Get to know Darby Harn, the author of A Country of Eternal Light, as well as some extra insight into his new book! He answers a lot of questions in this interview, but you can leave more in the comments section. Be sure to download your copy after reading the excerpt and then follow the tour for more. Best of luck in the giveaway!
“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.
Read an 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. If that. 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.”
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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
A Country of Eternal Light is the story of Mairead, a young woman on a remote Irish island struggling with the purpose in living as a rogue black hole tears apart the solar system.
What was the inspiration behind this book?
There were a lot of inspirations. One was my morbid fascination with this idea of a black hole gobbling up the solar system. Another was trying to reconcile the death of my father in some way. Somewhere in between there was this connection in my head with the black hole and the consumption of grief. The last was wanting to write about Ireland, this place I know and love.
What kind of research did you have to do for it?
Tons. I did a massive amount of research into black holes and as much as I could on the parameters of what an event like this would look like. What’s the timeline? What would be the major tentpoles along the way? You don’t use any of it – there’s just a brief acknowledgement here and there of this or that happening – but it’s necessary.
I did a lot of research into being a nurse, specifically working in a nursing home, as Mairead does. And then living in Ireland, listening to people talking, how they talk, the rhythms and the rhymes and trying to capture that in a way that felt realistic.
Which character was your favorite to write?
Aoife, by far. She’s the comic relief. It’s a dark story, it’s a sober story, and Aoife is that bit of sunshine on the edge of the cloud. Aoife is Mairead’s best friend and fellow nurse at the home and her general operating principle is to enjoy these last few months of her life.
What was one of your favorite scenes?
Mairead and Aoife decide to build a pillow fort while under the influence. It’s both funny, to me at least, and heartbreaking because it’s this brief escape from the shadow of their reality.
Who would be your dream narrator for the audio book version?
Jessie Buckley, an outstanding Irish actress. I’d love her to play Mairead in a movie, too.
What do you hope people will get out of your book?
We all suffer through grief. Not all of us know how to talk about it. At best, I hope my book inspires a dialogue about grief for someone. If nothing else, I hope people find a good story.
On what are you currently working?
I am just putting the finishing touches on book three of my Eververse series, which is a literary take on the idea of superheroes. Publisher’s Weekly said of the first book, Ever The Hero, “Harn’s entertaining debut uses super powers as a metaphor to delve into class politics in an alternate America.” Nothing Ever Ends will be out in September or October.
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.
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/darbyharn
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Darby-Harn-255976537767428
Darby Harn will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.