Author Interview: Anthea Carson on "The Dark Lake"

Ana: Today we have Anthea Carson introducing their book, The Dark Lake. I haven't read this book myself, but Anthea was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Anthea, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Anthea: This book is about Jane, a woman in her forties who is stuck in the past. She wanders the lake, where voices call to her from the bottom. She can't seem to get on with her life. She has these terrible nightmares, she can't sleep. She can't keep a job. Her therapist tries to help her. She says Jane needs to remember a past incident, and come to terms with it in order to forget it. Her AA group tries to help her. They tell her she needs to work through her issues. She has little more than contempt for them. Her mother tries to help her, but seems as overwhelmed as Jane is. And Jane isn't very nice to her mother. Then, to avoid jail time, Jane has to go to anger management. But then they start dragging her car up from the bottom of the lake. Why now, she wonders, after all this time, why are they dragging her car up from the bottom of the lake?

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Anthea: The themes of this book are denial, refusing to let go of the past, guilt, repressed memories and addiction. Denial is a condition where we refuse to look at the truth, even though we know what the truth is. We push that truth out of our consciousness and lie to ourselves, and then believe our own lies. It is a very common condition. Letting go of the past is not something we really do, it's more that we accept that the past is gone. Denial can keep us in the past. These things operate together to keep us stuck. These defense mechanisms are there to protect us, but they don't really serve us. Repressing a memory is a form of denial so strong we can't even remember the truth. Sometimes we do this to avoid guilt or shame, guilt or shame we don't even know we have because we've constructed our walls of protection from the truth so well. Addiction is the result of a decision to live in lies.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Anthea: As I wrote this story I realized I had been writing this story in my subconscious for forty years. I am a recovering alcoholic, and if I were to relapse I believe this woman would be me. I am of course also influenced by some key sources. The movie The Sixth Sense, several episodes of The Twilight Zone, Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper, Swan's Way by Marcel Proust, James Joyce, both Tom Wolfes and perhaps William Faulkner have influenced my writing.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Anthea: If you like Faulkner, The Sound and The Fury, The Twilight Zone, The Sixth Sense, you might like my story. If you like to think, don't mind trying to solve a puzzle, don't mind rereading or struggling a bit to figure something out, or if you don't mind hazy endings. If you are okay with the ending of The Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper and don't feel you need to throw that book across the room when you are finished, you might like The Dark Lake.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Anthea: No, I have two other published books. One is called "How to Play Chess Like an Animal," (I'm a chess coach) and I had a co-author for that one (five time Colorado Chess Champion Brian Wall) and a young adult fiction called Ainsworth. The Dark Lake is the first part of a trilogy. The two books following it have already been written.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Anthea: My book is located on Amazon Kindle. People are welcome to contact me by email, although I get lots of spam so it might end up in my spam folder so perhaps Facebook or Twitter. I hadn't thought of setting up a way for them to be notified of my next book; I will set that up soon. Probably at my website.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Anthea: Here is the link to my online sample. Thank you for reading and supporting indie authors.

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