Past Midnight - Author Interview + Giveaway!

Two more weeks until I travel to Dayton, Ohio and get to meet Mara Purnhagen in person! She's a fellow Harlequin Teen author whose third book, One Hundred Candles was released last month. It's the second in her Past Midnight Series. 

The first is Past Midnight and I loved this book.  So fun and creepy.  The main character, Charlotte Silver just wants to be a regular teen, but her parents are famous paranormal investigators.  I enjoyed a break from the dysfunctional family dynamic to a more quirky family :)  I have both One Hundred Candles and her first book, Tagged on my TBR pile - my goal is to have them both read before April 1st.

To celebrate the countdown to the Harlequin Teen Trio Tour in Ohio, I invited Mara here for a Take Ten interview.  As an added bonus - if you post a comment by Friday, March 25th, you'll be entered to win a signed and personalized copy of Past Midnight!

And now onto Take Ten with Mara Purnhagen!

1.) What made you want to write the Past Midnight Series?

A: I’ve always liked ghost stories, and I’m interested in the practical explanations behind so many supposed hauntings. I wanted to combine spooky with science.

2.) Which authors inspire you?

A: There are so many! I was completely absorbed in Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” series and I’ll read anything by Laura Lippman. I’m discovering great new authors every week. I recently read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and loved it.

3.) Why YA fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

A: I feel like there’s more freedom for me to make the rules about the world my characters live in, and that’s something I really like.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Charlotte Silver?

A: That she is so connected to her family. Her world revolves around her parents, older sister and cameraman. They work together as a team, and have a unique dynamic. They count on one another. They love and respect one another, but they can also drive one another crazy.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

A: My favorite way to relax is to curl up on the sofa with a good book. I love music, too. Overall, I’m happiest at home, but I do love to travel when I can.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

A: Yes, I had to research the different kinds of equipment used in paranormal investigations. I didn’t know that there was so much out there! The tools are very sophisticated, but interpreting the results they garner is still more of an art than a science.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

A: I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was very young. I started keeping story journals in the seventh grade and wrote my first complete short story in the eighth grade. I originally thought that’s what I would do: write short stories. But I also wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. It seemed like such a risk, though. What if I invested a year of time and energy into a project that went nowhere? What if I failed? I didn’t tell anyone because I was worried that if I did not succeed, people would be asking me, “whatever happened to that novel you were writing?” for the rest of my life. In the end, I’m glad I took the chance to get serious about writing a book.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

A: Half of my writing process involves no writing at all! I need to spend time thinking about my characters and setting and plot. I keep a notebook for jotting down character traits and chapter ideas. Although I don’t outline, I need to know where my first chapter will begin. That’s the most important thing for me: nailing the first chapter. If I start it right, the book takes on a good flow.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

A: I have claimed a corner of the guest room as my office. I always like to have my desk located directly next to a window, and I need to have a Simpsons desk calendar close by. It’s my lucky charm. I also have a laptop. At night, I like to write in the living room.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

A: The Past Midnight series comes to a conclusion in September with the release of Book Three, Beyond the Grave. Right now, I’m working on the second novella in the series, and I’ve begun a new project that I’m excited about—but can’t reveal just yet!

What a tease!

Links to Mara:



  1. Thanks for the great interview Maria and Mara. It's always fascinating to read about other writers' processes and preferences. I am looking forward to discovering Mara's books.

  2. Aww, Beyond the grave is the last past midnight book? That's sad, I really enjoyed the other two and when I get my nook for my birthday I'm definetly going to get the novella. :D

    I'm not sure if you needed a way to contact me on the off chance that I won, so I put my email address in. Hope that's okay Maria!

  3. I would love to be entered to win, the series sounds great!


  4. This series sounds interesting, first ive heard of it so ill have to see where i can buy it from :D

  5. Great interview. Really looking forward to the book.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  6. It's ending already! I just recently started this series and it's already near its end! Wow. At least there's 2 books this year though!

  7. This was a great interview, thanks Maria! I really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to adding Mara's books to my to-read list.

  8. This sounds like a great series!! Looking forward to discovering it and Mara's other books!! :D

  9. Thanks everyone - and thanks for adding emails! I forgot to mention to please put some way I can contact you if you win. I received the book today and will take it to Mara to be signed for the winner in two weeks :)

  10. Great interview! It looks like a really fun series. :)

  11. This sounds really great! I'm always on the lookout for new YA Fantasy to get into - and it always makes me want to write myself!


  12. This book series sounds awesome! I will definately have to check it out :)

  13. Sounds great, something a bit different. Definitely worth getting into!

  14. Awesome! Sounds like quite the book series. I am also interested in the paranormal, so this just might be a series I need to check out. Of course, it would be awesome to win the book...

  15. I've added the first book to my 'wish list'. It sounds like a fun book.

  16. Wow these sound great, I love the covers.

  17. Lol, I forgot to add my email!

  18. I'm a huge fan of ghost stories but there doesn't seem to be a lot out there. I'm excited about this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Time to announce the winner :) I assigned everyone a number and used a random number generator (seems fair).

    And the winner is....Onge!! Congrats Onge - I will email you soon :)

    And Onge - just FYI - Jeri Smith-Ready has a ghost story/series that's very good - first book is Shade and Shift is coming out in May.


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