When we last spoke with Andrea Kohalmi, the Central Catholic and St. Joseph’s University graduate was riding high off the success of her newly released debut novel ‘Eternity.’ Three years later, Kohalmi has penned two more books in the ‘Eternity’ series: 2013’s ‘Eternity is not Enough,’ and ‘Endlessly,’ which was released this year.
Now based in San Francisco, Philly2Philly spoke with the busy wife and mother of two about her new book, everyday life, and making her dreams come true.
It’s been almost four years since your debut novel, 'Eternity' was released. Not only did you already release a sequel, but also follow up! You’re one busy author!
I’m just passionate about this series and have a story to tell about Angel, CJ, Rick and the rest. My only challenge is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to speed up the process!
You told us back in 2012 that you had ‘Eternity is not Enough’ in the works. How soon after that did you pen ‘Endlessly’?
The drafts of the first three books, “Eternity,” “Eternity is not Enough,” and “Endlessly,” were actually written between 2008 and 2009. As an author, when inspiration starts to flow, you have to get it all out before the dreaded writer’s block rears its ugly head. So, writing is easy. Editing, not so much. The editing process for the first two books took about three years, as I was still trying to capture the right tone and voice for the story. Once “Eternity is not Enough” was published in 2012, I jumped back into editing “Endlessly” and worked with an astonishingly talented artist to create the cover.
Angel, the titular character, has been through quite a bit since ‘Eternity.’ Without giving too much away, can you give our readers a little bit of an idea of her most recent trials and tribulations?
At the end of “Eternity is not Enough,” Angel gets her “normal” life back. “Endlessly” picks up a year later and finds Angel frustrated, bored, and missing her supernatural adventures and friends from Wales. She doesn’t have to wait long before her past is resurrected into a journey that takes her across the US and unites her new and old friends in an interesting predicament.
Angel comes to find out that she is not alone in her doldrums. The whole group is finding it more than a tad difficult to readjust to normal life as they search for meaning and stumble upon an idea, sparking the possibility that their problems are far from over.
Did you have a clear-cut storyline for these characters prior to putting the stories to paper? Or did additional ideas tend to develop as you went further along?
Great question! When I got the inspiration for the story back in 2008 and the main characters came into focus, I knew how their storylines and plot would unfold. The entire series has been mapped out for a while. Now, it’s just a matter of writing the stories.
How would you describe your current approach to writing compared to when you penned your first novel?
When I first started, the writing was solely a cathartic experience without any intention of the stories seeing the light of day. These days, writing feels like an artist creating a painting. Each page is a stroke of color. Each plot twist is a burst of design that makes the picture take shape.
Are any hobbies, elements or facets of your everyday life incorporated into your work?
Of course! These days I practice Reiki, which is a form of energy healing. The characters’ special skills are based on the concept of energy work and visualizations that promote healing. Also, my lifelong interests in history, travel, mythology, and the supernatural are just an added bonus, since I can incorporate the elements I find fascinating into the stories. Over the next few books, those themes will become front and center.
What does the future hold for the Eternity series?
In terms of plot, Angel’s adventures are about to get a lot more complicated. The lines between good and evil are blurred. She and her friends need to unlock memories of their ancient past lives to understand their current predicament. There’s also a secret hidden in the mythology behind their intertwined connections that will forever change the course of their destinies. And the love triangle is far from over.
The question remains, will Angel and her friends be able to figure out the secret in time to stop the evil entities from redirecting humanity’s future toward an imminent end game? (As an author who’s not afraid of making hard decisions, the characters will face the impossible. Whether they weather their supernatural storms, well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.)
As far as writing goes, the fourth book has entered the editing phase, and I’ve begun writing the fifth. It’s an exciting process!
Is there anything in particular you want to mention or plug, for those who want more information?
Fans (and curious outsiders) can follow along in the writing and publishing process by going to my website (http://eternityisnotenough.com/promotions/). They’ll even get an inside look into the supernatural and spiritual with some of the shared posts.
What’s been the most exciting part about writing a series of books?
As an author, the ability to create a whole new world that engages an audience is a profoundly humbling experience. Hearing fans talk about the characters as if they’re real people or ask when the next book is coming out is amazing. While the series has a long way to go, this feedback certainly gets me psyched to keep writing as fast as I can.
You mention that you created a “whole new world.” How did you do that?
It’s one thing to write a book and share a story. In my day job, I’m a communications consultant. From corporate branding to a product launch, any successful story requires engaging your target audience. For the “Eternity” series, that means giving my readers a sneak peek into Angel’s world as I see it. Pictures and music help tell that story. Each of the books feature a playlist that captures the characters’ conflict and mood as well as the spirit of the plot.
The series now has its own YouTube Channel, Eternity Is Not Enough, where readers can access the playlists and even watch the video trailer for the first book. I’m not a graphic designer or musician, so don’t expect perfection, but this was a good segue to round out the “Eternity” experience.
There’s a video now too?
Yup! iMovie is an awesome little tool! Granted my video editing and producing skills leave a lot to be desired, but it’s another creative outlet. For those readers who are begging for the books to be turned into movies, it gives them a visual snapshot of how I envision the portrayal of the characters and setting (Link to video: https://youtu.be/q_ISF_ogIqE)
Speaking of time, you have a full time job, a family, and you volunteer. How do you find the time to do all of this?
That’s my top FAQ! Honestly, it’s all about making my dreams come true, and it helps to have a supportive hubby! I’ve wanted to write novels since I was a little girl. The process is not so much about finding the time to make it happen as much as it is creating balance between life’s realities and my passions. For my children, it also sets the example that anything is possible, if we put our minds and hearts into it. We each have a purpose to fulfill, and our dreams or passions guide us along the way. The “Eternity” series is one piece in my life’s journey and one that I’m thrilled to be able to share with others.
What else is new in Angel’s world and for her fans?
Through October, readers have the opportunity to write a review for “Endlessly” on Amazon and get entered into a drawing. I’m raiding Morgan’s cupboard (she’s Eternity’s high Wiccan priestess) to gift the grand prize winner with an Eternity tote bag, a Reiki-charged pillar candle, a votive candle, a mini dream pillow, intention charm pouch, a gemstone charm, and—best of all—a sneak peek into the fourth book with an excerpt just for them. Those who are just starting the “Eternity” series and want to write a review for the first and/or second book will have a chance to win one of two first prizes. Details can be found on the Eternity Facebook page.
Contact Joe Vallee at firstname.lastname@example.org
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