Paranormal steampunk fiction? Can the Red Chair cope?

Shéa MacLeod once told her mother she wished life was more exciting.  It was only later she realized you should be careful what you wish for.  Her adventures have led her from the Scottish Highlands to the shores of Maui.  She’s tried belly dancing and samba.  She’s been a soap maker and candy seller.   She even tried her hand at massage therapy.  And she knows how to milk a goat.  Shéa is the author of urban fantasy post-apocalyptic scifi paranormal romances with a twist of steampunk.  

What an introduction! No wonder we all share the common complaint that Amazon doesn’t give us enough choice to tag our novels as they are released.

Shea, let’s begin!

1. Why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Portland, Oregon in the USA sometime in the 70s.  My parents were not hippies.  This could be a fortunate thing or not, depending on how you look at it.

My schooling happened at a series of small private church schools (my parents wouldn’t let us near a public school with a ten foot pole), until it was discovered that I was bored, one of my brothers couldn’t read and the other brother was on the verge of a mental breakdown.  At the age of seven.  So in grand Pacific Northwest fashion, my mom and dad decided to homeschool us.  Since my mother was a former schoolteacher, this turned out to be an excellent thing.  She also encouraged my writing in a way I am only now beginning to truly appreciate.  Five years ago I moved to London, England.  I’ve found myself incredibly inspired by this city and am loving every minute of living in and exploring it.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

 Twelve – I wanted to be the next Agatha Christie.  I also wanted to be a detective.  Like Hercule Poirot.  I started reading Christie at the age of eleven and I’ve been a fan-girl ever since.  Unfortunately I discovered being a detective meant doing a lot of waiting.  Having no patience whatsoever, I went back to wanting to write about murders rather than solve them.

 Eighteen – I wanted to be a writer and a world traveler and a history teacher.  I loved history, but realized that none of my peers really got just how EXCITING it all is.  I thought maybe I could do a better job of it.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to university, so I decided I’d right historical fiction.  Only I’m utterly rubbish at it. Lol

 Thirty –  I still wanted to travel the world.  I still loved history.  I still loved mysteries.  But all I wanted to be was a writer.  I still hadn’t quite found my writing path (that would happen a few years later), but I was headed in the right direction.  Finally.

 3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I had a LOT of beliefs at eighteen which I don’t have now.  Most of them based in my religious upbringing.  Part of it was simply growing up and beginning to question things I formerly accepted.  That’s just a natural part of becoming an adult.  I’ve changed even more since moving to another country.  I don’t think you can live abroad and not have it change your world view.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

 The first event would have been the day I realized I’d read every Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Three Investigators book in the library.  Full of woe I begged for something, anything, new.  My mother handed me my first Agatha Christie.

The second event was the first time I saw the movie The Secret.  Despite my desire to be a writer, I honestly never had the courage or belief in myself to really, truly do it.  The Secret was my first introduction to a different way of thinking.  Over the next couple of years, I gobbled up these teachings and with these teachings came the revelation that I could do this.  That I WOULD do this.

Finally, I discovered my muse.  After years of waffling about what type of book I would write, I realized my true passion was urban fantasy.  But it was ALSO paranormal romance.  And stempunk.  And sci-fi.  And anything post-apocalyptic.  So I decided to write in ALL those genres and mash-ups of those genres.  Suddenly creativity began to flow like never before.

And I would have to say there was a fourth event – Amazon and the Kindle and the whole ebook revolution.  After wallowing in rejection slips, I suddenly had a way to get my books directly into the hands of my readers.  And it felt GOOD! J

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you- – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? Aren’t they obsolete?

 I don’t write books.  I write stories.  And stories will never be obsolete.  They’ve been around since humans learned how to speak and they will still be around a thousand years from now.  Only the medium changes.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

 Kissed by Darkness is a fast paced urban fantasy novel with a kick-ass heroine, some nasty vampires, a demon or two, an ancient magical artifact (from Atlantis, no less), and a 900 year old Templar Knight.  If I could sum it up in less than 100 words it would be this:

“You’re getting blood on my carpet.  Again.”

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

I don’t write to change the world.  I write to entertain.  If my work takes my reader away from the world for just a little while, if it makes them laugh or smile or get lost in a daydream, then that’s my job well done.

8. Whom do you most admire and why? Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

 I admire Agatha Christie very much.  She came to writing late in life when she was broke and heart-broken.  For the time, she was pretty revolutionary, using simple, ordinary language.  She had this phenomenal talent and I would be happy to have just a fraction of it.

I also find indie authors such as David Gaughran, Mark Williams (of Saffina Desforges), and Kristen Lamb very inspiring.  I read their blogs regularly and always come away having learned something new.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

You need to write.  A lot.  Every day.  And just as importantly you need to read.  As Stephen King once said: “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

11.What are the last five websites you visited?

The Indie Writers United site on Facebook and Twitter.

12. What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

I love old school sci-fi B-movies.  You know, those horribly cheesy black and white movies where some kind of bomb irradiates the world except for one house in a valley somewhere.  Then the survivors are attacked by mutant bugs.  Awesome!

13. If music be the food of love, what do you think writing is and please explain your answer?

 Then writing is the food of life.

Can you imagine a life without the written word?  And not just stories, but ANY written word?

 Writing captures a moment and preserves it for all time.  Through writing we can learn of our ancestors.  Through writing we can learn of ourselves.  And through writing our descendents will learn of us. Writing inspires, educates, entertains, thrills, excites, frightens, blesses, enthralls.  It is the record of our past, our present and our future.  Not to mention our hopes and our dreams.  Writing can change the course of human events.

Even better, writing can take you places you’ve never been and never even dreamed could be.

What fabulous answers… Shea is, without doubt, like a shot of adrenalin in the arm.  Thank you so much for sitting in the chair for being grilled and for such a perfect final answer – it encapsulates it all really. Shea has invited me back to her blog for a grilling and I have to say that she took me right outside of myself and it was seriously fun. Look for it on the 7th September.