#17DABash The Breathless by Tara Goedjen

The Breathless
by Tara Goedjen
Publication date: October 10th 2017
Category: YA
Genre: Gothic, Mystery

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No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.

And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.

And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.

~Interview with Tara Goedjen~

MBA: Hey Tara! Thanks so much for being on the blog today. I’m so happy to have you here. Please tell us a little about The Breathless and how you came up with this gothic mystery.

Tara: The Breathless starts off with sixteen-year-old Mae Cole, who goes through a tragedy (her older sister dies), and then begins to witness strange occurrences in her house—things that she can’t explain. When Mae’s search for answers takes a terrifying turn, she’s forced to uncover the truth before history repeats itself. The Breathless is in the vein of Adriana Mather’s How to Hang a Witch and Michelle Hodkin’s Mara Dyer series, and it’s inspired by my long-running fascination with old graveyards, abandoned houses, and ghost stories.

MBA: How long did it take you to write the book?

Tara: The Breathless was written during the hours I could snatch outside of my day job, and the book itself evolved several times. So even though each draft didn’t take that long to write, the novel as a whole took about five years to finish, mostly because of all the different forms it went through. At one point I threw away at least 60,000 words—words that I liked, but that weren’t exactly true to the story I wanted to tell. Despite all of the work that goes into the revision process, I believe that no words are ever wasted. Every time you sit down to write, you’re immersing yourself in the world and in your characters, and they become more fully imagined—more real.

MBA: What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

Tara: When I was young, my family moved around a lot—to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, New York, Texas, Alabama, and Florida, all before I graduated high school. It was a lot of moving, so books became my friends. I’d take them to school with me so that I could read instead of worrying about where to sit in the cafeteria or on the bus. At that time I knew, more than anything else, that I wanted to write my own novels one day, probably because I loved reading so much. So, in a way, I wrote this first book for my teenaged self. The Breathless has its dark moments, but it’s also about strength and hope. It’s about learning how to live in the present instead of the past, and about being strong enough to handle what you discover about yourself and your loved ones in life.

MBA: Do you relate to any of the characters?

Tara: I think that every writer puts a little bit of their heart into each of their characters, even the villains. And hopefully—no matter how small the story—the feelings within it are universal, so that every reader can find something or someone to relate to. In The Breathless, Cage Shaw is obsessive and relentless, in the same way that I sometimes get intently focused on a single task and can’t stop until it’s done (maybe every writer is a little obsessive in that way!). And I have a soft spot for Mae Cole as well, because she’s a non-confrontationist—just like I am—except Mae’s put in a position where she has to face her fears and stand up for what she believes is right, no matter the cost.

MBA: Please tell us something interesting/quirky about yourself that most people don’t know.

Tara: When I was younger, I remember being terrified over the concept of eternity. For an entire year, my mind was hijacked by my fear—the words “forever and ever and ever and ever” kept repeating in my head. It may have been irrational, but it still scared me and kept me awake at night. And then, at some point, I suddenly stopped worrying. I don’t know what helped me to finally get over it, but I do know that all of the questions I had back then about death, and what comes after, still influence my writing today. Anyone who reads The Breathless will see how those ideas play a role in the book.

MBA: What can we expect from your writing in the future?

Tara: I’ve always been fascinated with mysteries or anything unexplained. When school was out during the summer, I used to watch reruns of Unsolved Mysteries (my current guilty pleasure is Ancient Aliens). So my writing tends to reflect my interests, which means it usually has elements of mystery, strangeness, and the otherworldly. At the moment I’m working on a thriller set in the California desert near an Air Force Base and Death Valley. The story is influenced by some of the sci-fi movies I loved as a teenager, and I’d describe it as a blend between Donnie Darko and Arrival.

Thanks again for joining us today. I look forward to reading The Breathless! Gothic mysteries are my jam 🙂

~About the Author~

Tara Goedjen grew up in the South, reading and adoring novels by Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, and Toni Morrison (among others!). She has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama, a PhD from the University of Wollongong in Australia, and she currently lives on the island of Guam. These days, when Tara’s not writing or playing with her daughter, she’s usually hiking, walking on the beach, or curled up with a book (which is her favorite thing to do, especially if there’s coffee involved).

Tara’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Jesus-following wife, homeschool mom, author, book review blogger, yarn obsessed crafter, baker of all the sweets, self-appointed zombie slayer.