Welcome to my interview with an incredible Canadian author. Lets’ talk The Eve’s End by Stephanie M. Matthews!
Twenty-eight years have passed since Fae experienced the Gift. Twenty-eight years of trying to bury the haunting shadow it left behind, of trying to live a life without showing the scars.
The Eve’s End by Stephanie M. Matthews
Hello Stephanie! In a previous blog post, we discussed your writing experiences and your first novel The Gift. Please remind everyone of your awesomeness.
Hi again, and firstly, thanks so much for having me back on the blog!
I’m a Canadian author and I love writing. I love the power of conveying ideas and emotions through words, of exploring concepts and looking at things differently. And I love having a handy excuse for getting out of boring social engagements! I’m just joking. (Or am I?) I write supernatural thrillers, and when I need a break from that, I write about Classical history.
What inspired the ideas for the sequel to The Gift called The Eve’s End?
I honestly felt bad for leaving my main character, Fae Peeters, in the situation that I did. The Gift ends on a bit of a cliff hanger. I felt that leaving Fae’s journey like that was selling the story of The Gift short. In The Gift Fae was a young woman, immature in many ways. I wanted to give her another opportunity to prove herself.
I’ve also always been mystified by the line in the Christmas song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” where it sings about scary ghost stories in a jolly, joyful tune; it’s a paradox of expectations. I decided to take the song to task and so I crafted a large portion of The Eve’s End around a scary ghost story.
How is it different from the first one and what similarities can we expect?
It’s similar in that The Eve’s End still takes place on Christmas Eve in a small Belgian village. Many of the same characters return, and the story doesn’t ease up on the intensity of how good versus evil plays itself out.
That being said, the mystery and suspense of what the Gift is has been solved, but there’s still very much the mystery of “what happens next”? No one really knows and everyone is playing their own hand to try and make their desired outcome happen no matter the cost. The Gift was a linear story in that we followed one person’s journey through discovery and then survival. The Eve’s End is about many different characters who are going through very different journeys and learning what it means to actually have power and control over their own lives.
What are your favourite elements of The Eve’s End by Stephanie M. Matthews?
The Christmas magic that’s present will always be my favourite element in this series. The Gift began as a story to pay tribute to my favourite holiday and in the same tradition, I again took advantage to write about the beauty and wonder that Christmas is. I love the contrast of the beautiful, the peaceful, and the magical against the fear and horror of the Gift.
Both of them shine stronger against each other and the joy of Christmas makes the fear even more unnatural. I really enjoyed diving back into old Christmas songs to be able to bring their lyrics to life in a new way—meaning drawing attention to what they’re actually about rather than just being sounds that play ad nauseam in the malls and on radio stations. These are beautiful songs with strong lyrics and I feel like being able to weave them into the plot like I did I was able to give them some respect back.
What were the most challenging elements to create?
Honestly, the hardest part was bringing Fae and Nefas back together. Fae’s experience in The Gift left her so scarred that to have her come to a place where she is standing in front of Nefas again in a manner that stays true to her character was a challenge that took me a long time to overcome. But without that moment The Eve’s End doesn’t happen.
In the creative process of solving this problem I often found myself wondering what it would be like for someone who’d been the victim of torture and violent psychological abuse to come face to face with their torturer again. What would it take to make that meeting happen? What would the result of it be? And I couldn’t help but always remember stories I’d read and heard of Jews who’d returned to visit their death camps long after WWII, of those who looked their guards in the eye, and I always found myself marveling at the strength of the human spirit. And in those stories I found Fae’s path forward.
What plans do you have to celebrate the release of The Eve’s End?
Cake is always appropriate!
One of the most exciting things I have lined up is a commencement of early celebrations on November 4th when I’ll be joining you for an Instagram Live video to talk The Eve’s End, writing, and to have an all around good time! My party trick is speaking with a Canadian accent, so you definitely don’t want to miss that.
What can you share about the new characters in the book?
There’s two new POV characters who get to share the journey of the Gift with Fae. First introduced is Katie Windsor. She’s a photographer who has found herself in the village looking for some specific architectural projects she wants to get shots of. Katie can be a bit nervous around new people and situations so through her awkwardness we can all immediately identify with her! She’s about the same age Fae was when she’d first come to the village and when the two end up meeting Fae sees herself in Katie. This leads to Fae investing herself in Katie’s safety during Christmas Eve which has some interesting results.
Then there’s Henri Meyer who lives in the village but wasn’t born there so he’s not taken over by the Gift, however, he still has to live with it by association. Having to live with the Gift for most of his life means that we get to see some of the challenges and stresses that puts on him and his relationships. Henri also has a girlfriend so for everyone who enjoys a little romance in their stories, Henri and Josie are definitely cute together!
What kind of experience do you hope your readers will have?
My hope is that when readers get to the last page of the story they wished there were movie credits to role through so that they could just sit there and go “whoa”. I want the story to give them something to think about long after they finished reading the last page.
Are there plans for more books in this series and what can you share?
At this time, there are no plans. . . but I didn’t originally plan on writing The Eve’s End either! So, who knows?
What will readers expect from this book having already read The Gift?
Readers can expect the same kind of world building and descriptive writing, and the same high stakes storytelling that made The Gift such an immersive and memorable read. Readers familiar with The Gift will recognize that this is more than “just” a story but an exploration and a dialogue with the reader as hopefully they see themselves reflected in different characters and ask themselves the same questions that are being asked of those same characters.
What can you share that will shock the readers of this book?
Nefas and the Gift and very dangerous, this is no secret. Being involved or associated with them comes with very serious, very high risks. Not everyone in The Eve’s End will make it through Christmas Eve.
Where and when can readers find The Eve’s End by Stephanie M. Matthews?
The Eve’s End releases November 17th and will be available as both ebook and hard copy at all major online retailers.
Any last words to share about yourself and your book?
For being an author of supernatural thrillers, I actually have a very low tolerance for being able to partake in them myself—I really do scare pretty easily. But this gives me two advantages for producing it. 1) I know what is scary, and 2) You can trust me as an author.
So many of my readers have told me, or left reviews, saying that this genre isn’t usually their style. But they loved the book! I think that speaks to the strength of the story beyond just being a genre read. Even if the genre isn’t your normal pick-up, I’d really recommend giving it a try. So many others have taken the plunge and have been pleasantly surprised. You never know!
Thank you for reading about The Eve’s End by Stephanie M. Matthews!
It was a pleasure to interview you. Keep in touch with her on Instagram, Facebook, and her website! Would you like to share your thoughts? Have any questions? Leave a comment or connect with Stephanie!
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