I want to welcome Shauna Aura Knight. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
Thanks for hosting me! I’ll give the informal intro, then the “grown up” bio. I’m a total geek and creative nerd. I write fiction and nonfiction, I paint, I’m a graphic designer, I teach workshops on facilitation and leadership. And, when I have the time, I plan events and do things like building life-size replicas of Jabba the Hutt for themed parties.
Shauna Aura Knight: An artist, author, and presenter, Shauna’s creative work is inspired by awakening mythic imagination and the shadows we each face. She’s the author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels including A Fading Amaranth, Werewolves in the Kitchen, Werewolves with Chocolate, A Winter Knight’s Vigil, The White Dress, the Autumn Leaves, and The Truth Upon Her Lips.
Shauna’s mythic artwork and designs are used for magazine covers, book covers, and illustrations, as well as decorating many other spaces. She travels nationally, offering workshops on facilitation, community leadership, and personal growth. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path, and many other articles on personal transformation, leadership, and related topics.
Web Site: http://www.shaunaauraknight.com
Fiction Blog: https://shaunaknightauthorartist.wordpress.com
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/shaunaaknight
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/ShaunaAuraKnight
Tell us about your latest release.
My newest book is A Fading Amaranth. Nathaniel’s been a vampire long enough to grow weary of glamoured seduction, and he’s lost his poetic muse. He meets reclusive artist Alexandra—her telepathy has overwhelmed her for years, and she can bear no one’s touch. However, she can’t hear Nathaniel’s thoughts, and she’s immune to his vampire glamour. During scorching nights together, they rediscover their passion for life.
When a Faerie creature stalks Alexandra, the lovers find themselves snared in a paranormal battle alongside Chicago’s mage guardians. Worse, Nathan’s rising bloodlust places Alexandra in danger. Will she master her abilities before going insane? What will they risk to be together?
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Darth Vader. He starts out so very bad, so easy to hate. And then, at the end, just when you’re all excited and thinking yeah—he’s going to get his butt kicked…then he goes and turns against the Emperor to save Luke. And then you see beneath the mask, and realize what a completely tragic figure he is. Since then, I certainly love a good villain, but I have a special place in my heart for the villains who are as tragic as that.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
This is such a tough question because I connect to all of my characters so much. I really like Nathaniel from A Fading Amaranth, and the mage guardians Jocelyn and the Walker who are side characters in that story but who star in my longer urban fantasy series I’m working on. However, I’d have to say my favorite main character so far would have to be Sonya from The Truth Upon Her Lips, which is my book that will be coming out in about a month. Sonya’s not your simpering heroine; she’s strong and kick butt. Her magical powers threaten to overwhelm her, and she faces some pretty titanic magical forces from those who stand against her, but she doesn’t back down.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, epic fantasy, some dystopian and space opera. Basically, anything speculative and fantastical. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy and sci-fi, I’ve never been interested in contemporary fiction. Give me a movie with spaceships or magic any time. Chick flicks? Not so much. I was raised on Star Wars and Star Trek and the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and books by Anne McCaffrey and David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey. That’s the stuff that I find fascinating.
4.) What are you working on now?
The Truth Upon Her Lips, Book One of the Roses Rising, is coming out soon, and I’m in the finishing phases of A Golden Heart of Glass and A Winter Knight’s Silence, but I’m also working on Book Two of the Roses Rising, Until She Wakes From Sleep. I also have a longer urban fantasy series that explores the psychic mage characters introduced in my book A Fading Amaranth. These stores all feature romance, heroes, magic powers, gods and goddesses, and some vampires, shifers, and a bit of old fairytale magic.
5.) What got you to start writing?
My parents both worked at a bookstore when I was a kid, and they read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. I mowed through their book collection as a kid. I wanted to be a writer from about third grade onward when I started writing short stories in English class, and I started writing my first novel when I was twelve, a science fiction story. I’ve been writing ever since, it’s just that I’ve only started publishing my work in recent years.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Often from dreams; I frequently have these massive, epic dreams. Swordfighting and space battles and magic. A lot of my fiction ideas come from that. Other ideas come from “what if.” Werewolves in the Kitchen came from a “what if” moment while I was doing my laundry. The Truth Upon Her Lips came from a “what if” moment while I was standing on the side of the road after I’d been in a car accident that totaled my car. What if…there was a really sexy EMT? What if…the woman in the car had precognition, but it had suddenly failed her? The story pretty much wrote itself from there.
The story for A Fading Amaranth came from two scene snippets I wrote years and years ago. The first scene was a vampire trying to glamour a woman in an alley; she wouldn’t go under his hypnosis magic and he was snarling and frustrated. The other scene was a vampire with a woman in her bed, trying not to bite his lover. Those scenes didn’t seem to be about the same characters at first, but once I figured out the storyline thread between them, that’s where the story took shape.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
I write pretty spicy romance that often features Pagan characters, or various kinds of magic…but what I also do professionally is teach leadership and facilitation, particularly within the modern Pagan community. I write everything under the same name, though I have a few different blogs so people can focus on my fiction or my nonfiction. People who know me largely as someone who teaches Pagan leadership are sometimes surprised to find out that I write romance and fantasy novels. And people who meet me in my role as a public speaker are often shocked to find out that I am an introvert and actually pretty shy!
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I keep pretty busy; along with being a writer of fiction and nonfiction, I’m also an artist, a graphic designer, a professional presenter and public speaker, and I’ve done theatrical design and event planning. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve built some crazy things like a life-size Jabba and a reproduction of the Carbonite Chamber from Star Wars. I love planning events, I just wish I had bigger budgets to do them properly. I’d love to organize a Faerie masquerade ball in the Midwest.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
I went to a lot of scifi/fantasy conventions in my twenties and attended a lot of author panels, and I heard a lot of really great advice so it’s hard to boil it down to just one piece. I can encapsulate it this way; keep writing and learn how to be a better writer. If you’re really serious about writing, learn how to do it well and keep at it. I don’t want to put forth the “anyone can do this, just keep at it” advice, because I don’t think that’s true; not everyone is going to have the skill as a writer to do a good job at it. And not everyone is going to have the patience and perseverance to keep at it. And some writers aren’t going to be able to handle a serious edit of their work—and trust me, everyone’s work needs an editor. So yes—do keep at it, but if you’re really serious, also be willing to do the work to learn your craft and become a better writer.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
Growing up, I was a big-time nerd for history, and a lot of my heroes and role models were people like Einstein and other scientists. I’ve always been particularly fascinated by scientists who sacrificed their own health and wellbeing to learn more about the universe, like the Curies. I’m also fascinated by military strategists. So who I’d pick really depends on the day. Today I’d pick Rumi or William Butler Yeats. I’d love to talk to them about the mystical inspirations of their poetry.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
This is so hard because I really love music; in fact, I obsessively create soundtracks for each of my stories. I don’t know that this song describes my life, but I often write to it; Queste Saranno by Origa. Or Inner Universe by Origa.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
Cat. No brainer. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m halfway a cat already. Maybe a great cat, which would be slightly more majestic than a house cat. Well, sometimes they are more regal….I am working up a freebie short story I’ll give away to folks who join my email newsletter; the story focuses on wereleopard Kade from The Truth Upon Her Lips around Halloween. Did you know that great cats like leopards really like to play ball with pumpkins? Yeah, not quite so majestic, but there are some hilarious YouTube videos of this. Funny where inspiration strikes!
Excerpt from A Fading Amaranth:
“I must go now,” Nathaniel rasped. He had to, or he risked biting her whether or not she was glamoured. Yet he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Alexandra there, of not tasting her. There was something about her, something that made him want…he didn’t even know what he wanted. Given his life, it probably wasn’t something he could have. “I have to find…I have to feed.” His hands shook. That was a bad sign.
“All you had to do was ask.”
He looked up at Alexandra in surprise. “What?”
She took a step closer to him, and he caught her wrist, unable to resist scenting her again. She wasn’t overcome with lust in the way she would be under his hypnosis, but she did want him. When they touched, he could feel her attraction to him growing. Fascinating, he thought, that he could sense her feelings like that, even though he couldn’t bring her under.
He wanted her so badly he burned, but it wasn’t just his teeth, his blood. He wanted her in a way he hadn’t desired a woman in years. He ached to kiss her. Could he do it without biting her?
With the blood hunger riding him, could he stop himself from trying?
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
She caught at his wrist, and he looked at her in surprise. “Don’t go.”
“I must. I have to go. Quickly.”
“Am I right that you only take a small amount of blood? Is what I sensed correct?”
“Yes,” he hissed as she stepped closer.
“Just ask.” She reached up to caress his cheek, and he barely suppressed a flinch.
“I cannot, my lady. You are not susceptible to….It will hurt. I cannot allow that,” he said, though he still found his head dipping down to her. He had no idea how he was even coherent; his vision hazed with red, throbbing to the beat of the pulse in her neck.
He couldn’t resist nuzzling his cheek against hers, brushing his lips across her neck. Ah, the taste of her. He pulled back, shaking, and she reached up to pull him closer. He shut his eyes and gave in, kissing her, trying to keep his fangs from cutting her lip. Moaning, she kissed him back, pulling herself against him until he wrenched himself back. “I must go,” he snarled. Her desire nearly shattered his control completely.