#SPFBO6 Interview – Shan RK

Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, Shan RK. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!

House of Legions: He Was Supposed To Kill Me, Instead He Saved Me is the first book in The Angel Descendants series.  Here’s the blurb:

HOW FAR WILL HE GO TO PROTECT ONE GIRL, WHO IS DESTINED TO BRING FORTH THE END OF TIME

William Blackwyll has roamed the earth, thriving in both human world and descendants Realms . He has watched emperors rise and fall in their own blood, and fought battles along side Lightwatcher’s, Elvans, Shifters, Fairies and Casters.

None of which matters now- It didn’t prepare him for the hardest battle of his life. It didn’t prepare him for Clare Miller, the Lightwatcher hunted by Angels and Demons.

After a severe head injury eight years ago left Clare Miller with no recollection of the first ten years of her life, retrieving the unattainable, is exactly what it is, UNATTAINABLE. Her only source to link her to her mysterious past is her overbearing, tight lipped mother.

Clare has no idea the deadly power that surge’s through her veins waiting to be unleashed onto the earth.

A horrific event leaves Clare with no option but to rely on her estranged brother, Nathan and an enticing fire Angel, Kalbreal.
Hunted by Tempters and Angels, Clares only hope is the man who walks in her dreams, a man of no face, but eyes of the deepest blue, dipped in the finest cut of diamonds, William Blackwyll.

The race to the end begins. Angels and Demons will fight for their right while one girl will bring the heavens to her knees.
Touched by the heavenly hand itself, Clare Miller must uncover her destiny in PART 1 in The NEW Epic fantasy: The Angel Descendants

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes, this is the first time entering SPFBO, and any competition.

I believe we are the product of our choices, and entering a competition seems like I was making a productive choice. I have never entered a competition, or even agreed to a podcast or blog interview. This is all very new to me, I am an introvert that loves to stay in her head and never live in reality.

Why? Well, it all started on a sunny day… Just kidding.

I was working on publishing another book, when an Author friend of mine, Daniel Kelly, contacted me and told me about SPFBO 6, and sent me the link to enter. He said try to get in asap. So I did and here we are.

Exciting times. The only book in the Fantasy Genre I had published was House of Legions. Which is my Debut novel, I wrote 5 years ago. It is getting a sequel in July.

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
Why not? Growing up I was bullied in school for not being like everyone else, I was a tall awkward girl. From a young age, I knew that I would never be the extroverted girl, nor would I be the introvert with that one friend. I was ‘sociably disadvantaged’ is what my mother says. So I accepted it, and learned to spend my breaks imagining different worlds, different scenarios. It was always something magical, like a boy turning into a dog, or one of the teachers being witches, or my mom getting abducted by aliens. Fantasy helped me from feeling alone I guess. When I got older, I felt it was time to share these stories with the world. Fantasy is the best escape, and while I have published many other Genre’s, fantasy will always be my masterpiece. I get to live in my characters every night. Imagine entering in to another world, stepping your foot into a realm where lightwatchers and Warlocks join together, and there you are one of them, the feeling is addictive. Writing is addictive.

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I wrote House of Legions, initially calling it Prince of Souls and it was well over 400k words. I was sitting with the book and I had no idea about anything to do with Publishing or even becoming an Author. I was so young and all I wanted to do was just let people read my book. I didn’t care if it was free or if people paid for it. It was all about getting my book out there. So I started researching about publishing and query letters and rejections and realized there was so much I didn’t know. So, after a lot of procrastination, I sent one query letter out to random house. They were interested but said my book was too long and I needed to cut it, so I cut it, then I sent it back. The man who read it was nice and said the book had a lot of potential but it was still rejected. He sent me an email, telling me to contact them again in a few months but that didn’t happen. My introverted nature doesn’t take rejection that well, it is in my nature to find another way.

I thought of sending out more query letters, but I started researching more about publishing when I came across Amazon’s add about self-publishing. It was a daunting task for someone like me who knew nothing about books besides reading them. But, determination is a wonderful motivator and I did it. I self-published my own book. Never looked back.

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Yes, with self-publishing I have more freedom in exploring my art, and writing in the way I want, without someone telling me to scrap this, or cut out that. I am my own critic. I get to choose my own book covers, which I normally always design myself from scratch. Self-publishing grants you freedom to really make that book yours, it allows you to be creative as a writer. What is the point of writing if we cannot write what we want? I think our limits as Authors should not be chained by the wants and needs of society. What makes us all different is our imagination and outlook on life.

The Challenges outweighs, the advantages, and to really make a name for yourself as a self-published author for years to come, it takes a strong discipline and a consistency of putting at least 8 hours a day give or take. You have to sacrifice a lot, including friends, weekends and it is hard as a single person to meet someone and make a relationship work without sacrificing your writing time and even in marriages there is going to be issues with the amount of work you have to initially put in to build up a name.

There is a lot of things one needs to have besides just writing a book, like a website, subscribers list, constant changing of book covers, marketing and when you first starting out you have to do it alone unless you are wealthy and have a few thousands of dollars to splurge. Which for most is not the case. And I think the biggest challenge in Self-publishing is learning to all of those things in a professional manner. Because I always say, if you won’t pay for that book, why should other people pay for it.

5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
In my opinion, books used to have more depth, Fantasy was something that offered poetic writing and a slow breath of emotions, it promised you a life altering experience. There are still amazing Authors out there, and they write spectacular books, but there are a lot of people with pretty covers and an idea of fantasy, but the writing is bland, it is very commercialized. But, with all said, I personally always go for self-published books when I am looking for something fresh to read, and most of the time the books are great but they lack that published touch in a print book. The quality is sometimes lacking.

6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Yes, I am a Multi-Genre Author, I write a lot of Suspenseful thrillers, new adult and romance. I am also currently in the process of writing a book called Dating in the modern world, which is a Non-fiction book that explores society’s beliefs of love, and relationships. A huge step for me from my fictional work. It take a lot of research and I have found a new appreciation for the Non-fiction writer who has spent hours and months writing their books.

7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
Originality, and emotional vulnerability from the Author. I want to read a book where I am left feeling changed, that makes my heart constrict in awe, my eyes tear in wonder of such a world. I look for an experience that is beyond this world. I love strong Characters, I am addicted in the idea in stepping into the Characters shoes and going into a new world. A plot line is important, but I have read so many books in my 30 years that the plots always similarities, in some context, that I want prefer journey, not the outcome.

8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I have just release a new book, a week back, called Union of Death, it is book 2 in a Mafia trilogy, of a woman and a man who once loved each other, but their choices led them to become enemies, it focuses on loyalty to the ones you love, and duty to the people you swore to protect. It is a very dark and twisted suspenseful story. Now that I am done with book 2, I am going to finish up part 2 for house of Legions, which I titled Prince of Souls. The book continues where William Blackwyll is trapped in the Elvian realm, and they get invaded by demons, it is a lot of fighting and adventure. Like the first book, Clare has only met William in her dreams, so the two are still to meet, which would be explosive and really question William’s honor to protect the earth and his desire to save Clare, I’m excited after 4 years to release book 2. It is 180k words, so I need to chomp it down to about 150k.

9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Research is important, and a strong Character development is vital. People want to imagine what you are telling them. What the Characters are saying need to be something a person will say and not write. Set a scene, and tell us how this situation is bad, don’t tell us the situation is bad. Describe your beast, and anger, don’t say the beast was angry. No book is perfect so don’t be hard on yourself but at least try your best.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, when you aren’t sure about something, there are thousands of groups of Authors who would gladly help you (I’M ONE OF THEM). Don’t procrastinate on publishing your work. Publish it, and write the next one. Read, a lot.

What helps with self-publishing, is having a strong marketing strategy, and your approach, and I am not talking about those who spend 10-hours on social media and 2 hours writing the same book for 3 years.

I’m talking about having a blog, start a free series online, or writing poetry, or discussing your writing approach, but market yourself in a way that you are adding value to other people but also you are practising your writing. Because at the end of it all, no matter how amazing your cover is, or how many friends you have, if your book is not well polished and not well edited nobody is going to buy more than that one book, if they end up buying it. I know from experience. We are all learning so mistakes happen and we have to mess up to learn, how else are we going to be better if we have not learned what it is to make mistakes?

Write a book that makes your mind unravel, and makes your heart race, write something so out of this universe that when you read it, you can’t believe that you wrote this, that you smile with knowledge that you wrote it for yourself. BECAUSE if your book doesn’t sell at least you know you worked hard, so you can dust yourself off, and keep on writing. People can be mean and horrible at times when they review your work, so treat the 1 stars like you would the 5 stars. Not everybody has to like your book, just one person and that is you.

You can get Shan RK’s book on Amazon!  https://www.amazon.com/House-Legions-Supposed-Instead-Descendants-ebook/dp/B07BJK3JCZ

house of legions cover