Interview & Giveaway with Shana Abe
The Reading Cafe is happy to welcome the wonderful Shana Abe as our guest today. Shana has her long awaited release of The Sweetest Dark upcoming in early 2013, and she is here today to answer our questions, as well as tell us about her books.
Let’s begin our interview with Shana.
TRC: Please tell us about yourself?
Shana:I’m a rowdy rebel girl trapped in a grown-up’s body, with constantly changing,
multi-colored hair (right now it’s brown, white, and blue) and a great, great appreciation
for how wonderful my life really is. Plus, I have a really cute boyfriend. 🙂
TRC: You are an animal lover…you have a dog and five rabbits. Interesting combination..how do they get along?
Shana: They get along very well, because the dog is sweet and smart and knows to stay away from the bunnies. The bunnies, however, are wildly ferocious and always plotting ways to overtake the world...or at least my house. 😉
Rabbits are insanely territorial. You can’t mix them, so they live in separate areas,every one of them a mini despot. That’s the way they like it.
(They’re all rescues, most with horrific and/or tragic back stories, so it’s
nice to let them rule their own realms now. I’ve been rescuing rabbits for
over twenty years. It’s always an adventure.)
TRC: When and how did you become interested in writing? Have you always liked to write?
Shana: Like many authors, I’ve been writing since I was able to piece together
the alphabet, mostly short stories and poems and once—quite ambitiously for a seven-year-old!—a play. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I thought I might like to write novels. I wrote my first one at seventeen.
It was very, very bad. So I stopped for a while, did some other things for a few years, then realized that I really wanted to write.Because I hated my office job, LOL. I’ve been so lucky. If I’d known more about the industry before I submittedmy first book to my first agent, I might have been too intimidated to even try.
Thank God for ignorance!
TRC: Would you please tell us your process in writing your books?
Shana: I make it up as I go. I’m not trying to be flip: I really do. Some writers create these amazingly detailed outlines, but I can’t. I get bored with outlines,and I don’t like being confined by rules or even ideas. I typically have a vague notion of how I want the story to go, but that’s about it. I never know what’s going to happen next when I write. It’s one of the aspects I love most about the process. That, and falling in love with my characters, even the villains.
You gotta love them all.
TRC: When you published Smoke Thief to start your Drákon series, did you know how far you wanted to go in this series?
Shana: I had no clue! (See my answer above about making things up as I go,LOL!)
THE SMOKE THIEF came to me as a stand-alone story.By the end of it, I had an inkling for the plot of its first sequel,THE DREAM THIEF—mostly because of Zane. Even as a child hewas just so compelling, I knew he needed his own story. And then it just kept going. I was as surprised as anyone else.
TRC: A number of our readers, who also follow the Drákon Series have some questions, if you can answer them.
· Will we ever see again, or know where Christoff, and Rue have disappeared?
Shana: Yes! Rue and Christoff have what I would call an historical role in my new book, THE SWEETEST DARK. They’re not the main characters,but they are mentioned. I don’t mean to be coy about it; I just don’t want to give away too much because it’s part of the plot of this new story. (Also, I’m thinking they still might get an entirely new book of their own, but I’m not sure about that yet. However, I want to assure everyone, that I do know what happened to them, where they went and why.) In fact, the back cover blurb for THE SWEETEST DARK is an excerpt from a letter in Rue’s voice.
· In the last installment The Time Weaver, Amalia had visions of her own brother (Kimber) murdering members of a rival Drákon tribe. Are we to believe that Kimber is power hungry like the other council members, or will he be more like his peaceful father?
Shana: Kimber’s not power hungry, per se. But he’s definitely ruthless whenhe needs to be. He perceives the rival tribe as a direct threat to his own,and most specifically one member of that tribe (who does end up beingpretty evil, as you’ll recall). So it’s more a matter of he’s going to do what he must to ensure the survival of his own family and his species. He doesn’t want to kill. But he will if he feels he must. It’s part of both the honor and the burden of being the Alpha: he must be strong enough to protect the tribe, and he must make the unsavory choices no one else will make.
· Will we ever see this family reunite, and live out their lives without fear of capture, imprisonment, possible death etc…by the council members whom rule the Drákon. Will Amalia be forced to continue living a life of exile, or will she someday be allowed to live in peace with her human husband Zane?
Shana: Wow. Um….
Anything is possible. I can absolutely envision a time and place where the entire family would reunite. The truth is, I sort of like Amalia and Zane in exile, because they get to live in such cool places, LOL. If and when Rue and Kit show back up, they’ll have a huge secret to reveal (again, I’m not trying to be coy; you get a big hint of it in THE SWEETEST DARK).
Those were all awesome questions!
TRC: Tell us a little about The Sweetest Dark. Do you consider this a continuation of the Drákon series, or if this will be the start of a new series focusing on Lora?
Shana: It’s both, actually. I’d say it’s the beginning of a new stand-alone series,but also one that dovetails into the Drákon Series in a subtle sort of way.It’s not necessary to have read any of the previous books to understand the new series. Everything’s fresh, including the characters and the setting.
It’s the story of Eleanore Jones, an impoverished orphan living in 1915 London. She’s always felt different from the rest of the people she’s known; she hears songs no one else hears, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with what can only be described as a dangerous voice inside of her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.
Lora has no idea she’s one of the last of the drákon. As World War I begins to take its toll and London’s children are evacuated from the city, she’s shocked to discover she’s been selected as the new charity student to the elite Iverson School for Girls on the southern coast.
Iverson was great to write about—an eerie, gothic castle with ghosts and secret tunnels and mean girls and not one but two extraordinary boys nearby who are suddenly, acutely interested in Lora.
Jesse’s the school groundskeeper: beautiful, mute, and aware at once of who and what Lora is.
Armand is the elegant aristocrat who can’t figure out why he’s drawn to thisstrange new girl, but can’t deny that he is, deeply so.
But there’s still a war going on, and peril is never that far way. Lora’s going to discover she needs to embrace her powers at last, or risk losing everything (and everyone) she loves.
TRC: Do you have any thoughts of a new series in a different genre?
Shana: I do! It’s bubbling at the back of my mind. I can’t indulge in it just yet, though. I’ve got to finish Eleanore’s series.
TRC: Who is your favorite Female Character in your books?
Shana: Oh, lord. I have no idea. They’re all amazing to me. Rue for herdesperation and originality; Lia for her cleverness and kind heart. Avalon, from THE TRUELOVE BRIDE, who was my first brilliant, deeply magical heroine. Eleanore too, because she’s pretty much me when I was sixteen, both awkward and confident, someone who is trying hard to figure out not only the hidden mysteries of herself but also the vagaries of the real world.
TRC: We know you love to read...who are your favorite authors you enjoy reading?
Shana: I know it sounds geeky, but I’ve always loved Shakespeare. (I even majored in drama in collage, I love theatre so much.) Loved the Harry Potter series. Really liked The Hunger Games. But it seems I’m always on deadline; I haven’t read for pleasure in so long, it’s disgraceful. There are so many wonderful authors out there.
TRC: Who is your muse?
Shana: I don’t know! It’s not a person or a thing. Maybe it’s more a state of being. Of relaxing, letting go. Allowing the creativity to come without judgment. That can be incredibly difficult.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Shana: Just that I’m so happy to be doing this interview, and I mean it. I’m so, so grateful that you all are reading this, and that you care about the stories. I love what I do and hope I get to keep doing it, and that certainly won’t happen without you all. So thank you!
Favorite Food: My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. But I’m a vegetarian now, so that doesn’t happen much anymore.
Favorite Book (not your own): WATERSHIP DOWN. (Not because it’s about rabbits! Anyway, it’s not really about rabbits, but rather the human condition.)
Favorite character (male & female) not written by you: I love pretty much all of Barbara O’Neal’s heroines, and all of Laura Kinsale’s heroes.
Favorite Movie: Serenity
Favorite TV Show: Hmm. I don’t really have just one: The Mentalist (Simon Baker!), Hawaii Five-0 (hot guys! great scenery! bad acting!), 30 Rock (Tina Fey!); not necessarily in that order.
Last Movie that you saw: Toy Story 3 on cable. I don’t get out much!
TRC: Thank you, Shana for answering our questions. We look forward to continuing to read your books, and for you to come back to visit us when the Sweetest Dark is released in early 2013.
Shana: Thank you so much! I had a wonderful time answering your questions! 🙂
If you want to learn more about Shana, you can visit her at the following links:
Shana has graciously offered to give three members of The Reading Café a chance to win a copy of one of her Backlist books.
1. You must be a member at The Reading Cafe. If you are not a member, please register using the Log-In at the top of the page, or by using one of our social log-ins.
2. If you are using a social log-in e.g. Twitter, please leave your email address along with your comment.
3. Please post a comment on the interview post and say hello to Shana.
4. Giveaway open U.S. Only
5. Contests runs from August 30th – September 3rd.