Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Interview with Shawntelle Madison + Giveaway

Today I am happy to start the Halloween celebrations in style by welcoming to Ex Libris Shawntelle Madison, author of the much praised Coveted urban fantasy series! Join us as we discuss OCD, werewolves and Halloween traditions and what better way to have fun on Halloween than entering to win a unique and exciting UF novel? So make sure to enter the giveaway at the end and get the prequel novella Collected for FREE now at Amazon!

Stella: Hi Shawntelle, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Shawntelle: Thanks for having me, Stella. I’m excited to be here. I’m the author of Coveted, an urban fantasy romance from Ballantine Books. I’m a geek who spends way to much time at the computer. I work as a web developer on the side writing code for the websites and much more.

Stella: You took the blogosphere and the virtual bookshelves by a storm with your new urban fantasy series, Coveted, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of this series of yours?

Shawntelle: Thanks! I hope readers will have a chance to meet Natalya and get to know a flawed heroine with drive and spirit. I had a lot of fun writing about Natalya’s adventures.

Stella: How did the idea for the series come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?

Shawntelle: My heroine, Natalya, came from an article I read in a physician’s magazine. The article was about obsessive compulsive disorders and went into the symptoms, treatments plans, and medication involved. I asked myself what would happen if a werewolf had OCD? How would that alter her pack relationships? From that point, conflicts blossomed and I had a story.

Stella: Coveted the first book was published in April and Kept, its sequel is set for release in November. Can you tell readers a bit about the world that your series is set in? There are werewolves and wizards and other supernatural things, what sets your Coveted series apart from the other UF series? (do they have the same powers/traits, e.g. can vampires venture out into sunlight? Do they drink blood to survive? Do werewolves shift only at full moon? Can they stop the shift or its inevitable? Etc.)

Shawntelle: In the universe of my books, werewolves can shift anytime they want. They are forced to shift during the full moon, but other than that, they have control. There are no vampires in the Coveted universe, but there are plenty of other supernatural creatures that roaming the shadows to keep things interesting. As far as spellcasters, I have witches, wizards, and warlocks. The wizards perform white magic, while the warlocks dabble in black magic. Werewolves are able to do magic, or old magic, as I call it in the book, but there is a big price to pay for shapeshifters to do magic. Other than no vampires, I believe my series is different because my supernatural creatures have humanistic flaws. They can have a mental illness. They can make great or even poor decisions like us humans. I love flawed characters and bringing them to life is very fascinating to me.

Stella: Can you tell us a bit more about Coveted and Kept and tease us? ;-)

Shawntelle: I had such a blast writing Coveted and Kept. The series also made me cry too. There are so many pieces to series. It’s mainly about being swept away in the crowd, then finding your way back to the love and family you’d lost. Natalya lives alone in South Toms River, NJ. She is estranged from her family and pack due to her OCD. But things change when her former boyfriend returns to protect the pack from another invading pack. Things also change when Nat’s friend Aggie shows up. Nat makes a decision to finally change her life. In therapy, she meets Nick the wizard. He’s a kindred spirit who understands her and hopes she’ll welcome him into her heart.

Kept is a continuation of Coveted in that Nat has a chance to reenter the pack, but she must several challenges to reach that point. A lot of questions from Coveted will be answered in Kept, including who wins Nat’s heart. ;)

Stella: Could you introduce the main characters of the series?

Shawntelle: Natalya is a brunette woman of Russian descent who is around five foot eight and one hundred twenty pounds. She lives alone and prefers to wear clothes that have a similar style every day. She’s quite stubborn and prefers things done her way--which of course is the correct way of things. Nat works day-to-day as a clerk at the Bend of the River flea market where she sells antiques to other supernatural creatures. With all the things she faces, like OCD, Nat has a good heart and wants the best for her family. She has a strong sense of loyalty and plenty of sarcasm-laden remarks to boot.

Stella: Which (secondary) character is your favourite to write, either because their scenes just seem to flow or to the contrary, even though they aren’t easy to write their scenes just make it all worthwhile?

Shawntelle: I loved writing Aggie as a secondary character. When Nat felt like holding back her opinion, Aggie felt perfectly inclined to give it. The scenes with Aggie and Nat took hardly no time at all. My favorite scene between them was when Aggie used her dominant nature to make Nat do something positive for her life. Like bonding with her family.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia connected to the writing of Coveted/Kept (a scene/character that did not end up in the final version, a real person inspiring a character, scene, etc.)?

Shawntelle: I actually do have a deleted scene available HERE.

Nat had a few adventures that got cut from Coveted. Sometimes I think I have a bit too much writing quirky characters. There was a teen name Blythe that never made it into the book. She would have been a fun secondary character.

Stella: How many books are you planning to have in the series?

Shawntelle: Right now I have to novels planned with Ballantine Books, but I have storylines planned for Aggie, Heidi, and most importantly, Nick.

Stella: What is your favourite kind of supernatural being? And why is that?

Shawntelle: I adore werewolves. There is just something sexy about a primal beast lurking under a man’s skin. Unlike a vampire who pretty much wants to drain your blood. Not that sexy.

Stella: What made you choose to write in the genre that you write in? Do you still remember your introduction to the paranormal world? Was it a book? A film, or a TV series?

Shawntelle: I’m a big sci-fi reader. Growing up, I read a lot of books by Octavia Butler, Robert Heinlein, and more. Those books inspired me to create my own universes and actively think about a world around me and ask critical questions.

Stella: What do you do when you aren’t writing? What are some of your pastimes?

Shawntelle: I spend a lot of time reading. Another pastime I enjoy is watching shows, in particular k-dramas (Korean dramas) on my television.

Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?

Shawntelle: Right now, I’m working on Aggie’s story and I hope to share it with the world near the end of the year.

Stella: Reading your bio I was impressed: it seems you are talented and interested in very varied fields: be it mathematics or Russian literature, it seems you have this blend of pragmatic yet romantic side. How did you choose to study such different areas?

Shawntelle: I love studying foreign languages. Love it! But I’m a computer nerd at heart, so I pursued the sciences. If I actually had more spare time, I’d study at least four languages.

Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?

Shawntelle: Not many folks know I have a helpful habit of cleaning when I get on the phone. I’ll be chatting with a friend and then I’ll suddenly get up and start cleaning. It took me years before I’d realized I always did it. Rather handy when my house is a mess.

Stella: And let’s finish in style, with today being Halloween, care to share with us one of your Halloween related best or worst memories? :-)

Shawntelle: I have great memories of Halloween. My most memorable one was when I went out for Halloween and there was snow on the ground. Most Halloweens in the Midwest, in the state of Iowa in particular, get cold, but they very rarely have snow. To have snow while Trick or Treating was quite an experience. A cold one that is.

Now, the cold weather doesn’t stop me or my kids from the candy and trick or treating. What is the one candy treat you’d go into the cold weather for?

Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

Connect with Shawntelle at her Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

Book #1 in the Coveted series

Sometimes what you covet is impossible to keep.

For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she’s stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home—and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves—and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it’s enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

Kept by Shawntelle Madison

Book #2 in the Coveted series

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.


Shawntelle is generously giving away a paperback copy of Coveted to a lucky commenter!

To be entered just leave a comment answering Shawntelle's question: What is the one candy treat you’d go into the cold weather for?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 10 November 2012!

Good luck!

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