Monday, January 20, 2014

"Echoes of Paradise" by Deanna Kahler

Echoes of Paradise
by Deanna Kahler

Echoes of Paradise is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please make sure you visit the other tour stops as well.

Does Love Survive Death?
When Celeste’s one true love Connor dies, she’s left with many questions and regrets. Caught in a web of painful memories from her troubled past – and a complicated marriage to a materialistic executive – she ventures into an unknown world.
What she experiences makes her more determined than ever to find out what really happens after death and what became of her lost love. Her journey takes her to places she never thought possible. But just around the corner, danger still lurks. Will she find the answers she seeks and ultimately discover the truth?

Celeste began sobbing uncontrollably. She struggled to see the road ahead of her through tear-filled eyes. The landscape became a fuzzy blur of moonlight and shadowy trees. The world around her spun into an unrecognizable mix of darkness streaked with occasional rays of dim light. As she drove blindly ahead, she felt as if she were plunging into nothingness. And she didn’t even care.
She would have continued in her oblivious state, but somehow, out of nowhere, she heard a very clear and distinct male voice pop into her head. She thought that surely she must have imagined it, because it sounded like Connor.
Pay attention.
Suddenly a deer darted out in front of her, its startled eyes aglow from the blazing gold headlights. Blood pulsed through her veins as she abruptly swerved her car to the right, narrowly missing the animal. With her heart still pounding, she took a deep breath and tried to regain her composure.
“That was close,” she said aloud to herself. “Stay focused, Celeste. Keep it together.”
Although she was alone in her car, she noticed a distinct presence. It felt like Connor was somehow with her. First the voice, and now this? Surely she must be losing her mind! Even so, she had an irresistible urge to talk to him. Maybe it was silly or useless, but she couldn’t fight this desire brimming inside of her. She didn’t just want communication with her deceased former love; she needed it—even if it was one-sided. She began to have a conversation as if he were right there with her.
“I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. “I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch with you and try to be a part of your life in some way. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you or able to help you. I’m sorry for the night I left you. I’m sorry I didn’t let you get closer to me or tell you that I love you. I’m just so sorry.”
Tears streamed down Celeste’s face like the rain on a shiny glass window, and she gasped for air. What she wanted most right now was to know that Connor still existed somehow, somewhere. She wanted proof that his spirit lived on. She wanted to know that he was alive and well in heaven. Although she had been raised Christian, her faith had faded as she’d grown older. Life’s circumstances, unanswered prayers, and the cynical, materialistic world around her had left Celeste with doubts and questions. She now wondered if God and the afterlife even existed at all. She wanted to believe. She just didn’t know how.
Right after she spoke to Connor, a song came on the radio. The words caught her attention, and she stopped crying long enough to listen. It was a tune by Nickelback titled “Someday.”
For a brief moment, Celeste noticed a tingling sensation run down her spine. She felt like Connor was speaking directly to her through this song. It felt as if he were trying to respond to her. Were the words to this song meant for her? Did he somehow hear her cries? Was he trying to tell her he was going to help her in some way?
“No,” thought Celeste. “You’re being ridiculous. This is all just a coincidence. Connor can’t hear you or help you—he’s dead.”
Somehow, even though her rational, logical mind told her this, her heart told her otherwise. Maybe Connor really was alive in the afterlife. Maybe he really could hear her. She needed to know the truth. She wanted answers.

By Dawn
Echoes of Paradise is a romantic novel with a paranormal twist. It explores a topic that most of us wonder about - 'what really happens to us in the afterlife?' This twist captures the reader's interest and leaves them compelled to find out what is going to happen next. The book is well written and very captivating, making it difficult to put down.  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it - excellent book! 

Interview With the Author
Hi Deanna Kahler, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Echoes of Paradise.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
What age group do you recommend your book for?
Because this book is a love story, it appeals to a wide audience. My target audience is ages 25-45, but most anyone would enjoy it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I got the idea for Echoes of Paradise after having some of my own experiences, such as precognitive dreams, signs and synchronistic events. These experiences inspired me to write a book that focuses on the amazing power of love and our connections with others – no matter where we are.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me, the idea for the novel usually comes first. Then I begin thinking about where the story is headed and what the characters will encounter.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I think the middle of the book was the hardest to write. I knew how I was going to start the story, and I had the ending all planned out, but I wasn’t sure about the details in between. The middle of the book grew and evolved as I wrote.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that Echoes of Paradise inspires readers and gives them hope that the bonds of love can never be broken, even after death.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me about six months to write the book, which I consider to be pretty fast. My first book, From Pain to Parenthood, took about a year.
What is your writing routine?
I do a lot of my writing in my head before I ever sit down at the computer. Some of my best ideas have come while I’m in the shower or in bed. Once I have a well-thought out story, I sit down and start putting it together. I do a lot of my writing during the day while my daughter is at school. I also write at night after she goes to bed.
How did you get your book published?
I opted to self-publish my book, so I chose a company that was a good fit for me. I did the formatting of the book myself and am also doing most of my own promotion and marketing. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also fun to have so much creative control over my project.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
My best advice is to write A LOT. Try to write something every day if you can. Also, don’t worry about turning your work into a polished piece at first. Just simply jot down your thoughts, feelings and ideas without censoring them. Sometimes our best work comes when we are not trying so hard to create the perfect story.
Another tip is to volunteer to write. When I was just out of college, I volunteered to proofread and write articles for a company newsletter. It helped me gain valuable experience for my future career as a professional writer.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy dancing, walking, and visiting parks. Some of my favorite moments are when I’m outdoors enjoying activities with my family.
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re all very proud of me! My young daughter is even becoming a pretty good writer herself. She’s a very creative and imaginative second grader. I already see great potential in her!
That's great, Deanna! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I had an awesome imagination as a child. I wrote many poems and short stories, some of which earned Young Authors Awards in elementary school.
I loved to read, write, and pretend to be characters from my favorite television shows – Speed Racer, Lost in Space, and Electra Woman & Dyna Girl. I remember as a 4-year-old, I always wanted to be Trixie from Speed Racer. My mom would play the part of Speed. One day she grew tired of me always pretending and refused to play the part. So, I went into the other room, built a pretend car out of couch cushions, got inside and cried. I pretended that Speed Racer had died. I guess my imagination continued even when no one would play along!
Did you enjoy school?
Yes, I did enjoy school. I tended to get bored when I was at home, so school gave me an opportunity to occupy my mind.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes, I loved to read as a child. I remember sitting on the couch for hours some days because I just had to finish a book!
What was your favorite book as a child?
I loved Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I also enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie books and the Nancy Drew series. Some of my other favorites were: Snow White and Rose Red, Noodle, and Bunny Blue.
Who were your favorite authors as a child?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing is something that has always come naturally for me. When I was in third grade, my teacher was so excited about a story I wrote for class. She praised my work and inspired me to write more. And, I’ve been writing ever since!
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Absolutely. As I mentioned, I received a lot of praise and encouragement, which led me to write more. 
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from readers. They tell me my books are easy-to-read and inspiring. I always enjoy hearing feedback from readers. When I can touch lives or inspire people in some way, I feel I have done my job as a writer. Making a difference in people’s lives is what it is all about.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m working on a children’s book that I hope to release by the end of 2014. It’s called A Rare Gem and is about embracing differences and appreciating each person’s uniqueness. I would also like to write another paranormal romance novel one day. Maybe I will even write a sequel to Echoes of Paradise.
Thanks for stopping by for a chat today, Deanna. It was a pleasure getting to know you a bit better.

About the Author
Deanna Kahler is an accomplished writer and proud mom. Her work has been published in numerous corporate newsletters and magazines across the country. She began writing as a young child and enjoys the opportunity to reach others and make a difference in their lives.
Echoes of Paradise is Deanna’s second book. Her first book, From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption, details her difficult journey to motherhood and provides tips and resources for those facing similar circumstances.
Deanna holds a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., where she graduated with departmental honors. She lives with her husband and daughter in a Metro Detroit suburb, where she enjoys writing, dancing, walking, and visiting parks in her spare time.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three paperback copies of Echoes of Paradise by Deanna Kahler (US only).