is Code Name Verity. My favorite series is a toss up between The Kingkiller Chronicles and Harry Potter.
Dark, white, or milk chocolate?
Cats or dogs?
I love both. Hubby has cat allergy, so dog!
Coke or Pepsi?
Morning person or night owl?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. After those last questions, I really want some dark chocolate and a Dr. Pepper!
Thanks for being here, Mary!!
5 Winners Total!
2 winners will receive their choice of an ARC of Ashes on the Waves or a paperback of Shattered Souls, a necklace tile, magnet, and a signed bookmark.
1 winner will receive their choice of an ARC of Ashes on the Waves or a paperback of Shattered Souls (out of whatever is left from the first 2 winners), a necklace tile, and a signed bookmark.
2 winners will receive their choice of an ARC of Ashes on the Waves or a paperback of Shattered Souls (out of whatever is left from the first 3 winners), and a signed bookmark.