1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms? Do your reading choices reflect your writing choices? Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?
I read a lot of speculative fiction genres, and I also write in a bunch of them. I write primarily paranormal romance and urban fantasy at the moment, but I have more epic fantasy, space opera, and dystopian books in the works. I’m not really interested in reading regular contemporary fiction, or for that matter, watching many movies without a magical or sci-fi element to them. I probably wouldn’t attempt writing horror; I can’t stand reading it, and I couldn’t stand writing it.
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write? Does one of these come easy and why?
I tend to use “hero” as a gender-neutral term, and heroes are definitely my favorite to write. Since a lot of my stories come from dreams I’ve had--and I’m usually in the role of the hero in the dreams--it’s pretty easy to write those characters because I’ve been them and lived them, even if just for a little while in the dreamscape.
Villains…well, that one is harder for me. And I’ve been trying to nail down why for years, because my difficulty writing villains has kept me from finishing a lot of half-done books! I think part of it is that I am a pretty compassionate person; I don’t like seeing people in pain, and I genuinely don’t understand how people can intentionally hurt others. It’s hard for me to get into that villain headspace because it makes me angry or sad to think of people who don’t care about hurting others, or worse, who enjoy it.
3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Most of my stories come from dreams I’ve had. I’ve been writing down my dreams since I was about twelve, and I have had some huge, massive, epic dreams. By the time I have written down one of these dreams after waking, I have a pretty good idea of the main protagonists for the story, and for me, the characters and the plot are thoroughly woven together. Sometimes I’ll go online and look for pictures of them, or I’ll paint them myself. I’ve just started dipping my toes into Pinterest and creating boards for specific stories and characters. Finding outfits for characters seems to obsess me at about 3am on some nights.
4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
Same answer as above. I’m not really thinking about hero vs. heroine; heroes can be all genders.
5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?
I wrote a bit above about how it’s sometimes difficult for me to write a villain. And also, sometimes the antagonist is just the situation, but almost always there’s going to be a villain in the form of a character. Sometimes for villains I pull from the headlines of horrible things people do; stuff I couldn’t make up if I tried.
And as for making my villains human…I suppose I can offer a deeper reason why they’re hard for me to write and spill a few secrets. Once upon a time I attended a panel discussion at a sci-fi/fantasy convention. One of the authors said something about how writing a great villain requires you to get in touch with your own shadows, your own dark side. To ask the question, “If I didn’t care about what society thought, what would I do to attain XYZ goal?”
That one has sat like a lump of lead in my stomach, because it’s true.
The best villains I read in books are the ones that are real. The ones who are very much the heroes of their own stories, the ones who are making choices just as the heroes are, it’s just that those choices may be a little more likely to hurt others. So to write a really good villain, I have to be willing to dive deep into my dark side, and that isn’t always a pleasant place to be. But when I do that, and when I figure out the villain’s own tragic story, that is what makes a villain come alive.
6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?
In the next few weeks I’ll be releasing my paranormal romance The Truth Upon Her Lips, book one of the Roses Rising series, where Kade and Sonya end up fighting a banished Faerie lord. Kade meets Sonya when she’s in a car accident; he’s an EMT, and he’s also a wereleopard. Sonya isn’t injured in the wreck, but she’s surprised that her psychic precognition never kicked in. She’s had this strange ability all her life which she has mostly resented because it made her weird, but now, she’s wondering why she didn’t foresee the accident. Kade is struggling to keep his wereleopard nature under wraps as things get hot and heavy between the two of them.
Life begins to get pretty strange for Sonya and the “convenient accidents” start piling up. I won’t spoil all the surprises here, but there’s a Faerie curse, werecreatures, Fae monsters, some corporate intrigue, and Sonya begins to discover her own magical powers she didn’t know she had.
The villain of the story was kicked out of Faerie by his own father and grandmother for being part human—for not being a powerful enough Fae. He’s determined to win back his place at court by any means necessary, and killing Sonya, or the wereleopards protecting her, doesn’t bother him in the slightest if it helps him to attain his goals.
7. What are you working on now?
I’m in the finishing phases of A Golden Heart of Glass and A Winter Knight’s Silence, but I’m also working on the next in the Roses Rising Series, Until She Wakes From Sleep. I also have a longer urban fantasy series that explores the psychic mage characters introduced in my book A Fading Amaranth.
A Golden Heart of Glass takes place at the SpiralStone retreat center (where Werewolves in the Kitchen is set). Angel and Ben find themselves connecting to the gods Aphrodite and Hephaestus, and as their magic grows, they become the target for vampires and other creatures that want their power. A Winter Knight’s Silence follows Lily on a pilgrimage to Glastonbury Tor where she has a wild night with the Horned God. Until She Wakes From Sleep follows one of the descendants of Sleeping Beauty; there’s a sorceress after her who wants her powers, and it might be the sexy dragon shifter who ends up being the prince charming of the story.
8. How can people find you?
I’m all over the place. Signing up for my email newsletter is a great way to keep in touch, and I offer the occasional freebies and giveaway. Facebook’s my social media of choice, but I also have really been having fun on Pinterest lately.
Web Site: http://www.shaunaauraknight.com
Fiction Blog: https://shaunaknightauthorartist.wordpress.com
Fiction Blog: https://shaunaknightauthorartist.wordpress.com
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/shaunaaknight
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/ShaunaAuraKnight