Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween fun with Jane Lebak

Cate: Please welcome Jane Lebak to my special Halloween celebration. Jane, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jane: I'm Jane Lebak. I've been writing stories since I was three years old, although I've gotten a bit better at it since then. I also don't write in magenta crayon any longer. I've published three novels and a lot of shorter fiction, and I'm also one of the bloggers for QueryTracker.net, a resource for beginning writers and writers who want to find a literary agent.

Cate: What do you love most about Halloween?
Jane:  I love dressing up as Death's Incompetent Assistant and looking at all the costumes the kids come up with. My husband takes the kids trick-or-treating while I sit outside giving away the candy. Last year, we gave away thirteen pounds of candy!

Cate: Ha, that sounds like fun! Do you have a favorite memory of a Halloween past?
Jane: About six years ago, it was unseasonably warm, so I sat out on the front steps trying (and failing) to crochet a granny square. It was about one inch by one inch big. I told anyone who stopped by that maybe I should have started making my costume earlier.

Cate: Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Jane: Heck yes! I blog most of them. My favorite would be the time I asked my guardian angel where would be his favorite place on Earth, and that night I had a dream showing me a specific location. It took six months for me to track down the place, but it's a real honest-to-goodness place on Earth. (I could be cagey, but the answer is Cadaques, in Spain. As for why, well, that's over at my weblog here: http://wp.me/p8I00-48.)

Cate: Oo, looking forward to reading that. What frightens you the most?
Jane: The possibility of being deceived by something evil.

Cate: Yikes. Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Jane: No. Any ghosts I've seen have come to me. I saw my daughter once about 14 months after she died, and after her baby brother was born, one day I was intensely aware of her presence.

Cate: Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Jane: I'm such a disaster as a cook, I'd have to say no. Pretty much anything I make is scary.

Cate: Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Jane:  The Wrong Enemy is  available at Amazon for Kindle as well as the publisher's website in all ebook formats. It may still be on new-release discount at the publisher's site, so check there first: http://tinyurl.com/jlebakt

The Wrong Enemy is the story of a guardian angel who killed the child he vowed to protect, an action that should have landed the angel in Hell and instead gets him…a second chance? And it’s not a second chance guarding a popcorn stand at the circus, either. Tabris is assigned as co-guardian over a ten year old girl with an angel who absolutely doesn’t want Tabris anywhere near that child for fear he'll do it again. The only one who does seem to want Tabris around is a demon who’s making a full-court press for him to leave the God who set him up to fail, and Tabris isn’t sure the demon’s wrong.

Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Jane: Sure!  Here are the opening paragraphs of the novel.

          Raguel waited at the back of the Judgment Hall to hear the verdict passed on the boy's soul: Heaven. He nodded as he registered the word, but without rejoicing as he should have. Based on the expressions of the other witnesses, neither was anyone else. Half the angels in the room watched the boy as he leaped in delight and hugged the angel at his side, but the larger number studied the angel who stood at the back of the hall, Tabris.
            Tabris had not reacted to the echoing verdict. Staring only at the chains binding his wrists and securing him to the floor, he stood like a horse at a hitching post. Only once did Raguel see him look up, struggling for a glimpse the boy before the other angels crowded into his line of sight, but then they'd taken the boy away, and Tabris said not a word.
            Two Archangel guards flanked Tabris, one wearing a thousand-mile stare and the other struggling against grief. Everything about their posture read duty to Raguel, broadcast without words in their alert stance, the readiness of their weapons, and their raised chins. Between them, Tabris seemed smaller, slumped, his two-toned wings drooping until they touched the floor. With a shudder, Raguel realized at least one of the guards had probably been his friend.
            They had no idea how to act. And rightly so. Angels didn't usually take one of their own into custody.

Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Jane: This story wouldn't let me go. I got the idea during January of my junior year in college, just that idea of a guardian angel who killed his charge and then got reassigned rather than tossed into Hell. I kept feeling the sense of isolation, the desperation, the regret – and I wanted a happy ending for him.

But I told myself no, I won't write this because I had classes and I needed to concentrate. But the story kept coming into my head and growing, and finally I caved and started writing it…during finals week!  But the book got published and I aced all my finals, so it can't have been that bad a thing.

Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Jane:  October 2nd is the feast day of Guardian Angels in the Catholic Church, so it's the perfect time to talk about them – and say hello to yours.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, and I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did!

Cate: Thanks for sharing in the celebration, Jane!

Jane's interview made me curious about some of the Halloween superstitions dealing with souls or evil. I found these:

To ward off evil on Halloween you should walk around your home three times clockwise and three times counterclockwise

To see a spider on Halloween means it is a relative returning from the dead to check on you

Knives were hidden on Halloween night so that returning spirits would not come to any harm

If you place a turnip on your gatepost on Halloween then no evil spirits can harm you or your home

Originally children would ask for food (soulcakes) and money when they went from door to door-for every cake a prayer was said for the dead

If a bat flies around your house on Halloween it is a death omen

People used to lock up their cats on Halloween as an elf could travel on your cats back into your home and create havoc

In ancient times a person always rang a bell (not a doorbell) which would ward off evil spirits for the entire year

If you see an owl diving then he/she is coming to take your soul away


Angela Brown said...

Thanks, Jane and Cate. That was certainly an intriguing banter of Q&A. And the superstitions were extra interesting. A bit creepy, but interesting :-)

Cate Masters said...

Welcome Jane! I love your idea for a Halloween costume. :)

It's interesting to learn how people used to deal with their fears, though, isn't it, Angela? I wonder who thought some of them up!

DMS said...

The Wrong Enemy sounds fascinating! What a great interview. So fun to learn about the superstitions associated with this spooky holiday.

Jane | @janelebak said...

Cate, thank you so much for posting! I'm sorry I didn't come by sooner, but I've had a kid in the hospital, but I'm honored to be featured on your blog. And thanks for posting the superstitions! Very cool.