Erin Healy’s latest novel, “Motherless”, was released a few weeks ago. Being a keen supporter of Erin and her work I was delighted she was willing to respond to a few questions I posed her.
There is also the opportunity for two readers to win a copy of Motherless. More on that at the end of this post.
The tale of two young adults trying to solve the mystery of their mother’s seventeen-year-old suicide.
A whispering voice at the back of my mind reminds me that I’ve been this way for some time. Dead, that is.
The dead have a very broad view of the living, of actions performed out of sight, of thoughts believed to be private. I would know. Losing both parents is a trial no child should endure, and Marina and Dylan have endured enough. They deserve the one thing I could never give them: a mother’s love.
A mother’s love, and the truth.
My children have believed a lie about me for years and years. After all this time I can still feel their hurt in my heart. But the tether holding me to them is frayed from years of neglect . . . and I have to find a way to make my confession before it snaps.
But when the truth comes out, what other beasts will I unleash?
“Why do we lie to the children?” someone asked me once.
“To protect them,” I answered.
How terrible it is that they need protection from me.
Now over to Erin.
IA: Your novels are quite varied in their themes and plots. Where do you get your story ideas?
EH: Usually my stories start with a thematic question related to my own life. Motherless, for example, came from something like, “What if a lot of my core beliefs about faith and life aren’t true?” Questions are always great catalysts for creative problem solving and storytelling. But in my case, the stories evolve so much from beginning to end that I can’t track exactly how the final product unfolded. It changes like a growing child, almost imperceptibly.
IA: How do you typically evolve the storyline? Do you start with a character or the plot to build your story?
EH: I typically start with a question, and then a character thrust into a circumstance that makes the question necessary. So in the idea stage, the plot comes last. Of course, that’s groundwork: the storytelling itself has to begin with the plot!
IA: Do you see yourself writing a series with a continuing character(s) or place or theme?
EH: To date the only one of my books that lends itself to a series is House of Mercy. There is still so much to tell of that story. My other novels feel complete, though I do love many of the characters. I can’t say never, but I probably won’t write series fiction unless the right concept presents itself to me someday.
IA: What inspired Motherless?
EH: Motherless started as a story of mistaken identity: two young adults seeking revenge against their estranged mother for her abandonment target the wrong woman. It was going to be a story about the redemption of mistakes and misbeliefs. In many ways it still is that story. But as I wrote, I became preoccupied with my characters’ perceptions about their world. Everyone became less villainous as my compassion for them grew. And it quickly became a novel about how good people who are just trying to do the right thing come to believe things that are so wrong.
IA: What do you hope readers will take away from it?
EH: I wrote Motherless as a way of expressing my hope–my strong belief–in God’s mercy and grace for all of us who are trying so hard to grasp the truth that has been obscured by powerful deceptions.
IA: What can readers expect in 2015 from you?
EH: My next novel is Hiding Places, due out in September. It’s a straight-up suspense novel about how families love and protect their own–or don’t. A four-generation family is shaken up when the youngest member, 11-year-old Kate, secretly hides an injured fugitive at their small historic hotel. He’s wanted for the murder of a gang leader’s son.
IA: What are 3 books you’ve read in 2015 that lingered in your mind & you’ve mentioned to friends to read?
EH: The Advocate by Randy Singer. Randy departed from his legal thrillers to write this historical fiction about a Roman lawyer who played critical roles in the crucifixion of Jesus, the trials of Paul, and the martyrdom of the early Christians.
Sheba by Tosca Lee. Tosca’s writing is stunning, and her portrait of the near-mythical figures Solomon and Sheba truly captivating. [Wholeheartedly agree with you, Erin. It’s one of my favourite novels of 2014.]
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. This story about a teenager in the eighties coming to terms with her gay uncle’s death elevates the values of compassion and love and is full of unforgettable imagery.
Thanks again, Erin. Wishing you every success with Motherless.
I’ve just finished Motherless and loved it. My review can be found here.
It’s easy. Leave a comment below indicating you are keen to read Motherless and why. At week’s end, I’ll select two readers to receive one copy each of the novel.
Erin Healy is a bestselling author and an award-winning editor for numerous bestselling novelists. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors. She lives with her family in Colorado.