23 March 2014

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Paula Cappa on THE DAZZLING DARKNESS

This week, we're pleased to welcome author Paula Cappa with her latest novel, THE DAZZLING DARKNESS. The author will offer a free copy of The Dazzling Darkness to a lucky blog visitor.  Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.

A secret lies buried beneath the haunting statuary in Old Willow Cemetery. In Concord, Massachusetts, the surrounding woods are alive with the spirits of transcendentalists Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott. Elias Hatch, the cemetery keeper, is the last of modern-day transcendentalists. Does he know the secret power buried in Old Willow Cemetery? Would he reveal it?

Next door to this cemetery is a lovely gabled house. When the Brooke family moves in, the secret of Old Willow strikes. 

On a cold afternoon in March, five-year-old Henry Brooke does not arrive home from the school bus stop. Antonia Brooke is frantic her child is missing, or--the unspeakable--stolen. Adam Brooke spends a harrowing night searching the Concord woods, fear gripping him as hours pass with no leads. 

Finally, a police dog tracks Henry's scent inside Old Willow Cemetery. Detective Mike Balducci suspects that Elias Hatch knows the truth about what happened to Henry. Balducci knows Hatch's metaphysical beliefs. What Balducci discovers buried in the cemetery is beyond the grave, beyond apparitions or shadowy drifts rushing through the pine trees. 

There are the dazzled faces in the darkened air ... and their secret.

**Author Interview: Paula Cappa**

Tell us about this book, The Dazzling Darkness.

The Dazzling Darkness is a supernatural mystery. We have a cemetery, an ancient secret, and a lost child, Henry Brooke. The opening line is “Elias Hatch is an old soul who spends each day trusting the dead.” This story gives the readers a peek behind the veil of death through Elias Hatch, who is the owner of Old Willow Cemetery.

Is there a central message in your story?

The central theme is within the Brooke family. This story is really a family love story. Antonia and Adam Brooke are on their own journey in this search for Henry and exploring the cemetery. Their relationship is ripped open and from that raw wound, they struggle and find redemption once they enter the darkness. The message is in the darkness.

Who is Henry and what is his role in this story?

Henry is the hero in the story. And this passionate little guy carries it off with a lot of charm. Something happens to Henry in this call to adventure. Once he crosses that threshold, his journey changes everything for him. He brings back with him the “elixir” (metaphorically speaking), and life for the entire Brooke family enters a new realm. I’d give you an example but it would spoil the suspense for the reader.

Tell us about Elias Hatch, the cemetery owner.

Elias Hatch is the threshold guardian in the story. He knows the secrets of Old Willow Cemetery. He is a devoted transcendentalist and clings to using these philosophies. He can be a dangerous man, though … as most threshold guardians can create obstacles and delays. One can’t be totally sure about Elias because he is so secretive and elusive. Most of the story was revealed to me by Elias. He was the character that held all the information for me.

Why did you choose Concord, Massachusetts as the setting?

During the 19th century, Concord was the center for the new thinking of transcendentalism, and even today still carries all that transcendental history (especially from Ralph Waldo Emerson and his philosophy about intuition, insightfulness, and creativity). The path to understanding this idea of the dazzling darkness is based on the metaphysical thinking of transcendentalism, so Concord was right place for this story.
The historical aspect of the story is mostly how Concord’s transcendental history is still affecting life 150 years later.

What role does Ralph Waldo Emerson play in this story?

Emerson is not a live character, nor is he a ghost, although his presence is felt by the characters. Emerson’s thoughts and transcendental teachings act as a creative energy for Elias Hatch, for Detective Mike Balducci and even Antonia Brooke. The novel actually developed from a line in one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays in his address called Nature. He wrote … “Even the corpse has its own beauty.”

Shocking statement, right? The more I read about Emerson’s personal experiences with death, the more the story began to take shape. Emerson lost his young wife Ellen only a short time after they were married. He buried her in the family vault and a year later, still driven by intense grief, he opened her coffin. What a heart-breaking experience!

And then twenty-five years later, after his young son dies at five-years-old, Emerson opened his coffin as well. These images all connected for me: images of a cemetery, images of a boy named Henry suddenly appeared, coffins opening. The story just unraveled in a very exciting way, and Emerson was that foundation.

If you could compare this book with any book out there we might already be familiar with, which book would it be and why?

I think Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. Her story is about life after death, about a mother and her boy and the pain of losing a child. The time periods of the stories are different. The Dazzling Darkness is present day but flashes back to 19th century Concord and London and briefly to ancient Rome.

Learn more about author Paula Cappa

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