1. What is the title of your book?
The title of my book is Of Stone & Mist
2. What is the genre and age rating
The genre is paranormal romance and, though the main characters in the story are about mid-twenties, it is suitable for teens. I’d say it is a young adult/adult story.
Even though it is classified as a PNR, the mystery is the main plot line for Of Stone and Mist. The romance in the story develops alongside the mystery, creating a whole level of tension for the characters as they try to get to the bottom of a mystery.
3. Give a brief synopsis, using your own words.
This story is about a young photographer, Jessa, who goes looking for an advertising job at a restaurant. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get the job she goes there for, but is hired by the owners to snoop on a young man, Mitch, who was once engaged to their daughter, Maria.
Maria has been missing for three years and her parents think Mitch has murdered her. It is Jessa’s job to go to Mitch’s historic home, Bristol House, to take pictures and see if there are any clues left that would help them understand what has happened to Maria… all without Mitch’s knowledge.
She makes several trips to his house but gets caught snooping on more than one occasion. Mitch is not pleased, but somehow can’t keep her under control or off his mind.
4. Is it part of a series? Is the series completed? What made you decide to do a series rather than an epic?
This is not a series, just a stand-alone book. There are ideas in my head if I happen to decide to write a sequel, though.
5. Visually describe your main character and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
My main character is a young, perky 20-something. I don’t think of her as being traditionally beautiful, but she’s cute. She has very short, spiky hair, not very big herself, except with a big personality and too much sarcasm for her own good. She’s very brave, but wouldn’t ever describe herself that way. She’s witty and a romantic at heart. It’s funny, I’ve been looking for a “picture” of Jessa, but I’ve never found one I thought fit. I’d be interested in seeing a picture YOU find that you think looks like her.
6. What are his or her biggest faults? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example
Jessa’s mouth usually gets her into trouble as she opts for sarcasm:
“The car beside her little Honda was a sleek, black BMW convertible, though with the top up. It oozed taste and wealth, much like the driver sitting quietly behind the wheel studying her. Yikes! she thought as her heart raced guiltily. Busted!
She stopped short in her tracks and stared back at him. She reminded herself that this was, in some ways, public domain and she had a right to be here. All the same, she swallowed hard.
The man in the car got out and shut the door quietly, never taking his eyes off her. He was very good-looking, dark, expensively dressed… and furious. Taller than most men she knew, she wondered how a man with the perfect high cheekbones and just enough five o’clock shadow to look rakish could glower so attractively. Jessa knew that if she waited for him to yell at her, she would sound guilty and no words would come into her brain that would make her appear otherwise. So, she opted for sarcasm. “Really, dude? Seriously?” she chastised, “could you park a little closer, please? Jeez, I wouldn’t want your pretty little car to get sideswiped!”
………..And, though she is usually a rule-follower, she lets her emotions get in the way.
“She did not hear the soft footsteps behind her, but the words spoken chilled her to the bone: “What the hell are you looking for?”
Jessa used the only weapon she had with her: her sarcasm. “What the hell am I looking for? You’re freakin’ kidding me! Besides, you about scared the ever-lovin’ crap outta me!” Reaching up to turn the light off with a snap, she pushed Mitch away with a hand to his chest, and stormed passed him. “Move!” she demanded.”
7. What are his or her best qualities? Using a short excerpt from your book, can you show us an example?
I think Jessa is very brave. Under the same circumstances, I wouldn’t fare so well.
“As she approached the veranda, she realized it would take every ounce of strength she had to go inside the house once again.
Since the day was dark with clouds that threatened rain, the house looked nearly black. Gray, diffused light filtered weakly through the sheer curtains on the windows in the parlor. Silence greeted her oppressively as if the house itself held its breath. Jessa squinted into dark corners, and strained her ears to listen for the tiniest sound. Her nose silently sniffed the air for the all-telling scent of rot that she now associated with the appearance of the specters.”
8. Is there a romantic interest for your MC (main character)…or maybe more than one? Would you describe it as antagonistic, angsty, steamy, romantic, and or loaded with sexual tension?
There is a romantic interest for Jessa. She finds she has fallen in love with the man she is supposed to be snooping on. The longer she is around him, the more unlikely she thinks he could possibly hurt anyone. I guess, at first, their relationship is antagonistic. It gets steamy, only if you read between the lines. She does sleep with him, but the doors are closed. :^)
9. Visually describe the romantic interest(s) and provide a picture if you were inspired by an actual person.
Mitch is a very sexy, wealthy man. He is private with his personal life and resents Jessa snooping, which he discovers early in the story. But as much as they butt heads, they can’t seem to leave each other alone. It’s more of an emotional tie than a physical one. I think of him as looking a little like Jude Law.
10. Who is your favorite secondary character? Why?
I liked Maria, though she could be exasperating sometimes. She is capable of doing some really dumb things and she is very self-centered. In the end, I think she realized the harm of her ways, but she could get on a person’s nerves.
11. Were any of your characters inspired by people you know or have known?
No, though I know sarcastic and dumb people. I taught school for a long time, so I’ve probably known lots of people like this!
12. Post a short excerpt (1-2 pages max) that you think that readers will love…
** Mitch had forgotten to lock the front door!
She slipped silently inside [Bristol House]. Here, alone at dusk, the house seemed to welcome her, but she couldn’t shake the impression of anger she’d had when she first arrived. Static electricity ran up and down her arms. She rubbed them as if she were cold, hoping to stop the sensation. Uneasily, she fingered the camera inside her pocket.
Her goal: the third floor apartment. She crept quietly up the stairs. Though there was no particular reason for her stealth, she somehow felt that silence was vital. It was not until she reached the master bedroom on the second floor that she caught a faint pungent puff of something foul. She stopped moving for a moment and sniffed the air. Dead animal? Rotting vegetation?
Oh, god! Could it be a body? Her heart raced furiously until the pounding filled her ears and burned her eyes. Could that explain his nervous restlessness? With an inexplicable nudge to her shoulders, she was propelled forward toward the stairs leading to the top floor.
Walking carefully through the threshold, she saw the apartment was neat and clean. This time she didn’t bother looking through the stacks of CDs or volumes of books. She headed to the bedroom and found what she was looking for: his desk.
Unlike the rest of the apartment, it was a disaster. Stacks of papers lay aimlessly about. Several drawers were left open. The contents were an erratic jumble of journals, reports, stationery, and other random documents. Jessa knelt on the soft carpet and pulled out her camera.
Taking care to return each sheet of paper to its original place, she carefully sifted through the documents, first on the desktop. There was nothing particularly incriminating there, but to be on the safe side, she took photos of the most important-looking ones. Next, she began to sift through the topmost drawer. It housed mostly pens, pencils, paper clips, and an odd assortment of office necessities. She moved quickly on to the next drawer.
She had her hands deep inside the drawer in the process of pulling a handful of papers out when a noise caught her attention. She stopped stone cold and listened. The unmistakable sound of laughter floated up to her from directly below her on the second floor. It was the husky voice of a man. A foul odor seeped up from under her feet.
Gulping nervously, Jessa pulled her arm away from the drawer as quickly and silently as she could. Mitch’s laughter sounded odd to her and quite unlike his voice, which was smoother, and more refined. He would not be laughing long if he caught her at his desk.
Walking as hastily as she dared, she crept her way to the stairway, hoping to make it down before he headed up. Then, as she passed the window, she glanced outside. To her surprise, she couldn’t see Mitch’s car inside the garage’s open door. She frowned in confusion.
Stepping quietly down to the second floor, Jessa decided to take a look at the room that would be located directly below Mitch’s bedroom. She walked down the long hallway, turning her head and looking in as she passed each door. Most of them were shut, but the ones that were open were fairly empty except for an old-fashioned bed and dresser.
Cautiously, Jessa stood just outside the door to the room from where the laughter came. With her back against the wall, she strained to listen. No sound came from the room. Daring to peek, she turned her head around the corner of the door frame just enough to see inside. Like the other bedrooms, the old bed was in the middle of the wall on the far side with an antique dresser beside it—but no one was in the room.
However, the foul odor was stronger in here than in the master bedroom earlier. A macabre sense of curiosity lured her into the room farther. She stood in the center of the room, and turned a complete circle. The room was empty except for the bed and dresser.
The closet door was slightly ajar.
Jessa could feel fearful adrenalin coursing through her veins. She was utterly powerless to stop her feet from stepping nearer to the closet. Almost detachedly, she could see her hand reach for the doorknob, grab it, and pull it open. It was as black as ink inside. She stepped through the door and took a deep breath.
The fetor was oppressive. With one hand over her nose, she reached with the other toward the center of the little room in hopes of finding the chain to the light switch before she realized that this part of the house had not been built with electricity. Just as that thought crossed her mind, however, her fingers found the pull chain, and the room was flooded with electric light.
Almost blind after walking around in the dark, she backed away from the light defensively. When she could focus, she saw the room was larger than she had thought and was filled with a huge amount of cardboard boxes. Some were old, others not so much. Closer to the door, most of the boxes seemed to be filled with papers and other documents. Her eyes widened with this new-found treasure trove of information. She itched to dive into the boxes. Maybe this would contain the information she would need that would open Maria’s missing persons case.
She did not hear the soft footsteps behind her, but the words spoken chilled her to the bone: “What the hell are you looking for?”**I hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth look at Of Stone and Mist, by Donna Hawk…
You can purchase this book in many forms, including clicking the cover image at the beginning of this post.
Here are alternate links to purchase:
eBook for sale:
Also available on iTunes, Kobo, and other ebook retailers.
Be sure to check out Donna’s other book and be the first to know when she publishes anything new!