Today’s guest is Shéa MacLeod, author of Kissed by Darkness. Like attitude? Humor? Then Kissed By Darkness needs to be on your to-be-read list. As it turns out, Shéa and I share the same love of a few authors. I hope you find her interview as interesting as I did.
Thanks for joining me on the blog today, Shéa!
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought it would be fantastic to have a story about a private detective firm that investigated the paranormal. A bit more adult than Buffy, of course, but with a lot of the snarky humor and girls kicking ass. That idea was kicking around my head for a long time before anything resembling a plot or characters became clear. Morgan Bailey’s story, Kissed by Darkness, morphed out of that. Of course, I realized pretty quickly her story wasn’t going to be finished in just a single book, hence the Sunwalker Saga.
What do you think readers will appreciate most about your book?
Morgan kicks ass. LOL! Seriously, she’s a very strong person. She’s embraced who she is, her calling, and she’s determined to be the best she can be. She doesn’t allow anyone to treat her as less than. At the same time she is, of course, flawed. She’s human (mostly) and she has her weaknesses and her fears. She’s a very confident person for the most part, but there’s one particular area of her life where she’s had a lot of bad luck and she’s pretty insecure. Just this one area. And this causes a lot conflict in her life.
What is your greatest writing strength?
Someone once said to me, “You don’t write. You talk.” I consider that a huge compliment. I very much write the way people talk. Even if that means breaking some rules now and then. I like to think it’s the Agatha Christie influence. Hers were the first adult books I ever read. She believed in writing the way people talk and I guess that rubbed off on me a bit.
I’m also American but have been living in London for the past five years, so I think it gives me a different perspective on the world. Plus it makes it easier to write about “exotic locales”! lol
When did you decide to become an indie author?
Two months ago. I know that sounds mad, but it’s true. For years I dreamed of being traditionally published. I mean, there really wasn’t another option for a long time. When I finished my first book and started on the query-go-round… nada. I was getting really frustrated. Even worse, I was seeing what was happening in the traditional market. Midlist authors were getting dumped left and right. Slush piles were stacked to the ceiling. Publishers were taking fewer and fewer risks so fewer and fewer newbies were getting published. It was depressing.
I considered the traditional publishing route with an ebook publisher instead of a print publisher. It seemed a better option with higher royalties and a better chance of getting published, but the sample contracts I was reading and the horror stories I heard from some authors made me hesitate.
Then two months ago I stumbled on JA Konrath’s blog and it was like the light bulb went on. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I went back to the beginning of his posts about going indie (I think it was 2009 or something like that.) and I read clear up to whatever the current post was in April 2011. Took me a couple weeks, but what an eye opener! By the time I was done I knew this was the way forward for me. Ever since I’ve been focused on making my novel as polished and professional as it can possibly be.
Who are your favorite authors?
Honestly, I have so many. Agatha Christie, of course, and I’ve been a fan of Janet Evanovich for years. Nalini Singh, Ann Aguirre, Alyssa Day, James Rollins, JD Robb, Joss Ware, Jesse Petersen, Gail Carriger… just to name a few. I’ve recently discovered indie authors and there’s some amazing talent there. I haven’t read many yet, but my top two favorites have to be Jack Wallen (Who writes some amazing zombie stories.) and Norah Wilson (Gives Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum a run for her money.). I’ve got a lot more on my Kindle I haven’t gotten to just yet. J
If you could meet any author who is no longer living, who would it be?
Hands down Agatha Christie. She was an absolute genius and a force of nature. When her life seemed to be falling apart around her, she did the craziest thing possible: became a writer. She broke all the rules of writing for the time and became the most successful mystery writer in history. One of the most successful authors full stop. I can only dream of being half the writer she was.
Why did you decide to write in this genre?
It’s what I love to read, so it was a natural choice.
Can you tell us a little about your next project?
I’m currently polishing up Kissed by Fire, the second book of the Sunwalker Saga. I plan to publish it in August (Unless there’s a zombie apocalypse between now and then.). I’ve started writing the third book in the Sunwalker Saga and I have two other WIPs that are not related to the series. One’s a post-apocalyptic paranormal romance with dragons and the other is a post-apocalyptic urban fantasy paranormal scifi romance with a twist of steampunk. Yeah, I like to keep it interesting. J
I have two. As I writer, I live by these words:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
— Stephen King
There’s a word for a writer who never gives up — published.
– JA Konrath
Vanilla or chocolate?
Chocolate and plenty of it.
Ah! Chocolate. It’s my fav, too Shéa! Thanks again, and I LOVE your quotes.
Want to learn more about Shéa?
Kissed By Darkness is available on: