**Ali: I'd like to give a big THANKS to Shawna for being a guest here this week ;) And, thanks to all the readers who stopped by :)
Shawna, I think I must have told you this already, but I was first hesitant to read Roughrider, because it was being sold as an Ellora's Cave Exotica... their erotica line... and I was worried there wasn't really going to be any romance. But, after writing to you, you assured me there was, and I'm soooo glad I ended up reading Roughrider. That book had me hotter than a summers day in Houston (trust me, that's saying a lot, lol)... and there was still that love and romance that I want from my books. *g* What do you think makes this book different than a book in the erotic romance genre?
Shawna: Ali, I'm having a wonderful time guest blogging here this week. You and the readers have been quite gracious. Many thanks for picking up ROUGHRIDER, and I'm pleased you enjoyed it. While I've some stories in mind that are pure erotica, in most of my stories I enjoy featuring a monogamous, loving couple who deserve a solid romance. And it's always a fun challenge coming up with conflicts for them to overcome so they achieve their happily ever after. That's part of what I enjoy most about writing for the Exotika line. They are open to authors' story visions. We can include a romance or not. I enjoy that creative freedom and letting the story and characters dictate whether or not a romance is in their fictional future.
ROUGHRIDER fits the Exotika mold because it involves the discovery of alternative lifestyles and sexual practices. The story's villain presents himself as a pious sort, very active in his local church community. I wanted to bring something to the storyline that would rock the community, his relationship with the hero and the hero's mother, and the heroine to their very core. What better than having him make most of his money from illicit business? The money he makes from this business is the same cash he channels into the church's coffers. Really paints the villain in the worst light possible. Plus I wanted to give my curious heroine a situation that challenged her brave nature.
**Ali: You have several books published over the course of some years. Do you see that your writing has changed much? Are there any books ( you don't have to name names) that you wish you could go back and rewrite?
Shawna: My writing voice has changed dramatically since I wrote my first novel toward publication back in 2001. Since then I've completed (just this past week) 50 manuscripts, many of them single-title romances or women's fiction. Some of those won't be submitted for possible publication because my writing has evolved and my voice has settled into what makes Shawna, Shawna. I will likely pull the plots and characters from certain unpublished stories and rewrite them at some point, including the historical romance that was never published but whose tale I told my mom before her passing. The storyline in that book is one near and dear my heart. Probably my favorite hero and heroine of those I've written--unless I count the loving pair in the erotic historical romance I recently finished writing. There's never a point where I couldn't rework this, or tweak that, in a book of mine that's been published. But there comes a time when I must let go and submit that particular vision and version for publication consideration.
**Ali: Can you tell us about any upcoming books? Or something in the works? *eg*
Shawna: I've an interesting women's fiction story in mind set in a past decade. A story of self-journey and discovery. In that tale I utilize my medical training and background for a pivotal plot point. I'm plotting more adventures for Helle and polishing the second installment of her exploits in Sin City. The same goes for a follow-up to ROUGHRIDER. I've another women's fiction novel I want to polish for submission and a sweeter, emotionally-gripping women's fiction novel, too. The idea folder on the dining room table is filled and I'm frequently paging through those sheets to spur my right brain and see which characters speak loudest. Then I keep them in mind for some time, getting to know them a bit better. When the time is ripe, they begin their journey and I go along for the fictional ride. I've also recently completed a couple erotica tales, both of which include a romance.
**Ali: Is there any genre that you haven't written that you'd like to try?
Shawna: One day I would love trying to plot a mystery novel. I've enjoyed reading mysteries over the years. Agatha Christie. Daphne du Maurier. Ellery Queen. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dick Francis. Even the Nancy Drew mysteries (really loved reading those while growing up). There are so many more authors I could list whose talent in writing this genre astounds me. But at present romance, erotica and women's fiction are calling me more loudly and I cannot resist them.
**Ali: Ooh, I have to ask... what was it like when you first got the news that one of your stories was going to be published? Any celebration? Do you still celebrate now with each release?
Shawna: I'll always remember the day I received the email from my former editor at Whiskey Creek Press offering a contract for SAINTS AND SINNERS. S&S was another book near and dear my heart as I've always been intrigued by the Jazz Age culture. I screamed and ran outside to find my husband. We celebrated with a lovely dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and toasted with a favorite wine. I still celebrate the book sales and releases in the same way. We had quite a special weekend getaway when I sold my first short novel, HELLE IN HEELS, to Ellora's Cave. Lots of focus on love over those three days and how many good things life has brought my way.
**Ali: And, finally, Shawna, I have to ask, when you're not writing, what're you reading? Any great reads lately?
Shawna: I read most genres but my favorites are romance, women's fiction and erotica. But when I'm writing a certain genre/sub-genre, I read outside of that genre/sub-genre. Since well before starting Kindergarten, I chose reading as one of my favorite pastimes. A good book stimulates the mind and creativity. Recently I've re-read THE LOVELY BONES and THE GREAT GATSBY, and I've also read OVEREXPOSED by Leslie Kelly and KIDNAPPED by Jo Leigh. All are fabulous books and on my keeper shelves.