Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over and interview Tani Hanes, author of Farraway Mist, a Paranormal Romance.
Date of Publication: November 17, 2017
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 87,210
Scout Lawson is fleeing an unhappy past, and thinks she's run as far as she can from Yale University when she lands a job restoring a library in Cornwall, England for reclusive rock star George Wilder, who dropped out of sight after the death of his beautiful wife the year before.
As soon as she arrives at his estate, Farraway Mist, however, strange things start to happen. As the couple's feelings for each other grow, the events become more harrowing, until everything they hold dear is in peril.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write something that was kind of an homage to some of my favorite paranormal thrillers. The ones that come to mind right off the bat are Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca, Richard Adams’ The Girl in a Swing, and Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. Rebecca was the most evocative of place and atmosphere, The Girl in a Swing was the most beautifully written, the most haunting prose, and Bag of Bones was the scariest. I don’t think I even came close on any level, but those three are what I was aiming for when I took my swing. They make me swoon, every time.
How did you come up with the title?
This one’s easy—Farraway Mist is the name of the estate in Cornwall where the story takes place! I liked the way it sounded, too. The name “Farraway” could almost be “faraway,” you know, which is a romantic adjective, anyway, and “mist” just sounds pretty and wispy and shroudy and foggy and all that good stuff, right? It sounded like a good name for a lonely, English estate where spooky things could happen, I thought.
What made you choose the main setting for your book?
I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and I was lucky enough to go on a cruise around the British Isles a few years ago, so where else would I set a spooky romance about a reclusive, handsome Englishman and his shy librarian? Just the name “Cornwall” brings up images of hidden sea coves and dark, old cottages, doesn’t it? I wanted a little populated, village setting, where strange things could happen, where cell service might be spotty, and things going bump in the night might be “normal,” for lack of a better word.
Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
The set up is very “Rebecca,” I suppose, though there’s no scary Mrs. Danvers, and my heroine has a name and a little self confidence. Her name is Scout, and she arrives at Farraway Mist to find that George, a famous musician whom she’d heard of already, is very closed off and taciturn, hard to talk to. He’s shut out the world because of the death of his beautiful wife a few years before, a woman he adored. And, because of her tomboyish appearance and funny name, he was under the mistaken impression that she was a man as well. So they don’t get off to the best start, and weird things start happening at the house almost right away. Of course they start to have feelings for each other, and the strange occurrences start to ramp up and all that. There are a couple of boys from the village who work for George, and he has a couple of very smart dogs, as well, that make up the main cast, so to speak.
If you had to sell your book based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?
"George! Please let me out! Please!" she begged. She was nearly incoherent in her hysteria, yanking on the door knob.
"It's locked! It's locked from the inside!" George was shouting. "You've locked it, Scout! You have to unlock it from your side-- do you understand?"
"I didn't! I didn't! I didn't I didn't I didn't lock it I didn't!" she screamed. She started banging on the door. "Please let me out! There's something in here with me George! There's something in here with me! Please! Please!" She collapsed on to the door, sobbing, unable even to speak, simply continuing to hit the door weakly with her fists. "George, please, there's something in here with me--"
There was only silence from George's side of the door, even the dogs were quiet.
"George, please, please let me out," Scout beseeched him.
"Scout, darling, get away from the door, all right? Move away from the door," she heard.
"Are you well away?" he asked a few moments later.
"Yes--yes," she replied.
There was a huge cracking noise as the door splintered, and the door, George, and both dogs fell into the room.
"Scout? Scout? Where are you?" he called. He fumbled for the light switch, illuminating the room.
She was huddled against the wall, eyes huge, hands held in front of her as if warding off a blow.
"Oh my god, you poor thing," George said softly, gathering her up. He tried to lead her to the bed, but she began screaming again, so he simply picked her up and took her to his room, the dogs following worriedly in their wake. She hung limply in his arms, head dangling, eyes wide.
He laid her carefully in his bed, switching on the lamp. She was pallid, her lips blue. He felt her head, cursing himself for not calling in a doctor that afternoon.
"Scout? Scout, I'm going to make you some tea, all right? I'll be right back." She grabbed his sleeve, and it seemed like she wasn't going to let him leave the room, but when Jess and Bandit broke one of his cardinal rules and jumped on his bed with her, she released him.
He hurried downstairs and made the tea, loading it up with sugar. He added a little brandy and brought it upstairs, grabbing one of his sleeping pills on the way.
The dogs had moved, one on each side, and she had an arm around each, though she still looked quite off. He tried to hand her the tea, but she didn't reach for it, so he held it, and she did finally begin to take sips. After she'd drunk about half of it and taken the pill, her color began to improve, and eventually she was able to hold the cup on her own.
"Now, do you think you can talk to me?" he asked softly. "Tell me what happened?"
She looked at him, pupils still so dilated her blue eyes looked black.
"Something was in the bed with me," she whispered.
He looked at her.
"I was asleep, and I woke up because I felt something in the bed with me. It moved when I moved. It was under the covers with me, down near my feet, and it grabbed my ankle right when you started banging on the door," she continued in that same, horrified voice.
She saw his face. "I wasn't sleeping," she said firmly. "I know what a dream feels like, I do." She put her hand on his arm. "And I didn't lock my door, George. I don't even know how that door locks."
He looked at her.
"Okay," he said finally. "There's no need to discuss any of this tonight, regardless of what happened. You've had a shock, and you need to rest, we can certainly agree on that much, right?" He looked at her, nodding.
She just stared at him, finally nodding back. Her eyelids were finally beginning to droop as the pill took effect.
"Right, then, so get some rest, and we'll talk in the morning, yeah?"
"Okay," Scout said reluctantly. She looked around, realizing for the first time where she was. "I can't sleep here, though, and put you out of your own bed." Her eyes were glazed over, but she looked panicky, and George realized that she was really frightened by whatever had happened to her.
"Look," he said softly. "This bed is huge. I'll sleep on top of this duvet, I'll just grab another one, okay? It'll be all proper and above board." He smiled reassuringly at her. "And Jess and Bandit will be between us as canine chaperones as well. They'll be so chuffed they won't move all night, will you guys, hm?" And indeed, the dogs were so happy to be on the bed it did seem as though they were settled in for the night.
"Whatever you gave me was really strong..." Scout mumbled. George smiled when he looked over at her. Her arm was around Bandit's neck, and her eyes had slipped closed. She looked like a sleeping ten-year- old.
He rolled over and tried to put the night's strange events out of his mind. But something was bothering him, tickling the edge of his brain, and it came to him, just as he was dropping off to sleep.
The key to that room had been lost long ago. The previous owner of the house had told him that when he'd moved in.
There was no way it could've been locked.
Are you currently working on another story? If so, we’d love some details.
I have a book called Pete and Daisy, and two sequels, that I’m working on publishing next. It’s a romance (surprise!) about a young college couple living in New York City who are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, learning to love each other as they face this new chapter in their lives. It’s light and fun, very sexy and romantic.
Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
I didn’t know I liked writing serials until I started writing, but I do. When I get to the end, or what I thought was the end, it turns out there’s still so much more I want to say! And my readers, too will start asking, almost immediately, if there’s more. They ask me what happened to “so and so,” like they just drop by to chat or something. I remember reading Stephen King talking about something like this, and him being so surprised by this, but now I know what he’s talking about. I get to really enjoy spending time with these people I’ve created, and I miss them when I put them away. The UK Crush books were seven in all, and I do think I’m finished with them, though even those guys pop up as carry overs in my other stories. Pete and Daisy have three book so far, and I haven’t even published any yet, so who knows? And the characters in Farraway Mist, well, I miss them, and I’d love to write more about what happens to them after this book ends, so who knows?
Eventually she fell into a kind of fitful sleep, but suddenly came wide awake in complete darkness, unsure for a moment where she was.
Something was in the bed with her.
She lay completely still, not even breathing, and she felt it again, the thing that had awakened her.
Something was moving, down near her foot. Under the comforter. As long as she didn't move, it didn't move, but every time she moved, she felt a corresponding movement down there.
Scout didn't know how long she lay there without moving, but it felt like hours. She could hear her heart hammering in her ears, feel it pounding in her chest. Her foot twitched, completely out of her control, and the comforter jumped, at least eight inches away from where her foot was.
About the Author
Tani Hanes was born in Yokosuka, Japan. She spent the first few years of her life traveling back and forth between Japan and the US, making the permanent move to the Central Valley of California when she was five. She visited family in Japan on a regular basis, and attended college in Tokyo for one year at ICU before getting her degree in Language Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has two children, and was a substitute teacher for fifteen years. Hanes currently resides in New York City with her husband and cats, Moss and Lily.