I Fall in Love, Fall to Pieces, Fall from Grace with YA Paranormal Romance author Shawna Romkey

Shawna Romkey Lucky in Love Blog Hop Stops Here!

Shawna has hidden some Easter eggs in her blog tour. If you find them and decipher the pass code, you can win a signed copy of Speak of the Devil, a swag pack and a $25 Amazon gift card!

To enter, read through her post today. In it, you will find an Easter egg (a letter that stands out.) Find her other blog entries for the tour. (HINT: the list is posted on her website at www.shawnaromkey.com.) You will find Easter eggs in the starred blog posts, too. Once you’ve found the eggs in each post, put them together to find the secret code and tweet the code including @sromkey #speakofthedevil (ANOTHER HINT: the letters are in order.) (AND ANOTHER HINT! The secret code will look like this: — — – —- — — —–)

One winner will be chosen from the entries on Easter, March 31! Good luck!


SR (83)You know the wicked cool title of the interview? Well, it came directly from Shawna’s wicked cool website. Click here.

Shawna Romkey and I, well, are two peas in a pod. We both wrote wicked cool angel books. We’re both wicked cool Crescent Moon Press authors. We both have studied wicked cool literature.

So yeah, we have stuff in common, but come on, our differences are legion. In her book, God is silent. In my book, heaven is empty. While in college, she wrote a play and someone produced it. I went to see Shakespeare in London, at the Globe. She lives in Nova Scotia. I live in Colorado, though she did spent a great deal of time in Kansas.

She is a really good marketer! Me? Well, I don’t suck, but I’m not like Shawna. She’s a marketing machine!

A little about Shawna:
xenaShawna grew up in and around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.
She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook.  She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.
She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kickass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

And a little about her book, Speak of the Devil.

SpeakOfTheDevilWhat happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?
After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.
Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

For this interview, Shawna and I talked, the heavens wept, and the lands trembled to their very foundations! Keep reading. I end with a bible quote. No, really, but let’s not get sidetracked, and this is not hardcore religious, I promise you.

AARON: Okay, Shawna, I know this is going to be a very controversial question, but hey, we can handle it. We’re writers. We can do anything. Xena or Buffy? You can only choose one. Defend your answer against the critics.
SHAWNA: Okay, I love Joss Whedon, Buffy, Firefly, the Avengers, but I’m a hardcore Xena nutball at heart. I love the fantasy aspect of Xena, the sword, the armor, the horse (Argo), the gods and the Greek mythology. In sixth grade the librarian at my school called me the little Greek mythologist. I asked for new mythology books on a weekly basis. Xena travels the world and even ventures to Heaven and Hell.

AARON: A huge chunk of time fell in your lap. Why did you choose novel-writing instead of producing your own claymation version of the play you wrote in college?
SHAWNA: Ha! I’ve been writing since I was 5. I started with a poem, then in elementary wrote a book about a squirrel and a red ball. In third grade I wrote a story about a dove and a message of peace that my teacher gave me a zero on because she said it was so good clearly my mother wrote it. In sixth grade I started writing fantasies about unicorns. In college I got a creative writing emphasis to an English degree. I’ve just been writing forever and trying to get published with no luck for many years. So when I found myself unemployed for a year, I told myself it was now or never. I had no excuse not to write because I wasn’t working and all the kids had started school. I needed to write a book and sell it or take up a new hobby. It finally worked out.

AARON: You said your dogs would interrupt your writing. Is it because they were possessed by demons? Be honest.
SHAWNA: Yes, one of them, Strider, is definitely possessed by demons. He’s a rescue dog that doesn’t appreciate that he was rescued. He’s very happy, so it’s hard to get mad at him but he bites me constantly with a big smile on his doggy face and his huge tail wagging ferociously. I was able to train him not to bite my youngest son. He is smart enough not to bite my husband, but apparently I’m fair game. So yes, he’s definitely evil and happy about it, but he’s so cute, he can stay.

AARON: I’m fascinated you had a play produced in college. Talk a little about the play and tell us how writing a play is different from writing a novel.
equuswiSHAWNA: I started out writing novels, but then in university took some playwriting and theater classes to get a theater minor. It changed how I wrote because novels are more introspective and you can write for pages about how something looks or feels. Plays shifted me to writing more dialogue and action. For a while I couldn’t get back to the descriptive type writing. I think to be a good writer you need to have that balance though.
My play was inspired by Equus by Peter Shaffer sans the horses. It was a teenaged girl who had some issues to work through, and the play was her and her therapist in sessions talking about all of the stuff she’d been through and where to go with that. It is called Brick by Brick. So also inspired by Pink Floyd, too, apparently.

AARON: You and I both love to read a variety of stuff, literature, genre fiction, the backs of cereal boxes. What literary elements appear in Speak of the Devil? Feel free to strut about and quote people.
SHAWNA: Haha, I already did that. I can’t think of anything really in Speak of the Devil. I know in the second book in the series, The Devil Made Me Do It, there is a lot of Milton, Paradise Lost stuff. Let’s just say that Lucifer is a big fan.

AARON: During the interview, you mentioned Dungeons and Dragons, third edition. Are you a gamer? You can tell us. We’ll accept you. If you had to turn the hero and heroine in Speak of the Devil into DnD characters, what would they be? Give us the dorky details. Luc would be a 10th level Elven Archer-Ranger with a personality disorder.
SHAWNA: Yes, Aaron, I’m a gamer. Thanks for forcing me out of the gaming closet. Let’s see, Luc is an angelic warrior, so in d&d he’d be a celestial fighter, probably not very high level because he’s inexperienced at the start of the book. We’ll say 4th level. Lily might be most like an oracle or a cleric. She starts off as a regular teenager but ends up with a strange ability to talk to Heaven. She’s super low level because she doesn’t really understand her abilities or how to use them. First level for her.

AARON: What kind of teenager were you? Hardcore rebel or completely geek, getting geekier? If as a teenager you were put into the conflict of your novel, how would you have reacted?
SHAWNA: I am and always have been a rule follower. Didn’t drink. Made good grades. Lily at the start is a lot like me and I based the story on an event from my life. Three of my high school friends were killed in a car accident. This story is a way to try to make sense of that and come up with some paranormal type explanation or reason for something so senseless. I did go through a rebellious phase but it didn’t last long. My big problem was that I was always in love, and I was pretty fickle, so I was always in love with someone new.

AARON: The plot of your book will totally appeal to Supernatural fans. Totally. A key plot point is that God falls silent. How does that work?
SHAWNA: That’s the question they keep asking. If God is all-powerful, how can someone have done something to Him or how could He be lost? Why would He leave? Where would He go? They don’t find out the answer in the first book. They get some clues in the second, and I’ll have to tell you how it goes in the third one. I wasn’t sure myself as I wrote it, but my writers group has a writing retreat in the fall, and I brought up the question to my brainstorming partners. They helped me come up with such a good resolution to that three-book story arc that it gave me goosebumps! But when you interview me on the last book we’ll have to talk about that.

shawnarp-21_600AARON: Thanks so much for agreeing to talk with me, Shawna! Here is where you spread your links like angel feathers.
Amazon Print

I love the idea of God being quiet, silent if you will. Neither Shawna’s novel nor mine is super-Christian, but I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from Judeo-Christian scripture:
1 Kings 19:11-13
1Ki19WhatRuDoingHereElijahAnd he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And Elijah spaked: I’m reading Shawna’s book, yo.

From Shawna: LOL!!!! I hope Elijah writes a good review.

The Never Prayer Playlist

Okay, so my friend and fellow Crescent Moon Press writer Constance Phillips had me come up with five songs that inspired me in the writing of The Never Prayer. I thought I was done with the playlist until my friend and Girl Friday Chris Devlin kept badgering me about a Never Prayer Playlist.

Well, since I was thinking about a sequel anyway, I figured I might as well go back into the music and give the Devlin what she so desperately wanted. And so, here is the full playlist. She wanted only 12 songs, but well, I got on a roll. I love music and I love the songs I listened to while writing The Never Prayer.

These were the songs I had on Constance’s blog:
Jeff BeckAmazing Grace
Dave MatthewsAngel from Montgomery (Prism Coffee House Charlottesville Virginia 04-22-1993)
Ray Charles & Willie NelsonSeven Spanish Angels
Black CrowesShe Talks to Angels
ScorpionsSend Me An Angel

And here are the rest of ‘em…
Massive AttackAngel
Best song ever! Well, it’s from the best album ever. Massive Attack’s Mezzanine was on the list of the coolest albums ever to own that makes you cool just by owning it. It’s electronica, but more, much more. And I love how the song builds. On my playlist, while I was writing The Never Prayer, the song would always come on first and it would snap into the dark, forboding world where Lena lived. Too cold to snow. Cold enough to kill. Love and desperation churning together inside of her.

Sheryl CrowMaybe Angels
Gosh, I love Sheryl Crow. I’ve written whole novels to her songs and I love the percussion in this song. That echoing, gongy thing. Spang. Spang. Spang. When I think of Sheryl Crow and her music, I think of Los Angeles. You can smell the smog on her. But this song and its stupid hope in dirty angels, well, it fits. Maybe angels. But maybe not.

Concrete BlondeAngel
Another song with interesting percussion. A slow dirge. Great bass lines and that piano! Fortissimo! And I love the lyric, “You’re my angel. You’re my devil as well.” That pretty much sums up the book. But then, I’m a huge Concrete Blonde fan and I’ll never miss a chance to see them live. Johnette Napolitano could very well be the voice of The Never Prayer, deep and tragic, just this side of hopeless.

Counting CrowsMiller’s Angels
I know people who don’t like the Counting Crows. They say the music is sappy, overdramatic, self-indulgent. And I say all of those things make the Counting Crows brilliant! Yes, overdramatic doesn’t work unless you, yourself, are overdramatic, which I am. So glad I found this song. I like how brittle and broken it sounds, how unsure of itself it is. Broken angels, sure, and that’s what The Never Prayer is all about.

Psychedelic FursAngels Don’t Cry
I somehow got Midnight to Midnight, an album by the Psychedelic Furs, and I somehow got to loving it. In The Never Prayer, I make up a band called The Sympathies, an old 80’s band that Lena’s dad loved. I always thought they would sound like The Cure, but maybe not. Maybe The Sympathies were a Pyschadelic Furs cover band. Naaahhh, Robert Smith all the way.

The CultThe Black Angel
Another 80’s band in the book, The Cult, and yeah, another song like Massive Attack that builds and builds. Love the lyric, “It’s a long way to go, with a black angel at your side.” Lena has a long way to travel and she has to travel through darkness to get to the light. Yeah, my book ain’t happy at times, but I like to think the overall message is positive. There is light in the darkness. There is hope. We can get to the other side of our pain.

HinderLips of an Angel
Okay, so Hinder is just neo-Bon Jovi, which, considering Jon Bon Jovi’s longevity, is high praise. I love this song. Thematically it doesn’t really work with The Never Prayer, but I like the EPIC angst and desire in the song, two things Lena knows all about. In the sequel, though, if all goes well, this song will be very apropos.

A-haAngel In The Snow
Well, my book has angels in it. And it has snow, in the end, and so the song fits. I have friends who are slavering A-Ha fans because as everyone knows, A-Ha is huge in Europe, has been for decades, and though they had that one cool video in the U.S., well, not a big A-Ha following in the U.S. Except for my friends. This is another song with a tragic but hopeful sound to it. Always. Forever. How many frakking songs about love have always and forever in them somewhere? It’s comforting, that forever-kind-of-love. Hmm, might have to play on that theme in the sequel.

Melissa EtheridgeTalking To My Angel
The great thing about the idea of angels is that it’s comforting to think that someone is watching over us and helping us. We can’t see them, but just to know that they are there, watching us, guiding us, is a nice idea. Lena was Jozey’s guardian angel, well, as imperfect as she was. The way this song opens, “Don’t be afraid. Close your eyes.” It’s something Lena would say to Jozey. I sometimes wish I could write books with powerful heroes, sure of themselves, like Anita Blake, badass women who kick butt, take names, and don’t even give the rearview mirror a glance. But nobody but my villain in the The Never Prayer is like that. That’s why this song is so good. The heroine singing is troubled and lost and hurt, but she’s been talking with her angel. And it’s gonna be all right.

Photo courtesy of Porah, stock.xchng