Welcome to the three hundred and eighty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with urban fantasy author and artist Shonna White. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Shonna. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Shonna: I’ve been writing novel-sized manuscripts since I was twelve. At fourteen, I won my first recognition from a short-story competition put on by the Calgary Publisher’s Society. This was so motivating as I was competing against people much older than I, and with much more experience.
After submitting a short story as a school project, I was also randomly attacked by an English teacher in the halls of my Junior High school (middle school to some). She was a published author herself, with a few books under her belt. While at the time it embarrassed me, it really did make me see the power I held with my writing.
Now, in my thirties, I’ve actually decided that it’s time to put something out there. Lost Infernal is a proposed series that I’m currently marketing to agents.
As for me specifically, I’m a mother of two, Final Fantasy addict, deviantART artist (http://sraointe.deviantert.com), and am based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’m always amused when people see my art and can’t believe I’m Canadian! Apparently, we Canadian’s have a bad rap.
Morgen: I’ve not heard that but have interviewed a few lovely Canadians – maybe they (and other Canadians – perhaps your teacher?) will read this and let us know. What genre do you generally write?
Shonna: I write Urban Fantasy. My main love is writing about the supernatural. I’ve done a lot of research into many supernatural beliefs and so I think I could write in just about any genre, so long as I could fit that in somewhere. My one exception would be Romance. Though I believe a story should have romantic elements, I’m so far from being the stereotypical girl, and I hate romance novels and chick flicks. The plot should never be about the romance.
Morgen: I’m not typically romantic and quickly learned I couldn’t write Mills & Boon (but like many incorrectly thought it was a way to start) but I do like chick flicks although prefer clever than slush. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Shonna: I’m actually currently working to break in, and am marketing Lost Infernal to agents. That doesn’t stop me from already marketing it to the public though!
I’ve set up www.lostinfernal.com, an extensive website about the proposed series and the world it takes place in. Also, you can find proposed artwork, conceptual artwork, and a logo all on my deviantART site mentioned above. My art for Lost Infernal, including the book marks and posters I’ve handed out at expos, all have a strong brand tied to them which is distinct from the brands I’ve created for my name and for my art. That being said, I strive to make them have similar elements so the brands tie together.
Morgen: Looking at your cover I’d say it does have the right feel; the dark, brooding supernatural. Do you have a favourite of all your characters?
Shonna: The villain of Lost Infernal is my favourite character. I love my main character but the villain is just so much fun (and work) to write. Creating someone who is an evil genius and whose actions for the last several hundred years, are all coming to fruition at this time, is hard. Still, he’s just so much fun. With him, I take the approach of: If I’m writing a scene with him in it and I’m not making my self uncomfortable, then it’s just not evil enough.
Morgen: They say if the writer is bored then the reader will be and it’s bound to work the other way round, and we do all have a ‘dark side’. You said earlier about doing research for your books…
Shonna: I’ve done a LOT of research for the Lost Infernal series! The most important research to me has been in worldwide vampire mythology (so I could mess with it), military procedures / training / operations / you-name-it, and psychology.
In the end, I love the research aspect and believe it to be just as important as the plot. Why? Because you need to know what you’re writing about, and really understand it. When taking a long lived mythology like vampires, you need to know why people love it and why such a brutal, and even ugly, mythos has evolved to what it has. Not doing that, I think, does a disservice to the people who love the genre. Play with it, but never lose focus of what you’re writing about and why there is a following.
Morgen: You’re absolutely right that you have to understand what you’re writing because even if you’re not writing what you know, someone will pick up on any inaccuracies you have. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Shonna: I have a few places:
Writing Related: www.lostinfernal.com
Art Related: http://sraointe.deviantart.com
Facebook Page: Shonna White / Sraointe
Morgen: Brilliant. Thank you, Shonna.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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