Today’s author unfortunately doesn’t share my love of zombies (since she’s a friend, I can overlook that), but she’s put a spin on an urban legend and incorporated it into her featured book (part of a series I highly recommend – Rabbit!). Welcome Marcia Meara!
Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack-O’-Lantern?
Oh, put me down for carving that pumpkin any day. First of all, autumn is my favorite time of year and I dearly LOVE Halloween. Secondly, coming up with fun faces to carve on the pumpkin is a delight, and I’ve been known to keep my carved pumpkins outside the door until the heat causes them to collapse in on themselves like deflated balloons. (Sadly, in Florida, this usually happens in a matter of 3 or 4 days.)
Was there a horror movie you refused to watch because the previews were too scary?
Any and ALL apocalyptic zombie movies, but not so much because they are too scary. It’s more that apocalyptic themes creep me out, especially in today’s world, and also because I find zombies utterly disgusting. Mostly that last one. (Way too much rot going on.)😊
Which urban legend scares you most?
I love many urban legends, though I don’t know that any of them really scare me, except for a shivery feeling or two, of course. One that I have always been drawn to, however, is the legend of the Black Dog as a harbinger of death. The legend is an ancient Celtic one, and has been the subject of many a tale. It has been said that the Hound of the Baskervilles was based on it, and stories of the Black Dog were brought to the New World by the Europeans. Those legends are alive and well in the Appalachian Mountains to this day.
There are some variations on the theme, but the most common one still seems to be that the Black Dog, called Ol’ Shuck by the mountain folk, is a harbinger of death. In other words, if you see him, you (or someone you know) is going to die. Typically, he stands at a distance, silently staring at the person who’s been unlucky enough to have the beast come to call. That concept has always given me chills, and is the inspiration for my third Wake-Robin Ridge novel, Harbinger, wherein a man’s past deeds might mean it’s only a matter of time before Ol’ Shuck drags him off to face the consequences.
Would you and your main character get along?
All of my books are set in towns like the ones where I grew up, and the characters are just like the folks I went to school with and have known all my life. I would get along with every single one of them because I know them well, and like them a great deal. (Except for the bad guys, of course.) I often imagine myself sharing a cup of tea with Willow or being out on the river with Maggie and Gunn. I’m pretty sure they are my kind of folks.😊
If you decided to write a spinoff of a side character, who would you choose?
Funny you should ask. I actually did exactly that with my Emissary Trilogy of novellas. In Finding Hunter, a minor character was featured as a trucker who gave Hunter Painter a ride back to his love, Willow. I was asked about him so many times, I knew I had to tell his story, too, so I did, and now Jake Daughtry (alias Gabe Angelino) is the main character in three novellas. (Excluding that ginormous archangel, Azrael, of course, who doesn’t like taking second place to anybody!)
And next, I’m going to return to Wake-Robin Ridge for a series of novellas that will include a brand-new partner joining MacKenzie Cole and Rabbit. He was introduced in The Light, and so many people enjoyed the interplay between him and Rabbit, I decided he had to be a full character in his own right. So, look for a new series of novellas to debut in a few months when I hope Book 1, Cole, Cole, & Dupree, will be ready for Prime Time.
If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?
Oh, so many to choose from! Authors I chat with online all the time (and would love to meet in person), authors I’ve read over and over through the years, and even my favorite author of all time, Daphne du Maurier. I’d love to have been able to meet the late Rachel Caine, too, whose beautiful books I’ve devoured right to her very last. But—even though horror doesn’t really scare me (technically, anyway)—I’ve always loved spooky, creepy tales, and shivery camp side stories. With that in mind, I think I’d choose to go back in time and spend a day with Edgar Allan Poe. I devoured everything he ever wrote the year I turned twelve, and still enjoy re-reading my favorites. And I can quote great, long passages of The Raven to this day, much to the groans of annoyance from those around me. Yep. I can’t imagine anything more fun than meeting him, so Poe it is!
BLURB FOR HARBINGER
The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.
But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.
When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.
As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.
EXCERPT FROM HARBINGER
3:00 A.M. Sunday, March 2, 2014
Morganton, North Carolina
EYELASHES FROZEN, EACH gasping breath a snowy plume in the frigid night air, the boy ran for his life. Heart pounding, he scrambled up the wooded slope, terror driving him faster and faster.
There! Just ahead, a warm light glowed in a small window. Home. Safety. Only a few yards more.
He lurched forward, sure he was going to make it, now. His heart sang with joy, even as his foot slid on an icy patch of old snow, and he went down hard, knocking the wind right out of himself. The metallic taste of blood from his bitten tongue flooded his mouth, and for a moment, he couldn’t move. He was simply too tired to keep going.
No, no, no…get up. You got to get up. You’re almost there.
Desperation gave him a last burst of energy, and panting, he struggled to his knees. The woods loomed dark and silent around him, and he dared to hope he had outrun his pursuer. Then he heard it. A soft rumble at first, the sound built into a full-throated growl, coming from the last stretch of trees between him and his daddy’s tiny cabin. Somehow, it had gotten in front of him. He was cut off!
As he stared in horror, two glowing pinpoints of red appeared not ten feet away, growing steadily larger, as the beast stepped out of the bushes and into the moonlight. The dog was huge, and black as coal. And those fiery eyes stared unblinking, directly into his.
Whimpering, he felt a rush of warmth as he wet himself. He’d seen the Black Dog, and that meant it had come for him. He was going to die.
Somewhere in the dim recesses of his mind, he heard his aunt calling his name, but it was already too late. When Ol’ Shuck shows up to get you, it’s always too late. Still, she called, her voice coming from far away.
“Cadey? Cadey … ?”
He tried to answer, but could make no sound, and stood helpless, watching. Just before it leapt, the Black Dog’s lips peeled back, revealing long, gleaming teeth. Hot, foul breath washed over his face, as Ol’ Shuck opened its mouth impossibly wide, and Cadey tumbled forward into its reeking maw.
At last, he screamed.
When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.
Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?
Marcia’s Amazon Author Page
You can reach Marcia via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the following social media sites: