Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She envisioned herself as an author since 4th grade when she wrote the creative work, The Creature from McGool, and went on in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Now she has matured somewhat and is a member of the Idaho Writer’s Guild and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her family, where shuffling isn’t required. Thank goodness!
Welcome to my blog, Charissa. Where did you get your inspiration for the Bending Willow Trilogy?
My muse for this story started with a creative writing assignment and a door-to-door art salesperson. An Israeli girl named Suvi with a nose ring and a vivacious personality knocked, charmed me into buying one of her oil paintings, and then talked to my daughters and me for an hour. After she left, an idea for my short story began to form. As I wrote my imagined story for Suvi, I hoped to make my daughters aware of hidden secrets people carry so that they would be more merciful in their judgment of others. We never know what awful circumstances and experiences have led someone to act in certain ways. There are religious undertones in this story, but it’s not preachy because I knew my daughters would toss it aside if they thought mom was trying to get one over on them.
What is book one about: Eyes of Light?
This series follows three characters through several harrowing years. In Vol. 1, Suvi Goldstein tries to escape her past, but falls for a man with secrets as deadly as her own. Torn between violent men in one world and a forgiving man in another, she must fight her way out of darkness to find redemption. James Hinton is Suvi’s opposite—a clean-cut, returned missionary who seems like the classic Boy Scout. Austan Sandoval is an ex-NCS operative who Suvi believes died when she was in high school. He’s gone deep undercover, but still secretly watches over and protects her from brutal forces bent on her destruction.
Tell us about book two: Secret Keepers.
This book delves deeper into Suvi’s horrific past and exposes damaging secrets she has locked away for years. Though she has begun healing, she still struggles with self-worth after what she has endured. As the past clashes with the present, she flees to Israel to lead danger away from the man she loves. There she seeks her estranged father’s help. But when she disappears without a trace, Austan and James will do anything to find the woman they both love. From Idaho to Israel, and with madmen, ruthless drug cartels, and Mossad assassins as key forces, the fight for light continues in a battle where lives, love and freedom are at stake.
When you fall in love with your characters, it is hard to leave a series as you write the last book. Please tell us what the third book, Hands of Mercy, is about.
This is hard to do without giving away too much. Let me just say that two of our characters are finally married in this book, but marriage doesn’t automatically mean happily ever after…no matter what fairy tales portray. As our celebrated couple struggle with the mundane in their marriage, malevolent forces beyond their control cause hell to erupt. Suvi, Austan, and James must struggle to survive as separation, death, guilt, and revenge rip them apart and scatter their broken hearts and bodies over the battlefield of life until unseen Hands of Mercy save them. Whew! How’s that?
Very good description, Charissa. Who is one of your favorite characters in this series and what do you love about him or her?
I adore all my characters, but Austan’s probably my favorite to write. He makes me run the gamut of emotions—one minute he has me laughing so hard my side hurts; the next I want to weep for all his troubles; but then I turn the page and want to smack him for being such an arrogant pig. If you’d like to read an interview with him, go HERE.
Haha! That is such a great way of describing your own character. Love it! Here are a few links to visit Charissa and her sites.
· Website – http://www.charissastastny.com