Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Devil Inside by Susan K. Hamilton ~ Spotlight, Interview, & #Giveaway! #TheDevilInside #Quill #BooksForward

The Devil Inside

The Devil Inside by Susan K. Hamilton
Paranormal Angel Romance, 322 pages
Published May 11, 2021 by Quill 

Mara Dullahan is a devil with a knack for sniffing out corrupt souls.

Taunted for centuries about her lack of devilish wings, Mara has something to prove—and she’s determined to become Hell’s top Sales & Acquisitions devil. But her biggest rival, Kemm, will stop at nothing to steal the coveted top spot, including uncovering her darkest secret.

When Mara meets a handsome angel stuck in a dead-end job, she knows he’s the kind of trouble that could ruin all of her ambitions. After all, rumor has it that Lucifer will rip the wings off any devil who falls for an angel. But Mara’s never been one to play by the rules.

As their affair intensifies, Mara’s secret life gets more and more complicated, especially when Kemm starts to suspect that there might be more than one way to bring his competition down. Cornered, Mara is forced to take drastic measures to protect her secrets—and her angel—before all Hell breaks loose.

An Interview with Susan Hamilton

Can you tell us about how this story began? You mentioned it started as a collection of short stories -- how and why did you decide to turn it into a novel?

Up until recently, I hadn’t written many short stories and as part of National Novel Writing Month a few years ago, I decided to challenge myself to write a series of short, interconnected stories instead of the traditional novel. But the more I wrote, the more I realized my main character WAS the story not the thread that connected the smaller ones.

What inspired the character of Mara?

There wasn’t one single inspiration. Mara grew and evolved as the project grew. As I was writing those short stories, I wanted a thread to connect all of them. A character who would have a cameo in each one, and Mara was supposed to be that thread. That’s when Mara started to take shape in my imagination. At first I saw her as very business-like, very corporate, as opposed to the stereotype of the debauched devil tempting the innocent. I wanted my devil to not so much corrupt the innocent, but to find those already heading down a dark path.

But Mara took on a life of her own and wanted nothing to do with corporate and stuffy. She wanted to be ambitious and brassy, confident and a little snarky. But I also wanted some of that brass and sass to be a front. Many of us feel we aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough and I liked the idea that a devil (or angel) could have the same flaws and insecurities.

I actually used Irish and Scandanavian folklore to create her name--a mara brings you nightmares, and a dullahan collects the souls of the dead. So Mara Dullahan seemed like a perfect name for my devil who wants you to sign on the dotted line!

You manage to balance a full-time job and a writing career - how do you do it? Do you have any advice?

It is a lot of effort. Sometimes it feels like two full time jobs -- plus all the other things you need to do! I try to do a little writing each day, whether it is at lunch or in the evening before I go to bed. That does mean, sometimes, that it is hard to feel like you’re making progress on your writing but small steps add up to long distances. The advice I’d offer is to be kind to yourself -- there are days when you won’t get to your writing. And as disappointing as that might be, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or not disciplined. It means you had a tough day. You have to just cut yourself some slack and then get back at it the next day.

Is it difficult to create a setting that is so otherworldly? Did you draw inspiration from other works of art as you created your version of Hell?

I didn’t find it that difficult, actually. I think in conceptual terms, Heaven and Hell are what you make it--and what is heavenly for one person could be hellish for another. For some parts of the Hell I created, I tried to stick to the traditional dark pit of fire and brimstone. But at the same time, for many people, the idea of spending your whole life in a little tiny corporate cubicle is hellish, too. And that’s what got me thinking about the “business” end of Hell--and how it just might run like a corporation.

Mara is definitely a character who embodies being a strong woman. Are you hoping this book and this protagonist can empower others who are struggling to accept themselves?

I think we’re all struggling to accept ourselves to some extent, and downplay things we assume others would judge us for. If Mara’s story can help someone be more comfortable in their own skin, I think that’s an amazing outcome. But I also hope that people see that Mara is more than just a tough outer shell, that the things she hides are not flaws but strengths--and that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be you.

About the author

Susan K. Hamilton is the award-winning author of epic, dark, and urban fantasy books including Shadow King, The Devil Inside, and Darkstar Rising. Her short stories have been featured in the ESCAPE!, DECEPTION!, and Passageways anthologies from Writing Bloc.

Her current work-in-progress is a women's fiction manuscript titled Stone Heart.

Horse-crazy since she was a little girl, she loves pretty much every furry animal on the planet (other than spiders). She also loves comfy jeans, pizza, and great stand-up comedy. Susan lives near Boston with her husband and a cat who runs the house like a boss.

Connect with Susan

First of all ~ isn't this cover absolutely amazing! I love it!!

Second ~ I want to give a  huge shout-out and thank you to Books Forward - Literary Publicity for offering a copy of this fabulous book for one of you to win! 

How awesome is that?


Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!


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