Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Interview of Author Shauna Aura Knight
Latest Book: Werewolves in the Kitchen
Jupiter Gardens Press
An artist, author, and presenter, Shauna’s work is inspired by the mythic stories of heroes, of swords and magic, and of the darkness we each must overcome. She’s a fantasy artist and author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy including Werewolves in the Kitchen, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, A Fading Amaranth, and more. Her mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations. She travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of community leadership, facilitation, and personal transformation, and is the author of numerous articles and several books on those subjects.
Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: It depends on the day. When I’m traveling and teaching I don’t get to do a lot of writing. And some days I devote to painting, or I have freelance graphic design work. Some days, I can crank out 8,000 words a day. One night I wrote 16,000 words of articles on sex “how to” as well as on sex positive activism. That was a little insane, but I was motivated after a fascinating conversation on my Facebook wall. My writing speed depends on whether I’m working on fiction or nonfiction and whether or not the muse has struck me. I tend to write in jags for several days and then have a hard time getting writing done for days or weeks after.
Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: I know a lot more about the publishing industry now, and I know a lot more about what’s publishable. So I’d say the most important thing I do now is not just focusing on the story, but also looking at the rest of it—the structure of the book, the editing, the business of publishing.
I’m also starting to have enough books out that I can offer things like freebie stories or books.
Werewolves with Chocolate is a novella that’s the sequel to Werewolves in the Kitchen, and it’ll be available for free to everyone who subscribes to my fiction email list on my web site’s contact page.
Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: I give most of the characters I write a little piece of myself. Sometimes it’s one of my fears, for instance, or a pain from my past. Lots of people can resonate with those fears and feelings. They are pretty universal and they are certainly something that motivate people’s actions.
Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Sometimes I just know their names. Jake and Kyle I just knew. Other times, I’m trolling through naming dictionaries and grunting incomprehensible swear-like words until I find the right one. Very often I know the first letter of their name and the mood I want the name to evoke. I knew Ellie’s name started with an E, and it took me a while to find the right name for her.
Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: Yup. But, I also have the great fortune to be able to do most of my own covers these days. I’m a professional graphic designer and illustrator, and I like being able to obsess over the covers. Actually, I finished the cover for A Fading Amaranth and Werewolves with Chocolate before I finished the stories.
Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Write. Write more. Know that the first things you write will suck. Keep writing, get better, and actually finish the book. Finish what you write so that you can submit it to a publisher; you can’t send things that aren’t finished.
Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A:Write more, don’t give up. Stop procrastinating.
Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Absolutely. Life experiences are one of the ways I bring depth to my stories. Plus, I’ve had plenty of things happen to me where I have thought, “I couldn’t have made this up if I tried.” Or, I’ve had those really bad life experiences where the only value I could really get out of it was to use it as fodder for my fiction. For instance, in Werewolves in the Kitchen, and the sequel, Werewolves with Chocolate, I used some of my knowledge of living at a retreat center out in the woods to lend some realism to Jake, Kyle, and Ellie’s story. I’ve also used things like physical injuries I’ve experienced. I’ve never been beaten up by a Faerie monster, but I have fallen down the stairs.
Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: It’s more the middle and end of the writing process, particularly the end. Usually I write books starting in the middle, right in the action. I have an idea for some characters and a major plot point…but I don’t know how we got there. Sometimes I know the end, sometimes I don’t. Finishing the book drives me bonkers.
Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: I have dozens of half-written manuscripts in the form of Word documents, but a lot of the stories are in my head. Half of them are some fairly extensive epic fantasy novels. These days a lot of my work is to try and finish up the stories I’ve been working on for decades.
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: As a kid, definitely Christmas. Now that I facilitate rituals and ceremonies for holy-days within the Pagan community, I’d say that Samhain (Halloween) and Beltane (May day) are usually my favorites.
Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m a Pagan and I celebrate an Earth-centered spirituality. In fact, I am a leader and author within the Pagan community and I facilitate rituals, classes, and other spiritual events for my community, and I travel and teach leadership and facilitation skills nationally.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A writer and an artist.
Q: Favorite food.
A: Barbecue. Brisket especially.
Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: Dancing to trance music.
Q: Favorite drink.
A: Bolthouse vanilla protein drink or fresh-squeezed orange juice. I eat pretty ridiculously healthy.
Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer days. I swear I’m half lizard; I’m always cold.
Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Visiting the British Isles and all the megaliths like Stonehenge and Newgrange.
Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: Elemental Powers—lighting, fire, water, wind, that sort of thing.
Tell us where to find you:
Web Site: http://www.shaunaauraknight.com/
Fiction Blog: https://shaunaknightauthorartist.wordpress.com/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/shaunaaknight
When Ellie moved to the SpiralStone retreat center to figure out her life, she expected peace, quiet, and spiritual practice. She had no idea that the two sexy men running the kitchen would seduce her…much less at the same time. Kyle and Jake turn out to be wilder than they seem and Ellie finds herself wrapped up in devastating magic. She must choose: stay with Jake and Kyle and risk who she has been, accepting the dangerous world of shapeshifters? Or leave them and risk madness, or worse?
Kyle was close enough to her that she could feel the warmth coming off of his body. She tried to not stare at his chest and the tribal tattoos curled around his bicep and shoulder. She dropped her clothes into the washer, her hands shaking, she wanted him so badly. She started the washer.
“Ugh, this got dropped in the creek too.” She sniffed her silk hair band. “You should smell this thing; I don’t know if it smells more like creek water or my sweat.”
She looked up, surprised by the sudden silence in the room, and her jaw dropped a little. The two men were suddenly looking at her like hungry wolves. Ellie felt like a cornered deer and actually backed up against the washer.
Kyle stepped closer and drew the silk up to his nose. “Hmmm, not sure,” he said, and moved in to her side, scenting her hair. “Seems to smell more like you. Jake?” He looked up, and the men shared some look between them.
Ellie was tongue-tied. They had to be teasing her.
Jake moved in front of her, and she trembled as he sniffed her hair band and then her hair. “Yes, definitely like you.”
“Yes,” Kyle murmured, nuzzling her neck. She was panting. Kyle growled and pulled back. “I don’t want to pressure you.”
“We don’t want you to feel like you have to.”
Ellie made a soft sound. Words wouldn’t come.
“Are you ok?”
“Do you want us to stop?” Jake murmured. She shook her head and then gasped when Kyle kissed her neck. Jake stroked her cheek and kissed her lips gently at first, and when she moaned he pulled her closer. Kyle lapped at her neck, nipping now, slipping his hands over her breasts, and Jake was making love to her mouth with deep velvet strokes of his tongue.
She moaned weakly feeling Kyle behind her, his hard heat rubbing against her buttocks, and felt Jake in front of her, pulling her close against his hips. Kyle slipped his fingers into her shirt to tease at her nipples, and she leaned back against him, bucking into his touch. Kyle drew the straps of her cami-top down even as Jake started dragging her shirt up.
She pulled back to breathe, and Jake stroked her cheek, nibbling at the other side of her neck. “Guys…I need a shower….”
Kyle chuckled, lifting his head. “Not like we haven’t been baking in our own juices; we can take care of that. Come with us.”
“Come with you?”
“To our room,” Jake whispered into her ear, and she moaned, closing her eyes. “Come on,” they urged, drawing her to the stairs.
“But…I…” Ellie shook her head. “Why now?” Kyle turned her to face him.
“We both wanted you, but we didn’t want to scare you.”
“I saw you watching us. Don’t you desire us?”
“Oh yes, but I thought you two were...that is…didn’t think you’d want….”
Kyle kissed her deeply. “I want you. Jake wants you. We’ve been trying not to crowd you, but well…”
“You didn’t seem to get our signals.” Jake sucked hard on her neck.
“I just thought you were being nice.”
“Oh we were being nice,” Kyle grinned. “We’re going to be nicer. Come on.” He shut the washer.