Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Welcome, Shauna Hart

Hello, Shauna. Thanks so much for visiting with us today. We’ve got a lot to talk about, so let’s get started.

What circumstances led you to writing?

I think deep down I have always wanted to be a writer. I used to give new chapters to girls at my school. When I got older, I started to think about what I wanted out of life for myself. It didn’t take long to figure it out. Then, I had to start learning how to be a writer.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

I’ve written 7 books and am currently writing book 8. Obviously, each one is special to me for a different reason. I think my favorite is always the book I’m working on at the moment.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love exploring different lives. There’s nothing more exciting than a fresh idea for a story. Plus, I’m a nut for research. I love it. So, if I start a new book that requires research, I will quickly acquire all sorts of books on the topic.

Where do you write?

I usually write sitting on the couch. I have a weird system. I actually hand write everything in a notebook. Then, when I type it, I do my first edit. For me, writing it in the notebook is a little less formal. It gives me the freedom to make mistakes. I also write ideas in the margin that I want to explore when I type it into the computer. There is something about typing it that makes me feel like it has to be perfect.

How long does it typically take you to finish a writing project?

That depends on the project. Some books I’ve finished in a month. Others I end up taking a break from and it takes several months. For instance, my new release, The Pleasure of Sin, took a little over a year to write. I started the book, which is set in New Orleans, and then the Hurricane Katrina hit. With all of the terrible things that happened, I just couldn’t go back there. It took a few months for me to feel like I could actually start writing it again.

Any advice for an author just starting out on the writer’s journey?

I think the best advice I can give aspiring authors is to believe in yourself. My favorite phrase (which I used many times while trying to get published) is “If I don’t believe in myself, then why should anyone else?” I firmly believe that. Unless you are extremely lucky, getting published takes time. You will need to be your own cheerleader for a large portion of that time. Friends and family may support you, but it is not “real” to them until you get a contract. It has to be real to you. When you go to conferences or lectures, see yourself up there giving the speech.

How do you juggle all of life’s other demands with your writing career?

That is something I think we all struggle with. Having a full time job on top of writing makes it even harder. Essentially, you have two jobs. If you haven’t been published yet, people only recognize one of those jobs. That is the worst part. I’m lucky that my husband is such a help around the house. Plus, he is totally supportive of my writing.

The question most readers want to know but never get the chance to ask, do you ever write in your pajamas?

Usually for me, it is sweatpants and a tshirt.

I have to ask…guilty pleasures. Have you got any? Remember, this is a G-rated interview! *G*

Most of my guilty pleasures are television shows. They would be: The Hills, Flavor of Love, I Love New York, Charm School. They definitely are not high brow shows, but they are easy to get lost in for a while.

What’s your idea of the “perfect” night out?

Going to dinner and a movie with my husband.

Do you collect anything?

Boring as it sounds, the answer would have to be books. I just can’t seem to let go of them and I keep collecting. Maybe one day I’ll open a bookstore J

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

It took me 6 years to get published and there were a lot of times when it would have been easy to give up. What got me published was not giving up. If you are an aspiring author, just keep working on your craft. Also, start working on building up your fan base. A lot of aspiring authors think that they can’t start doing this until they are published. That is not true. It is a good idea to get a website (some are $25 a month), start a myspace page and develop a blog to start building a fan base. This way when you get published, you already have a database of people to market to.

Thanks for stopping by today, Shauna. It was a pleasure getting to know you.

Thank you so much for inviting me! You are my first interview. It was really fun!

Buy link:

The Pleasure of Sin is available from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid. Here is the blurb and a G-rated excerpt…


The blurb:

When Jade Monroe's sister, Ruby, is murdered, she vows to find her killer. But coming to New Orleans means facing the one man she has never been able to get over, her sister's ex-boyfriend.

Clay Devlin stole more than just a kiss years ago. He stole a piece of her heart. Now, he is her only link to the life her sister led. But Clay wants Jade to leave New Orleans. And the closer she gets to him, the more she begins to wonder what he is hiding.

As Jade investigates, she discovers that Ruby had secrets. Secrets she kept hidden from the people around her. Secrets she indulged in a private club. But Club X is not your average club. It's a sex club that caters to all kinds of tastes, no matter how dark or forbidden. As much as she tries to deny it, she is pulled deeper into a world where fantasy is reality.

Will she discover the truth before it's too late?

Or will her passion become the ultimate weapon against her?

And an excerpt:

All throughout dinner, they spoke of 'safe' topics, each one not wanting to voice the questions that remained just below the surface. An hour and a half later, they began the walk back to the apartment. They had talked about everything during dinner—life, current affairs, things they had done.

It had been comfortable.

Too comfortable.

She mentally scolded herself.

She couldn’t allow herself to be comfortable with him.

Not until she knew the truth.

She couldn’t rule Clay out. She had to stay objective. Even though she didn’t want to believe that Clay was capable of doing something as heinous as murdering her sister, the truth was she didn’t know much about him. What if he had killed Ruby in a jealous rage? She had heard the stories of men who seemed normal and then one day snapped.

Was Clay one of those men?

He couldn’t be, could he?

When they reached the door to the apartment, she turned to face him. “Do you want to come in for a drink?” As soon as the words left her mouth, she cursed herself for a fool.

What was she doing?

Had she lost her mind?

“That would be nice.”

As she poured the wine, a new strategy began to form. Perhaps some wine would loosen his tongue. She took a seat on the couch next to him as he took a drink of his wine. He placed his glass on the coffee table. Turning to face her, he slid his arm along the back of the couch.

“Can I ask you a question?”

She hesitated for a moment before murmuring, “Sure.”

“Why don’t you like me?”

His question stunned her, and for a moment she was unable to speak. Finally, she regained enough composure to reply. “I like you.”

He moved a little closer to her. “Is it because of what happened that night?”

That night.

It stood between them, as impenetrable as a brick wall.

Her eyes met his. The intensity of his gaze stole the breath from her lungs. Her lips parted involuntarily on a sigh.

Yes, it was because of that night, because of the shame she still carried around like a badge. But there was something else as well. Something she never admitted to anyone, not even to herself.

A longing.

That night, he’d awakened a longing within her that she never dared to let loose, for fear it would burn out of control. Like a caged wild animal, she refused to allow it to see the light of day for fear it would destroy everything in its wake, including the bond she had with her sister. That longing had only found life through one man. And it was a sad irony that the one man who could bring it to life would never be given the chance to cultivate it. With so few options, the only viable choice she had was to hate him.

Self-preservation at its finest.

His head began to descend toward hers, and a part of her wanted to give in to the temptation. Then it hit her. They were in Ruby’s house, on Ruby’s couch, and even though she was dead, she was alive all around them.

“You should go,” she said, turning away.

For a moment, he was silent. Then he stood.

“You’re right. I’ll see you tomorrow at eight thirty. There’s a new restaurant we can try.”

“I’m not sure…” she hedged, searching for a way to reject his offer.

He pinned her with a steely glare. “I’ll be here at eight thirty.”


Dru said...

Great interview and thanks for introducing Shauna to us.

Anonymous said...

What a great excerpt! A great interview, too.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Shauna,
Great interview. Seven books, you have been busy. Good luck with The Pleasure of Sin. Mega sales I hope.