Thursday, 5 September 2013

Kay Brooks: Between Heaven and Earth

Please help me welcome Kay Brooks to Heart of Fiction.

Kay started her writing career at an early age. She developed a love of Gothic stories, the supernatural, and romance as her writing developed, which all shine through in her work. When not writing, Kay is a teacher. Her topic? Literature, of course!

Today, we're talking about Kay's book, Between Heaven and Earth, out today through Tirgearr Publishing. This is the story of a man born in 1812, but due to a curse, he survives through his immortality, which Oliver finds as another curse.

Then a woman called Tabitha enters his life and the life he had known up till now, a life which he's sought to hide lest his immortality be discovered, is brought into focus. She pulls his life story from him, the guilt he carries with him of the death of his father, and the curse he also carries in his immortality.

This is an emotional journey through the life of a man carrying with him the weight of the world, and then some. Oliver and Tabitha form a strong bond which readers will instantly be pulled into. Once started, it will be difficult to put this book down.

Before we go onto the excerpt, we had a chance to talk to Kay --

Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Kay, and congratulations on the release of Between Heaven and Earth. And thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to chat with us. I'm sure midweek is a challenge for a teacher, especially as school has just started again.

Teaching is a hectic job. One spends a lot of time with the cirriculum, grading papers and other duties. How do you find time to write? So you have a schedule? What is your daily writing routine like?

I try to write a little every day but this isn’t always possible. As a secondary school teacher, I often have to bring work home so I can mark and plan lessons. When I get the writing bug though, I will dismiss all other jobs and write from dawn until dusk. My aim is to write at least one novel per year and then, if I can ever write full time, I would increase this as much as possible!

If Between Heaven and Earth is any indication, full time writing shouldn't be too far into the future!

When you get time to write, do you have a favorite place you like going or do you have a dedicated desk or office? Please describe it?

My writing space varies but my favourite is near the back window, where I can look out and see our two rabbits hopping about. Unless my two incredibly vocal children are around, it is very peaceful. Cleaning up the surrounding clutter to take a photo will probably take me at least an hour. I have a notepad for each writing project and one for the reviews of women’s literature that I write. Quite often, I have an audience while I am writing as my two cats like to be as close as possible, even if that means repeatedly sitting on the keyboard until I rearrange myself so there is space on my lap!

Oh, don't I know the trials of pets and writing. I have two dogs and they're constantly under foot. But if it wasn't for them, and kids, we'd never get off the chair, would we?

Speaking of off the chair, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family, which is made up of my ever-supportive and long-suffering husband, Chris, our two sons, James and Christopher, and out menagerie of much loved pets. Living on the Fylde Coast provides lots of opportunities for days out and walks along the beach. When the weather doesn’t allow for this, I love watching 80s films, my favourite being either Overboard or Mannequin. I like nothing more than a romantic film with a guaranteed happy ending. Add in a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine and I’m in Heaven!

Oh, the beach! That's very refreshing and inspiring. I'm a fan of 80s films too so I'm right there with you on your movie choices!

Thank you so much for chatting with us.

Now, let's check out Between Heaven and Earth --

• • •

Life can be very lonely when you have secrets. Oliver knows that better than most. Being over one hundred years old and still looking the same as he did back in 1834, most of his existence is spent moving from one place to the next in hope of hiding his immortality. Carrying the guilt of his father’s death is exhausting and Oliver wishes for death to release him. Then, the wayward Tabitha enters his life, wanting him to take her on a journey through his history. In return, she’ll teach him that love can conquer anything in its path.

The time is coming. The time for the unburdening of the soul. She is my last hope of a better life, if it can be deemed that. I have watched her from the first moment I laid eyes on her when she was a small child. On the day I had given up hope of finding that special person, she became my reason for being again. I had been sitting in my favourite thinking spot--a bench shaded from the sun by the branches of a huge oak tree with my back to the church, gazing at the wondrous rows of gravestones before me, ironically in between the living and the dead. A squeal of joy had broken my morbid thoughts and I turned to see the source. A young girl of about five years came running towards where I sat, her auburn curls bouncing, her eyes dancing, and her skirts fluttering in the wind. Her smile overflowed with the vibrancy of being young and alive. As her eyes met mine, she stopped abruptly but her smile remained. On reflection, a smile came effortlessly to my lips for the first time in decades. The moment of familiarity was shattered by the piercing call of an angry mother.

“Tabitha, how dare you run out of the Lord’s House? I shall be embarrassed to show my face in front of the congregation again. You are a terribly naughty girl!” the woman bent down to straighten her child’s skirts and then became aware of me. She stood and turned to face me. Her cheeks flushed red with self-awareness as she uncomfortably shifted from one foot to the other. “I’m sorry if she disturbed your mourning. I don’t know what gets into her sometimes!” she mumbled, shaking her head in disapproval.


“Youth, I should think,” I defended the excited creature. The woman smiled, taking this as an acceptance of her apology.


“I saw a squirrel. In that tree right there!” Tabitha cried pointing above my head.


“How could you see a squirrel out of those windows?” Her mother pointed towards the church. “They are at least six foot above the pews.”


“I saw him in here,” she pointed to her head. “And he was shiny and white.”


“A shiny, white squirrel? Well, I never. Tabitha, you must learn to stop telling tales. Now say sorry to this man and we will be on our way!” She took hold of her child’s arm and forced her attention onto me. Tabitha tried to force her head under the protective arm of her mother.


“That’s alright, Tabitha,” I said gently and she turned the gaze of her huge brown eyes to me. “I’ll keep an eye out for that squirrel of yours. If I see him, I’ll tell him you came to visit but missed him, okay?” Tabitha smiled and nodded. As she walked away, she would skip once every two steps and before she disappeared out of view, she turned to wave.


Her image stayed with me all week and on the Sunday morning, I felt compelled to return to the church bench in the hope of seeing her again. My mind was filled with lines from William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence.”

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.


The words reverberated in perfect harmony with the sound of her laughter. Although, Blake had not been as the famous poet he is today, he had been alive when I was a boy. His poetry often made me yearn for the past. To be able to sit and watch children play purely for pleasure and inspiration for poetry would indicate abnormality in a person now. A platonic relationship between a grown man and a young girl was scrutinised to the point of ruin. This thought made my decision for me. If Tabitha were to be the one I told my story to, I would have to wait for her to grow up into a woman. Of course, this involved the risk of her changing into a person I would be unable to relate to just as I had seen happen to my distant relative, Robert. I had been on the verge of making him my confidant when he betrayed the very people I had grown to love. But she would be less impressionable as an adult would and therefore, my words would be less likely to harm her. If she should grow up and become closed-minded then I would simply seek another to suit my purpose. I vowed to keep a look out for other suitable listeners. Although to be honest, I did this mainly to convince myself that all my hopes were not pinned on one person, and only half-heartedly. As Tabitha grew from a young girl full of imagination, to a young woman with the talent to carry out her ideas, I grew to care deeply for her well being.


• • •

Kay Brooks is dedicated to English literature whether it be reading, writing or teaching. She is the author of novels, short stories and reviews for Novelicious.com. Hints of her interest in the gothic, the supernatural and romance can be seen in her writing. As well as being an author and a teacher, she is also mother to two amazing boys and a very happy wife. Other interests include animals, theology and cheesy 80’s films!

Find Kay Online --

Tirgearr Publishing

-- > Kay is giving away a copy of Between Heaven and Earth to one lucky commenter. Leave her a question or comment here with your email address to be automatically in the draw.

Or you can grab a copy of Between Heaven and Earth now for just $4.49 through Tirgearr Publishing.



2 comments:

  1. Welcome, Kay, and congratulations on the release of Between Heaven and Earth! This is a fabulous story. Where did you get the idea for it?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kemberlee. Thank you! I studied Dante's Purgatorio whilst at University and developed a fascination for the idea of the afterlife. I love reading Gothic Fiction, especially with a twist of romance so I guess this is a product of my own reading habits too.

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