Monday, April 25, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway from Author Mara Purnhagen!

Greetings! I am delighted that Mara Purnhagen, author of One Hundred Candles, has offered to stop by with a guest post and giveaway. Without further ado...
I think other authors would agree that the question we are asked most frequently is, “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. I would love to be able to answer with, “the whole thing came to me in a dream, from start to finish, and I wrote it all down the next day.” If it was that easy, I’d spend half my day curled up in bed instead of hunched over the keyboard at my desk. I usually begin writing a book with the spark of an idea, a few clear images swimming in my head and a dose of faith in the creative process. 

For my third YA novel, One Hundred Candles (the second book in the Past Midnight series), I thought about the games I played during high school sleepovers, particularly at my friend Nicole’s house. We often took part in slumber party staples like “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” and “Bloody Mary.”

“One Hundred Candles” is a real (although obscure) game. It requires a group of people to sit in a circle and reveal their personal ghost stories. After each story, a candle is lit. When all one hundred stories have been told and all one hundred candles are glowing, one hundred spirits will join the group. That’s when the game really begins. Participants claim that weird things begin to happen, from doors opening to clocks chiming. It will continue (supposedly) until the circle is broken. I discovered the game by accident when I was browsing the internet for the rules to a completely different game. When I read the description of “One Hundred Candles,” I was hooked.

Although this wasn’t a game I ever played at one of my slumber parties, I thought it was a great concept for a book. Charlotte Silver, the main character, is drawn into the game at a New Year’s Eve party. The results are not what she expects. While writing the book, I kept asking myself “what if?” What if you played a game and it unleashed something strange?  What if your school suddenly became haunted? Asking “what if” is often a great way to develop new ideas for your work.

Sometimes I stumble into the idea for a book. Sometimes I pull a thread from one of my memories and reshape it into something else. And sometimes I do wake up from a dream with a single image and go from there. But they never seem to come from just one place. So where do I get my ideas?

Thank you so much for stopping by, Mara! If you'd like to learn more about Mara or the Past Midnight series, you can visit Mara's website. One Hundred Candles was released by Harlequin on February 15th. Here's the summary from Goodreads:

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….
But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.
Sound like something you might be interested in? Mara has graciously offered up a copy of One Hundred Candles to one lucky winner! Simply leave a comment with your email address. You don't have to be a follower (although it's always appreciated!), and this contest is international, although you have to be over the age of 13. Contest runs from April 25 until May 9.

Enjoy your reading!


  1. This looks wonderful! Thank you for the review, interview and giveaway. :)

  2. Mara! Long time fan over here *waves*. I half consider myself NJ President of the Charlotte Silver fan club. You know, I suggested to your publisher that they should print Silver Family investigations t shirts-and they should glow in the dark.
    Christi, thanks for the great interview and the chance to win! I love this series, and my teens do too!
    javaintheam at hotmail dot com

  3. This was a great interview! I love that this book is based of an actual game. That makes it even more interesting! I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the great interview and giveaway :)


  4. Thanks, Kristie! I had an idea for black shirts with "Doubt" written in silver on the front.


  5. GFC follower

  6. Sounds good. Thanks for the giveaway!

    erinberry12 at charter dot net

  7. I've been really wanting to read this novel. Thanks again!
    GFC follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. omg!!! thanks for the giveaway!! I want this book sooo bad!!!!


  9. i read past midnight and i loved it!! I cannot wait for 100 Candles Thanks for the great giveaway

    kristen_babygurl AT hotmail DOT com

  10. Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC follower: mk261274

    mk261274 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Wonderful Writer thanks for hours of entertainment .
    tberra (at) yahoo dot com

  12. I'm so excited for this book! Past Midnight was great and I'm really looking forward to reading One Hundred Candles!

  13. These books are now on my list! I loved playing those games as a kid, although I've never heard of 100 candles either.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Thanks for this giveaway.


  15. The summary sounds intriguing! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Thank you for the giveaway and the author post. I love to hear from the authors. Jessy

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  17. Thanks for the give away opportunity. I really enjoy your blog.

  18. This one looks great. I remember "Light as a feather, stiff as a board".

    Thanks for the chance to win!


  19. Never heard of this games, but sounds like an interesting concept for a book.


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  20. Thanks for the giveaway
    jenhedger at hotmail dot com

  21. I loved Past Midnight! I would love a chance to read One Hundred Candles!

  22. Thank you so much for this giveaway. looks like an awesome read


  23. Thanks so much, this book looks awesome!

    the (dot) zealous (dot) reader (at) gmail (dot) com

  24. Wow! This book sounds amazing. I do love a good ghost story, so I've added to my wishlist too.

  25. I've been wanting to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!



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