304 pagesPublished March 13th 2012 by TOR
When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.
The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment.
The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to.
As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.
Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.
DEBORAH COATES lives in Ames, Iowa and works for Iowa State University. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov's and Strange Horizons, as well as Year's Best Fantasy 6, Best Paranormal Romance, and Best American Fantasy.
DC: Deborah Coates
E: Welcome to Bookish Deborah! Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us here today! Your debut novel, WIDE OPEN is the first book in a trilogy full of romance, mystery and magic. Can you tell us who or what inspired you to write it?
DC: First, thanks so much for having me! I'm so happy to be here today.A couple of things were my inspiration for WIDE OPEN. I'd written some short stories set on the High Plains, in South Dakota and Nebraska, and I was pretty sure I wanted to use that setting--the wide open spaces--in a novel. WIDE OPEN itself began, as a lot of my stories do, with the two main characters, Hallie and Boyd. Though--true confession--for a good long while, through a generous chunk of the first draft, anyway, Boyd was mostly known to me as The Boy Deputy because I couldn't figure out what his name was. He finally got a first name--Boyd--then I had to do a lot of looking and scrambling for his last name. In the final analysis, I think it fits him, but it took a long time to get there.
E: Are any of your characters inspired by people in your own life? Which of your characters do you feel is the most like you?
Almost all my characters have some piece of me in them. They do things I would like to do or have done or they think about certain things in a particular way. And everything they do or think is filtered through me--I guess that would be obvious. When they have to act, one of the things I think about is, how would I act? Most of the time the characters do something completely different than what I would do, but that first thought is often--what would I do? All that said, there are pieces of my father in Hallie's father, pieces of one of my brothers in Boyd, and definitely pieces of people I've known in characters like Brett and Lorie and even Pete and Martin (though not, I should add, either of the actual people I know who are named 'Pete' or 'Martin' :).
E: What was the most difficult part of the novel for you to write?
DC: I don't know that there was a most difficult part, per se, but there were several places, particularly about three-quarters of the way through the book that just seemed impossible, like the book would never be good, was so far from good, in fact, that it wouldn't ever even resemble a book-like object. That point, where it all seems so horrible and you can't see how it will ever get to even the most basic level of verbs that follow nouns and periods at the end of sentences, that's a point where it's difficult to write the next word. Because what good is it going to be to have a next word and a next and a next if they're all going to be equally awful? And yet, it's probably the point where it's most important to keep going because if you can just write out to the other side, then you'll be able to go back and look at it and somehow figure out how to make it work.
E: Have you always wanted to become a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that this was the right career path for you?
When I was a kid I wanted to be something difficult and vaguely scienc-y. An engineer or a doctor or a veterinarian or a microbiologist. I wrote things. My brothers and sister and I put on plays in the summer. A high school friend and I wrote this whole epistolary novel set in some sort of alternate future in Latin class when we were freshmen. But I never really thought about writing for publication. It didn't seem like a possible thing at that time. It wasn't until finished my Master's thesis and discovered the value of editing that I started to think about publication. Even then, I spent a lot of years moving around and earning a living and not writing that much. But it turns out that writing despite all the setbacks and frustrations and outright rejection is one of the things where I like to learn and I like the process and I really don't get bored. So I'm glad I finally did decide it was something I wanted to do and, though it's been slow for me, I'm delighted to be where I am.
E: How do you approach writing a new novel? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
DC: I'm almost totally a pantser though I'm trying to become more efficient and less inclined to write a ton of drafts. Because that takes a long time! And it's almost entirely for the plot. I am reasonably clear on my main characters, on my setting, and on the basics of the story when I start, but the specific causes and effects, the supporting structures, and the connective tissue takes a lot of trial and error for me right now.
E: Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
DC: This isn't writer's block per se, but one of the things I'm trying to figure out as I'm juggling writing and a full-time job, my dogs and the classes I teach, is finding time to let my back brain work out story problems. My subconscious really writes my novels and if I don't give it time and space enough it becomes a real struggle. Sometimes forcing myself just to sit down and write will lead to solving the problem, especially if I write fast. Sometimes going for a walk or doing something completely unrelated to writing. The trick, for me, is knowing which of those things is best at any particular time.
E: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
DC: Read a lot. Listen a lot. Someone, possibly someone you know, will get a super, amazing deal with seemingly little effort. You're not going to be that person. And even if you are, you may not realize it because, inevitably, there will be someone else with an even more super, amazing deal. Enjoy the journey. Because that's the part, as it turns out, where you spend most of your time.
E: If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast for it?
Oh, you have no idea how difficult this question is for me! So difficult, in fact, that I had to ask other people to help me. I don't know why I find it such a difficult question. I think it's because actors can look so different from one role to another. I wouldn't have picked Jennifer Lawrence to play Katniss Everdeen, but she looks pretty good. I would love to see Wide Open as a movie, though. Do you hear that Hollywood? A movie. So, for Boyd, one of the Hemsworth brothers, maybe? Chris or Liam. For Hallie, Gina Corano or Angela Scagliotti.
E: What’s next in line for you? Are you working on a new project now?
DC: I have two more books coming set in the same universe as Wide Open with Hallie and Boyd and some of the other characters from this book. I've finished the second book, currently called Deep Down. It's with my editor. And I have a draft of book three. I've also got some ideas for future books, including a YA shapeshifter novel set in Nebraska.
E: Which three of your favorite books would you recommend everybody to read?
DC: Books I've enjoyed quite a lot recently include: Mistress of the Art of Death, a mystery set in medieval England, by Ariana Franklin; The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, and The Passage by Justin Cronin.
I hope you guys enjoyed the interview, for more information about Deborah Coates and her book, please visit her website.
(Thank you so much!)
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About the AuthorEvie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and chatting with fellow book-worms.