Interview with Inanna Arthen, author of All the Shadows of the Rainbow

Publisher: By Light Unseen Media

Publication Date: September 30, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & NobleBy Light Unseen Media

Synopsis: In the spring of 1955, new-minted vampire Diana Chilton rejoins civilization after the Fae boot her out of her self-pity, and meets an old friend, Jack Garrett, who recognizes her as a vampire. Jack proposes that he and Diana start a secret magical group and use their training and powers to manifest political and social change--exactly what Diana had wanted to do for many years. With two other highly gifted magicians, David Hofstein and April McFarland, Jack and Diana form their coven devoted at manipulating and changing other people, using powerful magic and mind-altering drugs. As the years pass, April, David and Diana slowly begin to question the wisdom of what they're doing and whether they can trust Jack. After a devastating reality check in November, 1963, and with other interests calling each of them, the three quit the group. Coldly angry, Jack packs his things and disappears. Left on her own, Diana follows clues she has been collecting for ten years and tracks down a vampire now using the name Troy Stevenson, but born Edward Tillinger in South Kingston, Rhode Island. He has joined a small commune of people starting an organic farm in a sprawling farmhouse in Sheridan, Massachusetts. The group accepts Diana and she joins their family. For the first time in many years, she feels that she has truly come home. Over the next six years, hints and news trickle back to Diana that suggest Jack may be working alone on a scheme far beyond anything their coven had dreamed of. As Troy investigates reports from Brazil and the Philippines that he thinks may help them solve some of the mysteries of their vampiric condition, Diana realizes that she has unfinished business. She is forced to choose between accompanying Troy on his travels, and stopping Jack from an action that will change history and life as she knows it forever.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

One inspiration, certainly, was that my entire psyche was permanently imprinted, like a baby duck's, by the year 1968. Like Oliver Stone, a part of me seems to be forever lost in the 1960s. I'll always long for, not what it was in reality (I have no illusions) but what it might have been.

But it was also a natural progression from the plotline of my second book, ‘The Longer the Fall’. I started the story of my character Diana in the 1950s because I saw her as a child of the modern age.  I was old enough to appreciate that people change as they grow older. A fifty-year-old thinks and feels differently than a twenty-year-old, and a hale and active centenarian thinks differently than both. An immortal (or long-lived) being that was two or three centuries old would be almost alien to us. As for someone who had lived millennia—in my opinion, we couldn't even imagine how such a being would think.

My vampire characters, therefore, are not incredibly old, and they aren't focused on the past. They're very involved with the present and look toward the future.

After Diana's "origin story" concluded in 1954, I asked where she would logically go from there. The obvious answer was, "Diana does the Sixties." I'd already established in ‘Mortal Touch’ that she met that book's vampire, Jonathan, when the house in Sheridan was a commune. But how did she get there, and why weren't she and Jonathan still together? ‘All the Shadows of the Rainbow’ tells that story.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

It brought up a lot of old memories. It took me two years longer to finish than I hoped, partly because I ended up doing so much research. I was reading a lot of 1960s memoirs and some of them were written by, or mentioned, people I actually knew. I was also watching documentaries and contemporary film and video footage, reading fiction and non-fiction written during the period and histories of the political and social events. A lot of the descriptions of the hippie subculture reminded me intensely of my life with the Pagan movement in the 1980s. I had a lot of conflicted emotions at times.

Aside from that, I had the usual sense of surprise. As with ‘Mortal Touch’, there were critical elements of ‘All the Shadows of the Rainbow’ that I literally did not realize were going to happen until I was writing them—including the ending. In one scene I wrote that Diana picks up an object, with no real idea why. Months later when I was writing the book's conclusion, I suddenly realized what that object was for—but until that moment, I'd had no idea.

Q. How did you come up with the title?

With the usual agonizing. I hate titles! It's an either/or situation with me: either I have a great story and can't think of a title to save my life, or I come up with a brilliantly clever title and no story to fit it. But after a lot of thinking and rejecting many ideas and pounds of chocolate, ultimately something will just click. ‘All the Shadows of the Rainbow’ is a play on the popular rainbow motif of the 1960s, and a hint at the darkness that can lie behind an attractive, reassuring façade.

Q. When did you know you would be a writer?

I'm still not sure that I am one. I really consider myself "an artist who works in multiple media, one of which is the written word." My first love was visual art, and I was taking art classes through high school. My second love was acting, and I took graduate level courses in that and made a concerted effort to break into the local film/video/theatre industry. I sing well and I've composed some music. I always was a good writer, and I wrote every single day. I wrote journals, I wrote the world's longest letters to dozens of correspondents, I wrote articles and reviews for newsletters and magazines. But I really wanted to be an actor more than anything. My physical appearance was a severe handicap in that regard. Right now I write, do graphic art and public speaking, and I perform my work at conventions.

My family always used to say, "why don't you do something with your writing, you're such a good writer." But I found that it's an extremely difficult talent to monetize.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Most definitely! The Vampires of New England Series is an ongoing saga, divided between two time periods, and I'm already working on Book Four.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I'm rereading ‘The Lord of the Rings’, actually. I never have time to read a whole book for recreation these days!

Q. All of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?

Shirley Jackson's ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ had a powerful impact on me when I was 12 or 13 and read it for the first time. I would call Shirley Jackson one of the two writers who taught me how to write. I've read everything of hers that I can get my hands on—some of which I'm still discovering.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

Well, I'm the new minister for the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Winchendon, MA, which is very exciting. I hope to be a program participant at Arisia in Boston in January. Releasing ‘All the Shadows of the Rainbow’ on September 30 is probably the biggest news, but I've been so busy, it's hardly sunk in!

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

My readers are great and I'm incredibly grateful to all of you! But as an author, I’d like to humbly make a request. If you like my books, please don't keep it a secret! The number one reason that people try out new books and new authors is because someone they knew personally recommended a book. Word of mouth is priceless! A review or positive mention on Goodreads or Amazon or anywhere else you hang out would be groovy, too. I couldn't thank you enough!

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