AUTHOR: Shonda Brock
BOOK TITLE: Eternal Traces
GIVEAWAY: Will be having a wine giveaway this summer. Please check the website in the coming weeks for details.
1.Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
My life feels like three lives rolled into one. Since birth I’ve moved every four years until 2002. I’ve served in the United States Army and afterwards I started working in the cardiac medical field. I am married. I have four beautiful children and two French Mastiffs. My life is everything, but never boring.
With all of that going on in my life I found writing to be my freedom. When I write I can be anyone. I have no rules to follow, no restrictions or deadlines that I must meet. I can just simply be.
My favorite genre is Paranormal Romance. I know it sounds light and maybe even cheap, but it is undeniably fascinating. It's like witnessing a car accident. I know I should look away and say a silent prayer, but I can't! I stand there with my mouth wide open and I keep watching the events unfold no matter how disastrous it gets. I remain until everything comes to a rest.
I compare this to my life. I know I should be reading the latest on Cardiac Therapies, yet I find myself writing another short story or reading the next installment to Kerrelyn Sparks’s Love At Stake series. It’s my secret craving, paranormal romance.
2. Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.
Currently I'm in between books. I’ve finished the second installment to Eternal Traces and it’s in the editing phase. I found a lovely editor Candace Johnson and I'm also working with a local artist on a book cover. Plus I have digital marketing person, Christa Wojciechowski atwebbella.com.
I'm pretty excited and I'm hoping to have the novel out before the holidays.
The current book Eternal Traces is a fast-paced paranormal love story that takes place in current day and in the ancient period of the pharaohs.
Dr. Meryt Brownstone is a practicing cardiologist with a hot temper who has cool hands under pressure. She has a natural talent for saving lives as well as destroying them. Like any good woman worth her weight in body armor, she lends her special skills to Uncle Sam. By day, she works and lives in a modest town in Western New York and by night, she is called upon to eliminate terrorist threats.
For most of her life she has been hunted by images from a distant past. The fragmented dreams never amounted to being therapist-worthy, other than they were always the same dreams, changing only in perspective, until one lazy morning the man from her broken dreams walks into her office, a blue-eyed dark angel named Rene Daniels.
It’s love at first sight, but not without secrets that need to be reveal and obstacles that need to be negotiated. Rene Daniels is her lost love from 1483 BC. They both have been reincarnated, yet their desire and lust still burns like new. Once her love is rediscovered and given new life, so is everything else in Meryt’s past to include her enemy.
The clock is set anew and precious time is ticking away. Meryt must do what she did not do in her past life; destroy her enemy before he kills her again.
3. What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?
That is an interesting story. I've always kept a journal of my thoughts to include short stories that pop in my mind. One day my oldest son came to me and asked for help in self-publishing his book. Before that moment I never thought about publishing, but after conducting research with him I thought, why not? He was in college majoring in English and I thought it would be a great way for us to bond as he evolved into manhood and I....
Well I got a new goal, and a new passion-- to complete a novel.
I love it when a plan comes together.
4. Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?
It's complicated just like life. First I start with an outline. Some parts are more detailed than others. Usually those parts are strong images or feelings I have about the storyline. But just like in life, I start every morning with a checklist and somewhere in the midst of the day I break away from the list and the day becomes whatever it wants to be.
The same thing happens in my writing. I start off with an outline, yet somewhere in the midst of the storyline it comes to life and takes on a new direction. If I find myself lost or at a roadblock, I will refer back to the outline for guidance.
5. What comes first: the plot or the characters?
CHARACTERS. My characters are alive. They demand their story to be told, which is the plot.
6. Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?
Naturally, I love my main heroine, Dr. Meryt Brownstone, but (and there is always a but), I am secretly in-love with the sub-character Jed Deacon.
Deacon is Meryt's mentor. He is a man of few words. He is the kind-of-man who is never shaken by circumstances. The mission is the mission and Deacon will move forward at all costs. My attraction to him is… Deacon is my opposite. The day’s activities always distract me. I have an untold number of checklists that are nowhere near complete. I wish I could stay on task. Like this interview, I must have started it a dozen times before I finished it.
7. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
EDITING...EDITING and more EDITING. Did I say editing enough?
From the outside writing looks easy, right? Anybody can tell you an interesting story. The process of writing it properly is another matter all together.
I didn't realize how much of a beast it was to edit a 70,000-word document. I've almost lost friends over the process. As a new writer I believed my baby, Eternal Traces, was the most gorgeous thing. I had friends volunteer to help in the process, but quickly discovered there was a real art in editing. This is not a job for my friends, but a job for a professional editor.
I published Eternal Traces with iUniverse. I have no strong complaints about the process, but when I used their resources, I had no direct contact with an editor. Being new in the business of writing and publishing, I felt uncomfortable with that lack of contact. I wanted to work with an editor directly. I strongly believe in following the proper rules of writing, yet I did not want to lose the voice and the passion within the storyline. It meant a lot to me, to find someone I could work with and feel a certain bond. So I asked around and interviewed a few people until I found right connection.
8. Did your book require a lot of research? How long did it take to write a book for you?
Yes, I was most surprised that a fictional story took so much research. Eternal Traces was based in two time periods, one during the pharaoh period in Egypt and the other in current times in Niagara Falls and in Naples, so I had to do a ton of research on Egyptian history and on location descriptions.
I like the rule "Two Truths and a Lie." I like my novel to have the feel of reality, similar to Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code. He had so much real life history weaved into his storyline that as the reader you had to remind yourself that it was a fictional story.
9. What are some of the challenges in your writing process?
The number one challenge is finding the time to write. Life can take me a million places all in one day, yet I must be discipline to find time to sit down and write.
My favorite time to write is from 11pm to 2am with a glass of Prosecco. It is my most creative time in which I am not disturbed. I have two to three hours of my house being quite, but (there's always a but) it kills me on editing. Being relaxed and in the flow of the story is awesome, but I’ve learned the hard way grammar rules and creativity do not go hand-in-hand. It’s better to let the creativeness flow and then go back to apply the rules.
10. Describe your writing space.
I feel lucky to have my own office in my house. I love for it to be clean. When it is clean, I feel like my ideas flow better.
But I must admit, my office never stays clean. The mess starts off slowly. I pull out a few documents from research. Next comes the file cards I have on the characters to ensure I stay in their voices, and based on what stage I'm in I pull out Eternal Traces or a rough draft of the second book so I can refer back to it as a reference. In the end, my office becomes total chaos.
11. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I'm not writing I'm living and loving my real life.
12. What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?
Another very interesting question and I'm not sure if I've been around long enough in the business of writing/publishing to properly give solid feedback.
The other day while in Denver, I had the pleasure of hearing President Bill Clinton speak to the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). It is group of cardiologists, electrophysiologist, scientists and researchers. Naturally, Health Care Reform came up and not to liken Health Care to publishing warehouses versus e-books, but President Clinton had a very profound view. He went back in history siting how systems/institutions had to change to fit the peoples current needs and when they didn't change, they eventually fail.
Why? Because everything changes, the peoples’ knowledge base changes, their technology changes and somehow the systems in which they work in must change within those times.
With all of that said, I will admit, I read 90% of my books on an iPad. My daughter who is eight years old prefers to read on her computer vs. a hardback or an iPad. Yet, I still love magazines. Every year I spend hundreds of dollars on magazines. I love the cool feel of the smooth pages and when no one is looking, I rub the cologne samples on the back of my hand.
So what does it all mean? Our system will change…To what? I don’t know.
13. What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for
Currently available is Eternal Traces and the second installment will be available by the holidays. For fun I usually publish two blogs a month on my website.
14. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Write whatever comes to mind and read whatever strikes your fancy. The more you write and the more you read the better you'll become.
My last piece of advice is talk about your writing to anyone and everyone. Hopefully you’ll meet someone who will help you on your journey of writing and publishing for they are two totally different beasts.
15. Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can visit my website at http://shondabrock.com. I welcome all to my Twitter and Facebook as well--http://twitter.com/shondabrock and http://facebook.com/eternaltraces