Creative Edge Publishing (2020)
Kaylin McFarren has received more than fifty national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious RWA Golden Heart Award nomination for Flaherty’s Crossing—a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author Kristina McMorris, co-wrote in 2008.
Prior to embarking on her writing journey and developing her popular Threads psychological thriller series, she poured her passion for creativity into her work as the director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; she also served as a governor-appointed member of the Oregon Arts Commission and currently oversees interior design projects for the Yoshida Group of Companies.
Her self-published books are written in multiple genres and include award-winning romantic thrillers, mysteries, a time-travel adventure, and now, a paranormal fantasy. She hopes that her stories are entertaining and that they linger in the minds of readers long after her final twists are revealed.
In addition to writing, when she’s not traveling between homes in San Diego and Portland or spoiling her two pups and three grandsons, she enjoys giving back to her community through participation and support of various charitable, medical, and educational organizations, and encourages others to do the same.
Hi Kaylin, welcome back to Reader Views! Tell us about your latest novel, Soul Seeker.
Thanks for having me. I guess the best way to tell you about Soul Seeker is to share the summary for this unusual story. So, here goes! While awaiting his execution for murdering his son, Benjamin Poe confesses to his lawyer the true story behind his crime, a harrowing tale of a manipulating, soul-collecting demon named Crighton.
Following Poe’s death, Crighton continues his malevolent duties, until he’s kidnapped by members of The Sovereign Sector. This group of scientists, notorious for experimenting on supernatural creatures, force Crighton into a soulmate relationship with the very angel he was sent to capture for Lucifer. However, with secrets revealed and loyalties shifting, Crighton soon becomes the target of Lucifer’s revenge, and his journey to redemption and freedom—or eternal enslavement—begins.
What was the inspiration behind the storyline?
We would all like to believe that a heavenly being is ever present in our lives—watching over us, whispering messages of hope, protecting us from threatening situations, and guiding us through the inevitable stupidity we inflict upon ourselves. When it comes to subjects regarding these feathery benefactors, there are a remarkable number of books written regarding near-death experiences and visitations, often in the most unlikely places. There are also a great many books that concentrate on the battle of good and evil and, occasionally, a fallen angel or two who we tend to sympathize with, even though we’re not supposed to. All of these factors inspired me to write this book, bringing to light the battles between good and evil that exists all around us.
Soul Seeker is a supernatural thriller, which is a bit of a departure from your other works. What called you to the dark side?
That’s actually a great question. I wanted to write something very different from the rest of my books and with the Covid-19 lockdown, my thoughts drifted to the dark side of life – dwelling on captivity, the need to escape our bonds, and also the soaring death rate in our country. Like any artist, quite often the situation surrounding us impacts our emotions and is translated into our work.
Do you believe in demons and angels?
Most definitely. They’re all around us…in hospitals where nurses and doctors risk their lives every day; in government, where leaders continue to ignore warnings about deadly outbreaks and value twisted relationships with heartless dictators. Plus, there are guardian angels protecting all of us in these trying times and during our near-death experiences. I guess I’m just hopeful that way.
What kind of research was involved in preparing to write a supernatural story? Are the basic elements similar to writing psychological thrillers?
I read a lot! There are dozens of books dealing with Lucifer and his history in Heaven. The bible also comes in handy, especially in this case. But my new love of supernatural stories helped tremendously while writing this story. These books encourage us to suspend our beliefs and grow our imagination in all sorts of ways. At the same time, paranormal adventures are very similar to psychological thrillers as they focus on the experiences of characters in the book, forcing them to grow while challenging themselves.
Did you seek to emulate yourself after any particular supernatural storyteller?
I would love to be compared to Caroline Kepnes, Joseph Fink and Lauren Beukes…and, of course, Stephen King. They are true geniuses in this genre.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing Soul Seeker?
To stay true to Crighton’s demonic nature while growing his sensitivity and emotions as a soulmate to an angel. It became a balancing act between evil and good that I wanted readers to experience, while re-evaluating their opinions of this twisted, unpredictable demon.
Our reviewer said, “McFarren is fearless when it comes to taking characters and situations to the brink and back.” Talk about your relationship with your characters and how they change over the course of your writing.
I love the idea of standing on the edge of a cliff with a character and pulling them back in the nick of time. They have to grow to make the story rewarding, but at the same time, their decision-making is what drives the story. Often, when I begin writing a new manuscript, I have no idea where a character will take me. I only know that I want them to be daring by the end of the book—risk takers they didn’t know they were capable of being until they were forced to react.
And what about the relationship between the demon and the angel? How do their personalities compare and contrast with one another?
They are complete opposites. Crighton is brutal, stubborn, dark, and dangerous. As a demon, he accepts pain from Lucifer physically and mentally, and is proud of his position as chief soul catcher in Hell. He also sees humor in human suffering and believes angels are lowly creatures. Ariel, on the other hand, is a naïve, guardian angel apprentice. She loves the human existence, nature, and all living creatures. She is fair skinned and blond haired, kind and all forgiving, which takes the relationship between Crighton and Ariel to opposite ends of the spectrum.
Which character did you have the most fun with?
Actually, I had the most fun with Acadia, Crighton’s mother. Although she’s a demon, she’s a romantic at heart. She is strong willed, but at the same time fearful. While protecting her son is her foremost concern, she is also Lucifer’s lover, and a remarkable pawn that spurred the war between battling brothers.
You also seem to be limitless in the amount of twists and turns you feature in the story. Some of the plotlines you never see coming. How do you continually come up with new and engaging twists that not only keep your readers guessing, but keep them coming back for more?
It’s like juggling balls in a circus act. You have to be true to your characters, while allowing them to go off on their own discoveries. But at the same time, it’s important in my opinion to keep the attention of readers, delivering non-stop action and unpredictability with the story and the characters in it. I love reserving the ending to the very last lines. And then, sometimes, I even leave a little hint that the tale will go on in the next “possible” book.
Talk about your writing process – what does a day in the life of Kaylin McFarren look like?
Morning coffee, review my emails, breakfast with my husband (because he loves to cook), re-read my last chapter then set to work writing from 9am – noon. Lunch in the courtyard (often with a glass of wine), then back to work until 3pm. After that, I enjoy time with my family, playing games, watching television, making calls, prepping for dinner—whether it’s at home or dining out. Afterwards, I settled down with a good book at bedtime and it’s lights out.
Have there been any significant changes to your process since you wrote your first book?
I try to stress less about the little things and just focus on turning my imagination loose.
What is the most challenging part of the artistic process for you?
Turning it off. Sometimes I get wrapped up in a story and have to be reminded to take a break.
How has the global pandemic, among other things, affected your writing and/or marketing efforts this year?
It has definitely affected my writing, as reflected in this story—dark and a bit twisted., but still fun. As far as marketing, no more in-store book signings for a while, but that has led to more creative ideas in the advertising realm.
You’ve always been active in your community and with family, etc. How do you balance it all and find time for your writing?
Only recently, I ended my work in the non-profit I formed for raising cancer research funds, mainly due to relocating to another state. But I am always on the lookout for ways to become more involved in my community. Recently, I joined a writing group in San Diego, as well as a yoga class, gardening club and historical society at our local museum. We have to keep our brains and physical bodies active, right?
Soul Seeker just hit the market, congratulations! Do you typically allocate time to market before starting on your next project or do you multitask?
I’m a multi-tasker, I’m afraid. As soon as a project is completed, I’m on to the next.
Where do you go from here? Do you have any other writing projects you’re working on that you’d like to share? What can your readers expect to see next?
I’m currently working on ANNIHILATION, book two in my SOUL SEEKER series. I was going to make SOUL SEEKER a stand-alone but I had so much fun with the characters that I want to bring them back in a battle between Heaven and Hell. Now, that should be exciting!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just take care and stay safe! We can only hope that 2021 is a far better year!!
Thank you so much for joining us today at Reader Views Kaylin and sharing a bit about yourself and your work!
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