- New Concepts Publishing
- Release Date
- February 2016
Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Romance
Welcome to Blessings, N.J. .... a seaside town with dark and dangerous secrets.
Neema wants to prove her sister was murdered, that she didn't commit suicide, but the murderer is still out there, still dangerous, and Neema could be the next victim if she asks too many questions.
She has a secret, one she dare not divulge, even to Emmett, the young lifeguard she falls in love with.
But Emmett has a secret of his own.
BOOK INTERVIEW on August 2016
Interview by Laura
Hi Penelope, welcome to The Romance Reviews, and we're excited to talk about OUTSIDE BLESSINGS.
Q: Where did you get your inspiration for OUTSIDE BLESSINGS?
My oldest daughter has a Masters in Marine Science. One of her courses involved studying harbor seals in NJ. The harbor seals visit the coast every year during the wintertime. My daughter and I often take our cameras and binoculars to see them. During our forays, the two of us began to spin a tale about the seals and that's how OUTSIDE BLESSINGS began.
Q: OUTSIDE BLESSINGS is set in 1896 with a half-Selkie heroine. What is your fascination with the historical paranormal genre?
Before the modern era, people were far more superstitious and far more open to believe in strange tales, which makes the paranormal in a historical setting particularly credible. Still, I do believe there are things we cannot know and truths that are hidden from us. I know ESP is real for I've experienced it a few times.
Q: Please tell us more about heroine Neema. From the blurb, she sounds delightful and determined.
Neema is extremely upset with the injustice and callous behavior of the town officials of Blessings when her sister is found dead. She is determined to find out what happened to her sister and clear her name.
Q: How is her relationship with her sister?
Neema relied upon her sister. Her sister was bold and brave, the one who fought back and knew exactly what she wanted out of life. Neema is heartbroken when her sister is found dead of an apparent suicide. Neema knew her sister well and cannot believe she would kill herself. Due to the rules of the time her sister cannot be buried in hallowed ground and that makes Neema all the more determined to prove her sister was murdered.
Q: How about Emmett, the young surfman that she falls in love with? Please tell us more about him.
Young Emmett has had a sad life, but he still has dreams. Raised by his cruel uncle on a farm, Emmett is at last free after his uncle's death and joins the Lifesaving Service, where Emmett memorizes all the rules, believing that is the only way to succeed.
Q: How is their first meeting like?
Here's an excerpt. Enjoy!
"What are you doing there? Can't you see the sign? Don't climb on the rocks." A deep voice shouted at her. "Seals bite! Get away so I can get rid of that creature!"
Neema's heart quailed when she saw the man holding a pistol not twenty feet from her. Beside him stood a giant, hairy dog, the lifesaving station's St. Bernard. Panic gripped her. "Don't shoot!"
"Move away from the seal." The man aimed the gun at Seamus. "Those beasts can crush shells with their teeth."
"Put that gun away!" she shouted.
Seamus wriggled away and slid into the water.
The man and the dog clambered up onto the rock wall.
"Are you crazy?" he shouted at her.
"What if you missed him and shot me?" Neema fired back.
"You should have listened to me." The insignia on his uniform marked him as one of the surfmen of the lifesaving station.
"That seal didn't hurt me." She gave him her fiercest glare and managed to get to her feet though her knees still quaked. The surfman's rugged face would have been pleasing but for the livid scar across his cheek which went all the way to his chin. She stared at it and wondered if it went further down along his neck, but she could not tell for a thick scarf lay wrapped around his throat.
"Seals attack without warning."
"Only when they feel threatened," she retorted. Her hands clenched into tight fists.
"What if he dragged you into the water? You weigh less than half as much as that creature. You'd make a good breakfast." The young man stood a head taller than her. She looked up into eyes the same color as the aqua sea—unusual and fascinating. A tingle crept up her spine.
He's human, she reminded herself. Humans were unreliable at best and often dangerous. They had no regard for animals of any kind. She ground her teeth together. Yes, she was half human but she couldn't help that. Look what happened to Lila. She trusted humans too much.
"Seals are interested in fish, clams, octopus, and other ocean fare," she stated. She was well aware Seamus had another agenda in mind, which had nothing to do with food. She hoped he returned to the seal's bachelor island and stayed there. She slid the small, silver heart into the deepest recesses of her pocket.
"Those creatures appear harmless with their big eyes, but they are sly, wicked, and never to be trusted." The deep rumble of his voice seemed to vibrate right through her.
"I know that seal." That much was true, though Seamus wasn't a friend. In fact, she had no friends in the pod. Although, she did have her two caring aunts.
"Seals are wild animals." The young man growled as fiercely as Seamus and she bristled with indignation. "For your own safely, stay away from them and do not climb on these rocks. The sign is there for a reason. If you ignore the warning, you will be fined."
"It says nothing about a fine on the sign."
"Article 587 clearly states..."
She rolled her eyes. He was the most annoying kind of human, all wrapped up in rules and regulations. Arguing with him would be pointless.
Q: What makes them perfect for each other?
Both Neema and Emmett are lost souls, bearing emotional scars, and both don't feel they belong anywhere.
Q: What for you is a romantic moment between them?
Enjoy this excerpt!
Then he did something she didn't expect. He put his hands on her shoulders, and again warmth flowed through her from his touch in a manner which unsettled her—and yet at the same time she found herself comforted by the phenomenon.
"Your sister was very talented. Did you see the sketch she made of Homer?"
Neema shook her head. "The captain told me about it."
"Next time you come over, I'll show it to you," he promised.
"T-that would be very kind of you."
"I suppose you should go now." His hands remained on her shoulders.
"Yes." Her feet stayed rooted to the spot as she gazed up into his wonderful eyes, which reminded her of the cool depths of the ocean and the freedom of swimming in the aqua sea.
"Please stay off the rocks." He whispered as his hands slid down her arms and slipped around her waist.
She nodded as her fingers moved up to his broad shoulders. Pressed up against his chest, her own heart raced with excitement as his echoed with a dangerous beat. Heat raced through her veins as his lips covered hers. She closed her eyes as a whirl of new sensations left her weak with a strange longing.
Q: Which character is the hardest to write? Why?
For me, it was more difficult to write Emmett's story. His sad young life, full of hard work and little love, made him believe that everything would turn out alright if he just followed the rules to the letter. He sees things as right or wrong, without any gray areas in between. I've known people like Emmett--sad, negative, and afraid to deviate from the set parameters they've made for themselves.
Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.
I researched the origins of the Selkie legend as well as the scientific information on harbor seals. I also delved into the history of the Lifesaving Service, which is rather fascinating. There are two Lifesaving Service buildings, still intact, nearby. Before Hurricane Sandy, the lifesaving station on Sandy Hook used to regularly demonstrate the apparatus used to save the victims of shipwrecks in the past. The Lifesaving Service eventually became the US Coast Guard.
Q: What's up next for you?
I have two books being released by Prism Book Group in December, Hoping for Joy, which is part of a series, and The Cowboy's Miracle--for those who would love to get a cowboy for Christmas. :-)
Sounds exciting! Thank you, Penelope, for taking out time from your busy schedule for this interview! Looking forward to reading more of your books.
Bio of author Penelope Marzec:
Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore, heard stories about Captain Kidd, and dug for his buried treasure. Her adventure resulted in a bad case of poison ivy. Deciding books were better than buried treasure, she discovered romance novels and was soon hooked on happy endings. She became an early childhood educator and found her own hero in an electrical engineer who grew up in Brooklyn, played the accordion, and was immune to poison ivy. Together they raised three daughters. Now retired, Penelope either writes her stories or paints seascapes in oils. Sometimes she sings while her husband plays the accordion.
TRR is sponsoring a prize! Comment on the following interviews and get a chance to win $10 Amazon Gift Certificate:
Out of Orbit by Thea Landen
Outside Blessings by Penelope Marzec
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Contest ends August 31, 2016.
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