Welcome Erin Healy! Thank you so much for joining us today!
Amber: Since you co-wrote your first two novels with Ted Dekker, does Never Let You Go hold more meaning for you as it is technically your debut novel?
Erin: I wouldn't say NLYG is more meaningful to me, but it does feel more personal. All the creative decisions in this story are mine, and it's my first step down the path of finding my own voice. If readers ultimately accept my stories apart from Ted's, then the validation will certainly be more meaningful.
Amber: How did you first become interested in writing suspense novels? And what is the inspiration behind Never Let You Go?
Erin: Suspenseful stories are the ones I've always been attracted to. They're what I like to read and watch. Merging this genre with spiritual sensibilities makes sense to my personality. The thematic inspiration behind NLYG arose from a relationship I observed between an unforgiving father and his adult son. The impact of bitterness from one generation to the other surprised me. Of course, this isn't the story NLYG tells, but my novel is the result of "translating" my spiritual observations into a fast-paced, suspenseful story where the stakes are high.
Amber: On your website, you say that, “The Irish girl in me has long been fascinated by the concept of thin places, a Celtic name for locations where the veil between physical and spiritual realities is so slim that a person can see through it. For me, thin places are revelations, bridges between the seen and unseen elements of our lives.” I took an Irish literature class at college last semester, and when our class read the book Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane (as well as other books), we discussed how “interstices”—these in-between places—are prevalent in Irish literature. Interstices can be physical, emotional, or (in the case you’re discussing) spiritual. Often, characters are stuck between two places. Do you see your characters as “stuck” between the “real world” and the supernatural? Is this a necessary place for them to be in order to grow, as they can see both sides from their in-between state? (Sorry for the paragraph-long introduction to the questions!)
Erin: "Stuck" characters are everywhere in Irish and British literature, aren't they? No, I don't see my characters as stuck in the way you describe. I see them as surprised to discover that life isn't as compartmentalized as we Americans tend to see it. I see them as growing because they come to a new awareness of life's breadth and the mysteries that span reality. Growth, in my philosophy, isn't about SEEING more than one side of a thing, but about learning to LIVE in the complexity of all the various aspects--this is something I deal with daily in my own life.
Amber: Have any specific Irish authors/artists (ie: poets, musicians, etc.) influenced your writing?
Erin: The poet Seamus Heaney has a way of seeing and saying that has always appealed with me. His perspective of how an individual's life interacts with the natural world is always so beautifully and profoundly put. I find his essays about voice and technique meaningful. He, too, has his feet in the dual worlds of Ireland and England, and the tensions emerge in his creative work. Although I can't say he's influenced my writing directly, he has influenced me emotionally. The musician Maire Brennan has a similar effect.
Amber: I have to say, Angelo’s character reminded me a bit of Michael Landon’s character in Highway to Heaven (not in looks, though!). This leads me to a fun question: What are your favorite old (or modern) TV shows and/or movies?
Erin: I never followed Highway to Heaven; I was more of a Little House on the Prairie girl! I'm very eclectic when it comes to what I like to watch. I loved the early seasons of Lost but put that behind me when they had to add subtitles to explain what was happening. (Who likes to work at watching TV?) I'm a fan of mysteries and crime dramas, everything from the original Law & Order to CSI: to the crazy-cozy Monk and the character-driven The Closer. My favorite movies are more contemplative, such as The Chosen, based on the book by Chaim Potok. People ask me these questions and I have a hard time coming up with answers, because it's hard for me to limit them to one sure thing.
Amber: Can you share some of your upcoming plans for your writing? Will you be flying solo from now on, so to speak, or do you plan on writing some more stories with Ted Dekker?
Erin: Ted and I had a third story planned, but that has been tabled for the time being so the two of us can focus on our solo careers. Maybe in the future we'll collaborate again, but for the time being, I'll be writing on my own.
Thanks again for letting me participate in your blog this way! Warmly, Erin
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! I really appreciate it!