Something strange is happening in Seabrook. The town’s lighthouse–dormant for over thirty years and famously haunted–has inexplicably started shining, and its mysterious glow is sparking feverish gossip throughout the spooked community.
Amy Tucker is only visiting for the night and has no plans to get caught up in the hysteria, but that changes when she meets Ryan, the loyal, hard-working son of a ranch owner who lives on the outskirts of town.
Their chance encounter turns into an unforgettable weekend, and against the backdrop of the lighthouse-obsessed town, the two of them forge a deep connection, opening their hearts, baring their souls, and revealing secrets long kept hidden.
But as they grow closer, and as the lighthouse glows ever brighter, a startling discovery about Ryan leaves Amy questioning everything she thought she knew. To uncover the truth about her new friend, Amy will need to enter Seabrook’s ominous tower, where waiting inside she will not only find the reason why fate has brought them together… but a shocking secret that will change the course of their lives forever.
Read on for an interview with Christopher Parker.
Q. Why is The Lighthouse such an important story to you? What do you hope readers gain from the book?
A. It’s important to me because it’s the exact kind of book I’d like to pick up and read — a story that takes readers on an exciting, unexpected ride and has a bit of everything: mystery, love and a touch of magic. I just hope readers are entertained and that the themes and ideas explored in the story resonate with people.
Q. How did you come up with Amy and Ryan? Are they inspired by anyone in your own life?
A. Amy and Ryan aren’t inspired by anyone in particular. The idea began with the concept of the lighthouse and then the characters were brought to life to serve the building’s pivotal role in te story. However, once I began writing Amy and Ryan and spending time with them, they took on a life of their own and I became quite attached. Over the years, they’ve become like extended members of the family. Even though the story has been written, I still think about them often and know everything that happens after the final page.
Q. Without any spoilers, can you talk about the significance of the lighthouse?
A. I’ve always been fascinated by lighthouses and long admired them. It was never my intention to write a novel featuring one, but when I thought up the central idea of the story, there was no other building better suited to play the part. There is also an obvious strong echo between a lighthouse’s role in being a guiding light for sailors out at sea and the part it plays in being a beacon for Amy and Ryan. In my story, it is a symbol of light and hope, both literally and metaphorically.
Q. One of the major themes in the book is Amy’s process of grieving her mother. Why was it important to include themes of grief and loss?
A. I think, like everyone, I am intrigued by the concept of death and the eternal question of what ultimately becomes of us. The book does deal with grief and loss, but more than that, I believe “The Lighthouse is a story about love — not just the love that exists between two young people who are fatefully thrown into each other’s lives but also the kind of love that exists between a grieving husband and his wife, as well as that unconditional, unshakeable bond of love that exists between parent and child. I believe love is more than a fleeting emotion or just a chemical reaction in the brain. To me it’s a tangible part of the human spirit that endures long after we’re gone. “The Lighthouse” is an exploration of those ideas.
Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing the book?
A. Being able to step back from the story. When you’re deep in the process of writing, it’s difficult to look at it objectively and ask the tough questions: Does this scene need to be here? Does this conversation serve the story? Is this choice consistent with the character? I’ve had to cull hundreds of thousands of words — some of them I was quite proud of — simply because they didn’t serve the arc of the story or add anything to the journey of the characters. It’s a painful, challenging skill to learn, and I’m not sure I’ve even mastered it, but I believe it’s something every writer must do if they’re to create an engaging, fulfilling story for the reader.
Q. What projects are you working on next?
A. I have the rough outline of the next novel sketched out, and in the meantime (while getting “The Lighthouse” ready for publication) I wrote a children’s story about a troublesome dog that’s being illustrated now. That only took a month to write, and I found the process refreshingly easier than the gargantuan task of completing a full-length novel. I am, however, looking forward to immersing myself in the next one.
Purchase your copy of The Lighthouse here.
Christopher Parker was born in Takapuna, a seaside suburb in Auckland, New Zealand, where he currently lives with his daughter. Having loved writing stories growing up, it was a walk along Takapuna beach and a chance glimpse at a distant lighthouse that made him want to revisit his childhood passion and try his hand at producing a novel. Nearly 10 years on from that fateful stroll, he is proud to finally share his story. You can find him on his website at christopherparker.com.