The King and Vi comes out tomorrow! Shana was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this magical historical romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?
When I was growing up, I didn’t know that being an author was a possibility. I don’t know where I thought books came from. I did always like to write. Even as young as 6 or 7 I would write stories. The first story I wrote down was one about Han Solo and Princess Leia kissing. I guess I was always a romantic!
It never occurred to me that I could write as a career until I was out of college. Then I was an English teacher, and I was teaching about literature and really examining the author’s purpose and intent and life, and it clicked that my little writing hobby could become something I did fulltime.
What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living in that period?
I’ve always enjoyed history. I think reading the works of Jane Austen made me fall in love with the Regency period, though I wouldn’t have known that was what it was called when I first picked up Pride and Prejudice. I just love the carriages, the balls, the dresses, and the manners.
What I also found interesting was the extreme juxtapositions in the era. While Austen’s characters are dancing at balls, English men were fighting a war on the Continent. While the wealthy people of Mayfair spent a fortune on their Grosvenor Square town house, just down the street people were starving in Covent Garden. The rich and poor really did live right next to each other. I think for me the most difficult part of living in that time would be all the suffering. Without modern medicine and social services, many people and animals lived miserable lives. Now most of us don’t see those aspects of society if we don’t want to, but I don’t think it could be avoided in that era.
What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?
I like writing characters who don’t fit in. Maybe she’s secretly a spy or he’s dyslexic. Not every book I write has this theme, but I do tend to come back to it often. My favorite trope is the Fish Out of Water trope. I find a lot of humor and compassion in reading and writing about people trying to fit in.
I think readers will see this in The King and Vi because King is a marquess who has to hide out and work at a tavern in the slum of Seven Dials. He is completely out of his element, and that makes for some humorous scenes, but as we all know, sometimes it takes an outsider to really effect lasting, meaningful change.
Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?
I am a pantser and always have been. That means I write “by the seats of my pants” and don’t plot or plan my books. I’ve written 50 books, so I don’t worry anymore about writing myself into a corner or ending up with fifty pages of nothing happening that I’ll have to cut later. After all these years, I have a sense for how to write a story and what the turning points are. But this is something I know unconsciously rather than map out ahead of time.
Most of my scenes are not fully formed before they are written. Sometimes I have a linchpin scene in my mind, and I work toward writing that scene. Unfortunately, a lot of times when I get to that scene, it’s not what I hoped it would be. I feel like when I plan a scene or story it turns out like one of those memes with the perfect image on the left and the reality on the right. If I don’t have an expectation for a scene or book then I won’t be disappointed when I can’t meet that, plus it leaves room for me to be surprised and spontaneous and let the story take me where it wants to go.