AUTHOR: Catherine Spangler
BOOK TITLE: Touched by Darkness
GENRE: Romance, Urban Fantasy
Please tell us your latest news. My three Sentinel books, urban fantasy romances, are now available as eBooks. The first book, Touched by Darkness is currently free, so that’s a great way to see if you like the series.
When and why did you begin writing? I started writing in my teens. I had three close friends who also wanted to write. We called ourselves the “Fab Four” and wrote teen romances staring ourselves and the real Fab Four (The Beatles) as the heroes. We divvyed up the guys and I got George. As for the why, I can’t say for sure. I only know that I made up stories about situations and things around me from a very early age.
What are your thoughts about promotion? I think promotion is crucial to selling your books. It doesn’t matter if you’re an indie author or with a print publisher—you must be responsible for your own promotion. There are two important components to promotion: Discoverability (the readers finding you) and social proof (evidence that your work is good). I believe that online promotion is the most powerful tool.
Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? Absolutely. I know some authors seem to be able to work around it, but it’s tough for me. Usually I take a short break from the writing and allow my subconscious to percolate on where I’m stuck. Sometimes it’s just a quick nap, sometimes it’s a day or two. Usually when I return to the writing, new ideas and words begin to flow.
What are your current projects? I’m now working on releasing my Shielder series (five books), science fiction romances, over the next few months.
What do you plan for the future? After the Shielder books are issued, I plan to work on a dark fallen angel series and possibly more Sentinel and Shielder books.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
What genre do you write in and why? I write urban fantasy romance and science fiction romance. I’ve always been intrigued by the paranormal, supernatural elements, and metaphysical topics. Since my favorite books are romances, it’s no surprise that the stories that speak to me are other-worldly romances.
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting. Touched by Darkness is the first of a series about Sentinels, reincarnated Atlantians who have returned to current-day Earth to battle Belians. The Belians are also reincarnated Atlantians, but they embody the darkness that destroyed Atlantis. Both Sentinels and Belians have superpowers. The Sentinels, however, have an edge because there are certain psychic humans (conductors) who can amplify the Sentinel powers to help track down Belians. In Touched by Darkness, Dr. Kara Cantrell is a conductor who refuses to be drawn into the Sentinel world again. She’s trying to raise her Sentinel son as a normal human in a small Texas town. But the appearance of Sentinel Damien Morgan and a series of unexplained murders, along with her son’s growing powers, force her to work with Damien to both protect her son and find the Belian.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process? Just the thought of outlining makes my eyes glaze over! I’m a totally organic writer, a “pantster”. I start with a story idea and I spend some time thinking about the story, letting my subconscious kick it around. Then I just start writing. I usually have to write 3-4 chapters before I get a real feel for my characters and the story. If I need a synopsis for a proposal, that’s when I can begin creating the synopsis. I might refer back to the synopsis as I write the book, but I tend to trust my subconscious and let the story take me where it wants to go.
What comes first: the plot or characters? Characters—always! It’s the characters who speak to me, and with whom I identify. In general, romances are character based stories, which is great for me. I must have a feel for the characters and ideas about their goals, motivations, and conflicts, before the plot can form.
What advice would you give a new writer starting out? That could be a book in itself. First off, write! Write, write, write! The process of writing is what develops your personal voice. You need to read as well, especially in your genre. Since writing is a solitary endeavor, it’s important to be part of a writing community. You need to learn about the publishing business and about promoting yourself. You also need to critique with other authors so you can discover your writing weaknesses and how to improve your writing. Plus it’s important to have a support group to help keep you sane in this challenging business. Realize that writing is a craft that must be practiced and honed, so be patient and keep trying. Believe in yourself and your story visions. Don’t give up!
What do you do when you’re not writing? My favorite thing is playing poker and I play live games most weekends and also play some online. I love reading and always have a book or my Kindle nearby. I also enjoy watching TV with my husband. Some of our favorite shows are Grimm, Person of Interest, and Castle.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? Most importantly, I want to be entertained and intrigued. I tend to be a picky reader, I guess because I’m a writer. I prefer fiction, and it must have engaging, sympathetic characters and a story that pulls me in. If it has romance, paranormal elements, is unique or original, that’s even better!
Touched by Darkness, Book Blurb
After seven years on the run, Dr. Kara Cantrell believes she and her son, Alex, are safe. She’s wrong.
Kara settles in the sleepy town of Zorro, Texas, convinced that she and her child have escaped the sinister reach of a supernatural underworld. But the appearance of Damien Morgan, a dangerous, alluring man with superhuman abilities, upends her quiet existence. Damien realizes that Alex is a fledgling Sentinel, and Kara is a matched, psychic conductor for him. She wants nothing to do with him, refusing to revisit the hell she experienced seven years ago. But she has no choice, as her son is projecting his abilities, leaving him vulnerable to unseen forces. Not only that, but someone—or something—is murdering people in Zorro. Kara is forced to work with Damien, tapping into a mystical link that triggers desires both of them must ignore. But as they work together to protect her son, and to track the killer, evil stalks them, reaching out—with the touch . . . of darkness.