Author Interview – Meredith Stoddard

Author of the Once & Future series

Joining me today to talk about her historical fantasy novels is the author Meredith Stoddard, author of the Once and Future series. I am so excited that the fourth book of her series releases today!!! Make sure you go and check out Nothing Good Gets Away! (Links below).

Welcome Meredith and thank you for joining me. Congratulations on the release of the fourth book in your series. Tell us a little about your novels.

Meredith: My latest is called Nothing Good Gets Away. It’s the fourth in my Once & Future series which is contemporary fantasy. It follows Sarah MacAlpin a folklorist who is trying to trace the origin of a  folksong that her grandmother taught her when she was a little girl. But when she starts pulling that thread it starts to reveal some family secrets and explain the trigger for her mother’s mental illness and eventual suicide. She’s helped along the way by a colleague from Scotland, who she falls in love with. But he is also embroiled in a cabal of neo-Jacobites who are trying to restore the Scottish crown to the Stuarts. They think Sarah is essential to their plans. When we catch up with Sarah in book 4, the revelations of the first three books have made her re-evaluate all her plans for the future. All she wants is to get away and live a quiet life somewhere, but there are some powerful forces working against her. This series has a folklore, magic, intrigue and romance. If readers like a Discovery of Witches or Outlander, they will enjoy this series.

Helen: This sounds really intriguing. And big news! If you haven’t read Meredith’s books yet, the ebook of Book One: The River Maiden is currently free to celebrate the launch of the fourth book in the series-so get it now! I love a historical fantasy. How did you come up with the title?

Meredith: The title for this book comes from a letter that John Steinbeck wrote to his son as fatherly advice on teenage romance. In the letter he talks about two kinds of love; healthy and uplifting versus unhealthy and possessing or draining. He tells him to be patient with the object of his affection because if it is meant to be, it will be. He tells him, “Nothing good gets away.” Those two kinds of love are very much a theme in this book, so it seems fitting. But out of context it can also sound like a threat which fits this book too. I love the equivocal nature of it.

Helen: That sounds very trusting, not sure fate is always that kind. But then, sometimes, no matter what you do, no matter how difficult you make it for yourself, you end up where you’re supposed to be anyway! That’s what my MC finds out! What made you write this book?

Meredith: This series is very much about the question of fate versus free will. While Sarah’s situation is extreme, I think we’ve all had occasions where people tell us we should be doing one thing, and we might want to go in a different direction. A lot of us have to balance the expectation of our family or community or society with our own desires and plans. That push and pull can be hard to balance and sometimes it requires compromise. Even if we don’t feel it to the level that Sarah does, finding that balance is something that many people struggle with.

Helen: Very true! And most of the time we don’t realise we are being manipulated by society or social norms as they are so ingrained. What made you first put pen to paper? Was it a specific event or person who who inspired you to begin writing?

Meredith: My grandmother. She’s a terrific storyteller, and memory keeper. When I was a little girl, I would spend weeks at her house, and she would tell me stories about the generations of our family that came before us, and other families in the little town where she lives. And then I would go out into her garden, which is glorious and walk around with my imagination full of my own stories. It was a magical way to spend my summers. I got hooked on stories and making my own stories. She’s also an incredibly strong and determined person. She’s pretty amazing. 

Helen: She sounds absolutely amazing, and it’s so wonderful that she is able to share so much about your family and instilled in you a live or storytelling. I always think a love of reading and the storytelling skills are passed down to us from our parents and grandparents, those who have the most influence on its when we are young, and it’s lovely to see it action. I’m not surprised a sense of history permeates your writing, but you blend in fantasy as well, where did that come from?

Meredith: I try to follow a theme more than a genre. All of my fiction is folklore inspired. I usually let the story pick the genre. That can lead me to write historical fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction. I even have an idea for a horror book. The common thread is always folkore. In the case of the Once & Future Series, I was reading a lot about Grail lore and Arthurian legends. I started to ask myself what would happen if the future part of the “once and future king” happened now. What would that look like? So, that led me to fantasy. I have some historical fiction pieces that are inspired by legends of the North Carolina coast. 

Helen: So I am assuming there are a wealth of ideas in the world of folklore to inspire your books?

Meredith: I am fascinated by folklore and oral traditions. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of stories that have been passed down for generations. That’s where I find inspiration. What is the grain of truth in a story? How would that story look if it happened today? What actually happened as opposed to whatever embellished version has been passed down. There are so many rich and interesting traditions to explore.

Helen: So, book four is out, is there a fifth? What are you working on now?

Meredith: I have a couple of books in the pipeline right now. Of course, there will be a fifth book in the Once & Future Series to follow the one that is releasing this month. I also am revising a women’s fiction novel that is a spinoff of the fantasy series. It’s about a woman who returns to her hometown after inheriting her family home. She is a marketing consultant who has been working almost non-stop for years. She is asked to lend her brand management skills to help revive her family’s dying church. But she is conflicted because she’s an atheist. She also has some past trauma that makes her resist trusting her instincts, which leads her to make some choices that don’t leave her happy or fulfilled. On top of that she has a tense relationship with her mother. I’m actually very excited about it. The main character’s interior voice is snarky and irreverent. It was a fun book to write. 

Helen: Let’s change gears for a moment, tell us a little about how you write. Do you plan everything or do just let the story evolve?

Meredith: I am a big time planner. In my previous career I was developing training classes for a software company, so I got very used to outlines and planning. I have to be able to see where a project is going. That bird’s eye view keeps me on track and makes for less revision time. I love Save the Cat Writes a Novel and use their beat sheets to sketch out the plot. Then I expand that out into a scene-by-scene outline. I’m not a slave to it. There are plenty of detours and re-plotting breaks along the way. There is still room for discovery, but I like to start with a plan.

Helen: Sounds like a good plan! How does writing fit into your daily life? How often are you able to write? Do you write everyday?

Meredith: This is a challenge for most writers isn’t it? It’s always been a challenge, but the pandemic has certainly made it worse because everyone is suddenly at home with me all day. I’m a mom of two teenagers, who are currently in remote school, so a lot of my time is spent making sure they get to class on time and get their work done. I use sprints to write in short bursts whenever I can fit it in; evenings, weekends, while the kids are in class. Luckily, right before the pandemic started, we built a finished shed behind our house that serves as my office. It’s great to have my own space, and I have the best walk to work through my garden. 

Helen: It sounds divine. I keep saying I going to move so I can have a writing nook and a library. One day maybe. So, you have your writing den, do you listen to music while you write?

Meredith: Absolutely! The main character in my fantasy series is trying to get a PhD in ethno-musicology. It would be hard to write her without music. It’s also is such a great way to get in the mood for writing, and to shut out distractions. I make playlists for certain characters, relationships, and settings. I even share some of those playlists with my readers. Sometimes they make suggestions to me of songs that should be added to the playlists.

Helen: Don’t you love it when your character’s voice becomes real? They have their own opinions and they are not shy about telling you. Out of all your books, who is your favourite character?

Meredith: That is a tough question. Obviously, I have a soft spot for my main characters. But occasionally, there is a magical thing that happens with certain secondary characters who show up and just shine and surprise me. One of those in my fantasy series is Ruaraidh (pronounced ROO-ree) Ballantyne. He’s the half-brother of my main character and doesn’t show up until the third book. I knew he would come along when I started writing the series, but when it finally happened, he just bloomed. He’s a hiking guide and mountain rescue volunteer in the Scottish Highlands. He’s a tall, sun-kissed smart-ass who drives an ancient Land Rover, and rescues my MC on occasion. I love all my characters, but when this guy shows up I just have to smile.

Helen: He sounds great! I’m smiling as I listen to you describe him. I am definitely going to have to go and check out your series! Thank you so much for joining me today; I have loved chatting with you. I wish you all the best with your next book and your book series. Just to close us out, can you tell us what you are currently reading?

Meredith: I’ve been rereading a lot of favorites because of the pandemic, I think. with so much out of my control, now that I am done writing book 4 of my fantasy series, I’m getting into researching book 5, so there is a lot of nonfiction about Gaelic folklore like The Gaelic Otherworld which is an anthology of Gaelic folklore around fairies and the supernatural. It is giant brick of a book, but it’s full of all kinds of legends that I’m sure will inspire more books and stories. I’ve also been using Natasha Sumner and Aidan Doyle’s North American Gaels as incentive to get my work done. I got it for Christmas and told myself I wouldn’t start reading it until I was ready to research book 5. I’m such a nerd about folklore that this is a real treat for me.

About the Author:

I have known since I was a little girl sitting at my Granny’s kitchen table listening to her recount the stories of our family, that I wanted to be a story teller. Naturally, as with many folks, life/bills/mortgages/children got in the way for a while. Now after more than a decade writing training and sales material in the corporate world I find myself with the freedom to return to the kind of story telling that I have always enjoyed. So, I’m turning my attention the stories that have been in my head for as long as I can remember. Some are historical fiction, some are non-fiction, some are just plain romance, but I hope they are all entertaining. Here are my bullet points:

– Wife and mother of 2 amazing children
– Nuts about all things knitting, crocheting, felting, or otherwise fiber related
– Former corporate trainer and instructional designer 
– Grew up in suburban Virginia, but the child of Tarheels
– BA in English from UNC-Chapel Hill
– Also minored in Folklore at UNC, and still passionate about all things folklore
– Avid Instagrammer, reader, genealogist, history nerd and shower singer
– Opinionated

Social Media Links:

Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

You can purchase Meredith’s novels from Amazon:

The River Maiden, Book One

UK: Paperback | eBook

USA: Paperback | eBook

Canada: Paperback | eBook

Nothing Good Gets Away, Book Four (for those of you already reading the series!) Release date: April 20th, 2021.

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Canada: eBook

Book Review Alert: The Counterbalance by Lissa Bolts

Reviewed: April 9th, 2021
Release Date: November 15th, 2020
Genre: Fantasy

Mother can’t kill me. Not that she hasn’t tried.

I’m the heir to a modern-day magical dynasty, daughter of the most powerful mage in existence. From day one, Mother made it apparent that she never wanted me—never wanted an heir at all.

This is a terrific book. So good that I went and bought book two straight away. What a brilliant read, I couldn’t put it down. The characters are amazing, each with their issues that tug at the heart strings. Read More…

Book Review Alert: Spirelli Paranormal Investigations by Kate Baray

Reviewed: April 8th, 2021
Release Date: June 5th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal Fantasy

A human investigator in a magical world…what could possibly go wrong? .

A brilliant paranormal adventure, in fact three in one!

If you love Jim Butcher or Benedict Jacka then you’ll love Kate Baray. Baray has created a wonderful character in Jack Spirelli, a human paranormal investigator and in Marin, the dragon shifter. Three stories in one, each a new case for Jack Spirelli. Great characters, enjoyable read, I listened to the audible version and the narrator was great! The relationship between Jack and Marin evolves throughout the stories and is really entertaining. Off to find the next episode! Read More…

Author Interview – Darrah Steffen

Author of Rise of the Dragon Queen

This Easter Monday, I am chatting with fantasy author, Darrah Stefffen, about her recent release Rise of the Dragon Queen.

Welcome Darrah. Congratulations on publishing your first novel which was released on March 13th of this year; you must be so excited! Please tell us a little about your book.

Darrah: Rise of the Dragon Queen is my first book. It is set in an alternative realm on a planet called Ethota. This world has developed life that we would consider fantastical. The main population called the Elvateth have enhanced senses, and some have the ability to control the elements. In the story, the creatures of old have vanished. The dragons are endangered and the country of Dragonia is being ruled by a tyrant, persecuting magic users. A Resistance has formed to fight against the King. When her sister is kidnapped, Jennica embarks on her own journey to save her. She must align with unlikely allies to bring her sister home, but as she does so an ancient threat arises to take over their weakened country.

Helen: What a complex story; it sounds action packed. What sparked the idea to write this book?

Darrah: I originally started writing this book as a form of stress relief when I was in college. I went to school in a very science heavy field, but I always enjoyed being creative. So being in a science heavy field, it was stressful to not have that creative outlet. So I started writing. This book came out of that. It was based on an idea that I had been playing with over a long time. I created this world way back in elementary school with my two best friends during recess games. 

Helen: Such a complete opposite to the day job! How did you first find that creative spark? To be able to write a book and finish it is an amazing accomplishments. So many books are begun but never finished. I have a couple languishing on my computer that I must get back to! What started you off writing?

Darrah: When I was a kid, I had a hard time reading and writing. I wasn’t testing dyslexic, but it was close. Because it was so hard, I hated it, but I loved telling stories. To try and get me interested in writing, my parents and teachers had me write stories. The caveat was I could only use words I knew how to spell. To tell the stories I wanted to tell, I had to learn new words, learn to spell things. I thought it was a fun adventure. That has followed me throughout my life. I still love learning new words and telling stories.

Helen: Congratulations on overcoming some challenging obstacles. It is so great that you were able to find a way to still express yourself and grow your creative side. Your creative side was obviously determined to be heard! You have built a fantastical world for your novel, how do you come up with ideas?

Darrah: I mentioned earlier I went to school for a science heavy field. I have a Master’s degree in the Geosciences and work in Paleontology. So, one of the big things that help me when coming up with ideas for stories is asking “What if” questions. I try to think about what if the world had two moons or how dragons would exist or what if magic existed in our world. 

Another way that I get ideas for stories is through dreams. I have gotten migraines with auras since I was nine. The aura I get is called “Alice in Wonderland” Syndrome where I see lights and shifting sizes of objects. When I sleep with this migraine, I get very vivid dreams and nightmares. Some of these dreams have inspired story ideas.

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash

Helen: I am so glad you have been able to adapt what could be a very dehabilitating experience into a positive one. I love the nod to your paleontology background with the cover! With a combination of science and creativity in your life, how do you write? Do you have to plan everything or do you let it flow?

Darrah: I tend to be a plantser. I have a loose framework to guide me. These would be more of the large plot points. I generally say the ending and mid points. Then I let the story flow between these points. I really like the organic way the story develops in those in between parts but found that having at least those concrete goals helps writing go smoother.

Helen: Which characters do you prefer to write, heroes or villains?

Darrah: I really enjoy writing the strange characters. I like writing the characters whose motives are unknown or a little fuzzy. I like writing the characters that are just a little out there. They are unpredictable and can surprise even me as I’m writing. 

Helen: Tell us a little about your writing environment, do you prefer silence or do you surround your self with music?

Darrah: I love music. I play two instruments – the trumpet and the piano. So music has always been a large part of my life. Music helps inspire me while I write. For every story I am actively working on, I have a playlist that helps me get into the mindset of the characters or the themes of the book. For example, the “theme song” of the main villain of Rise of the Dragon Queen is Castle by Halsey. 

Helen: Love it. I tend to have a specific album playing when I write. I am currently brainstorming ideas for a new novel that was sparked by an Olly Murs song. The lyrics just resonated and off I went! If you didn’t write fantasy are there any other genres that tempt you?

Darrah: I would like to try some hard science fiction next. I love writing fantasy. I love magic systems and fantasy creatures, but I also love space and technology. So eventually I would like to try out that hard science fiction.

Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today, it has been a pleasure chatting with you. I wish you all the best with your new novel, Rise of the Dragon Queen. To close us out, tell us about what you are working on next.

Darrah: Now I am working on the sequels to Rise of the Dragon Queen. The second book, Keepers of Knowledge, is currently in edits. I am also working on the first draft of the third book in the series. 

About the Author:

Darrah Steffen is a Kansas native, now living in North Dakota with her husband, her dog Willow, and her cat Jasper. Rise of the Dragon Queen is her first book. She loves to write worlds with weird and new creatures.

Darrah is trained as a geologist and paleontologist – which plays into her worldbuilding. When she is not writing, she works as a fossil preparator. She is also an avid board gamer, enjoys playing music with her husband, and cuddling with her pets.

Social Media Links:

Author Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook
Youtube

You can purchase her novel, Rise fo the Dragon Queen on Amazon:

Link to eBook on Amazon US/Amazon UK/Amazon Canada

Link to Paperback on Amazon US | Amazon UK/Amazon Canada

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Book Review Alert: Cinders: Necessary Evil by Sky Sommers

Reviewed: April 4th, 2021
Release Date: December 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy/Fairytale retelling

Oh, you think you know Cinderella? She loses a shoe and in exchange gets a prince.

Here’s a double book that tells all – the stepmother’s side supplemented by Ella’s diary of the events. If Thumbelina was more Roald Dahl and suitable for kids, this one is a dark fairy tale adaptation for a more adult (18+) audience in the vein of Sarah Pinborough’s Charm and Jackson Pearce’s Sweetly.

This is such a clever book!! Laugh out loud in places and Sommers makes you think twice about what you thought was the truth. A very well written, thought provoking book, as all fairy tales should be. Read More…

Book Review Alert: The Fae King’s Curse by Jamie Schlosser

Reviewed: April 1st, 2021
Release Date: April 20th, 2020

This is a nice fantasy romance, set in a fae world which exists beside the human world, and has adapted some, but not all, of the human ways.

Kirian and I were just twelve years old when I pulled him from the icy waters of the creek behind my house. As he looked in my direction with unseeing lavender eyes, I quickly realized our age was just about the only thing we had in common. He spoke with an accent, he had pointy ears, and he was so beautiful it made my heart ache. Oh, and he claimed to be a fae prince cursed by witches who stole his sight. Read More…

Book Review: Lost Isle by Emmi Lawrence

Reviewed: March 25th, 2021
Release Date: March 8th, 2021

When cartographer Edwin Vlaris is tossed off the ship, The Torrent, he’s left to die with just his wits, his skills and his companion, Ben Keel, a hard and handsome sailor with an incredible power of his own.They find themselves fighting for survival on the Giant’s Whip Isles, previously thought to be nothing but myth. Yet there are secrets lost within these isles—secrets of beasts and birds, both wondrous and dangerous, and of a mystical current that can be bent to human will. A current that could make any ship an unstoppable force across the entire Serene Ocean. However, they are not the only ones seeking out the current. 

This fantasy novel is a treasure trove of lyrical descriptions, engaging characters, fantastical beasts and the overwhelming power of nature, which some can control, and others not so well! Read More…

Launch – Sentinals Rising

Book Two of the Sentinal Series

Now Available: March 17th, 2021

Order Now: eBook or Paperback

Have you visited Remargaren yet? An ancient world suffused with magic and adventure. Sentinals Rising continues our action packed journey with Jerrol and his newly awoken Sentinals.

Jerrol Haven, having rescued the king from the clutches of the malevolent Ascendants, knows they haven’t stopped their scheming. While trying to learn more about the mysterious Sentinals he woke from a three-thousand-year sleep, he has to defend his king and country from further magical attacks.

Should he trust the Sentinals in such vital positions? Can he trust them to protect the king and Vespiri? As Jerrol learns more of their capabilities, he realises there are more secrets yet to be revealed. Maybe those questioning their sudden rise in power have a point.

Before he can delve further, a call for help comes from the neighbouring country of Terolia. The nomadic Families are disintegrating into chaotic infighting. The king sends Jerrol to investigate, instructing him to do whatever is needed to protect the Families from the Ascendants

Get ready for Book Two – Purchase the first book Sentinals Awaken now, eBook on special offer at 0.99c for four days only!:

Amazon UK:
Paperback
eBook (On 0.99p special offer March 17th-20th)

Amazon US:
Paperback
eBook (On 0.99c special offer March 17th-20th)

Giveaway!

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Sentinals Rising – sign up to my newsletter and follow me on social for extra entries. Click on image for Link to Rafflecopter entry form.

Author Interview – E.P. Stavs

Author of the Shendri Series

Joining me today is the American author E.P. Stavs, Author of the YA fantasy Shendri series. The third installment of which will be released on March 16th. She also has a Bluebeard retelling that will be included in the charitable anthology “Villainous”, coming out March 29th.

Welcome Erin, I am a fan of your Shendri series; I thoroughly enjoyed Book One: The Marked Princess, (you can find my book review here,) and I am looking forward to reading the second book: The Searching Songbird. News that number three The Unclaimed Wolf is releasing soon is so exciting. To start us off please tell us about your the Shendri series.

Erin: The Shendri Series is a fast-paced, young adult fantasy series that follows the adventures of four young women bearing the mark of the Shendri. While there’s an over-arcing storyline to the series that ties the four books together, each heroine is given her own, unique story (and romance) as the journey progresses.

Helen: I must admit it is an enjoyable read, and I love the covers, such vibrant colours. With four heroines to choose from, do you have a favourite character?

Erin: I have a couple of favourites, really. Josselyn, the hellcat Shendri and MC of “The Marked Princess” is pretty special to me, partly because she’s the character who put the entire series in motion. Before I knew anything else about the series, I knew it would have her. Aside from sentimental reasons, I also love her strength and sarcastic, don’t-mess-me nature. She was a lot of fun to write. One of my other favourites is Maya, who readers will meet in Book 3, “The Unclaimed Wolf”. She’s just so unique and awesome and I love her.

Helen: Writing feisty characters must be great fun. Tell us a little about your work in progress, you have few projects on the go, haven’t you?

Erin: As I recently finished the first draft of the series’ finale, I’ve put that aside for a while to rest and gotten back into a novella I’ve been working on for a while. While I can’t say too much about it yet, I will say that it’s pretty different from my previous work. The setting is modern day Seattle, there’s zero fantasy or magical creatures, and some of the language is a bit stronger than my usual YA novels (Although, I’m still not into writing sex scenes. I’ll leave those for everyone else, heh.)But, it does carry my signature flow and pacing, so I’m hoping fans of The Shendri will enjoy this , as well. And if not, at least I’m having fun writing it!

Helen: That is so amazing. I think switching genre is very brave. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Erin: Music, usually. I love to lie in the dark with a steady flow of music in my ears and just feel the stories and characters as they flow through me. It’s also my go-to method for dealing with writer’s block.

Helen: It’s great you have a technique to combat writer’s block. Aspiring authors take note! You are also a great reader aren’t you? What have you read recently?

Erin: So, anyone who follows me on Twitter (@estavs) or Instagram (@e.p.stavs) probably knows what a huge book nerd I am, and since joining the Writing Community last April, I’ve read and reviewed approximately 60 indie books. Many of which I’ve recently started featuring on my Instagram site. Some recent favourites include Eva Alton’s “Witch’s Mirror”, Carol Beth Anderson’s “The Vine Eater”, Anya Pavelle’s “The Garden of Stone Houses”, Allison Martine’s “Move on, Melinda”, and, most recently, T.M.Kohl’s “The Warriors of Bhrea: The Lost King”. But these are only a handful of the many awesome books I’ve read this year alone. So much talent!

Helen: I agree, we are fortunate there are so many fantastic authors keeping us supplied with amazing books. Thank you so much for joining me today. It has been lovely chatting with you, just one last question, having read so much, who is your favourite author?

Erin: While it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite author (I mean, I’ve been reading since I was four…), the author who’s had the biggest impact on me is Melanie Cellier. I started reading her young adult, fairytale re-imaginings on Kindle Unlimited well before I’d gathered the motivation to finally write a novel of my own. I loved the way she wove bits of familiar tales into a fantastical world all of her own, with each story effortlessly flowing into the next. When I finally finished my first book and started thinking about which route to try – traditional or indie – I couldn’t help but look her up to see who she was published through. And then, to discover she was an indie author? It absolutely blew my mind and changed my perspective on self-publishing completely. Here was a woman with an extensive catalogue of beloved books, all of which had at least a few hundred reviews to their title, and she was indie! It was that realization that pushed me toward indie myself, and I’m so glad I did!

About E.P.Stavs:

Erin Stavrides grew up in various parts of Upstate New York, where she became a regular at the public libraries, checking out book upon book upon book. Not even bedtime could stop her from reading, thanks to a handy flashlight kept close by.

Erin married her husband, Michael, in the Fall of 2007, and the couple moved across country to Seattle, Washington soon after, where Erin worked as a math teacher. When baby girl number one came along, however, she decided she’d had more than enough teaching to last a lifetime and decided to be a stay-at-home mom, instead. Five years and two daughters later, she finally found the time and motivation to follow through on her ultimate dream – writing books of her very own.

When she’s not reading, writing, or mom-ing, Erin enjoys taking long walks with her headphones on, playing Age of Empires 3 with her husband, and taking that first sip of coffee in the morning. So good.

You can reach E.P.Stavs via social media on:

Twitter
Instagram

and purchase her book via Amazon:

The Marked Princess, Book One of the Shendri Series
Link to Paperback on: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Link to ebook on Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Searching Songbird Book Two of the Shendri Series:
Link to paperback on: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Link to ebook on: Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Unclaimed Wolf Book Three of the Shendri Series:
Link to ebook on: Amazon US | Amazon UK

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Author Interview – Sloane McClain

Author of Holding out for a Hunter

For today’s author interview I am joined by the American author Sloane McCain. Author of the Pendragon series and now the first book in the Hunter Chronicles Holding out for a Hunter.

Welcome Sloane. I am a fan of your Pendragon books so I am excited you branched out to tell us more about the Hunters. To start us off please tell us about your latest book.

Sloane: I just released my fourth book in January 2021 (earlier this month). It’s titled Holding Out For A Hunter, and is the first in The Hunter Chronicles series, a companion series to my Sons of Pendragon. This new series deals with Hunters. They’re Halflings, half-human, half-fairy. When they reach their late teens or early twenties, they develop their powers. They use them to fight evil and capture creatures bent on mayhem and destruction that have been sent by the Dark Fairy. The Good Fairy pay them very well for their help.

While Sons of Pendragon will be limited to seven books (unless I go into the next generation), the Hunter Chronicles can have as many books as I can think up ideas for.

Helen: I must admit I couldn’t put it down. I love your characters and the world you’ve created. Tell us about the genre you write and why.

Sloane: I write romances with strong fantasy and paranormal overtones. It’s my favorite genre to read (though I read medieval, Scottish, Regency, and contemporary books) because I love the HEA—Happily Ever After endings. When the world is crazy, I want something that doesn’t give me any nasty surprises at the end. I like being assured that no matter how rocky the road, the end is going to be a good one.

Helen: And your characters are so lovely, certainly not perfect, as you’ll find out in Holding out for a Hunter. Max’s idea of being romantic just made me laugh. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Sloane: Nearly everything has the potential to give me a story idea. A photograph or painting. Songs. A conversation. So many things. Anything that makes me think, ‘what if?’ Sons of Pendragon came out of my love for King Arthur and wishing he’d at least had children. The Hunter Chronicles sometimes come from the song that I use for the titles. Like Holding Out For A Hunter. The sequel, which I hope to release in March, is titled I Belong To The Hunter, a play on the Caro Emerald song, I Belong To You. In that instance, the song didn’t inspire the story, but it seemed to fit the story.

Helen: I can’t wait for I Belong to a Hunter, but I hope there is Pendragon book number 4 coming soon! You can find my book review of Book One Dragon’s Grace here. Do you you find you plan out your books or do they just flow naturally?

Sloane: I’m definitely a panster. I’ve tried outlining a couple of times, but my characters laughed at the attempt and went in their own direction. For me, writing is like watching this moving play out in my head and trying to write down what’s happening as quickly as I can. Luckily for me, I seem to be able to hit the pause button when I have to stop for work or to let my dogs in or out.

Helen: There seems to be two camps about whether silence is golden while working. I’m a fan of listening to music when I write (or edit!). Do you like to listen to music while you work?

Sloane: Yes, I often listen to music while I write. I have a station I’ve made on Pandora called Straight No Chaser. It plays music by them as well as other groups that I like:  Michael Bublé, Pentatonix, Imagine Dragons, Celtic Thunder & Celtic Women, American Authors, Secret Garden, and several others. I have rather eclectic taste in music.

Helen: It’s what works that is important and music can be just as inspiring as the written word. Tell us, do you have a favourite character from your books?

Sloane: My favorite character is a recurring secondary character named Stiabhan Iorworth. He’s full-blooded Sidhe. In human terms he’s around thirty to thirty-five. Though several centuries removed, he’s an uncle to many Hunters. He has recently begun to take an interest in their lives, coming to help them in their battles. He loves a good fight. He’s learning idioms and slang, card games like poker, and driving a vehicle. He’s enjoying helping his relatives which helps him in turn take his mind from the tragedy in his personal life. Some of his scenes add some comic relief to the stories. Like one in the third Hunter’s book, where he goes to a beauty salon. You’ll just have to wait to read it to find out what happens. LOL!

Helen: He sounds like a great character to have fun with, and I can imagine many humorous scenarios and misunderstandings! Most writers are also great readers. Which book have you read most recently?

Sloane: Your book is one of the most recent. I loved it! Also, Hidden Magic by Elena McDougal. I would recommend them both.

Helen: I am so glad you enjoyed Sentinals Awaken. I am looking forward to releasing my second book in the series, Sentinals Rising on March 17th, so exciting times. It has been lovely spending time with you, Sloane, thank you so much for sharing a little bit about yourself and your novels. To finish us off, if you didn’t write romantic fantasy, what genre would you like to write next?

Sloane: If I didn’t write romances, I’d probably write straight fantasy. I actually wrote a YA one while I was in college, but it’s not very good. I would love to write mysteries. I think that would be fun. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have the right mindset for them. At least so far, my attempts have been horrible. So I’ll stick to romance.

About Sloane:

Both of my parents loved reading and instilled in me a love for reading and writing. That was one thing that I could count on them saying yes to buying me–a new book.

Besides writing and animals, I love reading (TBR pile is outrageous), photography, cross-stitch, and anything with Henry Cavill or Jason Momoa in it. And don’t even get me started on Dean Winchester of Supernatural.

I spent my early years in West Virginia, where my father taught college. When he retired, the family moved back to his home state of South Carolina.

I currently live in South Carolina with two very spoiled rescue dogs. One tries to lick people into submission and the younger one believes he’s still a lapdog at 95lbs.

You can reach Sloane via social media on:

Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

and purchase her book via Amazon:

Holding out for a Hunter, Book One of the Hunter Chronicles
Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to ebook on Amazon US

Dragons Grace Book One of the Pendragon Series:
Link to ebook on: Amazon UK
Link to ebook on: Amazon US


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