Author Jennifer Rainey stops by to chat about her latest book, The Beldam’s Eye, a story filled with powerful ghosts, a whacky paranormal investigation team, and a cursed pocket watch. She also opens up about what makes her such a big nerd, what are some of her favorite things to collect, what superhero would she switch places with and where she would go to conduct her own paranormal investigation if she could go on a mission with her two leads, Ras and Yeats.
Annabell: As well know, here at TeamNerd Reviews, we are very open about our nerd-like tendencies. What are some qualities you possess that would qualify you as a nerd?
Jennifer Rainey: Wow, where do I even begin? I am not only an avid reader of fantasy and supernatural lit, I am obsessed with the television show, Supernatural. Like, I’m one of those creepy fans you want to avoid who has seen all the episodes and quotes them and makes strange jokes about the show. I’m also a serious lit nerd. I get unreasonably excited about classic literature and also about classic cinema.
Annabell: What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Jennifer Rainey: Eccentric, creative, dorky, optimistic, friendly.
Annabell: Do you have an obsession or collect anything nerd-like? (i.e. pens, erasers, stamps, action figures, anime figures, colorful socks)
Jennifer Rainey: I used to have an immense button collection! I had Beatles buttons, Rolling Stones buttons, Tim Burton buttons, Doctor Who buttons, Tarantino buttons, funny buttons, political buttons… I don’t add to it so much anymore because I can’t wear them to work, but I’ll occasionally still pick one or two up. My favorite is an old Grouch Marx button.
Annabell: If you would build your own library what would it look like? What would be your favorite genre that you just couldn’t live without?
Jennifer Rainey: Have you ever seen Beauty and the Beast? That library that the Beast opens up for Belle? That’s what I want! It’s freaking enormous! And I couldn’t live without my fantasy or my classic lit.
Annabell: If you could switch places with any superhero and become them, who would you choose and why? Would you change the type of powers you have in any way? What would your superhero outfit look like?
Jennifer Rainey: Probably Thor. He’s awesome, and he’s got that god thing going on. Not only that, he has those long, flowing locks. I’d want my outfit to look the same as his, too. I don’t need it to be all sexified. I want protection, not a short skirt and high boots!
Annabell: What is your favorite part about writing a book? What is your least favorite part?
Jennifer Rainey: I love dialogue. It’s absolutely my favorite thing in the world to write, and I hate, hate, HATE action scenes.
Annabell: Moving on to your book, Beldam’s Eye, what attracted you to writing a story centered around not just ghosts but a curse? Where did the idea for plot come off to begin with?
Jennifer Rainey: The curse idea actually came before the ghost idea. Initially, the book was about a cursed object, but it was never actually said whether the object was really cursed or if it was in everyone’s head. (Fun fact: The Beldam’s Eye, which is a pocket watch, of course, was originally a ring. But I think that was a little too Lord of the Rings.) I chose to focus on a curse because I liked the idea that the curse would not only bring the characters crashing into each other, but also completely tear them apart.
Annabell: Where Yeats is the more laid back and sarcastic one, Ras carries himself with logic and reason even though they happen to own a paranormal investigation team. Where did the idea for these two best friends come off? Which one did you find yourself relating to more while you were writing?
Jennifer Rainey: Ras was one of the earliest characters to develop, and I wanted him to be a sort of updated version of your Dr. Frankenstein or Dr. Jekyll, someone who is so obsessed with his field of study that it (nearly) destroys him. So, from there, I needed someone to be the foil to Ras. Yeats is very, very central Ohio. He’s a man who keeps his emotions hidden, he’s gritty, he’s set in his ways. He’s the perfect opposite of Ras. I tend to relate to Ras more, though.
Annabell: Aletheia is sweet and sassy and also happens to be a ghost, a water spirit at that. Angus Heyer is cooky, rude and speaks his mind. He also happens to be a fire spirit. Why did you decide to attach some of the ghosts to elemental gifts?
Jennifer Rainey: The way I see it is your personality helps determine which element features in your existence as a spirit. The elemental thing is going to have a huge role to play in later books, so I don’t want to give away too much!
Annabell: The pocket watch which acts as the cover to Beldam’s Eye, plays a very intricate role in what happens in the case Ras decides to take on for a particularly pain in the butt ghost, much against Yeats wishes. How did you come about deciding the type of curse that was attached to the pocket watch?
Jennifer Rainey: The Beldam’s Eye supposedly gives the owner whatever they desire, but in return, it pretty much steals their soul. That’s what the lore is. I chose that curse because it could get inside anyone’s head. Everyone has something they desire, everyone has a weakness. So even someone as mentally and morally sound as Ras thinks he is could fall victim to The Beldam’s Eye.
Annabell: The setting of the book takes place in Ohio. I would presume it’s because you live in Ohio and attended the University of Ohio that you chose the state as the backdrop. What are some of your favorite places to hang on in? Are any places mentioned in the book real places located in Ohio or inspired from real places there?
Jennifer Rainey: My favorite places to go at Ohio State were always the book store and the library. Surprise, surprise, haha! Everywhere that’s mentioned at Ohio State in The Beldam’s Eye is real, including the haunted Orton Hall. It is supposedly haunted by Mr. Orton, too. Also, the Hocking Hills is a real place in Ohio, and everything I describe in The Hills scenes is real; Big Pine Road, the old white church, all the crows hanging around! I made sure that everything was accurate. Bedbury is not technically a real town, but it was based heavily on the town next to mine.
Annabell: Ras has a STRONG obsession for coffee and his coffee maker. What’s something you just HAVE to have or could never part with?
Jennifer Rainey: Bread. Carbs. I am a fairly healthy person. I weigh a hundred pounds at five foot three. However, I will never, ever give up bread. Never. I’d go psycho if I did, haha!
Annabell: Beldam’s Eye has the type of ending where the story does wrap up but leaves room for an opening to a sequel. Will there be a sequel? If yes, will there be a way for Ras and Yeats to destroy the curse? Will readers get to see more of Aletheia’s gifts?
Jennifer Rainey: There are actually going to be four books in the series! The second one is written, but unedited for now and the third one is half-written. I won’t give away what happens concerning the curse of The Eye, but I will say that Aletheia has a HUGE part to play in the rest of the story.
Annabell: If you could go out on a paranormal investigation mission with Yeats and Ras, where would you want to go and why, what would you guys eat for dinner and who would do the cooking, and what would you do if Yeats attempting setting you up on a date with Ras?
Jennifer Rainey: I would want to investigate the Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg because I had the most incredible paranormal experiences there this summer, so incredible that I actually dedicated The Beldam’s Eye To Jennie. Then we could eat dinner at Dobbin House, which is a fabulous restaurant just down the street from the Jennie Wade House. And as far as dating Ras… I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful guy, but if I was not, I might take Yeats up on it; I’ve always had a soft spot for Ras.
Annabell: Big thank you to the beautiful Jennifer Rainey for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do the fun interview!
Read my review on The Beldam’s Eye (The Beldam Series #1): One of my favorite aspects of the plot was the element of the curse attached to the pocket watch and how it connected to the spirit world. The pocket watch has the ability to grant the owner who puts the pieces together any and every desire he or she may think of but there some nasty consequences once the owner dies. The Beldam’s Eye explores how the pocket watch came to be, how Angus Heyer ended up attached to it after death, and why it’s cursed.
Discover the Cast of the Beldam's Eye
Author Bio: Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.
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