Interview with Shannon West
Interview with Shannon West
Affaire de Coeur's
August Calendar Girl
Shannon West is a bestselling author of MM Romance and believes love has no gender. When she’s not reading, she’s eluding housework, lost in fantasy worlds, fighting to keep her cats off the keyboard, and imagining love scenes—sometimes all at the same time.
When did you start writing and why?
I started writing about six or seven years ago, with a MF historical type romance very loosely based on my grandmother, who died long before I was born. My mother, who was only around five or six when her mother passed, told me once, “Everyone knew that my father never loved my mother as much as he loved his first wife.” To a young girl, who loved romance and happily-ever-afters, that comment was devastating to me. I began to make up reasons why it might not be true, or how there may have been more to the story, and my first novel was written in my head. Many years later, it was still on my mind and I wrote Standing on Stolen Ground, my very first book. (If anyone wants to read it, it’s still out there, but now under a new pen name, Stefanie Keith) I went on to write more in this vein, and though people seemed to like them, sales were pretty dismal. I decided to quit and a friend talked me into continuing, saying “It’s hard to break into the historical romance genre. So just switch genres!” She made it sound so easy—but I took her advice and here I am today.
What have you learned about writing since you started?
That it’s harder than it looks! It takes a lot of time, and it can be frustrating. It’s so difficult to please everyone. I have a character named Blake, for example, in my Mate of the Tyger Prince series. One reviewer begs for more of Blake’s story and another one right after it says they HATE Blake—please stop writing about him. The best thing to do is write the best story you can and please yourself. You might not make everyone happy, but the important thing is to write a story you can be proud of.
Tell us about your new book or series.
Hmmm. I have a few. I’m currently working on Hybrid, the second in the series. It’s a kind of spin off from the Dark Hollows series about one of the characters named Mason. He’s bitten by both a werewolf and a vampire within minutes of each other and because of a special factor in his blood, he becomes a hybrid creature. Some of the Dark Hollows characters will make appearances too, and in this latest one, an arch villain named Marius is introduced. He’s a gorgeous, sexy, evil vampire.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
For writing, a rainy, gloomy day when I have no appointments, nowhere to go, nothing to do but sit in my office and write!
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to travel. And most recently, I have been pretty involved in raising British Shorthair cats. They’re a lovely, sweet breed that are so much fun to be around.
What is the worst thing about being an author?
Maybe some of the criticism. I don’t mind it if the criticism is thoughtful and kind—it doesn’t hurt anyone to be kind, because no one sets out to write a bad book. Every author I know tries so hard, and their books are like their babies, in a way. Reviews that seem clearly intended to be hurtful make me angry. There’s just no need for that. As authors, we know we’re not going to please everyone, but we keep trying. Don’t get me wrong. I love reviews and respect my reader’s opinions. I truly appreciate anyone taking the time to tell me what they think! But kindness is key.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I love story-telling! And going to the conventions! Meeting new people and traveling—two of my favorite things at the same time.
How many books do you currently have out on the market and what genres do they fall into?
I truly have no idea. I think well over a hundred, if you count short stories. I have sci-fi romance, paranormal shifter romance, BDSM romance, and a few suspense type contemporaries. I think most people like my paranormal or sci-fi.
What can we expect from you next?
Another Mate of the Tyger Prince is in the works. The already mentioned Hybrid. And another series I’ve just started working on about werewolves. The working title is An Alpha to Love, and features a world where wolves and humans exist side by side, but don’t interact too much. This first story involves an alpha and an omega.
Pass on some words of wisdom, please, to aspiring authors.
I don’t know if I have any wisdom to impart, but I can offer some advice. My advice would be to keep working at it—keep going, because you’re fabulous. Stop all the negative self-talk and don’t read the really mean reviews. They’re just hurtful and won’t help you. Read the thoughtful ones and learn from them. Keep working every day—even a few words or just a little editing will keep you in the game. Authors love to read too, so keep reading the books you love, and supporting each other.
Please give us the following contact information:
Personal web page www.shannonwestbooks.com