Today I'd like to welcome C.L. Roberts-Huth, author of “Whispers of the Dead” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
I've been writing for as long as I could remember. My first story was an angsty-girl's attempt to woo the boys (yes, boys!) she adored with inclusion into a supernatural thriller entitled, "The Hand of Doom". This was followed by my one and only screen play that involved an adopted child who killed off her new family in creative ways. All this by the time I was 14. Since then I've evolved my writing to such gems as "Whispers of the Dead" and "Whispers of the Serpent", supernatural thrillers, and the occasional foray into the world of BDSM.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
'Save' is a broad term. Am I squirreling away a loved one who has been wrongly accused? Yes. Are they terminally ill and we live in a state that doesn't allow for euthanasia? Yes. Sometimes the law is wrong (or at least hasn't evolved). However, having said that, my kids know that if they break the law, I will love them, but I will turn them in. In all things, living with the consequences of the choices, theirs and mine. I hope that makes sense.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Being alive is just existing. It's that space between breaths, where you just are and nothing more. Truly living means following those butterflies of dreams, taking risks and getting up when they fail (sometimes in epic ways!), loving and being loved, and leaving a legacy behind in the hearts and souls of everyone you touch. I'm trying really hard to do #2.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
Chaos. Is that a dumb answer? Inside my clinically depressive head, along with my traumatic childhood, there was this peace in creating my own worlds, my own stories. I could work out my issues through my characters, and in a sad way, many times those people were the only ones who understood me, circular logic aside. Writing gave me a control at times when I feel I’ve lost it. The outside influences that overwhelm on occasion cannot enter into my writing without my specific, explicit invitation, and when you’re thoroughly overwhelmed, that is a lifesaver. Remember when I said I could work out my issues through my stories? I’m known to be brutal to my characters, just ask my heroine, Zoe Delante, but there’s something about putting them through the wringer and seeing them come out better (albeit battered and bruised in more ways than one) that motivates me to keep living.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
Food source? No, seriously, humans want children for several key reasons: 1) obligation, 2) legacy and/or 3) love. I say ‘and/or’, because I’ve seen many times where the obligation, the need for legacy does not equate to love at all, but this odd sense of burden, of ownership. And alternately, I’ve seen a baby that creates an unexpected hardship completely change a family for the best. Some of the best loved little humans I’ve ever met were surprises. That’s not to say that you can’t plan/want a child for love. Let me rephrase, because that doesn’t always work either. People sometimes have children as this last stopgap to prevent the end of their coupledom, as if this third, fourth, fifth, etc. little person is going to make the issues that are breaking them better. It rarely does. This also applies to women who have babies to have ‘someone who will love me forever’. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a kid. Work your stuff out first, people! Ahem. I’m stepping off my soapbox now. But having said that, you can want children to simply share the love you have with your partner. Doesn’t always turn out the way you expect, but gods, you can definitely tell the kids who are wanted (in any situation) and those who aren’t.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Whispers of the Dead" ?
Balance. There were several places where I had to consider the depth of the gore, the religious conflict, the emotions of the characters. Too much of anything makes it sound textbook, you know? Too much can also come off forced and preachy. No one likes to read that when they open up a supernatural crime thriller. Too little and it feels like a footnote, leaving the reader wondering how it's going to play in the big picture and disappointed when it doesn't. I like the gore in my novels. I love the details that put the reader right there, like you can reach out and touch that outpour of intestines, smell the acrid scent. It pulls you in and you can see it in your head, which just makes a longer lasting impression that makes you want to read more! I also like rather human characters, more flawed the better. Our heroine has a serious chip on her shoulder as a Wiccan, that eventually gets knocked off by the acts of someone she cares about it. It’s a very human experience. I try to keep that balance, so they are believable, so you can say, “Hey, I want to have a coffee with Zoe!”
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Belief. Isn't that silly, how just the idea that someone believes in you, that you can believe in yourself, can motivate epic changes in a life? Doesn't feel silly anymore, since I've seen it in action, personally and with the narratives, testimonials, people who are complete strangers have said I've invoked in them. I'm big about community vs. hostility, and belief is a big cornerstone in that. We could change the world, if we could look past the aesthetics and just believed in the good in each other. A touch naive, but hey, I see it working.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Whispers of the Dead"?
Sadly, this was terribly simple. My heroine talks to the dead. They whisper to her. "Do you hear them whisper?", however, came off as a terrible tagline, like almost stalker-y creepy. But now, with the follow on books, I see it as the start of a series, the continuity of my dreams made real. Can't really think badly about that.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Oh, gods, this is hard. For the most part, I tend to look at criticism and determine if it's constructive or destructive. If the idea is valid, gives me room to evolve as a person or a writer, then I should at least consider it. I’ve learned a lot of things from readers who are experts in their fields, several of whom I will consult in later novels. And that balance I strive for? Yeah, constructive criticism lets me know when I’ve gone too far. Helpful, not hurtful. If it's a personalized attack, then I like to disregard it (you know, like saying I write well, for a girl). There are times though, when I get really cranky about it. How dare that complete stranger say something like that to me? Don't they know who I am? There’s a two star rating on my book that drives me nuts, because while she enjoyed the writing, felt the story was good, she didn’t like that I cast not-so-good Christians in there. Not only did I feel like the two-stars was undeserved, but I was upset that she overlooked the one good Christian in the book who made Zoe change her mind about things, which is something she complained I didn’t have! But then I realize that everyone is entitled to an opinion, just like I am entitled to my reaction to it. One two-star rating doesn’t make me less of a writer, and it gives me something to think about for book two and beyond. That’s never a bad thing.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
People should read my book if they like a strong heroine who is human enough for vulnerabilities but tough enough to stand up on her own two feet. This isn't some light romantic fare laced with a supernatural thread though. If you like murder, mayhem and magick, then you're going to love the dark depths of Whispers of the Dead. Zoe Delante, Baltimore PD police consultant psychic, might be the crown jewel in this little cryptic crown, but her supporting cast shines on their own. From the pair of detectives working with her on this case to the other Wiccans who make their wonderfully human debuts to the nasty villains that just keep carving curves in the labyrinth of this mystery, you are sure to find someone to relate to, to cheer or jeer.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Science. Even when the space seems empty, if you look deep enough you'll see something. Usually something amazing and mindblowing... or alien. Cue theme song from "The X-Files".
Thank you :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out “Whispers of the Dead” on
When Zoe Delante gets called on a new case as the local police clairvoyant, she's unprepared for the heinous nature of the murders. As the hunt unfolds, she finds herself in the middle of a power struggle between a bad coven and a serial murderer. Will she discover the identity of the beheading maniac before he strikes again or will she lose someone close to her instead?