The bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive and haunted past.
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
Q & A with Emily ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
I’ve always written but never believed I could be published. I thought maybe you had to live in New York or know people in the publishing industry personally, and I was just a girl from Alabama. By the time I got serious about writing a novel, I realized this wasn’t true in the least.
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I love being with my family...actually just kind of hanging around the house and cooking dinner and doing laundry and all those sorts of caretaking things. Not because I particularly like laundry or cooking (I don’t), but I like to be around when my kids breeze through and suddenly want to talk. Those times are really special, some of my most memorable. I also love horseback riding, going to movies, eating out at elegant restaurants, and sitting around a fire pit with wine and friends.
Do you have a ‘day job’ as well?
I don’t, actually. I’ve stayed home with my kids since they were born, which I felt like was both a lucky thing but could also be really challenging and confining too at times. Nothing’s perfect.
Where do you get your ideas?
I have no idea where my ideas come from. They just appear in my head, in varying degrees of completeness and then I go with it.
Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired your writing or decision to write?
I think every book I ever loved contributed to my desire to write. All my favorite books and authors made me love stories and I just wanted to tell stories like them. Maybe the books I read in my adolescence contributed the most. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenwieler. The Grounding of Group Six. Flowers in the Attic. Down a Dark Hall. Lots of spooky books!
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
It was actually the third book I’d written - the first book I wrote was rejected by 162 agents! Once I felt like this was the next book I should query, I edited it for a year and then queried agents for another year. When I found my agent at a writers conference, she and I edited it again for a year and a half, I think, to get it just right.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?
Nothing at all. It was a fantastic growing, learning experience.
How do you market your work?
I’ve hired publicists myself for three of my books and have had varying degrees of success with that. Nothing’s guaranteed but an experienced, dedicated publicist can really help focus the campaign for the launch. I also try to engage on Facebook where most of my readers seem to hang out - do some guest-hosting on various book pages and of course just let those interested know when a book has hit a list or gotten a really good review.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a book that involves a magic house. That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to jinx it. I don’t talk a lot about what I’m writing! I’m superstitious that way.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
Maybe minor details, like eating at a particular BBQ restaurant. But no, not the real plot points. Those are pure fiction.
Do you have a favorite chapter or scene?
Actually the very first chapter - the prologue, where we meet Dove again.
Do you have a favorite character?
I love Dove and I really get a kick out of Ember, one of the characters in the present-day narrative.
What would your job of choice be if you didn’t write books?
I literally cannot do anything else other than write so I’d be in dire straights if I had to earn a living another way!
What was the most unique research you had to do for a book?
Definitely creating the app called Jax for UNTIL THE DAY I DIE was really a challenge. I got to talk with a developer who’s created some brilliant apps that have been super successful and it was so informative and fun. Especially because I am so tech-impaired.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read in the genre you want to write - and current books, so you can see what’s happening in the marketplace. Books are art but they’re also a commodity, so it’s always smart to see what readers are buying or what stories might be overdone.
What are the downfalls of your writing career? The best parts?
I miss the collaboration of theater - which has led me to want to write a play. But that is not so easy, so it’s slow going. The best parts? Living inside and creating a story that is purely your world. And getting to know the writing community. I’ve made some dear friends who are fellow writers.
Is there any place you'd like to travel?
I went to Scotland right before the pandemic shut-down. And all i can think about is going back! It’s such a dreamy, poetic, wild, and beautiful place.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
THANK YOU for allowing me to do what I love. When you buy books and review them, you give me such a gift. It’s my privilege to entertain you, and I hope to get to do it for a long time.
To connect with Emily ~