The Shadow Stalker Blitz: Part 3

Marketing KitWelcome back to the final stop here at Writing Room 101. If you’ve visited before, or managed to catch Renee elsewhere on her tour, thanks for your support.

This time I’d like to share two character interviews with you, provided for the blitz. They are a lot of fun, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

First up is Auren Trask (the series is told from Auren’s point of view). This is followed by Kato, who is Auren’s Foster father and Guardian. 

Auren Trask

Character Interview

By: Kathryn Jenkins

Q: Tell us a little about you and the world you reside in?

A: The Serpent Isles are an island chain in the far north of my world. There are other land masses, mostly islands, around the world, but we are far from any of them. We are the most advanced culture on our world as well. Some of the other islands have primitive cultures, but the other islands are not very hospitable places to live. The wildlife is much too dangerous to coexist with on some, and the climates are too harsh on others. We are not sure why our culture seemed to thrive and advance, while others that remain are so primitive, but there are legends that suggest shadow stalkers played a role in that, if you believe in such things.

Q: What is it like to be a kid growing up among the Serpent Isles?

A: Boring…at least on Appolia. I think I live in the most boring town on the coldest island in the Serpent Isles. We only get about a month of warm weather, and it never gets warm enough to swim here. There’s lots of skiing and snow related activities, but I’ve never been into that sort of thing. I don’t really like the cold. I like rock climbing, rappelling, and caving, though. Kado takes me camping on a different island every summer, and we do all kinds of stuff like that. On Appolia, I spend most of my time studying and trying not to get myself into too much trouble. Kado keeps me busy studying a lot of different things outside of school as well, so I don’t have much time for my friends.

Q: You have a very protective foster father. Do you ever get the urge to rip your hair out, when it comes to dealing with him?

A: Well, no. I like my hair right where it is. I might consider ripping his out on occasion, though. Wait, never mind…that would not end well. We do butt heads a lot, though, and quite often I let my friend, Jade, talk me into breaking the rules. It’s great fun, until I get caught, which with Kado doesn’t take very long. Sometimes I swear he can read my mind.

Q: In episode one you have two very unique friends. Can you tell us about them and how you met each?

A: I met Jade Tobin and Deakan Nix on my first day of school when I was six years old. We connected right away and have been inseparable since. Sometimes I think with the way the two of them bicker, they might like each other, but I’ll never tell them that. It might take a cataclysmic event to get them to admit they have feelings for each other.

Jade is generally quiet and reserved, but at the same time very mischievous. She is someone you can trust with your innermost secrets, and she is a lot of fun to be around. She has very laid back parents, except that they tend to shelter her from the harsh realities of the world. She tends to be too trusting, and she can’t understand cruel people. Violence terrifies her.

Deakan is the exact opposite. You can always count on him to be running his mouth, except when he’s around his father. He’s very obedient and well behaved around his dad. It’s like he has two different personalities, but I’d bet any amount of money that the person he is away from his dad is the real Deakan. He always seems to have something to prove and has a tendency to really dislike authority figures.

Q: Your foster father spent many years training you. Do you feel glad after your experiences about having this training?

A: I would say I feel relieved more than glad. I don’t know what I would have done without the training to fall back on when my friends and I were in trouble. But the training itself has always been very difficult and limiting to my social life. So it’s really been a blessing and a curse.


 

Kado

Character Interview

By: Kathryn Jenkins

Q: Hi Kado, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

A: I am a shadow stalker who was chosen at birth to be trained by our Foramar to replace him upon his death. Auren believes I am a courier, but I have spent the last eighteen years acting as a liaison between the shadow stalkers and the Coalition, the current government of the northern territory of the Serpent Isles. It has been my cover for keeping Auren’s secret. Shadow stalkers do not live among the people of the Serpent Isles, and it was the only way to legitimize my reason for being here. I am very recognizable as a shadow stalker to those who have fought beside us in the war with the Galvadi Empire, which helped the Coalition win their independence. Auren’s presence with me is not unusual because many people who know of us know that we foster our children out to be raised by others.

Q: How did you come to be Auren’s foster father?

A: As I mentioned, the Foramar fostered and trained me throughout my childhood. When his wife became pregnant, he asked me to foster his child. Auren was born prematurely when the Dark Isle was attacked by the Galvadi. The stress of the attack caused the Foramar’s wife to go into labor. She died in childbirth, and I left the Dark Isle with Auren minutes after her birth.

Q: Its obvious many find you bizarre and hard on Auren. Do you think you’re hard on her?

A: Absolutely, I have to be, although sometimes I don’t think I’m hard enough on her. Being a shadow stalker is not easy at the best of times. Traveling to and from the shadow world is dangerous, and becomes more so when we start using our powers while partially within the shadow world and partially in the physical one. Auren, more than any other shadow stalker, has other dangers she will have to face in her life, and she needs to be prepared or she will not survive.

Q: What is your purpose for training Auren on the skills you decided to show her?

A: She needs to be able to survive in no matter what situation she may find herself in. She will need to be able to go to places other people can’t go and hide herself for days, weeks or more if necessary. She needs to be able to survive off the land, making her own tools if necessary. And she needs to know the islands better than anyone else, so she can accomplish all this. Her training will go above and beyond what a shadow stalker would normally endure, because she will face things that the average shadow stalker will never have to face. I
believe her father chose me to foster her because I have the foresight to know what she will need to learn.

Q: You have so much experience and knowledge about many things in your time. Can you tell us more about shadow stalkers?

A: The only thing I can share with you about the shadow stalkers at present is that we were created by the shadow people for a very specific purpose, although it’s not clear to us yet what that purpose is. Many cultures have their gods, mysterious beings who guide civilizations with a purpose that might not be apparent to the people. However, the people will trust in their gods’ will knowing that the gods have more knowledge and power than they do. While the shadow people are not gods, this is the power they have over us. We follow their will without question. In exchange for our obedience, we are given power that goes far beyond the power of any other mortal, which includes an extended lifespan. We will not live forever, but we will live at least twice as long as the average human.

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Thanks for visiting, and again for your support.

If you have any questions for Renee, you can either leave them in the comments and I’ll pass them on, or visit her website here.

The Shadow Stalker Blog Blitz: Part 2

Marketing KitWelcome back for the second stop at WR101. If you haven’t managed to catch Renee’s author interview, you will find it below. Renee is happy to answer any of your questions, so if there’s anything you’d like to know, either leave your questions in the comments or visit Renee’s blog. This evening, in the final stop, I will be sharing the character interviews provided as part of the tour, so don’t miss out on those.

Renee Scattergood

Author Interview

By: Kathryn Jenkins

 

Q: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Do you remember the exact moment you made the decision and why?

A: In 1995 I was going to college for film and video production, and one of the required courses was an English course that required us to do some creative writing. My instructor was so impressed with my work that he had me read it in front of the class on a couple of occasions (which I have to admit was quite horrifying for me). One day he called me up after class was over and asked me if I had ever considered getting any of my work published. I had always loved making up stories, but I never considered writing them down, and I certainly never considered I could be good enough to have something published. He got me thinking about it, though, and I started writing for fun after that. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started to consider writing more seriously.

Q: The hardest obstacle every author faces is trying to find the time to write. How do you manage your time with being a mother and a wife?

A: It’s really not easy. My daughter is autistic and has ADHD as well, so she requires a lot of my attention. I tend to write in bits and pieces throughout the day when I can find time. I volunteer in her school’s library, so I tend to do most of my writing then, or when she is occupied with something at home. Keeping a regular writing schedule is not something I can do, though, so I have to just take advantage of every opportunity.

 Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your stories/books?

A: A lot of it comes from my personal experiences and interesting people that I meet. I also read a lot of fantasy novels, and that tends to get my creative juices flowing.

Q: Your first novel is in a serialized format. Can you tell us why you chose this direction with publishing your work?

A: I was originally planning to write it as a series of novels, but I decided I wanted to try something different since so many authors are doing them these days. I had read about how some authors will publish their novels one chapter at a time and charge $1 a chapter. I thought this was a bit excessive since most novels are close to about 30 chapters. That’s a lot of money to charge for a novel in digital format and most ebook distributors won’t charge less than $0.99. So I came up with the idea of writing episodes, based on the concept of a TV series, but in the form of a short novella.

 

I thought it would be a great way to get my story out there and see if there and see if there was an interest before investing several months of work in writing a complete novel. Plus, it will be fun to be able to give my readers something new to read every month.

Q: With having a serialized novel in the process. Do you have chapters written already for the next episode or are you writing as you go?

A: Episodes 2 and 3 are nearly ready for editing and I’ve just started writing Episode 4. Readers can track my progress from my website where I post word count widgets in the side bar. I like to keep at least a few episodes ahead because quite often I will get ideas that will need to be introduced in an earlier episode. This gives me the latitude to make changes before publishing.

Q: While you are in the process of your serialized novel are you working on other projects? Can you tell us about them? 

A: I am working on a novel called The Four. It will be a standalone novel with the potential for a sequel. The only thing I can say about it right now is that it’s about shape shifters with the ability to control people’s minds. It will be a sort of fantasy thriller.

Q: What background do you have that shows up frequently in your writing?

A: I have been into shamanism for many years, and my stories tend to have a very shamanic theme, although very loosely based in reality. I also prefer to write fantasy that takes place in a modern or futuristic world compared to ours.

Q: What are your goals as a writer? Where do you see yourself in five years after starting your journey with, Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth?

A: I’m not really big on the idea of fame and popularity. I just want to be successful at what I do and make a good living at it. If in five years I can travel with my family anywhere we want to go, be able to live in a nice house and own a nice car, and do things we want to do without worrying about our finances, I will consider myself successful. Then I might consider some new goals, although, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be tickled if one of my novels were to be made into a movie that was produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. To work with those two men would be a dream come true for me.

 Q: What challenges do you face with writing your serialized novel that other writers don’t?

A: The biggest challenge, I would say, is meeting a monthly deadline to write, edit, publish and promote each episode. Also, once an episode is published, it’s cannon. I have to be very careful that I don’t do anything in future episodes that will contradict something that had been previously written. 

 Q: Since, this is your first time being published. Can you tell us about your experiences? What advice would you give to another author just starting out also?

A: Most of my experience over the years has been overcoming my fears. First, I had to get over the fear of having people read my work. I really didn’t believe I was very good until I had strangers emailing me to praise my writing skills. That was a big confidence booster for me and prompted me to start writing more seriously. I’m a perfectionist, though, and I will not publish something if I can’t read it over and over and still love it. I spend the last ten years working on my writing skills and learning about the industry and marketing because I knew I wanted to self-publish. Making the decision to finally write and publish Shadow Stalker is a big step for me because I’m facing my biggest fear of all…fear of the unknown.

 

If I was to give any advice at all, it would be to know your craft and your industry. Don’t just jump into things blind. You should have a plan, and you should know exactly how you will put that plan into action. Then when you have done all that, get to work! Don’t let your fears stop you from achieving your dreams.

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Thanks for visiting.

Mel

The Shadow Stalker Blog Blitz: Part 1

Marketing KitWriting Room 101 is providing three stops on today’s Blitz, starting with a review of The Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (Episode 1).

Shadow Stalker – The Hidden Truth: Episode 1

Review by Melissa Barker-Simpson

 

This is the first time I’ve read a serial and I didn’t know what to expect. I was pulled into the story right away. The pacing was cleverly crafted so that while the action had the pages turning, there was enough back story to keep you rooted in the plot. I liked the way it unfolded, how the author allowed us to see through Auren’s eyes – a young girl testing the limits placed on her by her step-father and guardian, Kato. Their relationship is an intriguing one, full of secrets and shared respect, despite the duty they are both bound to.

Although Auren’s emotions are those of a typical teenage girl, her circumstances are not. She struggles to find her place, craving the freedom to stretch her wings, all while understanding the depth of her responsibilities. It is a compelling battle  and as a reader I was easily able to identify with this internal struggle.

Auren’s world is an unfamiliar one, but with the help of some lovely descriptions I found it to be an exciting journey, one I am looking forward to continuing in episode 2.

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Thanks for visiting.

Mel

The Collaboration Station gets a new feature

PosterI’m excited to announce a new feature within the Collaboration Station. Writing Room 101 is to become a stopping point for Blog Tours. The first is a kind of blitz and will be hosted on the 30 August 2014. The tour is organised by Dragon Knight Chronicles as part of a new sister site – Readers Corner.

I had the chance to read Shadow Stalker – The Hidden Truth, by Renee Scattergood. It is the first episode of the series and I look forward to picking up where I left off in episode two.

I will be providing a review on Saturday the 30th – a blitz day in which Renee will be stopping at a variety of blogs. As soon as I have the schedule I’ll update you on what’s in store.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel