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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wednesday's Writer - Danita Cahill

Danita Cahill

I'm very privileged here today to have the multi-talented author, Danita Cahill as my Wednesday's Writer. Being an avid reader,I always like to try to get to know a little bit more about the inspiration behind the written word.  Here's what Danita told me when I interviewed her for this post.

Welcome, Danita.  First things first, what inspired you to write your first novel?

I had a nightmare about feral, red-eyed dogs chasing me along a fog-shrouded coastline (I grew up on the Oregon coast). About the same time, I gave birth to my second child. Six months later, my mom passed away. Those three life events swirled together were the catalyst for Mist. 

Three very traumatic and extreme events as well.  That must have been a very difficult time for you.  Did you know then that your genre would be romance?

I was a member of Romance Writers of America for years and attended various regional and national conferences. I also belonged to a local RWA chapter and an online RWA chapter. So, it was pretty much pre-ordained that romance would make its way into my stories! 

And is this reflected in the type of stories you like to read? 

I like to read stories involving relationships – the same kind of stories I like to write. The relationships might be between a man and woman, between a mother and child, or between a grandmother and granddaughter (Mist has all three). I like reading and writing about how people interact with one another. 

Me too - such an important part of modern fiction and romance in particular.  Has any part of yourself crept into the heroines of any of your romances?

A part of me creeps into every character I write. In the case of Mist, the heroine is loosely based on my mom, although Dianne Harris is a younger, hipper version. 

A lovely tribute to your mom - I'm sure she would be very proud.  What is the most desirable characteristic you've bestowed on the hero of your latest romance?

Kevin McCoffey – the hero of Mist – is tall, muscular and has a sexy southern accent. Definitely all nice qualities, but I think his most attractive characteristic is his desire to take care of others and keep them safe. Because of what happened to his dad when Kevin was a boy, Kevin now has a driving need to be a hero.

A nurturing man - my knees are melting!  Do you think you'll always write in the same genre and style or do you have desires to experiment and if so, in what way?

Whenever I write fiction, there will be some sort of love story involved. My current WIP (Work In Progress), called Daisies are True, is a story of love and magic. 

By day I am a freelance writer, reporter and photographer. As such, I also have non-fiction stories to tell, too. When Daisies is done, I’ll get crackin’ on a non-fiction project called Confessions of a Country Girl – Inspiring Stories of Growing Up Rural. 

That sounds like an interesting and ambitious project and I wish you the best of luck with it.  I hope you'll be using your own photographs as illustrations.  Now I'm intrigued to learn a bit more about Mist, with its short but very effective title.  Can you tell me a little bit more about the inspiration behind it?

I started writing this book a month after my mother’s death. It was my way of moving through grief and healing. When my grandmother died years ago, I got stuck in the grieving process and had a hard time moving forward with life. My hope with this thriller novel is that it not only entertains, but helps others push through the tough days, weeks and months after losing a loved one.

There may be evil red eyes in the mist, but there is also light at the end of the tunnel.

Here's the Blurb

It’s Thanksgiving, but the Roseland community doesn’t feel particularly thankful. Not when citizens of their Oregon coastal town keep disappearing. Is it aliens? A serial killer? Or a pack of evil, red-eyed dogs? Detective Kevin McCoffey is determined to solve the case.

When young, widowed photographer, Dianne Harris and her infant daughter find themselves face to face with the killer, Kevin races to yank them to safety. But is he too late? 

With help from both the town’s fortuneteller and the ghost of Dianne’s dead grandmother, Kevin and Dianne battle their own demons and their shared past history as they rush to save Dianne’s baby from the killer’s grip.

Excerpt from Mist:
I strain my ears to listen. The barking again. Is it getting closer?                 

Something else. In the distance. A crunching sound. What is that?
I check my mirrors. Search outside the windows. But the fog is so dense now, I can’t make out anything further than three or four feet beyond my vehicle.

The crunching is getting louder. Closer. My heart jumps into my throat. Perspiration dampens my palms. Is it the dogs?

I search my rearview mirror. Only thick white air. Nothing else.
Wait. What’s this? A light. Drawing closer. No, make that two lights. And still the crunching sound. Wet crunching.
Tires over a rain-soaked gravel road.
My heart settles back down. It’s an approaching vehicle, although not loud enough or heavy enough to be a tow truck. It crunches to a halt behind me. A door opens and closes. Footsteps.
Who could it be?
What if it’s the Roseland serial killer come to grab Megan and me? My heart beats staccato again.
The footfalls draw nearer. Not daring to breathe, I stare straight ahead. I don’t want to make eye contact until I know who it is and what they want.
A dark form appears at my window. I can see it with my peripheral vision.  The form bends at the waist. A face appears, so close that the person’s breath clouds the glass. My heart pounds harder.
“Excuse me, Ma’am. Do you need some assistance?”
The pattern of my heartbeats change from stark fear to something lighter, giddier; like the slap of a child’s salt-water sandals running over hard-packed sand. “Kevin!” Am I ever glad to see him. I can’t roll down my window without power, so I fling open the door.

It catches him in the shin.
“Sorry. Are you okay?”
Kevin holds his lower leg and groans.

“Oh, Kevin. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s…fine…really,” he says through clenched teeth. He lets go of his leg, straightens with a grimace and forces a smile. “Injuries are expected in the line of duty.”
Duty? Is that how he thinks of me now, as a duty?
“Are you alright?” he asks. “Your message sounded scared.”
Damn skippy I was scared. Still am. I glance in all three mirrors. The dogs and their red, glowing eyes are nowhere in sight. I don’t want Kevin thinking me a nut case, so I don’t bring up the dogs.

I feel safer with a cop nearby, although sitting here with my door ajar and Kevin standing outside in the open still makes me jittery. I keep my right hand tucked in my lap so he won’t see the bloody napkins wrapping my thumb. “I’m okay. I ran out of gas. Stupid, I know.”

“It happens all the time,” Kevin says. “I don’t have a gas can with me, but I’ll go get one and fill it. You and Megan can ride along so you don’t have to wait here in the cold. Besides, I don’t want you getting hit if someone drives up too fast. With this fog, I couldn’t see your SUV until I was right on top of you.”
Kevin on top of me. Now that conjures up all sorts of erotic images. My face heats. I clear my throat. 

“Thanks for the offer, but there’s a tow service on the way.”
I should tell him about the dogs. 
“No problem.” Kevin crinkles his chin and looks deep into my eyes. “You sure everything’s alright?”

I decide to come clean. “Well, there are these d…”           

Kevin’s cell rings. He pulls the phone from its holder on his belt and answers. Kevin holds his hand over the mouthpiece. “I’m sorry, I’ve got to go. You’re positive you’re alright?”

I look up into Kevin’s familiar gold-brown eyes. “I’m okay.” At this precise moment, with him standing guard, I really mean it.
He turns to leave. Stops. Hesitates. Spins back around. He leans down into my open doorway and kisses me full on the mouth. His lips are warm and firm against mine.
“Oh,” I say when he draws away. “What was that for?” My lips tingle where his lips touched mine. 
“For luck.” Kevin vanishes behind me into the mist. His headlights spear into the fog then disappear as he turns his patrol car around and speeds away.
Kevin knows I don’t believe in luck. But the kiss was nice. The lip tingling spreads, sending pleasant ripples through my body.
Very nice.

Wow!  I have to agree with that - very nice indeed.  What a great excerpt filled with drama, tension, humour and romance.  This goes straight onto my TBR list!

More about the Author:

Danita Cahill is a full-time, multi-published, award-winning freelance writer and photojournalist. At age 14 she sold her flute and bought a word processer to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Danita lives in the Pacific NW on a small Oregon farm with her husband, two sons and their animals - a horse, several cats and guinea pigs, a herd of alpacas, and two dogs (thankfully neither dog has red eyes). Besides running children to and fro and caring for her gardens, critters and family, Danita stays busy working on magazine assignments and her next book.

Danita is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild, and the Willamette Writers Guild. She grew up on the Oregon coast        

You can read more about Danita at her Amazon Author Page
Mist is available as a print or e-book from

Thanks so much for having me here today, Lynette!


Mary L. Ball said...

The novel sound very intriguing. What a great story line from Danita Cahill. I look forward to hearing more about her novels.

miracahills said...

Thanks Mary! So glad you popped in to say hi. said...

Thanks Mary! So glad you popped by.


Paty Jager said...

Great interview! I don't normally pick up or read books that look scary, but I read this one and it's a great read. Wonderful characters. Humor, compassion, and ingenious way to wrap one's mind around grief.

ManicScribbler said...

Hello Mary,
I have to agree with you that this certainly sounds like a good read.
And Paty has just confirmed it. Thank you both for stopping by to say hello.

ManicScribbler said...

Message from Danita, who, due to some technical difficulty, is currently unable to access the comments section on the blog:

Thank you, Mary. Sure appreciate you popping in and commenting.
Paty, what kind words. So glad you liked Mist!
Danita said...

Thanks Mary!

So glad you enjoyed Mist, Paty!

Appreciate you both popping in.


Maureen McGowan said...

Great interview! Such and exciting excerpt too!

mistysimon said...

Love it! I've read this book and highly recommend. It has you on the edge of your seat and hoping. Two excellent things!

ManicScribbler said...

Danita says:

Thanks Maureen!

Misty, so glad you enjoyed reading the book.

How fun to have all these amazing writers commenting! Paty writes contemporary and western romances. Maureen writes middle grade fantasy. Misty writes humorous romances and mysteries. I've got two of Lynette's romances on my Kindle to read. Mary are you a writer, too? If so, what do you write?

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

I'm a day late, but wanted to say hi to the multi-talented Danita! I'm slowly edging past the scary red eyes to read this novel. The excerpt is great!

ManicScribbler said...

Hi Genene - thanks for stopping by. I'm rushing through the stuff on my Kindle to get to it too. I can't wait!

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Sarah Raplee said...

Awesome excerpt, Danita!

Great interview questions, Lynnette!

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