Today’s author guest is Shannon A. Hiner. I’m very excited to introduce this fabulous author to you all! She is a New Adult/Fantasy author! In today’s interview she shares with us an excerpt from one of her novels and has some great tips for aspiring authors!
Tell me a little more about yourself:
Hello there, I’m Shannon, and I’ve been writing for 13 years now. I love long walks on the beach, Netflix & Chill nights, all the fuzzy creatures, and reading great books. I also write.
My books fall into the New Adult/Fantasy genre, and I am currently knee-deep in my series, The Immortal World. There are 3 books published as of now, Only the Stars Know, Shadows On the Wall, & Die For Me Again. The series is a set of standalone novels set in our world featuring shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, faeries, angels and a couple of humans. Each novel focuses on a different set of main characters and their unique problems. There is an over-arching series plot in the background, but the novels can easily be read out of order.
When I started writing, I accidentally wrote the last book in the series first, so now I am going back and writing everything that leads up to it. The last book, Submerged In Darkness, will eventually be completely revamped (pun intended) and re-released…but that’s a few years down the road.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always been a book lover, but I didn’t really enjoy writing as a kid. I always associated it with schoolwork. What I didn’t realize is that I had actually been making up stories and playing pretend my whole life. When I was 14, a friend and I created ‘alternate personalities’ for ourselves, complete with backstories spanning thousands of years. With that kind of timeline, it became necessary to write their histories down. Soon, their histories turned into stories, and those stories started to grow.
That year I had started reading in an online community of amateur writers. That was when I discovered my love of dark fantasy, especially vampires. As I read, I thought to myself; I can be more original than this, I can write stories…so I did. That summer I banged out my first draft of what is now my infamous ‘last book’. It was all downhill from there, I had discovered the monster inside…and it hungered for words.
Which teacher was your biggest inspiration and why?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I had some amazing teachers throughout school. I can narrow it down to my top two, I think. The first was Mr. Fish, who was my high school English teacher. He had us keep a composition book and every day we had 10 minutes of free writing. He didn’t care what we wrote, as long as we took that 10 minutes to put our thoughts down. We didn’t get graded on content, just on effort. It was the best 10 minutes of my day.
The second was actually one of my college professors. Molly Emmons had an advanced creative writing class where the students were working on their stories all semester, and would take turns reading to the class and being critiqued. It was some of the best experience I’ve gotten with sharing my work and I learned a lot about story structure and organizing my work.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, in a cottage on the west coast, writing my 7th novel beside a fire place and window that looks out into the foggy ocean with a cat and 3 dogs curled up beside me.
Realistically? Publishing my 6th novel and doing all those things, probably sans the cottage on the coast (those are expensive!)
If you could have one wish, any wish at all, what would it be and why?
Quit my day job and live off my writing. Can you imagine all the procrastinating I could accomplish if I didn’t have a 9-5 job?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The rough draft, depending on its stubbornness, usually takes 3-4 months. Rewriting about 5 more. And then editing is usually about 2 months. Writing is only a year, ideally, but getting ready to publish normally takes about 2 years.
Are you a plotter or pantser? (Do you like to outline, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?)
Typically, I pants the rough draft, and plan the rewrite. Pantsing is a good way to let your creativity really roam, and you can learn things about the characters that, while they may not make it into the final draft, will help influence and round them out. It’s a good way to learn what not to do. I had an entire romantic subplot in my latest novel that got a swift axe in the rewrite-thank goodness.
I don’t like a ton of structure to my writing, I like the organic, open a vein and bleed all over the page kind of product.
Who is your favorite character that you’ve ever created?
My favorite character ever is Damon Reine, a broody, tall dark and handsome walking stereotype. He was the first one I created, and therefore holds the spot of honor in my heart. I haven’t written his book yet (where he is the main character) because I’m giving him time to evolve some more. He makes several appearances in the series though.
Which character in the literary world is your favorite and why?
I could sooner pick a favorite star among the heavens.
If I absolutely had to make a choice, I suppose it would be Jane Eyre. She is who I aspire to be when I eventually decide to grow up; a strongly-principled, passionate, and kind heroine. I, like Mr. Rochester, am constantly refreshed by her goodness and honor.
What genre do you most like to write in?
I prefer New Adult and Fantasy/Paranormal.
Is there another genre you are interested in trying out?
I currently write dark/urban fantasy. But I’ve got some ideas knocking around my head for some paranormal/ ghost stories. I suspect I’ll always stick to fantasy of some sort, though my family wants me to write nonfiction memoirs/anecdotes.
What are you working on now?
I am currently being torn betwixt two projects.
The first is the rough draft of my 5th novel in The Immortal World series, Theory of Resonance. It is about a vampire doctor from the Victorian-era who enlists the help of a studious young woman he meets in one of his modern day college classes to find a way to both explain, and cure werewolfism.
The second is the rewrite of book 4, Tears You Apart, and is the story of Hadrian Catane, the leader of the North American vampires. As he attempts to circumvent a civil war between the vampire clans and the werewolf packs, he finds his life force is inexplicably tied to that of an amateur human seer.
Can you share an excerpt with us?
Excerpt from Die For Me Again: The Immortal World Book 3
Connor had often pondered the word ‘dumbstruck’. What kind of experience could honestly render a person stupid?
He now knew.
Was it the fact that she had appeared from nowhere? One second he was alone in the room, the next she was standing in the kitchenette glaring at him.
Or was it more than that? Was it the cheongsam blouse in gold and blue she wore with tight black pants and knee-high black boots? Was it her Mediterranean looks that combined olive skin and long curly dark hair? Or was it the snapping dark eyes fixed on him in a glare so suspicious he actually felt himself shrinking back?
All of it, he supposed. But nothing ever kept Connor quiet for long.
He had been standing in front of one of the bookshelves, examining the selections there for at least the third time. He raised a hand in hesitant greeting.
“Hi?” It was lame, he knew, but his mind was still trying to recover from its dumb moment. His brains felt like over cooked spaghetti.
She stayed impossibly still and when she spoke it was in a Spanish accented low tenor, “Who are you?”
He winced, her voice was just as sharply perfect as the rest of her, making him fear being an idiot permanently. “Connor Byrd. How did I get here?”
He had taken a step forward but the further narrowing of her eyes stopped him, that and the hand that was hovering over the hilt in her belt. The hilt-his eyes went wider- of a very long, very sharp looking sword.
She pointed with her other hand to the small table and chairs, beside the kitchenette.
“Sit.” Her tone brooked no objections.
Connor hesitated even so. A strange quality hung about the woman. Even if he could ignore the fact that she had just appeared against all the laws of man and nature; something about her screamed caution to his senses.
But God, she was so beautiful, he couldn’t hold out for long. His feet moved of their own will, carrying him to the table. She rounded on him as he moved, keeping her back to the wall. When he sat, she stood about five feet away from him, between Connor and the door.
She crossed her arms and started at him silently. It was then Connor realized she hadn’t blinked the entire time.
As if brought on by his very thought, she blinked finally, and then again. Now she was doing it regularly, as if he had imagined it at first. Had he?
Connor shook his head roughly and put a hand to his temple. His head was beginning to ache again. What was going on?
“How did you find this town?”
Her nostrils flared and she looked for all the world as if she breathed for patience. Motioning to the other door behind him she said in exasperation, “How did you find my town?”
He frowned at her, “Um, by accident? I don’t even know where I am. I was being chased by wol-giant dogs.” He corrected himself, still not ready to admit what had been behind him in the woods.
“And you just happened to stumble into Discord?”
“Discord.” She waved her hands around her, indicating the place was called-
“The town is named Discord? What kind of thing is that to name a place? Not exactly welcoming, you know?” Connor snorted, “What does the travel log say, ‘Welcome to Discord, where your troubles are doubled?’”
She closed her eyes tightly and when they opened again her brows were drawn together and her lips were pursed in such annoyance he again felt the need to draw back in fear
The air around her seemed to shiver with something like danger. It was, admittedly a fanciful thought, but he was prone to them and quite at ease with the way his mind worked.
The way the woman’s foot twitched made him think she was trying not to tap it in impatience. It was pleasantly humanizing to her appearance.
As soon as he noticed it though, she went completely still, a glorious Mediterranean statue, staring at him as if she would come alive and murder him at any second.
Do you have any tips for other aspiring writers?
It cannot be said enough, read. Watch movies, listen to music- these are the things that are going to build inspiration within you.
After that? Write. Write until your fingers ache and your brain feels like mush. Write like your veins are on fire and the only way to relieve the pain is to put the truth down on paper.
Then, find someone who is kind, but firm, to read your work and tell you what is good, and what needs work.
Lastly, don’t give up. The whole world will tell you it’s pointless or impossible-do.not.listen.
Is there anything you would like to share with us before you go?
Well, I’ve recently started a series on my blog that I’m calling the Indie Book Tour. I’m reading and reviewing independently and self-published books of the authors I’ve come across on Twitter and other social media. It’s been a really rewarding and inspiring project so far, and it’s a great way to help my fellow indie authors. You can check it out here: shannonahiner.wordpress.com.
Thank you so much for hosting me for this interview! It’s been a lot of fun!
Author Bio & Links:
Shannon A Hiner lives in the mountains of Northern California where, she claims, there is a vampire city, a pack of werewolves, and plenty of faeries. She occupies a small parcel of land with her trusty cat, Pangur Ban and a computer fondly known as Raphael. She does not travel without pen and journal.
She has an Associate’s Degree in Language Arts from Butte College, in Oroville CA.
Upon publishing her first novel, Submerged In Darkness, in 2009, Shannon discovered that she had written the last book in an epic series. Since then, she has embarked upon a quest to write and publish all preceding books.