Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Darby Harn and his speculative fiction novel, A Country Of Eternal Light.
“One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read” – Sunyi Dean, author of The Book Eaters
A rogue black hole tears apart the solar system. Mairead’s life is already in pieces.
The Earth has less than a year to survive.
Asteroids rain hell; earthquakes rattle cities; manic tides swamp coasts. Mairead intends to give herself to the erratic waves that erode her remote Irish island, the same that claimed her child. When Gavin, an American, arrives to scatter his father’s ashes, she becomes torn between wanting for life and death.
Despite the tides, fuel shortages, and closing borders that threaten to trap him on the island, Gavin can’t seem to scatter the ashes. He doesn’t know how to let go any more than Mairead does and they find a strange comfort in their confusion.
Their affair draws Mairead back to the world of the living, but the longer Gavin stays, the more it seems there might be a future for them. There is no future.
Life closes down around them. The world they know shreds. Life drains into an inescapable abyss. And yet Mairead fights, both the gravity of her grief and the restless, dissonant desire to find some kind of peace no matter how brief.
In my books I’ve always have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. So I love to ask authors if there was such a character in their novel.
Darby Harn appears to be as plagued by them as I am, and just as grateful. I loved the details in his answer!
There certainly was.
Aoife (pronounced ‘ee-fah’) came out of nowhere in A Country Of Eternal Light. She is Mairead’s best friend and a fellow nurse, conscripted at least, at the nursing home on their remote Irish island of Inishèan.
She showed up in a brief scene at the home and then kept pushing her way into the rest of the novel. In many ways she’s the comic relief. It’s a dark book. It’s a sober book that deals with very difficult emotions. I think the book wanted for someone like Aoife. Her approach to the end of the world is to simply live her life to the fullest.
She’s more than just the comic relief, though. Aoife became an integral part of the story. She has an arc, which in many ways is as tragic as anyone else’s. Aoife may be the life of the party in many respects, but she also has her share of demons. My absolute favorite scene in the book involves Aoife and Mairead getting through a bad night with some recreational aids and Aoife’s spirit really comes out there. Her inhibitions fall away, or what few she has.
I love the character who is completely unexpected. I have a similar character in my Eververse series of superhero novels, beginning with Ever The Hero. I needed someone to open the door and check in on the heroine, Kit. That turned out to be Abi, and Abi wouldn’t leave the stage. Much like Aoife she became integral and in Abi’s case, she became a pillar of this series as it’s evolved.
I’m a pantser, so most of what I write is intuitive. That has its downsides sometimes, but one of the benefits of discovering your story as you go are characters like Aoife and Abi. I simply can’t imagine the books without them.
Darby Harn’s Story
Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.
Find the Author
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/darbyharn
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Darby-Harn-255976537767428
Buy the Book
Yes, there is a giveaway
The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
Ma shuffles into the kitchen, coat on like she’s going somewhere. She sees the radio and remembers.
“Not today,” I say, but she switches it on anyway.
Six past and now time for today’s obituaries. Katie Burke, Kilmurvey, Co. Galway, 14th October, suddenly, sadly missed. Iranian quake toll rises. Russian oil fields under water. The Pope condemns American abortion initiative for all remaining pregnancies. Scientists hold vigil over Saturn, her rings scattered like a snowdrift across a country road. All her moons buckshot. Jupiter suffers the most, swollen and bruised like an aging prizefighter, determined to die in the ring.
The government handed out these little LED tickers. Alarm clocks, like, to put on the refrigerator. Counts down the seconds until the rogue black hole intersects the orbit of earth. A year from now. That’s all we have left.
The tides will drown us first. One of the comets will hit us. A planet or a moon will, or comes close enough to yank the earth from its orbit. What difference does it make? What difference is cancer? Parkinson’s. A heart attack. A bullet. A car. A black hole. All our deaths are projectiles, hurtling through blood streams or interstellar space or dark coastal roads at targets with no proper sense of the size of the barrel they’re swimming in.
I switch the radio off. “I don’t want to hear this.”
Darby Harn — we appreciate your sharing your book A Country Of Eternal Light with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.