Gingerly, he felt around in the water for his lamp. Something slippery brushed past his fingers. He was about to pull his hand out when he touched hard, molded plastic. The head-strap floated in the water above it, a buoyant plastic fastener shining in the light of Makani’s lamp. Maybe that was what had touched him a moment ago. He pulled the lamp out of the water and flicked the switch.
“Crap,” he muttered. “Did you see that?” He turned to find Makani but couldn’t see her face past the glare of her lamp.
“See what?” A sharp beam of light caught Flynn square in the eyes. “Oh, sorry.” She took her lamp off and held it facing up at the ceiling.
Makani’s voice was barely above a whisper, her hands shaking. Whether from cold or fear, was anybody’s guess. The light shivered on the stalactites above their heads, and she worried her bottom lip between her teeth. “All I know is this place isn’t right.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “But I thought I saw…” Flynn shook his head. He must have imagined it. The shadows, the cool water, the confined space, the folk tales, they were all creating silly ideas in his head.
“Can you shine the light up there, above us?” He held his breath. He really didn’t want to see, just in case he hadn’t imagined it.
“Okay, yeah.” Makani treaded closer to Flynn and angled the lamp up again. She kept her eyes down at the water and whispered,
“There’s no fish here. Not even goby. No bugs, either.”
While she was looking down, Flynn looked up, squinting into the darkness. The light outlined something hanging from the ceiling. He exhaled, his furrowed brow relaxing. It was just a dark, wet stalactite.
Until it moved.
“Holy crap,” Flynn whispered. “You never said anything about bats in here. Big ones.” Really, really big ones. Bats would explain the lack of insect life but not the lack of fish.
“I never said, because there aren’t any. If there were bats, there would be guano…” Slowly, Makani looked up to where Flynn had his eyes trained.
Whatever it was, it was big. And breathing.
“We gotta get out. Now!” Makani sounded so terrified, the hairs on the back of Flynn’s neck rose.
Have you been writing for a long time?
Erin: Maybe? I recall starting a lot of stories but never finishing them. The first time I finished a story, I was 11. The first time I finished a story well, I was 15.
Mirren: I’ve always written. I’m not sure I’ve always written well, but that’s the point of practicing and growing.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
Erin: Twilight. No, seriously – if not for the success of the series and subsequent trends in writing and readership, I would never have considered dipping my toes in the water. That, and Mirren gave so much of herself to get things going for both of us. Without her support and legwork, nothing would have gotten out of the water.
Mirren: That’s pretty much how our collaboration started, yes. We were discussing the popularity of that and also 50 Shades of Grey and that we’d certainly write things differently. I’d never claim to be trying to be better than anyone, but we wanted to write something our way, but have wide appeal. I think we’ve done that with this series.
Is this book a stand-alone or part of a series?
Erin: Nightmares Rise is book one of a trilogy. And, if the winds blow the right way, there may be a companion book to them. Keep your eyes peeled!
Mirren: What Erin said. Book 2, Shadows Deepen should be out in early 2018.
Why did you choose this genre?
Erin: The genre chose the book. Actually, there were a few factors. First, romance comes naturally, which is ironic. Second, being raised in Hawaii meant I was constantly surrounded by stories about the supernatural. It’s just a part of the collective culture that comes with so many people mingling in a confined space. Those stories live on long past the teller or the culture that birthed them. It seemed only right to bring these spooky beings back to life in the modern world.
Mirren: We also wanted an exotic location which was familiar to one of us. Where in the world is more exotic and appealing than Hawaii? And the genre fit in afterward.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Erin: Just keep writing.
Know that every story has already been told already but not by you, so it’s worth telling.
Your vices will be your constant companion through the process. Try to develop some that are healthy.
Nothing comes from a vacuum.
Be prepared to work hard: finishing a story is tough but editing your own work is harder. And finding someone to publish it is even worse! But if you believe in your story, it deserves to be released into the world.
A strong support system comprised of anyone who will listen and give honest feedback is absolutely necessary. They may not always say what you want to hear but they will assist your growth in vital ways.
Mirren: I agree with all of that, plus read, read, read and read some more. It’s the best way to train your mind to understand the methods used to put together a good story. Also you can see what you think doesn’t work and avoid that in your own work.
Erin is a Scorpio born in the year of the rat. She currently resides on a small rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with one child and a plethora of native fauna to aid in the writing process. One time rock and roll queen, soup seller, grave digger, and world traveler, Erin enjoys a quiet existence working for The Man while not giving him the satisfaction of killing imagination and dreams. She has contributed to a few anthologies. Nightmares Rise will be her first full-length novel with more to come. Eventually. She hopes.
Erin Yoshikawa”s author page- https://www.facebook.com/erin.yoshikawa.author/?ref=ts&fref=ts
Mirren Hogan lives in NSW Australia with her husband, two daughters, dog, cat, rabbits and countless birds. She has a Bachelor of Arts (English/ history), a Graduate Diploma of Arts (writing) and a couple of degrees in education. She writes fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction. Her debut novel —Crimson Fire— was released by The Dragon’s Rocketship Publishing in October 2016, with more to come. These include a trilogy co-authored by Erin Yoshikawa. She’s also had several short stories published and has co-edited two charity anthologies; for breast cancer research and Plan Australia.
Mirren Hogan’s author page- https://www.facebook.com/MirrenHoganAuthor/?ref=bookmarks