After trips to London and years spent living in Portland, Maine, the physical city of Harborsmouth was complete, and then it began to populate. I mapped the city districts and filled the streets, buildings, sewers, and harbor with monsters best left unseen. Too bad for Ivy Granger, she can see them all.
Today, please help me welcome fellow author E.J. Stevens to Preternatura. E.J. Stevens is the author of the Spirit Guide young adult series and the bestselling Ivy Granger urban fantasy series. When E.J. isn’t at her writing desk she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing. Her most recent book is Ghost Light, which was released on July 9 by Sacred Oaks Press. Ghost Light is her second book in the Ivy Granger series.
You can learn more about E.J. by visiting her blog, following her on Twitter, friending her on Goodreads or by visiting her website.
ABOUT GHOST LIGHT: With a vengeful lamia that only she can see on the city streets, reports of specters walking Harborsmouth cemeteries, and an angry mob of faerie clients at her office door, it’s bound to be a long night. Add in an offense against the faerie courts and a few foolish bargains and one thing is clear–Ivy Granger is in some seriously deep trouble. Ivy Granger is back, gathering clues in the darkest shadows of downtown Harborsmouth. With the lives of multiple clients on the line, she’s in a race against time. Ivy finally has a lead to the whereabouts of the one person who can help her control her wisp abilities, but will she put the needs of her clients above her own? If Ivy doesn’t find a solution soon, she could wind up a ghost herself.
And now, let’s hear from E.J….
Origins of Harborsmouth
Harborsmouth can trace its roots to a 1994 mugging in Dublin, Ireland. Though I suppose you could say that seeds of Harborsmouth were planted in my subconscious much earlier, from a lifetime of excursions into Boston, the Dublin incident rent the earth and dropped in a fully grown tree—gnarly, misshapen branches and all.
During a three-month summer break from college, I lived in a tiny flat in Dublin. The place wasn’t very clean and the mini fridge caught fire the day I arrived, but I made the best of it. I was on a grand adventure on the Emerald Isle and I wasn’t going to let spoiled milk or a diet of curry ramen get me down.
I haunted museums, toured the Guinness factory, and became a frequent visitor of the legendary Book of Kells. I wandered the city so often that, even though I was far away from home, I allowed myself to be lulled into a false sense of security. Foolish, foolish me.
One night while enjoying a brief interlude in the rain, I crossed the Liffy River that bisects the city. I had walked across that stone bridge hundreds of times before, but that night, I wasn’t alone. When I reached the middle of the bridge a shape came out of the darkness.
A man had been hiding in the shadows, ducking low so that his silhouette was masked by the crenellated sides of the bridge. Heart racing, I scanned the bridge, but there were no police patrols or helpful pedestrians in sight. As the man stepped closer, he spat the word “American” like it was a curse and blocked my path.
Miraculously, I explained that I had no money and, after emptying my pockets to prove the point, the man allowed me to continue across the bridge without violence. But I couldn’t shake the image of a monster rising from the shadows, demanding I pay a toll to cross the bridge like a creature from a fairy tale. What if monsters really did walk these city streets?
A later trip to Rome nurtured the idea of monsters inhabiting a modern city. Everywhere I turned, I saw places where the fae or undead might thrive. Exploring the underground crypts and macabre chapels inspired much of the areas of Harborsmouth below street level, including the vampire council chamber. The city of Harborsmouth, created by a moment of fear and danger, continued to grow.
Thanks, E.J.! Okay, now I totally want to go to Dublin, only without the “we hate Americans” sentiment that’s all too common…everywhere. (Kind of gives one a complex.) Then again, I had my share of scares living in New Orleans….which might be why I set so much of my work there!
Have any of you encountered any similar “monsters” in real life? What was your scariest experience? Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Ghost Light or the first book in this series if you prefer.