Sunday, 15 July 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - SHAUNA LEONE




      What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Shauna Leone.  I was born in Buckinghamshire but now live in Cornwall though I spend a lot of time in London.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve always written but not sure I always wanted to absolutely be a writer.  I just wanted to be a part of stories, be in them, so acting was my biggest aim really.  Oh and stunt driving always appealed.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
  Actually I’m still trying to get my head around that title now.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Resonant;  Action, adventure, spanning three continents and 12,000 years.  Ancient relics, symbology, sacrifices, visions of past lives and a doomsday prophecy.    


  
BLURB from Goodreads
10,500 BC, the end of the Last Ice Age: A young girl flees her drowning land, her people’s efforts at stopping the cataclysm, failed. Now she must face a new life in a hostile world as her grandfather desperately tries to prevent such destruction occurring again.

Present Day: Salvager and Marine Archaeologist, Paige Evans, finds a strange encrusted object at the bottom of the ocean and is certain she has made the discovery of a lifetime. Her boss, however, denies she has found anything of importance.
But then the visions begin.
And so do the murders.
Because others know what Paige has found and are reluctant to share its power. They know it is part of an ancient puzzle which is screaming to be solved.
For the world has grown uneasy, there is an air of foreboding, an expectation of imminent terrors, the latest doomsday book in no small way helping to fuel such beliefs, as its mysterious author’s predictions are beginning to come true.
And only understanding the past will save the future.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self published. 

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Well as this is my first novel, I had the original idea back in the 90s. It was something I was always going to write someday.  So for about 15 years it was approximately 3 chapters and a bunch of notes.  When I finally decided to sit down properly and get it done it probably took about 8 months.

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’d definitely like to do a couple more sequels to The Resonant.  I’m not sure where exactly my characters are going or where some of them have really truly come from and I want to find out as much as anyone else, probably more than anyone else if I’m honest.  There are quite a few dark little ideas I’ve been playing with too so we’ll see.

What genre would you place your books into?
Speculative fiction, or sci-fi, but that always sounds too alieny to me, so I’ll stick to speculative fiction.

    What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I just wrote a story I’d want to read and thought about the genre after.  I originally thought I was writing a thriller until I looked to see what category similar books to mine were put in.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Probably the detective, Gina.  She was never supposed to be a key character but I just started to love that she was so cynical about everything.  Her fate was in the balance all the way through writing the book, several times I nearly got rid of her completely but then she grew on me and now she holds much of the book together.

 If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
Definitely Paige, she has seriously hot guys lusting after her.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  I think just watching TV shows and wanting desperately to be a part of them probably played a big part.  Writing was another form of escapism when I was a child and it kind of made my imagination something tangible. 

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
The main inspiration for The Resonant was probably Graham Hancock’s non-fiction books.  I’ve been reading them for years and find them absolutely fascinating.  They cried out to have some fiction written around them.  Apart from that ideas just pop into my head at strange times; I can be in a pub, a song will come on in the background and spark some emotion and then I’ll be quickly tapping the idea into my phone before it escapes.
                 
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I’m not sure I have a routine but music is a huge inspiration for me.  If I’m ever not sure what to write I go away and listen to something, usually with quite an epic feel to it, close my eyes and just see what images get conjured up.  It usually plays out like a movie trailer in my head.  Once I’ve seen the trailer I have a better idea of what is going to happen.
  
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Oh yes, I think it is impossible to know if a book makes sense unless you hear it from someone else.  You can read it and read it yourself and of course it makes sense, you wrote it, especially with the subject matter in my book.  I’m fine with understanding it as I’ve done all the research but then I have to make sure other people know what I’m talking about.  And that can be tricky in everyday conversation sometimes.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, it is the only way with a first book I think. 

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I’ve read all so far but then they’ve been good.  When that changes I’ll probably have to look but not so sure I’ll really want to.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, of course not. What would the point of a review be if it wasn’t honest?  If that’s their opinion that’s fair enough, that is what a review is for, an objective opinion.  If you just want 5 star reviews, which of course I do, then just ask close friends and family to review your book and threaten them or bribe them somehow.  Either works.

     How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
I knew I wanted a skull on the cover and was going to look into getting a designer but then I noticed how skull-like some bubbles on an old picture of me diving looked.  A bit of photoshop to make it more obvious and that was that.   I was pretty pleased with it and its source is quite appropriate to the book.  Not that anyone else will know that (until now) but I did and it made me happy.

    Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Definitely write the book first.  Thinking up a title is harder than writing the book.  The Resonant had a completely different title at first before I realised no one would understand or remember it which probably wouldn’t help sales.

     Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I find character traits come as you write.  There is an idea of what the person is going to be like but sometimes as the dialogue gets written you discover new things about them.

     Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I think you can drive yourself crazy thinking of an entire plot for your book before you set pen to paper.  For me I need to know sort of where I’m heading and what ideas I want to explore but ultimately I let the book tell me what is going to happen as I go along.  It’s more exciting that way too.   Sometimes characters really surprise you and you sit back after writing it and think ‘I never saw that coming.’ I love it when that happens.

    How do you market/promote your books?
Social media sites and blogs.  I’m pretty new to it all so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
One that grabs you from the start and takes you into its world without even seeming to have to try.

    What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I live near the ocean so try to be in it as much as possible either wakeboarding or surfing.  All troubles are left on shore then.  It’s the best kind of therapy.

    Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I always feel weird basing main characters on people I personally know these days.  I used to, but sometimes I’d find life imitated art so I got a bit superstitious about it.  I wouldn’t feel good if something bad happened to someone after I’d written that it had to a character based on them, and, generally, in things I write, something bad always happens.

      Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
There are a few of my little opinions in amongst the story, things that make me go hmmm, and it would be nice to think I made people consider things they may not otherwise, but there isn’t really a moral to it all; nothing so serious. 
   
     Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I love John Connolly’s style of writing.  The way he can write something so dark and in the next paragraph, so funny, is something I could only aspire to.

      Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
As my book is only available electronically I should say ebook, shouldn’t I?  Truth is I’m an old fashioned girl who likes something a little more tangible.  A nice shiny hardback would probably be favourite if I’m reading at home and don’t have to haul it anywhere.

     Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
It depends who is making the movie.  Probably one of the best transfers was Silence of the Lambs.  One of the worst – not that I’m a huge Twilight fan anyway, was the film Breaking Dawn, part 1.  I enjoyed the book and thought it was by far the best in the series. The second film may make up for it, but the first part.  Oh dear, oh dear.

    What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m currently reading Bad Men by John Connolly, in hardback as I’ve begun to collect all his works and am reading them from start to finish.  I’ve read it before and it is the book that made me discover reading was much more fun than I’d previously thought.

    Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not.  How will there ever be book signings?

    Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I was definitely not a big reader in school.  I just wanted stories without all the description.  I always wrote my own instead, as then I could escape into the world I wanted to be in.  I was always writing ‘soap operas’ at school and putting all my friends in as characters and then they’d get passed round in lessons so everyone could read the latest instalment and see what had happened to them.

    Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I loved the Worst Witch books by Jill Murphy and read them over and over.  They were about a school for witches and the trouble one particular pupil, Mildred Hubble, got into, as she was the worst witch in the school.  The pictures sort of looked like me and I was always getting in some sort of trouble at school so loved it.  She’d always save the day at the end of the book though.

    Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Anything with a touch of the paranormal.

    Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I always finish every book I start.  Not sure I could leave a book unfinished. It would make me quite anxious.  However I can think of two that I definitely wish I hadn’t bothered with but these were huge best sellers so I don’t think I’m in the position to name and shame quite yet. One involved a time travelling husband though.

    What do you think about book trailers?
I’d like someone to make me one.  I have one in my head but not the Hollywood budget to create it.

     If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
John Connolly for his dark imagination and wit, Graham Hancock to discuss his theories with, and Jeremy Clarkson just because.  It would be an eclectic mix.

Facebook page?   http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Resonant/233160286784617
Amazon author page?   http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0085X121A



Purchase Link for  The Resonant

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