When Emma Hart comes across the new bad boy writhing on the floor of her high school, it’s not exactly love at first sight, but it isn’t exactly hate. That is until he refuses to acknowledge her efforts to help and continuously gives her the cold shoulder. And his behavior isn’t just toward her. Connor Harmon seems determined to make everyone hate him.
But after being assigned to work with him on a history project, an attraction starts to build and the mysteries surrounding Connor keep growing. She has to be careful about asking Connor questions about himself, as the one rule when dealing with Connor is that you don’t ask questions about Connor. But why do his “seizures” seem to coincide with worldwide violence? Why has Emma’s friend, Ethan, become so obsessed with protecting Emma from Connor, and who are Ethan’s new friends? Why are they stalking Connor?
Seven Everson is the author of “Ashes of Eden“, a YA paranormal romance available through Amazon. I recently asked Seven if she’d agree to an interview, and she did!
So, Seven is a very interesting first name. Is it your given name or pen name and is there a story behind it?
Seven is my pen name. But it’s also the name I was prepared to give my daughter if I’d had one. To the relief of EVERYONE I know, I had two boys (whose names are equally interesting). Short of actually renaming MYSELF Seven, I decided to use it professionally.
Your novel “Ashes of Eden” is definitely one of the better self-published works out there. I’ve now read it twice and am definitely looking forward to its sequel. For those who haven’t read it, can you tell us a little about the novel?
Ashes of Eden: The Burden. Everyone asks what the Burden is, but I can’t give that answer without giving away the crux of the novel.
I came up with this novel in a Florence and the Machine concert. I was there with a friend, and we couldn’t get near the stage (usually I’m practically climbing ON a stage at any concert). She said, “Why don’t you come up with an idea for a novel while you’re waiting.”
Connor Harman exploded into my head in about 3 seconds, and ten seconds later I had the full picture of who he was and why he did what he did. I kind of shocked myself with his truth, to be honest.
I can’t really remember the show at all, just that gorgeous, soul-filling feeling of KNOWING that when I got home, the entire plot was going to fall from my head into my keyboard.
Wow, that’s amazing. Was it actually that easy to write, or did reality set in when you finally got to your computer?
It was TOO easy to write; it consumed me. My ex-husband never even knew I wrote it, because I’ve written several (unpublished) novels, and he wanted me to work on one of them instead – obviously I ignored that advice. I’m self-employed, and some days I’d wipe away 8-10 hours of work writing instead. It took 4 months, which doesn’t seem long, and I can’t believe I found the time, but I’d sneak it in when I could, every single day. Connor Harman became my obsession; who he was, what he did. I fell deeply and utterly in love with him and his torturous existence. I literally worked, drove, cooked, gardened, breathed that novel non-stop until it was finally done. I’ve never written anything in the last 20 years that quickly or intensely.
What were some of your goals when it came to writing Ashes of Eden?
I knew I wanted it to be a YA Paranormal Romance, but I absolutely did not want it to be lame and pointless like a particular popular YA books series that was made into films. I wanted it to be important and address important issues while still involving love and pining and a hot male lead (who doesn’t want a hot male lead?).
It was never going to be a bodice-ripper. It was never going to have the couple jumping into bed. It was to be a slow burn, and a love WORTH falling into, for all the right reasons.
I actually love that about the novel. Connor definitely grows on you gradually. It’s not merely about whether or not the couple will end up together. It poses questions on our perceptions of good and evil, and the choices we make.
The concert was full of religious themes and soaring music and it wasn’t hard to build the entire novel with that influence. I like to educate people, and the history and facts in that novel are accurate. But mostly, I wanted to demonstrate to people that there is a massive world out there.
Americans can be VERY insular, to the point where some news programs don’t even talk about what happens overseas. I don’t want to add to their ignorance by feeding them a fluffy love story.
Connor makes terrible choices, every day, and in order to love him, Emma must make her own choice: I love that she can do it with the big picture in her head, not just the simple pining of a lovestruck girl.
If I recall, I came across your work on Authonomy probably through one of the reading groups. What was your Authonomy experience like and, now that the site is gone, do you ever miss it?
I loved Authonomy. I MISS Authonomy. I miss reading other people’s works and offering honest critiques, but most of all I miss the sheer honesty that other people would give my novel. Not having to meet someone face to face while you pick their work apart gives everyone the freedom to speak the truth.
When I first put Ashes of Eden up for critique, I honestly thought I’d written a well-rounded, perfect novel that just needed a few grammatical changes. WRONG! It was there for a year (I’m a perfectionist), and in time, it was mercilessly hammered. Mercilessly, brilliantly, honestly smashed to bits. I loved it.
I took most things on board but I had a rule: if one person told me something, I checked and then possibly ignored it. If 2 or more people told me, I made the change. It went from being average, to being BETTER. I wish a similar site existed so I could send my next novel there.
I know that in theory if enough people rated your work highly, the publisher would consider it for actual publication, but in truth, this basically forced many people to become vote hunters rather than genuinely participating for the sake of the work. Some novels that made it to the top each month that should never have been there.
The problem was that popularity didn’t always equal talent – just persistence! I found authors there who will never become writers, but at least they had the dream. I found people there who SHOULD be published, and I hope to God they will be one day.
Before we leave, do you have any final words you’d like to leave the readers of this blog?
Thank you for being readers. Thank you for being writers. Thank you for choosing words on a page – even an electronic page – over television and gaming and Facebook and a million other things you COULD be doing with your time. I was a voracious reader as a child, but I no longer have the time, and I miss it. I miss the thrill of the story, and the uncertainty as it unfolds, and the joy when the author gets it right.
But if I can’t read, I can at least write . . . and that’s almost the same.
(And thank you to Angela for her generous time and attention.)