Hello and Welcome All!
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anise Eden author of All the Light There Is. Hi Anise, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
For those readers not familiar with you, would you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you so much, Angel’s Guilty Pleasures, for having me! I’m so excited to be here celebrating the release of ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, the third and final book in The Healing Edge paranormal romance/suspense series. The first book in this trilogy, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, was my debut novel, and it is quite a thrill to have the complete series out now for readers to enjoy.
As for me, I love to explore the mysteries of life, wherever they may take me. My writing reflects my fascination with the intersections between science and the paranormal, as well as the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. I am also a huge “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fan from way back and can quote episodes with the best of them!
I’d say that the genre chose me, rather than the other way around. With my first book, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES (The Healing Edge, Book 1), I wrote the book that was in me to write. It wasn’t until later that people who know about genre told me that I was writing paranormal romance/suspense. It turns out that there can be quite a bit of cross-over, as well, between this genre and others, such as fantasy, mystery, and even women’s fiction. I’ve learned that “genre” is not always an exact science.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I was surprised by how much fun I had writing the action/adventure scenes in this book, from goose hunting to paintballing. However, I have to say that I most enjoyed writing those scenes between Cate and Ben in which they uncover truths about themselves and their relationship that deepen their trust and strengthen their intimacy. It was delicious to inhabit those moments!
What are some books you have enjoyed recently?
As a recent convert to historical romance, I am thoroughly enjoying A GOOD DAY TO MARRY A DUKE by the wonderfully masterful Betina Krahn. I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book, which releases in December, and I’m relishing every minute of it!
What is your favorite quote?
There is one quote that I turn to again and again, both in writing and in life, about the wisdom of following your passions: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ― Jalaluddin Rumi
Would you tell us a little about the The Healing Edge series?
The Healing Edge Series tells the story of Cate Duncan, a psychotherapist who is struggling in the wake of her mother’s suicide. When Cate reaches out for help, she is embraced by The MacGregor Group, a clinic of alternative healers with paranormal gifts. As they teach her more about her role as an empath, skeptical Cate has a hard time accepting what she’s learning, and ends up going toe-to-toe with the clinic’s hard-headed manager, Ben MacGregor, a psychologist and Marine Corps veteran. The story takes on unexpected, exciting twists as the MacGregor Group works to protect Cate from threats, both internal and external, that would seek to harm or exploit those with special abilities.
As the last installment in The Healing Edge paranormal romance/suspense trilogy, ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS casts The MacGregor Group in a new and galvanizing role as they uncover a deep web of subterfuge that puts them in the crosshairs. In this crucible of science and spirituality, danger and destiny, the relationship between Cate and Ben deepens, and the MacGregor Group discovers shocking truths about their true potential. ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS ties together the interpersonal connections and larger plots of the first two books, acting as both the culmination of the series and a broadening of the imagination for the future of the MacGregor Group.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
I would have said, “Fasten your seatbelts!” because ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS takes them places they never expected to go—including some very treacherous waters.
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Before becoming an award-winning author, ANISE EDEN wanted to be a wildlife photographer. Unfortunately, a strong aversion to large insects, poisonous snakes, and sharks―along with a cat allergy that might well extend to tigers―limited that career option. Also, Anise always roots for the gazelle, and we all know how that usually turns out. Fortunately, Anise’s voracious hunger for reading kept her occupied, eventually morphing into a passion for writing quirky stories filled with heart, humor, and imagination. Anise loves that through writing, she can live out any adventure she likes without the need for antivenom or antihistamines.
All the Light There Is
The Healing Edge #3
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Publisher: Diversion Books
Date of Publication: September 12, 2017
Number of pages: 290
Word Count: 97,770
Tagline: Anise Eden brings us the thrilling and romantic finale to The Healing Edge Series, perfect for fans of Karen Robards or Shiloh Walker.
Psychotherapist Cate Duncan is done with danger. Her whirlwind weeks of training at the MacGregor Group’s parapsychology clinic, while exhilarating, have also brought one crisis after another. So when their research colleague Skeet offers Cate and her boss-turned-boyfriend Ben some time away at his secluded hunting lodge, even though it’ll be a working vacation, they jump at the chance.
But the idyllic Mercier Lodge is teeming with secrets. An aura reader and a telepath who work with Skeet reveal his unorthodox research methods, triggering the MacGregor Group’s suspicions. Then there’s the matter of a tragic death that occurred at the lodge over a year ago, and how it connects to unsolved mysteries from Cate’s past―mysteries she may not be ready to confront.
As they delve into Mercier’s unsavory history, Ben and Cate stick close together, trusting in their love for each other to keep them safe. But when a plot separates them, Cate must rely on the MacGregor Group’s paranormal abilities, some surprise allies, and her own determination to track Ben down and crack Mercier’s mysteries before the strange place claims any more victims.
ParaTrain Internship, Day Six
It’s just a meeting. Nothing to be nervous about. I wiped my damp palms on my skirt and ordered my brain to focus on something else. Like the Jag, I thought. Focus on the fact that you’re finally getting a ride in the Jag.
And not just any Jag—the British 1936 Jaguar SS100 Ben had restored. He’d found the car in a barn in Pennsylvania, sitting on blocks and covered in hay bales. Now, it looked like it had just left the showroom. My fingertips roamed across the soft leather seat as I admired each piece of shining chrome and the deep glow of the wood on the dash. The car’s transformation was a testament to Ben’s workmanship—not to mention to his patience and tenacity when it came to the things he loved.
The things—and the people, I thought, smiling down at my ring. I hadn’t exactly made things easy for Ben, but now, two gold birds were wrapped around my finger, holding a lustrous piece of Scottish agate between their wings. He’d wanted to give me a tangible reminder of how he felt, a talisman to guard against anxiety and doubt.
I stole a glance at Ben. He was completely in his element, left hand loosely holding the steering wheel, right elbow propped up on the door. Everything about him was solid and squared-off, from the angle of his jaw to the way he carried his shoulders. These qualities were augmented by his charcoal gray suit and crisp white shirt—worn sans tie, as usual. I marveled that no matter what internal battles he might be fighting, Ben always exuded a quiet confidence.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked.
“Completely.” I closed my eyes and inhaled my new favorite scent—a mixture of fine wool, cotton, and vintage leather that clung to Ben like an olfactory tattoo. “My mom would have loved this, you know.”
His light brown eyes softened. “You think so?”
“Absolutely.” Every summer when I was a kid, she had taken me to the local car shows. Back then, we could only look, never touch. Riding along with Ben, I felt like a glamorous movie star. I struck my best Hollywood pose, and he smiled.
It was such a pleasure—not to mention a relief—to see Ben relax after the nonstop drama of the past two weeks. There had been too many life-and-death situations, too much tension. And more than anyone, Ben had earned a vacation. With that in mind, after our meeting at the Smithsonian, we planned to spend the rest of the weekend on the Eastern Shore. That evening, we had a dinner date with my mother’s cousin, Ardis, and a reservation at a nice bed-and-breakfast. Sunday’s schedule was still open. I thought we might head to the ocean; I loved the beach in the fall. Or we could take the ferry to Smith Island; wander around St. Michaels, go sailing…. As I considered the possibilities, I nearly forgot to be nervous.
Then we entered downtown D.C. I sobered as stately suburban homes gave way to modern office buildings and massive structures of chiseled granite. Before long, the Smithsonian office building came into view—ten stories of tinted glass reflecting the cloudless blue sky like a darkened mirror. It took up half a city block.
Ben caught me biting my lip. “You know there’s nothing to be nervous about, right?”
“I know,” I lied. The truth was, I couldn’t believe we were actually there. It had been less than twenty-four hours since Ben told his mother, Dr. MacGregor, about our group’s experience with the double kheir ritual. Now we were on our way to meet with her world-class paranormal research team—and not just to exchange information. We’d been asked to give a demonstration, as well.
I had dressed up for the occasion, wearing a dove gray pencil skirt and a wine-colored cashmere sweater my mother had given me one Christmas. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong at the Smithsonian—not as anything more than a tourist, anyway.
“Well, just in case,” he said, “let me remind you that you have nothing to prove here. None of us do. My mother already told her colleagues what happened with our ritual, and they’re keen to know more. But they don’t have any definite expectations; after all, half of them still think the double kheir is just a myth.” In a conspiratorial tone, he added, “Think of it this way. I know you have a lot of questions. Today, you can ask anything you like.”
“Hmm.” I bit the tip of my finger. “Anything?”
“Like whether The Da Vinci Code was based in fact? And whether they’re all members of the Illuminati?”
He chuckled as we pulled into the underground parking garage. “If you ask them those questions, I’ll make sure you get a substantial year-end bonus.”
“Deal,” I said, smiling tentatively. I was still getting used to the idea that my new boyfriend was also my new boss.
Ben was the manager of the MacGregor Group, an alternative healing clinic founded by his mother and housed in a repurposed church. I first met him when my former employer, Dr. Nelson, sent me to the MacGregor Group for treatment. My mother’s recent suicide had left me in pieces, unable to function. As close as she and I had been, somehow I hadn’t seen that my mother was in crisis. Her shocking loss had debilitated me, and I could barely leave my house, let alone return to my job as a psychotherapist. What Dr. Nelson hadn’t told me was that Dr. MacGregor was a psychiatrist who specialized in paranormal gifts, and that instead of “treating” me, she and Ben were enrolling me in ParaTrain, a paranormal skills training program. My first lesson had been to learn the definition of an empath—and that I was one.
Since then, my life had changed so dramatically that it was unrecognizable. Dr. Nelson, Dr. MacGregor, and Ben had all worked hard to convince me that because I was an empath, the key to maintaining my mental health was to leave my job as a therapist and go to work for the MacGregor Group. The idea of leaving my beloved therapy clients was nothing short of heartrending. But after due consideration and several persuasive paranormal experiences, I had agreed to take their advice. Before I could officially start my new job, though, I had to complete a three-week training program: one week of preparation, followed by a two-week internship.
My time in ParaTrain had flown by. Although I was starting my final week of the internship, I still didn’t feel anywhere near ready to take on my new role as an empath healer. Before I met the MacGregors, I hadn’t even known that empaths existed, so I was still struggling to find my bearings. And the unexpected romance between Ben and me was keeping me permanently off-balance. Add in the mind-blowing experience we’d had with the double kheir the previous week, and…. Well, I didn’t even know what had happened there, so I was fairly certain that I’d make a fool of myself trying to describe it to the Smithsonian research team.
That thought had me wiping my palms on my skirt again. “I am nervous, though, about this demonstration we’re supposed to give. The researchers may not have any definite expectations, but surely they’re hoping to see something. And unlike the rest of you, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
“You’ll be fine, Cate,” Ben reassured me as we pulled into a parking space. “Kai’s got it all figured out. He said he has something simple and easy planned, so just follow his instructions. Even if nothing interesting happens, that’s still useful information for my mother’s team. They’re scientists, remember? In an experiment, even a negative result is valuable.”
I had no reason to doubt Kai. He was a highly capable expert in ancient rituals, among other things. But when it came to the paranormal, I had a track record of unintentionally messing things up. “What if I forget our instructions and start reading people’s emotions?”
Dr. MacGregor had passed on a request from her project director that we refrain from using our paranormal gifts on the members of the research team without their specific permission. Apparently, they were much more comfortable observing others than being observed themselves.
“The fact that you’re already worrying about that means it’s highly unlikely you’ll forget,” he said. “And even if you do, who’s going to know?”
Only everyone, I thought. My poker face was nonexistent. I buried my face in my hands. “I’m just afraid that I’m going to embarrass myself. And you. And your mother. And disappoint everyone.”
Ben turned off the ignition. I felt him lean towards me and gently tuck an escaped strand of hair into my braid. “That’s not possible.”
His optimism was endearing, if ill-founded. “Oh, I assure you, it’s possible.”