Titles: Death Wish; Forget Me Not; Wild Blue Yonder; Devil and the Deep; and Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully
Author: Charlotte Wilson (previously published under Megan Tayte
Series: Ceruleans #1-5
Genre: Paranormal Romance (YA?)
Guest post (Ceruleans-world story)
The cake was homemade. Lopsided. Slathered in gloopy frosting. Judging by Adam’s previous attempts in the kitchen, it was safe to assume it would be inedible.
Estelle loved it.
‘You baked? For me?’
She reached over and pulled Adam into a hug, awkward with the massive baby bump wedged between them.
‘Happy anniversary!’ he said.
Estelle pulled back, frowning. ‘That’s tomorrow.’
A year since she had Become a Cerulean. A year since she had died.
‘I know,’ said Adam. ‘But I have a surprise for you. A… gift. And I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, so I thought: give it to you today, and if you… well, if it’s not what you want, then it hasn’t spoiled tomorrow.’ He smiled at her – nervously.
‘O-kay,’ said Estelle. She couldn’t fathom what gift she could potentially dislike that much. Unless he’d bought her something girlie. She didn’t do girlie.
‘Good,’ said Adam. He grabbed her hands. ‘Ready?’
She’d barely begun to nod when it happened… the picnic blanket, the beach, the ocean, all gone, replaced, in the bewildering blink of an eye, by a grimy urban alleyway.
What came next was not pretty. Estelle hadn’t been that sick since her first trimester.
‘Are you insane?’ she hissed eventually, when she was done and could get a word in edgeways between Adam’s apologies and panicked are-you-okay-is-the-baby-okays. ‘You Travelled us to…’ She looked about and recognition made her jaw drop. ‘No,’ she said. ‘Truro?’
White-faced, Adam nodded. He didn’t say anything; he just pointed at a shopfront visible at the top of the alley. The sign was so weathered it was unreadable. That didn’t matter; Estelle knew exactly what it said: Tattoo Tony’s.
Furious, she rounded on Adam. ‘You’d better start explaining right now.’
‘The nightmares you’ve been having about… him. I couldn’t do nothing. It’s not right, Estelle, that he’s living his life here. Unpunished. So…’ He held out his hands. Ethereal blue light lit the alley.
‘Quit it!’ Estelle slapped his hands, hard. ‘Adam…’ She stared at the one person she loved, who’d given her a home and a purpose – to whom she’d confided her deepest, most painful secret: that when she was nine, the year before her mother ODed, a man named Tattoo Tony had abused her.
Adam stared right back at her, and there was a spark in his eyes she’d never seen before. ‘What’s the point of having power over life and death,’ he said, ‘if you can’t use it to take out a bad guy? One touch, Estelle. That’s all it would take.’
No! she should have yelled. No, Adam, that’s sacrilegious, against everything the Ceruleans stand for. But the words wouldn’t come.
She looked up the alley again, at the shop. She lay a hand on her swollen belly. Then she reached out and took Adam’s hand, and they walked toward the street.
They would have looked an odd couple – he the picture boy for geek chic, her Gothed out from head to foot – had they been visible. They weren’t, though, thanks to Adam’s power. They could walk right across that street, into the tattoo parlour and kill a man, and no one would ever know it was them.
At the door to the shop, which was propped open, Estelle pulled Adam to a stop. She could see an old man inside. He was gaunt and stooped, and his breath was coming in wheezy pants.
‘Do you feel it?’ she murmured to Adam.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Lung cancer, I think.’
‘How long does he have?’
‘Months, if that.’
Estelle thought carefully before asking the next question: ‘Do you feel the pull? Are you meant to heal him?’
She saw Adam shake his head. No. This man was destined to die. Slowly. Painfully.
Suddenly, she realised that she could see Adam; he was no longer shielding them from view. That’s how well he knew her. There would be no wicked deed here today, no Falling from grace. Only justice of the karmic kind.
‘God I love you,’ she said, and she pressed her lips to his.
‘Er… can I help you?’ Tony had come to the door and was frowning at the couple kissing on his doorstep.
Estelle and Adam broke off, but they didn’t even look at the man beside them.
‘Take me home,’ Estelle told Adam… and he did.
They stayed on the beach for the rest of the day, lying in the sun, paddling in the surf. When the sun set there wasn’t a crumb left of that cake. It was dry. It was salty. It was crunchy with egg shell. But it was the most delicious thing either of them had ever eaten.
1. What does your writing process look like?
I’d like to say that I plan meticulously and then follow that plan as I write – wouldn’t that be neat and disciplined? It doesn’t quite work that way for me, though. I have a plan; I know the story. But I find new inspiration as I go along that leads me to deviate (and, usually, complicate the plot further – I like multi-layered plots with twists and turns).
I have a big pinboard in my writing room on which I pin inspirational pictures and postcards, spidergram plans and Post-Its with key plot points. The pinboard content changes regularly, to reflect my current thinking. It looks like a crazy mishmash of stuff, but it’s actually a visual record of the book.
2. How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?
All kinds of things can spark an idea – a song lyric, a scene in a movie, a story in the news, a beautiful view, a vivid dream. I have way too many ideas, more than I could ever hope to explore. The ones that find their way into my writing are those that haunt me; I can’t shake them off. They demand, insistently, to be written into existence.
3. How long have you been writing?
For myself, in private, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Professionally, I’ve written since 2001. When I’d spent enough years getting paid to write for other people, it finally dawned on me that my own writing needn’t remain private – and I published The Ceruleans.
4. What tips do you have for aspiring writers?
Read and read and read, and write and write and write.
Write because you love to write – because it’s as essential to you as breathing.
Write even when you’re wracked with self-doubt, when you feel raw and vulnerable and exhausted, when quitting is appealing.
Write what you want to write, not what you think will make you rich or famous or admired.
Write with soul. Write something worth leaving behind in this world.
So many, way more than I could list. My job is writing and editing books – all kinds of books – so I read voraciously and widely: classic, literary fiction, crime thriller, romance, young adult, sci-fi; you name it, I read it.
Occasionally, I feel the need to read something purely for my own pleasure, and those are the times I reach for a well-thumbed favourite on the shelf – the kind of book that inspired me to become a writer and book editor. Recently, I’ve been re-reading Dickens’ Oliver Twist; reading that is like hanging out with an old friend.
Story-based shows appeal the most – I love to escape into a story world.
I go through phases with TV shows. I tend to pick a series and then work through the boxset. Recently, I’ve been watching Arrow, The Flash and Outlander – my husband is Scottish and I’m English, so that’s one we watch together.
When it comes to movies, I love quirky films (Juno and Amelie spring to mind), but because I have two kids I most often watch children’s films. I took them to see Storks at the cinema the other week and laughed myself silly.
Each Ceruleans book has a ‘booktrack’ of sorts, music that features in key scenes. The signature song for each novel gives you an idea of what kind of music gives me the feels:
Death Wish: Florence and the Machine, ‘Never Let Me Go’
Forget Me Not: Fun, ‘We Are Young’
Wild Blue Yonder: Charlene Soraia, ‘Wherever You Will Go’
Forget Me Not: Stereophonics, ‘It Means Nothing’.
Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully: Muse, ‘Madness’
My favourite singer is Ed Sheeran, and his song ‘Kiss Me’ features prominently in Death Wish, when the heroine has her first kiss at the top of an old clifftop folly – on top of the world and a step from death.
Coffee. For the taste, not the caffeine hit – I drink decaf. A few years ago I bought a coffee machine; best purchase ever. I now have a mini-Starbucks in my kitchen, complete with tall glasses, syrups and sprinkles. But I still write in cafes a lot, because I like the buzz and the change of scene (and the little caramelised biscuits they serve with hot drinks… mmm).
Social media site
Instagram. I’m not great at using it (because my phone camera is awful; I’m impatiently awaiting an upgrade), but I love how it’s made photography mainstream and meaningful. I especially love the bookstagram trend, and how it unites book lovers the world over. #Bookstagram posts make me want to read – and write.
Charlotte Wilson bio:
Print copies of all 5 books in the series