After she recovered from the car wreck that nearly killed her, she withdrew from the life she was leading-not just because her family was destroyed and her friendships broken, but also because she started noticing some very disturbing things about the world around her. These days, along with keeping to herself, she simply endures the horrific monsters she sometimes sees in the place of seemingly normal men. She doesn’t know what to do, so she does nothing.
Gabe has been Light for eight years. He’s accustomed to the unique lifestyle centered on destroying the creatures of darkness that infiltrate the human world to wreak havoc on it. As a Gatherer his job is to find new Light people and introduce them to their new way of existing, but the routine and relatively quiet life he’s been leading for so long is interrupted when he encounters Marienne.
She’s distinctive, and of all the bizarre things he’s seen in his life, her unexpected appearance is the one that shocks him the most. But these two strangers are on the brink of something much bigger than simply changing each other’s lives. The scale balancing good against evil can only stay steady for so long before it tips toward darkness, and that upset is just around the corner. And Marienne, Gabe and everyone they know-Light or not-will be swept up in the fight to right it.
K. L. Cottrell is a natural-born ginger and a writer of fiction. She is a lover of creativity and self-expression, and a firm believer in true love, optimism and being happy. She loves to read and hopes others are as entertained by her own storytelling as she is–and yes, even if only one other person is entertained, that is an accomplishment in her eyes. One is a bigger number than zero, right? Right!
Today I’m glad to present K. L. Cottrell, whose book, What Hides in the Darkness, I really enjoyed reading. It is a thoughtful and engaging, well written book. I’ve attached my review at the end of this feature. But let’s get to the interview first. Hello K. L., welcome to my blog. Please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?
Hi! I don’t really know when it started because I was pretty young. On top of having always been a creative person, I’ve always liked the idea of telling other people’s stories.
How did you come up with your stories?
Anymore, I’m inspired by people I know and the things they’ve dealt with in their lives. I write fiction, but my characters and plots are reminiscent, in some way or another, of real people and struggles. Of course, I also have ideas that are inspired by…well, everything. Music, conversations I overhear, interesting people I see. I get inspiration for scenes all the time just by being outside my house, haha.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
In the Light Trilogy (the first book of which is What Hides in the Darkness) my favorite is my female lead, Marienne. I think she’s pretty, smart, kick-ass, and mature. She’s not perfect, but she’s also not an idiot. I’d definitely trust her to help save the world if my plot were a reality.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
You know, as much as I ponder this very thing, I don’t know. But since I know there wouldn’t be a perfect real-life match for every character, I think I’d settle for basic similarities: height and skin tone and hair color. The thing that’d really matter is whether or not I believed their acting.
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
I think I accidentally write bits of myself into all of my characters, male and female alike. But in What Hides in the Darkness and the subsequent books, I molded Beatrix after me the most. We’re not exactly alike, but I share her love of cute things and nicknames, and her relationship with her husband is very similar to my relationship to my husband.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
My main good-versus-evil plot was always in my mind. Some of the subplots were planned, some were tweaked as I went along, and some just came to me while I wrote. I’m sure that happens to a lot of authors. I did make some character changes after I wrote twelve chapters and decided I hated them. I kept basics of the story but changed things like settings and a few appearances, and I pretty much remade my main guy’s personality. I like him better now.
What is your main reason for writing?
I write because it’s so freaking fun. There are so many different stories to tell, so many different kinds of people to create and bring to life. It’s therapeutic sometimes, too, but mainly just entertaining.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
Hmm. The best, I’d say, is watching something come to life out of nowhere. The worst is that I get really into my writing and if the situation or character is super intense – evil or angry or sad or scary – I can’t help but be affected by it.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
Well, I don’t do it very well. Still, I generally write one book until I get stuck and then switch gears and focus on what I’ve already got out there.
What do you do when you don’t write?
Hang out with my husband! Watch movies, play video games, go places. We have a lot of fun together. He’s my BFF.
What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?
Maybe that I’m aware my books aren’t perfect, but I stand by how I wrote them. It’s okay with me that not everyone likes my narrative perspective of choice, or if they think some parts of the book are slow, or if they’re left wondering about a plot detail or two. Many things like that are done for a reason, and I like the way I do things.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I edit my books myself because, unfortunately, I can’t afford every service I need to make my books absolutely perfect. Obviously, this results in me making embarrassing mistakes a lot of the time. Sometimes I get them fixed and other times I don’t, but it’s a learning experience and I’m getting better at it all the time.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
I rather like it! I like being on my own schedule the most. The worst part is the marketing. I don’t like to pester people or bombard them with updates about my work, so I’m very much a drop in the ocean.
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?
I like making something out of nothing, but I don’t like being anxious that everyone on Earth is going to hate what I write.
What is your advice to new indie writers?
Well, I’m not seasoned and I’m definitely not very successful right now, but I suppose I’d say to write what makes you happy. If you’re happy with what you’ve come up with, that’s all that really matters. Don’t even try to write to please the world.
Who are your favourite independent writers?
I’ve got some friends on my Facebook page that have written some great stuff. C.E. Wilson and Marie Krepps are both great writers and ladies.
Who are your favourite authors?
Colleen Hoover and Abbi Glines are my favorites. I love a great many more, though!
What is your favourite book?
Well, of course I love my own books, but that probably doesn’t count! So, Slammed by Colleen Hoover. It kicks off a story that I’ll always love.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
At this moment, I’m between books. I usually do eBooks, though, because of their simplicity. Paperback books sure do look gorgeous, though.
What makes you laugh?
My husband. And The Office. And It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
A way back off of it! Ha!
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Alton Brown, because I think he’s cool and he’d be able to cook a much better dinner than I.
Summer or winter?
Ice cream or cake?
One of my sisters-in-law makes incredible chocolate cake.
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
My best quality, I think, would be that I’m optimistic. My oddest…probably that I’m seriously young at heart. It gets ridiculous, the things I like and am entertained by.
What would you choose as those qualities?
I think my best quality is that I’m loving; I have a lot of love and empathy for people. I’d say my oddest quality is how picky an eater I am.
Tell us about your other books please.
Well, all of my books (or ideas for books) have love in them because I love love and have a lot of it in my life. They all also deal with different life struggles. Some have fantasy in them and others are about regular people. The story I’m working on now is about everyday people who, very sadly, have suffered at the hands of other people.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
“What If This Storm Ends?” by Snow Patrol is pretty fitting for What Hides in the Darkness and the rest of the trilogy.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Honestly? It always hurts my feelings for a little bit. Always makes me wonder what I’m even doing this for. But then I put on my Red Hair, Don’t Care hat and keep going.
Links to Social Media:
My Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/K.-L.-Cottrell/e/B00J7WBPEC/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
My Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8160986.K_L_Cottrell
My Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authork.l.cottrell
My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/mrsklcottrell/
Book Review: What Hides In The Darkness
Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
What Hides In The Darkness, by K. L. Cottrell, is a unique book. It speaks to those fears that we had, still have, and will have in the future. All readers, young and old alike, have something in common, namely, the fear of the unknown. What sets us apart is how we go about dealing with this fear.
Our protagonist, Marienne, is just like us in this respect. This makes it easy to relate to her, not only because of her misfortune, but also because she is very credible with her fear. What does she do? She changes. Fear changes her outlook on life, and with it, her way of dealing with the world around her.
The author elicits the reader’s compassion for Marienne because her family was destroyed and her friendships broken. With this autorial technique, we want something good to happen for Marienne. She has suffered enough for one lifetime.
But life doesn’t follow that script, not in real life, and not in fiction either. Thinfgs are not going to be easy for her. Her world, literally, changes. She discovers, to her horror, that her world is inhabited by monsters. What would you do about that? Marienne, not surprisingly, reacts like a normal human being. She does nothing. She’s not a coward, just like you and me. But have you ever tried telling someone: “I can see monsters.”
Me neither. I wouldn’t tell anyone such a thing. As you can see, the plot is plausible. The conflict and tension have been superbly plotted into this novel, and as you might expect, the resolution will be unexpected. Highly recommended for anyone who has ever seen monsters in the dark. 5 stars.