I am happy to report that as of September 6th my blog tour is in full swing. It will run for a month and there is a giveaway!
Here is my guest post on the first entry into the blog tour, by Silver Dagger Book tours, who are sponsoring the event. Enjoy!
What inspired you to write this book?
Well…once I realized that Shifting Auras was but the first in a series I had to write the others. I still don’t have the ending written, and I’m up to four books so far, but I’m getting there! This book in particular I had to write Quillan’s story. He needed his own book.
What can we expect from you in the future?
For the remainder of 2019, after Tracking Shadows comes out I am also going to be self-publishing The Mormo’s Protection, the book that was in my successful box set USA Today Bestselling run.
Then I am going to release A Whisker of Fire, which is an Elementals story set around the events of Fire Danger, but without Phoenix or Rachel in it. It was originally serialized in my newsletter but is now fully edited and ready for its close-up.
I am also working on edits for Earth Tremors, the fourth in the Elementals series, but don’t have an ETA for that yet.
I am included in a box set that is releasing in November and am currently working on a YA novella for that set. He’s a dragon shifter, she’s a dryad trapped by her family…it is great fun so far.
In addition, I wrote a book for a box set that fell apart and am contemplating when to release that. It has been edited and I have a blurb for it. I am thinking tentatively of releasing it in December, but that is TBA.
On the short story front I have a story in Fantasia Divinity’s Summer Splash anthology, which will be released in September. I also have several drabbles in their upcoming Winds of Despair anthology, also scheduled for September, and a story in their Cards of Fire anthology, but I don’t know the release date on that one.
I also have a story in Midnight in the Witch’s Kitchen, through Alban Lake Publishing, and I think that’s an October release.
As you can see, lots to look forward to! I expect 2020 will be more of the same! It will definitely include the third Universe Chronicles story, the final Elementals book (hopefully), the current serialized story in my newsletter, and likely two or three others in the hopper. No rest for Claire!
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not that I write down necessarily but I do have an idea about who they are and where they came from. Sometimes that turns into new books altogether. Or new stories. For instance, there is a mention of Bahamut, an Arabic folkloric sea monster/whale that is supposed to hold up the world. It is a minor character, but important. I have written some short stories, mostly for myself, although I have sent them out for consideration, around Bahamut.
In other words, each character does live and breathe on its own, even if we never find out any more about them. I do have fun when I go down those roads. I am serializing an entire book in my newsletter that takes place at the same time as each one of the Elemental books, utilizing other characters/character groups. It has been very fun to retell the events around each Elementals book from a humbler character’s point of view.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Tracking Shadows?
Quillan is the head of the Richmond branch of Universe, the governmental paranormal agency first introduced in Shifting Auras. Quillan can turn invisible and is also a good long-range tracker. He is a bit formal and very focused on doing a good job. He has little time in his life for romance…until he meets Jiana Falco and all his good intentions go out the window.
Jiana is a shadow manipulator who works for Night Stars, the rival paranormal agency run by the Russians. However, she wants to defect. She is twenty-five, which we find out in the series is a key age for new talents. When she rescues Quillan from shadows only she can see, she sets into motion their inevitable clash with Night Stars. What she doesn’t know is that there is more than Universe and Night Stars at work. What she also doesn’t realize is that she is going to be attracted to the darkly handsome head of the local Universe group, more than she’s ever been attracted to anyone in her life.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
Hijack hijack hijack! It’s part of the reason I don’t/can’t outline. (I do outline after the fact, via the synopsis, which helps me with the weak parts/saggy areas of the story) The characters take over and lead the story down unexpected paths. I just had some characters go through a portal to meet her unknown father…I had no idea that was going to happen until it did. Surprise! Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Heck yeah! When I went back to writing several years ago I had probably ten first drafts of contemporary romances (one SF/erotic) that I had written and abandoned. When I went back to writing I put two of those out and the rest are as yet unpublished. I am working on one of those to see about getting a publisher. If that moves forward, there are three others in that loosely linked world (connected characters) that would need to be polished and put out.
In addition, since I went back to writing my writing output far exceeds my ability to edit the work. I’ve probably got another eight or so that I have written that need tending but I just haven’t gotten to. I’m always writing always editing, it’s just a matter of priority and what I need to focus on in that time frame. I intend to get to all of them as I can, but there are only so many hours in a day.
What did you edit out of this book?
It’s more like what I changed about it. In the original draft the entire ending wasn’t as strong—Jiana wasn’t as strong. I added those elements because she needed to be more powerful than she was (that’s what she told me anyway).
Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Joe Hill. Not only is he a brilliant writer he is the son of Stephen King. I can only imagine what sort of amazing stories he has to tell.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Since this is a sequel I already had the hero. Quillan, Ian’s boss and somewhat antagonistic frenemy was a natural to be the hero in the second book.
I wanted our rival agency, Night Stars, to take more of a role in this book and so wanted the heroine to somehow be associated with that agency. I struck on the idea of her being an unwilling participant and turning to Quillan for help—while also saving his life. The concept of twenty-five year olds having something special was one of the through lines I had to keep going, and the idea that our heroine Jiana still has power lurking inside her was just too delicious to overlook.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Quillan…that just sort of came to me. I try to go for unusual names but not so off the beaten path that people can’t pronounce it. I had to work his backstory a bit around it since he’s Spanish but Quillan is not a Spanish name. In any event, I love the name.
Jiana I struggled a bit more with. I wanted something again a bit unusual and went with Jiana. Of course that meant that I had to change a character name that I’d already established in book one since her name originally was Jia (now Yin). I wanted something that fit her Italian heritage while still being unique.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
It is so much fun to explore all the different talents. I have several sites bookmarked to come up with ideas and there are dozens and dozens to choose from. It’s very easy to go down the rabbit hole of “hey, check out this talent,” or “ooh, they can walk through walls?” It makes me wonder what I would want if I could have any superpower.
I always enjoy researching the places I send my characters to. In this case I enjoyed being a passenger on Quillan and Jiana’s headlong flight down the Florida Keys. My aunt Cindy lived in Key West for quite a few years and I always intended to visit (she moved recently) so this way I got to see the key without actually going. It will have to do, for the moment.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Quillan believes in Universe and the structure of the organization. He is a leader and takes that job seriously—no half assing for him. He has no time for relationships and less time for fools. He likes to be trusted and relied on but also keeps himself aloof from others.
Jiana just wants to be allowed to be her own person. Under her uncle’s watchful eye, she is little more than a lackey for a group she doesn’t believe in. She wants to stretch her wings and discover who she is.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Well…define first novel. I’m going to go with the first one I self-published, aka the first time I put myself out there.
The idea of the story was that he was a risk taker and she was most definitely not. She grows through the story and becomes a more realized person. At the same time Hunter, who was shut down emotionally, learns to love again.
Originally I simply called it “Hunter” because I didn’t know what to call it but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to focus on that theme. So the story became called “Sense of Adventure” and there is a call back to that toward the end of the book. You’d have to read it to see how!
Who designed your book covers?
For the Universe Chronicles series, it’s a gal named Ramona Lockwood, who Soul Mate Publishing hired. I love the couples she finds!
For my Elementals series and many of my other books it’s a designer named Kanaxa. She designed the cover for Fire Danger. When I first saw it it was so unexpected I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It was evocative and symbolic and totally unique. Then I realized it was absolutely perfect. We have collaborated on many covers since then and each time her vision brings something to the cover I didn’t expect—in a good way.