Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Welcome Wednesday says hello to Erin Thorne

Welcome Wednesday says a big hello again to Erin Thorne - whose character, Flora, popped in to 'Familiarise Friday' at the beginning of March. Today it's Erin herself who is answering my interview questions!

Erin Thorne is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. She writes primarily paranormal fiction, and is the author of Diane’s Descent, a supernatural novella set in upstate New York, as well as Deals Diabolical, a collection of eight spine-tingling short stories. In addition, she’s written a book of short stories encompassing science fiction, fantasy, and horror, titled Behind The Wheel. Her work has also been featured in Adventures for the Average Woman (now IdeaGems Magazine).

Find Erin at: 

Hi, Erin. How long have you been a published writer?
I was first published in the October 2010 edition of Adventures for the Average Woman (now IdeaGems Magazine). I went on hiatus for a while when I had my son, but now I’m back up to speed.

What genre is your preference to write in?
I’ve generally written in the horror and paranormal genres, but my new book, “Behind The Wheel”, contains dystopian science fiction and fantasy as well. My next project is a fantasy trilogy; I like exploring different types of fiction, especially ones that have wilder elements.

I was fortuntate, yesterday, to feature an author who writes Dystopian YA/NA novels - though I personally haven't read much of that genre, yet. Do you also tend to read books that vere towards your own writing choices?
I read almost everything, from the classics to modern fiction. Growing up, I was a big fan of Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. I still am; however, I now enjoy a wide variety of literature, and even the occasional biography.

Tell us about your latest release, please.
My third release, “Behind The Wheel”, is a collection of nine short stories, one of which is in two parts. The tales range from science fiction to fantasy, with a little horror. It’s much more appropriate for an adolescent audience than my second book, “Deals Diabolical”, and enjoyable for adults as well. The story that gives the collection its title explores the phenomenon of self-driving cars; when you surrender control, who’s really in charge, and what might they do with you?

How much research did you have to do for it?
I always have questions that arise when I write a story, and for the stories in “Behind The Wheel”, I researched everything from Caesarean birth procedures, to the life cycle of frogs, to how many litres of water a human needs daily.

Sounds like me. I'm so easily distracted when doing research and I always do far more than I need to! Were there any triggers which led to the plotlines for the stories?
Yes; one of the stories, Spoiled Pets, was based on an actual event, up to a point. We took in some tadpoles, and something unexpected happened. This prompted me to wonder, what if it had gone far worse? “What if” tends to be my point of departure, beginning the whole process.

Who are the main characters in some of your stories?
There’s a family named the Cranes in Behind The Wheel, whose adventures span the storyline. After The End features a troll family consisting of a matriarch, Froska, and her sons. High Maintenance highlights the unique life of a girl named Amy, from her difficult birth to her teens.

Do the names for characters just pop into your head as soon as you start a book?
They usually don’t. Sometimes, I’ll use actual names, but with the first and last switched around. If it’s in a foreign setting, I look up traditional names for that country. Flora’s Tale takes place in Germany, and that’s what I had to do when writing it.

What about settings? Do you tend to write about places you’ve been to…or just ones you would like to visit?
Both! Shades of Lupine was set in my nine-year-old self’s backyard, the protagonist’s rural drives in The Gathering were based on my jaunts in Connecticut, and of course, the abovementioned story is in Germany, where I’ve never been, but would love to visit.

What’s the biggest challenge your characters have to face?
I’d say Amy from High Maintenance has a big one. She has to come to terms with what she is, what that means for the people around her, and the impact it’s going to have on her future. She’s strong and smart; if she wasn’t, she’d succumb to despair at her discovery. She has some huge decisions to make, and they’re going to take some creative problem solving.

Who is your favorite character/s in the book? Why?
I like the girls in Shades of Lupine; they’re based on myself and a friend, and writing this story allowed me to recapture some of the fun we had, and the way we used to see the world at the ages of nine and ten, respectively.

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a fantasy trilogy. The main character, Balen, starts out as a carefree young man, with no real direction. He discovers a secret about his family; the manner of discovery puts his foster-family in danger, forcing him to seriously think about his future. It also attracts the attention of a corrupt network that’s been gaining control of the land one town at a time. He begins to understand the importance of his decisions, and also what could happen if he fails to realize his potential.

What is your favourite time of year?
I love the Spring and Autumn; they’re usually not too cold in Massachusetts, and they have the most appealing smells.

Where would be your most ideal location to write about?
I don’t think I’ve discovered it yet!

What’s your favourite place to write?
A quiet room, where I can work without distraction or interruption, is the best place for me to write. It doesn’t matter where it is, as long as it’s peaceful. This doesn’t happen often, so I usually write whenever and wherever I can.

Great answers, Erin.  Below is the  blurb and a short extract from 'Behind the Wheel'. Thank you for sharing that with us, today.

Behind The Wheel:
A family discovers who's really in charge when they buy a car that drives itself... The characters from a well known fairy tale live on after their story is over... A docile species of farm animal transforms into a pack of ruthless creatures, bent on the destruction of humankind... A werewolf stalks a young girl's backyard... Tiny pets, rescued from certain destruction, are not what they seem... Enter a land of fantasy, and learn more about the hidden side of the world you take for granted.

Excerpt, from the book's title story, Behind The Wheel:

Jason slouched into the passenger seat, pulling his hood up and keeping his eyes on his phone. His mother got in; he responded by looking out of the window. Halfway to the supermarket, she attempted to engage him in conversation.

“So, is there anything special you want at the store?”


“You sure? What about those spicy nacho chips you like, we could grab some of those.”


“It’s kind of neat, being driven around like this. There’s even a little map where you can see your progress. Cool, huh?”


Denise played the last card she could think of. “Maybe you can drive it sometime. Take it to a friend’s house or something. What do you think?”

He liked that idea, yet stifled his approval as much as possible. “Sure.” Denise saw the tiny spark of interest and smiled. Her grin straightened, as they sailed right past the grocery store.

“What the heck?” She double-checked the map. Sure enough, the little checkered flag that marked their goal corresponded to the store’s location, but it was now receding into the distance behind them. Tapping the AutoDrive’s off switch was useless; the car was driving itself, and wasn’t yielding control. Feeling a small jolt of anxiety, Denise tried maneuvering the steering wheel. It was loose, spinning around without any connection to the tires. Was this a programming glitch, or was the wheel just there for show? The salesman had said it was functional in emergency situations, and this was starting to feel like one.

A loud click, broadcast in stereo from all doors at once, signaled the AutoLock’s activation. Denise yanked on her handle, to no avail. “Jason, see if your door’s locked.” He pulled, gently at first, then harder as it continued to resist him.

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, honey.” She was desperately endeavoring to maintain her composure. Not wishing to alarm her son, she said, “I’m sure it’s just a bug, nothing to worry about. I’ll call Dad and let him know where we are; maybe he can get us some help.” She tapped her phone’s screen. Nothing happened. The power button wasn’t responding either. Removing the battery and replacing it usually did the trick when it froze up, but it didn’t work this time. “Jason, is your phone working?”

He was already tapping and shaking it. “This thing sucks. It’s two years old, I need a new one.”

“Mine’s not working either.” They locked eyes momentarily, then Denise dropped her gaze. “I don’t want you to panic, but we might have a problem here. We need to find a way to stop the car, or at least signal for help.”

“Maybe we can make a sign.”

“Great idea! I have a pen in my purse.” She dug the black ballpoint out, and pawed through the pocketbook’s contents looking for paper. “You don’t have a notebook or anything, do you?”

“No.” The boy was showing some initiative now; he checked out the back seats, which were still immaculate. The family’s efforts to keep the new vehicle clean had succeeded all too well.

“Hang on, the driver’s manual is still in here!” Denise grabbed it from the glove compartment, and tore the cover off. “You make the sign, while I look through this. There might be something about an emergency shut-off or something.” She pored through the thin book, discovering nothing useful. During her second perusal, her son handed her the cover, which now bore “HELP” in thick black letters. It would do.

She waited for someone going the opposite way to pass her. There wasn’t much traffic headed in that direction. In fact, there seemed to be none. It was starting to become more congested on their side, though, so she held the sign to the windshield. The car in front was too far away for them to see if they’d been noticed. She went to the back of the minivan, shoving the paper against the wide window. The occupants of the AutoDrive following them looked terrified; could they be having the same issue?

She put the sign down and was in the act of waving her arms, when everything went dark. Denise froze.


That got her moving. She bolted to the front, laying a hand on her son’s shoulder. “I’m here.” He looked pale and sickly in the green light of the dashboard. It was the only illumination; all of the windows, including the windshield, had AutoTinted themselves completely black, shutting out the view of the outside world. The pair could feel their metallic prison gliding down the road, rocking them gingerly around corners. They had no choice but to trust that the satellite responsible for AutoDrive’s guidance was still operational.

Buy links for "Behind The Wheel":
B & N
Best wishes to you for success in your writing career, Erin.


  1. Great interview and fabulous excerpt. I'll have to check this one out!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

  2. Hi Sarah! Glad you enjoyed learning about Erin!

  3. hi Erin, sounds interesting, ill have to check it out. R.P.


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