1) I've always been fascinated by supernatural fables such as the Fountain of Youth. What drew you to write about it in your latest novel?
It came from a dream I had. I dreamed that a woman was the fountain of youth and everyone around her got younger. I love the dream and continued to think about the story for a long time. It remained in my "someday I'll write that" file in my brain for several years until I finally had the time to write it. The actual book I wrote was a bit different, but it still centered around a woman with the power of the Fountain of Youth.
2) Would you want to have eternal life? Why or why not?
I totally would, but only if everyone I loved could also live forever. Other than that, it's no deal!
3) If there was one of earth's supernatural "mysteries" you could solve (by finding it or permanently debunking it), which would it be and why? (I'm thinking supernatural like Bermuda triangle, Loch Ness, Atlantis, Lost City of Gold, Fountain of Youth, etc.)
I would like to know for certain if mermaid-like creatures really exist. Seriously, inquiring minds want to know! And if they do, I want to visit them!!
4) I love the title of your series, "Unnatural States of America" - do you have a planned number of books to come or are you determining that as you go? Can you share what the next book in the series will be about?
I will be publishing at least 3 books in this series, but there very well may be more. Each book is a stand-alone written in the same world with some characters making appearances in each other's books.
The next book in the series is called Beauty and the Horseman's Head. It's like Beauty and the Beast meets...you guessed it...The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It's in the world of eighteenth-century Sleepy Hollow, but the plot line follows the Beauty and the Beast story--except beauty is a school teacher/former Revolutionary war nurse, and the beast is a bewitched, severed head of the Headless Horseman. The banter between the two has been soooo fun to write. I really cannot wait to release this book!
We're so thrilled to announce that Cursed by the Fountain of Youth is now available!!! This has been a year in the making. With a blend of true history and legends, you'll be shocked and thrilled to see the history behind places we call home.
What if the Fountain of Youth were a woman and that woman’s blood held the key to eternal youth? For Fae Miller, that is her reality and it will likely kill her.
For centuries, countless adventurers have searched for the Fountain of Youth. Those who found it thought they would gain eternal life. Instead, they find themselves murdered by its guardians. There was, however, one, lone survivor—Fae Miller. As an infant, she not only survived the Fountain, she took its power.
Twenty-two years later, Fae is hiding in plain sight at a local college. She’s is determined to leave the past behind her and live a normal life. But for one dying man, the search for the Fountain of Youth continues, and he is leaving a trail of blood and mutilated bodies in his wake. Unfortunately, that trail leads directly to Fae. Her only hope is a young, new college professor, also known as Special Agent Nick Chase of the FBI. Nick is determined to do two things: keep Fae alive, and keep his relationship with his student professional. Both of these jobs prove difficult—especially when love and magic get involved.
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Bathed in moonlight stood the most beautiful scene Fae had ever laid eyes on. A fountain sat on top of a hill. Stone steps at her feet led up to the structure. Water flowed over the side of it, as if someone had been filling it and left the water running too long. The water continued its flow down the steps and seeped into the mossy ground at her feet.
Sloshing through the water, Fae made her way up the steps. Even though the air around her felt cold, the water warmed her feet. When she got to the top, she gasped at the breadth of the fountain. It was the size of a swimming pool, brimming with water that spilled over the side.
The singing stopped, and then a voice spoke, filling her with inexplicable joy. Fontaine. You’ve returned to me.
She’d heard this voice before, but couldn’t quite place where.
Come join me in the water.
“I’ll drown,” she said.
There was a warm chuckle. You won’t drown, my child. You are born of my waters.
“Who are you?” Fae asked, uncertain whether she should be terrified or not.
I am the Lady of the Fountain.
“Is that kind of like the Lady of the Lake? The one in King Arthur’s legend?”
You speak of Freya, my sister. My name is Ester.
Fae looked around at the forest of the Between and wondered if this was the place she was born, and not the bayou in Florida. Could her mother be buried around here?
This is not my original home, Ester said, as if she could read Fae’s thoughts. I have been moved twice in my lifetime. My first home is in a place you call Ethiopia. I lived happily there for many centuries. But then I was stolen from my home and brought to the Americas. For many years, I was kept safe by my guardians, but then one betrayed me and wished to exploit my powers. I did not allow him to use me to further his evil designs. But then I was left alone—until a man named Conall found me and brought me here.
“Why didn’t he return you to your home in Africa?”
He told me my home has been corrupted. I would not be safe there.
“I’m really sorry.”
Don’t worry over me, child. This place is wholly adequate.
“That’s good to hear.” Fae paused, the question she’d been dying to ask on the tip of her tongue. Finally, she asked, “Do you remember my mother and father? Do you know where I can find them?”
I’m sorry. Where they are, you cannot go. I am truly sorry.
"So they truly are dead?"
Fae’s heart sank. She hoped that Brigitte had been lying and her parents were alive somewhere. Fae could feel the remorse emanating from the fountain and felt the need to comfort Ester.
“But, you saved me.”
Yes, I did.”
“Thank you,” Fae said.
You are welcome, my child.
Fae reached out her hand and touched the water. Her spirits immediately lightened. The water took on a green glow as a breathtaking face appeared just below the surface, haloed in long, black hair. The Lady smiled at her but remained beneath the water.
“So, you can grant youthfulness?” Fae asked.
Or take it, from anyone that touches my waters.
“What happens when they drink?”
They are not meant to drink. That is a theft. Youth stolen without permission. For most, the punishment is immediate—madness.
An errant leaf drifted and landed on the surface of the water. Fae expected it would float, but it didn’t. It dropped like a stone. This water wasn’t like any other she’d seen. Fae wondered what those waters had done to her.
The waters did nothing to you. I gave you my power. I saw what was planned from the beginning. I could not stop him from destroying my guardians, but I could keep him from succeeding in his quest for eternal life. So, I gave you my power—leaving me weak and powerless. That act accomplished two things—it kept the power from falling into evil hands, and it saved your life.
“Are you still powerless?”
No, my dear. I am now fully restored.
“That’s good to know, but I’m sorry to tell you that he found me. He came after me. He got his youth back.”
That is unfortunate. I only meant to protect. Instead, I cursed you.
“I wouldn’t call eternal youth a curse.”It can be. There is no fear as universal as the fear of death. Men will kill to stop it. They will do the most heinous and terrible things to avoid it. And giving you the power to grant eternal life will make you forever a target. Now, will you please join me in my waters?
Visit Holly at AuthorHollyKelly.com
The History behind the Mystery:
St. Augustine, Florida is rich in history, murder, intrigue, and ghost stories—making it the perfect setting for this book. You might be interested to know that some of the most outrageous tales in this novel are actually based on true history—including the tale of Captain Abela and Dolores. The tragic end to their love story occurred over two hundred years ago in a secret room located in St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos—a castle-like fort built by the Spanish over three hundred years ago. Tourists are able to sign up for the St. Augustine Ghost Tour to learn more about the ill-fated lovers. The image at the right is the actual room in which they died. You'll learn more about their story by reading Cursed by the Fountain of Youth.
Another interesting note: The legend of the Fountain of Youth has long been tied with St. Augustine and there is talk of a society that exists to protect the Fountain of Youth from discovery. No one knows if the society truly exists. If it does, it is cloaked in secrecy.
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