I Time Travel and Go Morgue with Paranormal Romance Author Patricia C. Lee


Pat Lee pic-1Patricia C. Lee is another Crescent Moon Press writer who agreed to be enslaved for thirty minutes while we chatted. This one was fun, though, seriously. Even after I turned off the recording, we went on and on, talking about books, the industry, future projects, past projects, past pluperfect projects.


For the pre-interview click here. Yeah, the MP3!  Pat Lee Interview with Aaron Ritchey.mp3  (Right click and left click on SAVE TARGET AS).

Pat has had a love affair with the written word since childhood, many times immersing herself in the stories of Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene. Her active imagination gave inspiration to short stories and her first play as a teen.
As an adult she has penned an award winning short story titled The Battle and A Precious Glimpse in Time published in an anthology. Her full-length play, The Truth About Lies, was staged at a theatrical festival competition in 2008.
Although still in pursuit of a place truly called home, Pat currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and three cats, all of which claim rule over the house at one point or another.
When her nose isn’t pressed to the laptop monitor, you can find her at the public library. Besides dreaming up her next novel, Pat also enjoys traveling, baking, camping, wine, and of course reading – not necessarily in that order.

Destinys Past HiResNo-nonsense medical examiner, Kelly Richards, relies on the familiar comforts of science and scalpels to get her through the day. So when a not-so-dead guy who claims he’s from the past lands on her autopsy table, she considers calling the men in white coats to escort him to a padded room. But Jarek’s old-world ways and hot gaze trick her heart into falling for him—a mistake she swore she’d never make again. When Jarek, Prince of Leisos, discovers someone he trusts has been slowly poisoning him, he travels to the future in search of a cure. Driven by vengeance, he enlists the help of an impudent scientist to return him to his time. Caught between his growing desire for Kelly and the need to expose his would-be assassin before he strikes again, Jarek must either forfeit his ticket home or lose the only woman he’s ever loved.

Okay, Pat, here we go. Hold on. We’re going to slam 1.21 gigawatts of electricity in our flux capacitor. The pop culture time travel references are going to fill a TARDIS. Okay, I’ll try and keep them to a minimum. I won’t mention Sarah Connor.

AARON: In Destiny’s Past, how did you handle the time travel? I mean, if I go back and have a beer with Julius Caesar, would that mean my father became the Pope and I was never born? Or are the timelines, past and present, pretty much separate? I know, geeky question, but I get curious. And if you’re still around after my Back to the Future reference, we just might make it through.

Patricia: Obviously, I haven’t gone back in time (but wait – have I and just never knew???) But books and movies about time travel have always intrigued me because I’m a big believer in “what if.” In answer to your question, however, my theory of time travel pertaining to Destiny’s Past is this – it was meant to be. It was Jarek’s fate to be shot forward in time to meet Kelly and so on (can’t give away any predominant points in the book, sorry ) I know that’s a bit of a cop-out but I live my life on the theory of fate and destiny (ergo: the name of the book) BUT with each decision we make in life that choice has the ability to lead us down a separate path. I could go on and on about the esoterical spin, but I won’t. Oh, and as for Back to the Future, I have all three movies!

back to the future1f56e

AARON: Love the pitch for your book! What kind of research did you do for the morgue aspects? Did you actually lay down in one of those drawers we see on crime shows?

Patricia: I tried to get into the local morgue but I didn’t fit the profile (meaning I was still breathing!) No, seriously I went online and researched what it took to become a morgue intern, what facilities and equipment they have (watched a video of an actual tour of a morgue – minus the cadavers) and read up on the procedures the M.E.’s follow. I think research is important to the credibility of any writer.

AARON: So you have a husband and three cats. Who gets in the way the most when you are writing? The cats or the husband?

Patricia: Actually neither. I’m very selfish when it comes to writing. I close the door and thankfully my hubby is very understanding and supportive so he knows not to bother me unless it’s important. And as for the cats, well, I cuddle with them when I finish and they forgive me. They’re such wonderful creatures.

AARON: Your story takes place in a small town in South North Carolina. How much world building did you do for the town? And why set it in South North Carolina?

Patricia: (Ooops, pretty bad when you can’t remember where your book takes place.) I have no idea why I picked North Carolina. Seemed like a good place. But I did make up the city of Lackton, Wesslyn County where Kelly lives. I did do some Google searching regarding pictures and communities etc.

AARON: When we chatted, you said you weren’t much for history, and yet your book has a lot of history in it. If you can explain the paradox, well, maybe we can talk more because I’m conflicted about a whole mess of things.

tutankhamunPatricia: It’s true, I ‘m not much for history. Never have been. Except perhaps the Egyptians, they sort of fascinate me. Maybe that’s why I took the location of the mythical land of Leisos to be somewhere in ancient Persia. The concept for Destiny’s Past and the whole story about a prince from two thousand years ago came from someone who entered my life. That’s the reason why the book is dedicated to him. And no, I’m not going to embellish on who

AARON: Okay, the obvious question is if you had a time machine, where would you go? But I’m not asking that. I’m asking this: If you could get take-out from any time period in history, past, present, or future, what kind of food would you get and why?

Patricia: Man, that’s a toughie because I love all types of food. I like trying new things. Do I have a favorite? – I tend to lean toward Italian. Oh and wine. Nummy. However I’m not particularly fond of Italian wines. I like Chilean red wine, especially Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

AARON: You are a very solitary writer and you need quiet. Tell us a little bit about your process and talk about the cabin! I love the cabin stuff!

Patricia: Once I get an idea of a book, I write an outline in point form with certain pivotal things that happen and go from there. Like I said before, I’m very selfish Rasputin-Kiddy-Cabinwhen it comes to my writing. Maybe because I take it so seriously, meaning it’s not a passing fancy for me. It’s like a full-time job. As for the cabin, I go away every year by myself to a fully stocked place (except for food and beverage – think wine, lots of wine LOL!) on a large lake that has no telephone, radio, internet or television (I don’t have a cell phone but there is phone service at the main desk and the library in a nearby community has internet.) There are other cabins around but I don’t socialize with people staying there. The whole point of going is to focus on writing with no distractions, be they housework, family or friends. I get up when I want, cook what and when I want. I usually get up, put on the coffee (a necessity) and nibble on something while I read over the last chapter of what I wrote. Then I do around two hours of writing, take a break and eat, another two hours and perhaps go for a walk, and so on for most of the day. I don’t write in the evening because by then I’ve logged around 6 – 8 hours and need to give my brain a rest. This writer’s retreat started as a two-day housesitting gig that has morphed into a full seven-night seclusion.

AARON: After your reader closes your book, what kind of feeling or experience did you want them to have? Your perfect reader, not some schmoe in Pittsburgh holding a grudge against authors because his wife left him to write a book.

Patricia: I want the reader to be able to feel satisfied they got their money’s worth. If I’ve taken the reader away from their daily life, given them time to escape, then I’ve done my job. That’s very important for me. Strangers have put their faith in me and paid for a product and I want them to be happy with the end result.

AARON: What are you working on now? Sequel? Prequel? A sequel to the prequel? Vice versa?

Patricia: Unfortunately, I’m one of those people that can’t work on two different projects at the same time. I can’t divide my focus like that. With me it’s either all or nothing. I’m currently writing the third and final book of the Daughters of the Crescent Moon Trilogy. After that I don’t know for sure what I’ll do – whether stick with the fantasy genre or do a contemporary thriller. I have so many ideas there isn’t enough time to write them all. LOL!!


Thanks so much Patricia C. Lee! Here is where you spread your links like the footprints of morlocks.

Patricia’s website
Buy link for Destiny’s Past
Buy link for Destiny’s Present

Again, we have audio of the pre-interview interview. Click here. Yeah, the MP3! Pat Lee Interview with Aaron Ritchey.mp3 (Right click and left click on SAVE TARGET AS).

I Walk Like an Egyptian and Get Nursey with Paranormal Romance Author Jean Murray

webphotoI have a day job. Yes, friends, but someday, I won’t have a day job and I’ll slave fourteen hours a day for my grumpy editor and their slashing red pens and publish a book a day until I die. And make a fortune. Maybe fame. Maybe.

In my day job, I work with hospitals and nurses, so when paranormal romance author Jean Murray and I talked, and I found out she had studied to be a nurse, I was so excited. I love nurses! Not only a nurse, but she also spent twenty years in the Navy! Yes, there will be a Village People question.

Jean Murray’s name appears everywhere in my little circle of Crescent Moon Press. In a word, a big word, she is ubiquitous! I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview.
But first, her bio. Hit me with that rhythm stick.

Bio: In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series. Author Jean Murray brings a wonderful new spin to the paranormal world with her Egyptian Underworld gods. She broke ground in the paranormal romance genre with Soul Reborn and now continues the Key to the Cursed journey with Soul Awakened. See what readers and reviewers are saying about her new book on Goodreads.
5 / 5 Stars, Night Owl Reviews – Reviewer’s Top Pick ~ Soul Reborn & Soul Awakened
Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (Sept 2011) – 4/4.5 stars/Scorcher

And her Key to the Cursed series! Two books so far, with four planned. Summary goes here! Hit me!

soulreborn 1600x2400The Key to the Cursed series is about three sisters, Lilly, Kit and Kendra Carrigan. They grew up with sand in their shoes, playing among the Egyptian pyramids and tombs on their father’s archeological digs. With no mother to raise them and their father preoccupied with ancient artifacts, Lilly naturally fell into the motherly role, always looking out for her sisters. Kendra, the youngest, followed in her father’s footsteps and became an Egyptologist. Kit, well let’s just say she’s the black sheep of the family. She hates her mother, has serious issues with her father and has no love for mummified remains. Although an unconventional family, the sisters are loyal to the death.
The Egyptian gods have awoken from their slumber to find the human realm cursed by revens, the human undead. An ancient evil has reignited a war against the Pantheons that promises to bring death and destruction. The Underworld gods rise to confront the enemy and find a world not worth saving. Until three humans females challenge the boundaries between life and death.
The Carrigan sisters fight to reverse a curse that their demi-god blood released upon mankind. In their pursuit to find the cure, they encounter dark beings that open a world beyond mummies and crumbling artifacts. The Gods of the Underworld offer immortal salvation and a love without end, if the enemy doesn’t destroy them first.

So we skyped, this week I had video, and it was so much fun! Here it is, ladies and mummies, children of all Mesopotamia, the interview. It gets crazy intense, but don’t curse me. No mummy curses!

AARON: A little bit about your life right now. This question will be a potpourri, so read it twice, think about it, and answer legibly. You will be graded on style and content. You have three young boys, three! Are they more into light sabers, iron swords, guns, footballs, or Barbie? Do you like disco music? What do you order from Starbucks?

Jean: My three boys? Definitely, light sabers. I never knew that boys could make swords/sabers out of anything. Straws, toothbrushes, carrots. I think you get the idea. The fact they make the sound along with it is just hysterical.
Disco music – not so much.
Starbucks – Venti – nonfat – latte, please. Not all that creative, but it is all I need. Yum!!

AARON: What drew you to the Navy rather than the Army or the Air Force? Is it because they had a cool theme song? Well, the Army theme song was pretty cool too, that whole be-all-that-you-can-be. But come on, the Village People? Classic.

Jean: My dad was a Seabee in the Navy – WWII believe it or not. He only spent a short time, but I always remembered his stories. I actually became interested in the military in nursing school. I was working in a hospital as a nursing intern. Some of the nurses had worked on the unit for 20-30 years. My preceptor asked me, what do you see yourself doing in 5 years? My answer was, “Seeing the world.” My intention was to serve my country for four years. Well, 4 years lead to AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, Richard Gere, Debra Winger, 1982, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection6 and then 10-15-20. I always said I would get out when the fun was over, but honestly, it never did get old. Even as I accepted my flag for retirement, I wasn’t ready to let it go, (cried through the whole ceremony) but it was now time to have fun with my family. I did get to see the world – Spain, Italy, Germany, Republic of Georgia, Czech Republic, Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Bahrain and lived in VA, MD, CA. Not bad for a girl who grew up in a small town in Western PA.
Why the Navy? An Officer and a Gentleman – need I say more. No really, I do so like the choker white uniforms, but it is the ocean that called my name. Ironically, the only time I spent on a ship was three weeks on the USS Enterprise. So cool! One of the best experiences of my life. In the middle of the ocean with no lights makes you realize how truly small we are in this universe.
Navy slogan: I think when I joined the tagline was “Full Steam Ahead.” Or you could go with the sailor’s slogan N-ever A-gain V-olunteer Y-ourself
The only slogan I didn’t quite get was “An Army of One.” For those that take that sentence literally, they are in for a big surprise. Read the small print 
The Village People, that just might work. LOL

In case anyone needs a refresher:

AARON: With your varied past (a liver transplant nurse, career navy, and now you work in Infection control!), and your busy present (three sons!), how does your life show itself in the pages of your books? For example, I’m Roman Catholic and angst-ridden. My books are very guilty, and oddly ceremonial. What about yours?

Jean: Most people that know me say I’m pretty upbeat. I don’t let my personal problems run over at work. I always look at the positive side of things – a cup half full kind of person. I have to keep it together even when I’m sick. As a nurse, your patient always comes first. My belief in qualities such as loyalty, honor and second chances definitely comes across in my writing. But also another side….
The cup half empty – girl, get it yourself – girl, I’m too sick– make your own supper – all gets poured into my books. Not that my books are snarky, far from it. I like to write about the darker side to our souls, the feelings we hide in our everyday lives. The best part is my lighter side, always brings the characters back to center for a HEA.

AARON: Talk a little bit about process. You utilize beta readers. How does that work?

Jean: Hello, my name is Jean Murray, and I’m a pantser. Whoo, it’s good to get that off my chest.
SoulAwakened-1600x2400Writing from the seat of my pants has its challenges. One, I never really know how the story will turn out until it’s finished. Yes, I have a general idea where I want to lead characters and plot, but sometimes that takes a turn midway. For example, Bomani’s fall at the end of Soul Awakened was not planned in the beginning, but when I started writing it just happened. Bomani’s story thread added that perfect punch to the plot. Also, I do so much layering after the initial draft that chapter by chapter critiquing falls short. My husband even refuses to read my books until they’re complete.
I know it sounds manic, but I’ll tell you my subconscious rocks! Threads I didn’t even know I was writing come together at the very end. It is truly glorious, if I say so myself. This is one of the reasons I use beta readers instead of a “critique group/partner.” I need a fresh pair of eyes to read my story from beginning to end to see if what I’ve created works. I use both an experienced author and 1-2 readers (without a writing background). The author picks up structural, grammar and character issues (a technical read). The readers give me a snapshot on how it will be received by other readers. Their critique is more emotionally based. They focus on the overall story – did it move them, did they like the characters. This is valuable information for me. I base my changes on their feedback. They are my filter before I send to the editor.

AARON: When we talked, you said your style was kinda Urban Fantasyish, and yet you do write paranormal romance. What’s the difference? For example, an ancient evil vampire walks into a biker bar in Barstow, California. How would the scene play out in Urban Fantasy versus paranormal romance?

Jean: There are some great discussions about the similarities and differences between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal romance. I remember being confused in the beginning. Basically, the major difference is that romance is central to a paranormal romance story where in an urban fantasy the “love story” plays in the background, if at all. A UF may or may not have a happily-ever-after. In paranormal romance it is the industry standard to have a HEA.
I like to walk the line between the two. Urban Fantasies tend to have more action and heavy plots (at least in my experience), which I love, love, love, but I also bring the romance center stage. The Key to the Cursed series would appeal to either genre reader.
Author Marsha Moore provides a great summary of the two genres. I’m happy to fall into her “blended” version.

AARON: Your books bring the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses into the present day, and you said unlike Greek myths, Egyptian mythology had some gaps you could creatively fill. Give us an example.

Jean: Greek mythology is fairly well defined and is more well-known, than Egyptian Mythology. The Ancient Egyptian culture dates back over 5,000 years. The only evidence we have left of their existence is the crumbling artifacts and monuments built to worship the gods and pharaohs. Only after the Rosetta Stone was discovered were we able to decipher the hieroglyphics. An interesting fact is that as the Pharaohs began to influence the religion greatly to the point they had raised their status among the gods. Prior to this, very early in Egypt’s development the gods were thought to walk among the humans bringing them goodwill and protection. Most of the gods from this period are not as clearly defined, which gives me some creative license in my writing.
For example, I used the Egyptian variations of the gods names instead of the Greek translations from which people are more familiar. Instead of Osiris, I used Asar. Same god, but Asar predates Osiris’ references. Asar in the early Ancient Egyptian culture was pure, as I call it. Before the Pharaohs influenced the religion and mythology. This gives me a little latitude to develop his world.


AARON: And what’s your take on Ramses II? Was the sequel better than the original?

Jean: When I first looked at this question Yul Brynner popped into my head and his role as Ramses. LOL. What I know of the Ramses’ dynasty, I like ‘Ramses I’ origins the most. He was from humble origins and not of royal blood – a military man who rose among the ranks and to become Pharaoh. (love the underdog story) Although he was only in power for two years he was responsible for Egypt’s 19th Dynasty and one of the most recognizable names in history.
Ramses II was very powerful and gained the name, “Ramses the Great.” He was only 14 when he took the throne. Over his 66 years he took 200 wives, and sired 100 sons and 60 daughters. To say the least, he was a busy man  He is best known for his monuments and thought to have ruled during the Jewish exodus from Egypt. This is where Yul Brynner comes in.

AARON: Talk a little bit about Lilly’s character arc. If she walked into our biker bar in Barstow at the beginning of the book, how would that change by the end? And let’s call this biker bar, Butcher’s Bar and Grill. Butcher, like meat cutter. Cool…

Jean: A little background about Lilly. Lilly is the oldest Carrigan sister at the age of 27. She had basically raised her sisters, since their mother abandoned them long ago, and their father had been consumed by his research and archeological digs. Lilly carries the world on her shoulders, putting everyone else first. She makes sacrifices to keep her sisters safe, even if that means selling her soul to the God of the Underworld.
A biker bar is perfect considering Lilly has her own apple-green Ninja and she has a snake tattooed down her back. Well, it’s a real snake. Top things off, she likes to wear black leather. Funny, you should provide this scenario, because it actually happens to her and Kit in Soul Reborn, but in the realm of the Underworld in the Warrior Tavern. It’s one of my favorite scenes from the book. From the moment Lilly and Kit walk into the bar the crowd falls silent and they know they are in over their heads. Oh, I feel an excerpt coming on…. (I’ll keep it G rated)

Excerpt Chapter 28:
“They aren’t even going to let us in the front door,” Kit said.
“Oh, they’ll let us in. Trust me.”
Lilly scanned the enormous warrior standing sentry. Over seven feet tall, he had to weigh at least three fifty packing all that muscle mass. His hair was cut short, almost shaved to the scalp. A sleeveless tunic hung from his massive shoulders and tucked neatly into his weathered, leather pants. Oddly enough, he wore no shoes. As they got closer, Lilly noticed something very unusual. Raised tattoos covered his deep black-brown skin down the full length of his arms. The sculpted markings looked like scarifications from a blade. Either way, it was some of the most beautiful and unusual artwork Lilly had ever seen.
Undaunted, she strode directly towards the door of the establishment. The sentry’s golden eyes targeted her. He stepped in her way. “Where do you think you are going?”
His deep baritone voice tested her resolve. “I want to speak with the commander in charge of this unit.” She tried to side step around him, not waiting for his permission, but was blocked by his large hand on the door.
Amusement flickered over his face. “You ladies must be lost. Servants are not allowed in these parts. I will make arrangements to return you to your god.”
“You will take me to the man in charge of this house and you will do it now.” Lilly slipped her hand down to her katana, which was neatly tucked in its sheath.
The warrior pulled his lips back over large, white teeth. “Leave, before I show you ladies exactly what we do with insolent servants.”
The fool didn’t know who he was talking to. It wasn’t the fact she was Asar’s mate. She wouldn’t tolerate that shit from him or any man. “Watch your threats, Neanderthal.”
Before his muscles contracted to grab her, Lilly twisted his arm and pinned him to the ground. The sentry’s gaze narrowed in on the hieroglyphics on her arms. At ground level with him, she pulled back her vest and revealed Asar’s mark over her breast. His eyes about exploded out of his head.
“Now, you will take me to the commander without any trouble. Do we understand each other?”
He nodded. Lilly release him, allowing him to stand. He cleared his throat and bowed. “Madame, please follow me.”
“Oh, I’m going to like this,” Kit said, a shit eating grin on her face, and followed Lilly into the dimly lit building. …………………………………………….

Soul Reborn (May, 2011)

AARON: With Soul Reborn you promoted yourself. With Soul Awakened, you hired a book tour promoter. How was the experience and what did you learn, what would you recommend people do?

Jean: If someone had told me promoting your book was harder than writing it, I would have never believed them – oh how wrong I was  As an indie/small press author the onus is on you alone to promote your book.
I wasn’t prepared when Soul Reborn released. I was new to the virtual social networks and really did not have the following or the web-presence. I managed my own release the first time around – contacting individual blogs, setting up reviews, setting up my own blog with posts, etc… Needless to say I was overwhelmed. It took me a while to ramp things up. I had to manage my expectations – learning the hard way that you expend more than you earn. I had a crash course in the industry. It became easier over time and I established virtual friendships and readers that really pulled me through the process and made it so enjoyable.
For Soul Awakened’s release, I knew what to expect. My blog has over 1,000 followers and I continue to meet some incredible authors, readers and bloggers that make this an enjoyable journey. The second time around I decided to go with Bewitching Book Tours. It took the weight off my shoulders setting up the calendar with guest posts and reviews, so I could focus on interacting with the readers. This is my favorite part. I’m seriously considering setting up a book tour once a quarter to maintain the social presence I need to sell books.
Thanks so much for the interview!

Thank you, Jean!  Had a blast!

Below are links spread about like markers to a luxurious desert oasis in Egypt.
Jean’s website
Jean on Facebook
Book Trailers on YouTube


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.