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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Interview of Author Shannon Leigh

Today it's my pleasure to present an interview of romance author Shannon Leigh.

Latest Book: EROTIKOS
Buy Link: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/Erotikos.html

BIO:
Shannon Leigh is a practicing registered nurse who graduated with a B.S.N. R.N. from the Indiana University School of nursing in May of 1996. She lives in Indiana with her husband, four sons, two spoiled rabbits, a grouchy chow chow, and one psychotic cat named Titus the Terrible. Along with writing, Shannon dabbles in cake decorating, scrapbooking, gardening, remodeling various rooms in her house when the mood strikes, and watching action flicks--particularly ones feature big gorgeous men toting guns and lots of muscles.

Despite a hectic schedule, Shannon tries to dedicate a couple of hours every day to writing, usually sometime between the hours of 9 P.M. and 3 A.M., after everyone else is in bed. She likes to curl up on the couch with her laptop, a cup of hot tea, and the cat--when he's not freaked out by glow of computer.

Along with reading other romance genres, Shannon loves suspense, fantasy, and horror, but paranormal fiction remains her favorite. She has several stories available at Amber Quill Press, Audio Lark, and Wild Child Publishing. While most involve some paranormal aspect, she has added contemporary, and more recently, science fiction, to her story backlist. With such an active imagination, Shannon always has something in works.

Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: That’s been so long…But I do remember a great sense of accomplishment and excitement. I think after the first book you finally realize, “I can do this!” I left the realm of being a dreamer and entered the one of being an author. It’s an awesome feeling and I hope many other “dreamers” get there one day.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I usually do well with details, setting, and plotting. I like to research things, learn facts, and it’s easy to plug these in to my story. You can make up anything, but even fiction has to be believable to the reader. Adding factual details helps make it more real. I’ve tried to read books where authors have attempted to make their “alien” world so alien, that I just couldn’t accept it. Purple skies, pink grass, polkadotted trees…it gets to be too much for the reader. Suddenly you feel like you’ve fallen into Oz and you get bored very quickly. I like to add in some tangible things the reader can relate to so they can also accept my weird and bizarre.

Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: This probably sounds crazy coming from an erotic/romance author, but the sex scenes are the hardest. I find myself building and building to them, but then skirting the issue because I take those so serious and want them to be so perfect that I’m scared to write them! I hate reading stories that get you all built up and ready, you’ve spend 100 pages getting to know the characters and feeling their sexual tension, and then it’s over in 2 paragraphs. That’s when I want to scream “What?! You mean that’s it?!” It’s very disappointing. I like to take my time, at least the first time my characters finally get together. Sure, there are stories when 5 pages of sex is too much and doesn't fit the characters, but you’re not likely to find too many 2 paragraph sex scenes in my stories. Even the quickies will take at least 3. *grin*

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: I’m one of those people who loves to learn how to do new things. Unfortunately, that also tends to interfere with my writing as I’m usually off learning something new like how to knit a ruffle scarf or how to wire new lights in my kitchen instead of parking my derrière in a seat and working on one of the many stories I have started.

I made the mistake a few years ago of deciding I wanted to make my own wedding cake. Yeah, like I didn’t have enough stress planning a wedding already! So I started taking these classes at Hobby Lobby, figuring I’ll learn some basics, make a nice cake, and be done. Yeah, right. When I figured out I actually had some skills at cake decorating—particularly with fondant—I got hooked. Problem is, now everyone wants me to make their cakes for birthdays, parties, etc. and I’m slow at it. I may be up ‘til 4 a.m. working on a cake!

Alas, my writing has suffered. I start with the same resolution every year. Hopefully this will be the one I actually follow through.

Q: You’re on a remote island with a handsome man, a computer, and a “mysterious” source of electricity to power your computer. What do you do?
A: Well, I’d take full advantage of the handsome man, of course. I’m expecting he’s a six-foot something mountain with muscles and bulges in all the right places. He’d certainly have glorious hair, a chiseled jaw, and an alpha ego the size of mount Everest. Then I’d put all our fantastic adventures to pen and paper and write one hell of a story. And that would just be day one… How long are we on this island?

Q: Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Chats, or Twitter. Which do you like best and why?
A: Chats are always fun because you get to interact with readers and other authors. It’s like being in a room with a bunch of your girlfriends having a great time at a party.

My second choice would be blogs. Here you get to take your time and give as much or little detail about what you’re writing about. You can also schedule things to post at a later date which is awesome for a procrastinator like me who tends to let things sneak up on her.

As for Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, I figured out how to use MySpace, then Facebook hit and I’ve never been able to get on there and know what the heck I’m doing. Twitter is about the same. I was sad to see the MySpace craze phase out. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts and I’m probably missing out on some great promo opportunity with them, but I have so much to occupy me that I just haven’t taken the time to really use them efficiently.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Website: http://shannonleigh.org
Email: author_shannon_leigh@hotmail.com
Amber Quill Press: http://www.amberquill.com/bio_ShannonLeigh.html
AudioMinx: http://www.audiominx.com/books/tag/shannon-leigh/
Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Shannon_Leigh_Newsletter/
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/author_shannon_leigh
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannonLeigh
Twitter: http://twitter.com/shannon_leigh
Blog: http://authorshannonleigh.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1291230.Shannon_Leigh
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/ShannonLeigh/

BLURB:
It’s been a long time since Renee and her two friends have gotten together for a girl’s night in.  What could possibly be more fun than drinking margaritas, gossiping about their recent bed-partners, and playing drunken rounds of Twister until they all pass out?  But when Mina shows up toting a bottle of José Cuervo Gold in one arm, and a strange game named Erotikos in the other, the girls’ evening is about to get a lot more interesting.

Even before they remove the contents, Renee senses something amiss. This is no ordinary game. Erotikos promises pleasures galore and adventures filled with sexual delight.  But how can a cardboard pastime with its small stack of cards, two oddly marked die, and eight pewter men accomplish all this?

After reading the instructions, the girls select their character pieces—an Indian, a selkie, and a vampire. Three men of varying backgrounds, but all sexy as sin and tantillizing to the eye. With a roll of the dice, the game begins, and the three women soon find themselves pulled into a place where their wildest fantasies come to life...

EXCERPT:
Renee moved her character forward two spaces. “‘Warriors and Rituals, a proud race are the Sioux. Select your card, the number is two.’”

She glanced first at Candi, then Mina. “You sure about this?”

“It’s a game, Renee. What could happen?” Mina crossed her arms over her chest with an annoyed huff.

“This is me, drinking,” Candi announced, reaching for the José.

Renee snatched the bottle first. “Okay, I give. No more drinking.”

She set the José on the floor, well out of everyone’s reach, then regarded her card. It still lay facedown on the board, waiting for her to pick it up. With a shaking hand, she placed the tip of her index finger on the card’s backside and slowly slid it toward her.

“Here goes.”

The room became uncomfortably quiet as Renee grasped the card by its edge and turned it over. Mina and Candi leaned forward, curiosity gleaming in their unwavering stares. Feeling as though she sealed some inexplicable fate, Renee read her adventure aloud.

“‘Eyanosa, a great Lakota Sioux warrior in South Dakota, has taken part in The Sun Dance ritual in hopes that an emissary of the Wakan Tanka will return to bring peace and prosperity to his people. Your appearance will comfort his heart, but he craves the warmth of your flesh to soothe his soul.’”

When she’d finished, Renee regarded her friends with nauseating unease. Her insides roiled with apprehension. Was that it?

Instinctively she sensed something was about to happen, but she had no clue as to what that might be. They were three half-drunk women playing a stupid board game that Mina had seduced out the hands of an old gypsy woman’s adolescent grandson. What could happen?

She was about to suggest they just put away the dumb game when Candi yelled, “Look!” practically scaring her out of her skin.

“Look at the orb in the middle!” Suddenly sober with excitement, Candi reared up on her knees. With both hands firmly planted on either side of the board, she hovered over the game, her expression a mixture of awe and anticipation.

Mina inclined her head, squinting as the white swirling words within the orb’s center began to take shape. “What’s that say?”

Almost against her own will, Renee felt her upper body sway forward, too. Unable to deny her curiosity, she deciphered the hazy message. “It looks like…‘Do you three agree?’”

“Agree to what?” Candi asked as she deflated back against the couch, her momentary thrill in danger of expiring to her characteristic boredom.

“Well, to the adventures, of course,” Mina snorted. “What else could it be?”

They all fell silent, exchanging looks of agreement, excitement, and unease in a room that suddenly seemed void of all objects and sound. It was almost as though a vacuum had sucked away everything but the three of them and this game. Renee felt weightless and drunk, but she sensed her surrealistic state wasn’t caused by alcohol.

Something else was amiss.

Mina and Candi nodded in unison, their wordless affirmations a bold and persuasive declaration to her instinctive rebellion, which screamed at her to decline. Obligation weighed on her like a woolen cloak soaked by rain. Before she could rationalize her behavior, she felt her chin dip forward in consent.

The room started to spin in a fashion similar to times when she’d awakened in the morning after having far too much to drink. But unlike then, her mind wasn’t distorted; rather, everything around had begun to move. Shifting, turning, the colors melding together like they did on one of those spinning art trays that slung paint together in a fashion no human hand could create.

Renee’s vision strained against the ambiance, searching for her friends, whom she knew were seated a mere few feet away. Panic rioted her insides when she saw that Candi was gone. Before she even looked, she knew Mina would be, too.

Pressure surrounded her on all sides, making it near impossible to move. She fought the resistance, struggling to turn her head to the right. She managed an inch or two, enough to confirm her fear.

Tears blurred her already fuzzy gaze as her terror grew. They slipped from the corners of her eyes, but never reached her cheeks. The air around her sucked them from her skin and into the ever-growing vortex around her.

Renee opened her mouth to scream, but the words seemed also lost in the churning eddy. She felt herself being lifted off the ground and drawn forward, pulled toward the coffee table. And as her paralyzed frame hovered in the air above the game, her nose mere inches from the now-wordless orb, she realized how they would complete their turns.

We’re going in.


Anything else you’d like to add?
For fellow authors…keep at it. Don’t give up. If writing is your passion, then write what’s in your heart, not what others say you should. Don’t focus on money or getting famous. Those may or may not come. The greatest joy in writing is knowing someone loved your story.

For readers…thank you. Without you, I’d have no reason to write. I love to hear from others. You loved my book, you hated my book, what you’d like to see, what made you laugh, made you think, tell me tell me, I want to know.

Shannon Leigh
"Giving readers the O in their erOtica."

4 comments:

Sandy said...

An interesting excerpt, Shannon. Great interview.

jean hart stewart said...

YOu've got imagination, girl. Love that. Enjoyed the blurb and the interview...

Cara Marsi said...

Good interview. You are one busy woman. I'm in awe of all you do. Your book sounds amazing, so creative.

Molly Daniels said...

I loved this book Shannon!

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