Sunday, 20 January 2013
Author Interview: A. Sangrey Black
A. Sangrey Black is the darker, kinkier alter ego of paranormal romance and urban fantasy writer H.A. Fowler. This pseudonym gives her the freedom to explore the more shadowed side of sexuality and romance that have fascinated her since she started reading Anne Rice novels at an entirely in appropriate age. She allows her Bloodthirsty Muses to take her wherever they please, however outside her comfort zone.
Besides fiction, she also makes a living as a freelance writer. She reads constantly, loves to travel (especially by train.) She's a certified cheese and coffee addict, practices yoga and meditation, and is careful to quickly and accurately follow the demands of two very picky felines. She is also one of those twisted vampire freaks that studies them as important philosophical and literary figures… as well as sexy fictional boyfriends.
Hi Annette! Thank you so much for having me today. I always love talking to readers and bloggers… or at all, really.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
A combination of both. I need the safety net of an outline so I know where I plan on going, but I'm open to following where the characters or the action might want to wander if they change their minds somewhere along the line. Having an outline means I can look and see where I need to adjust things so they turn out more or less the way I want.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
All the time! Especially in specific scenes. I usually write out skeletons of action and dialogue for each scne, but characters very often have different ideas of what they want to say or do. As long as it doesn't change things in a major thematic way, I let them go. They're the backbone of the story, after all.
What is your favourite food?
Honestly, almost anything with cheese involved: mac & cheese, quiche. But I'll say a tie between loaded nachos and pan pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl, although that's changing a bit as I get older! I'm starting to find my most productive hours are from late morning to late afternoon. What kind of vampire writer writes in the height of the day!?
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I've always been drawn to Scotland. It's a mix of the fact that the majority of my ancestors are from there, and my lifelong love of Scottish romances that have made me long for the beauty, history, and romance of it all. If I ever make enough money, that's where I'd go.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Not yet, unless the future counts. They're mostly set in the continental US, although that will probably change in the future with the characters from IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS.
Do you listen to music while writing?
No, I need quiet while actually writing, but I do build playlists that I listen to in the car or around the house just to keep the emotional flow going. It also often inspires me to add, change, or subtract things when I sit down to write again.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
I also wanted to come at a vampire romance from the POV of a human lover. Calinda is by no means an innocent -- she and Adam have been in the BDSM life for two years, but she's walking into a much darker world, both literally and figuratively, when it comes to the part of her vampire's life that he's sheltered her from. She's an adrenaline junkie, and has absolutely no qualms about doing whatever Adam wants to do, but once she's in the thick of it, she's going to be faced with aspects of herself that she was never in touch with before, and that changes everything. The decisions she planned to make take on a whole new meaning.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
Don't take anything personally -- especially from editors/publishers/critics. They're just doing their jobs, and they don't have the time to care that this book or novella or short story is the child of your heart. To them, it's just words on a page, and the only question is: will it sell?
Don't give up. No matter how many rejections you get, keep polishing your piece, keep getting editorial comments, take what the rejections say seriously (if you get a personalized rejection, that is a GOOD THING!), keep submitting. Keep working on other pieces. Just KEEP WRITING. You can never succeed if you don't try.
Don't read Amazon or Goodreads reviews. Seriously, the ratio of vicious, insulting screeds to actual constructive criticism in those places doesn't make it worth the hurt. Read review blogs instead.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I would have gotten an agent an tried harder to get into the Big Houses back in 2006, when I was first published. I would have had a chance to ride the huge vampire wave that's ebbing now. I'll still keep writing vamps because that's my great love, but I don't think we'll ever see another explosion of popularity like the post-Twilight craze again.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Oh, that list could go on forever. Of course, there are writers that I just adore, and reading their works just keeps me going even when I feel like I don't have anything left in me. I mean, look at Nora Roberts/JD Robb (the latter is one of my absolute favorite series and couples) -- how many books does she put out a year, and most at an incredibly consistent quality? Diana Gabaldon, with her rich, historical world and arguably the most sexy hero and deeply devoted romantic couple in fiction. Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher, creators of two of the most amazing fantasy worlds I've ever read.
But I'm also inspired by the world around me. Little things like the natural environment where I live; places I visit; music; movies and television. Almost anything can carry the seed for a story or character.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
I ripped this off from La Nora: Put your butt in the chair, every day. Even if it's for five minutes, write, no matter what. I highly recommend the "Morning Pages" method created by Julia Cameron in THE ARTIST'S WAY -- she describes them on her page as: "Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
It sounds difficult. It sounds hokey. It sounds cliché. But if you make a habit of writing every day, you'll be shocked at what you can produce over the course of a few months or a year. Don't worry about whether it's "good" or hot, or publishable, just put words on paper. They're yours, not anyone else's.
What are three words that describe you?
Quixotic, sarcastic, procrastinating
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
I meantioned it earlier, but my all time favorite book is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. She's also my favorite writer, although Kim Harrison and her Hollow's Series is very close behind. Another books that means a great deal to me is Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS by A. Sangrey Black
Stratford has been around long enough, and known enough humans, to realize that the idea of being a vampire is often more romantic than the reality. There is innate violence, a relationship with blood and pain that mortals can't begin to understand, even in the depths of the most depraved dungeon. His truly deep feelings for Calinda prevent him from agreeing to her pleas to become a vampire until she has a much better idea of the things he does in the shadows when she isn't beside him.
A weekend at his country home promises dark delights like nothing Calinda ever dreamed, and surprises beyond her understanding. Will she risk her very soul to step into that sensual darkness, or will she say the safeword and run for her life?
List of previous books if any
While this is my first novella writing as A. Sangrey Black, I have a number of more mainstream pieces published as H.A. Fowler:
THE VEIL II: OTHERWORLD
SWORD OF REGRET
BETTER NOT CRY (if you're in the mood for a steamy holiday story!)
You can find these at all the major outlets, plus All Romance Ebooks.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.
A. Sangrey Black ("Alternative" Fiction: BDSM, Dark Erotica, Horror, Paranormal, LGBT): http://asangreyblack.blogspot.com
H.A. Fowler ("Mainstream" Fiction: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy): http://bloodthirstymuses.wordpress.com
An excerpt from the book
“Are you certain you wish to go on?” he asked.
Calinda grinned in spite the horror-movie air and his grim demeanor and nodded. There were no shadows dark enough that would keep her from taking this journey with him. Nothing she wouldn’t do if he asked it of her, just as she knew he would, if he hadn’t already tasted all of her secrets.
Satisfied, Adam took her hand, pressed a small switch on the wall beside them, and led her down a narrow set of stone stairs, now illuminated by a dim red light. The stairway curved sharply, and he was guiding her down and down forever, circling into the depths of who knew what. She had learned from experience that the border between the heavenly and hellish was very fine indeed. She liked it that way.
Calinda’s heart thundered, her stomach fluttering with nerves, and she relished each sensation, tucking it away in her memory like some women might keep tickets to a show she’d attended with her lover. She had been an adrenaline junkie since the day she was born. Instead of drugs, she far preferred driving fast cars, jumping out of airplanes, and dating ancient, sadistic vampires than pills or needles. This occasion, with its mysteries and uncertainties, was better than any shot of pure heroin straight into her system, and the vampire she loved was giving it to her. He had become so many things to her in the two years they’d been together, and adrenaline dealer had been one of the greatest of them from the moment they met.
She remembered with an electric shiver through her system the first moment when she realized what he was, when she invited him home knowing what he could do to her. The biggest charge of her life. She gave his hand a squeeze in thanks. No, she had no difficulty in taking this journey. There was only one thing that could be at the bottom of this staircase, spiraling them into the depths of the earth together: the darkness he kept talking about, made manifest. The deepest shadows inside him. She was so eager to see it she was already wet.
If Wishes Were Shadows is out now from Cobblestone Press
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