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Eleri Stone – interview
Today I am pleased to bring romance author Eleri Stone to BookSpot Central for a talk about shifter romance, breaking into the current market, and her awesome new series coming out in January.
Eleri’s first two books, Mercy and Redemption, which begin her Lost City Shifters series,are published by Carina Press and available as ebooks whereever ebooks are sold.
Elena Nola: What made you decide to write romance? Was becoming a writer something you had been dreaming about for years or something you picked up as a self-challenge? (What I mean by this…I think romance is infamous for fans becoming writers when they read a terrible book and think I could write something better than THAT …that kind of self-challenge).
Eleri Stone: I’ve always loved to write but for years I would start writing a story, get to about the one-third mark and then hit a plot tangle or a real life distraction and never get back to it. My problem was never starting the story, it was figuring out how to finish it. Deciding to write a novella was a breakthrough for me because it took away my excuse to quit early. As far as deciding to write romance, that was a no-brainer. Romance is my favorite genre and has been for years.
What attracted you to writing paranormal romance, and shifter romance, specifically?
My first love was horror which often has a healthy dose of paranormal. I moved on to fantasy in my teens, which at that time meant Eddings, Feist, McCaffrey… I’ve always been drawn to contemporary fantasy in particular and in my opinion there’s never enough of it out there. Discovering romance with its prevalence of strong female protagonists, character-driven stories and guarantee of a happy-ever-after (or at least happy-for-now) was a revelation. Pair that up with the paranormal and I’m in heaven.
As far as what attracted me to shape shifters…well really, what’s not to love? You have a group of strange supernatural creatures hiding in the real world, the messiness of pack dynamics, all that delicious tension between instinct and reason and the idea of a tame monster. Also, as a writer, dealing with a half-human, half-animal character allows you to explore what makes us human in the first place.
Your first book was a novella and then your second was a full novel. Which came first (in terms of writing)? Which form was easier to write for you? If you wrote the novella first, what was your thinking for picking the form—just trying to practice, or were you writing for a specific line at Carina (or another press) with that length?
I wrote the novella as a challenge to myself to actually finish one of the stories I’d started. I was familiar with the romance novella market as a fan and consumer and I’d heard about the launch of Carina Press through book blog buzz. I chose Carina specifically because they were backed by Harlequin and headed by Angela James whom I respected from seeing her comment on various forums. I always thought that if I had the chance to work with her, I would and she was actually the editor on my first book, Mercy.
What sets your shifters apart from the pack (heh)—what makes your books unique? Is it something about how you approached the “magical”/paranormal element, or do you feel the difference is more in how you approach the storytelling or the types of characters you write about, etc.?
I think there are two main camps in paranormal romance – authors who come to it from a contemporary romance background and those who come from a fantasy background. The former usually create lighter stories, often comedic in tone. The latter tend to focus more heavily on the world building and fantastic elements of the story. While I love to read both, I tend to gravitate toward darker more fantasy-oriented books.
I think what makes my paranormal world unique is the shifter society I’ve created in the Yaguara. In most shape shifter mythologies, the shifter society develops side by side the human one and there’s usually a good deal of integration between the two. My shifter society is unusual because it is so insular, developing as it has in such a remote area. As a result, Yaguara society is very traditional, somewhat brutal and extremely distrustful of the outside human world.
Let’s talk a bit about where your series is set…down South (way south!) in the Amazon jungle. What drew you to that as a setting? Have you had the chance to go see any of the areas in person?
The area has always fascinated me. I was an anthropology major in college and did a lot of coursework on early American civilizations particularly in South and Central America. I haven’t visited personally, but I want to desperately.
Since you’re such a young writer just getting into the market, you probably have a good sense of what would-be writers need to do…any advice or tips you’d care to pass on?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one because I feel like I’m still trying to figure it out and the publishing industry is in such a state of flux. My advice to would-be writers is to keep writing what you love and to connect with other authors through a local writing group or the internet. There are so many writers and editors who are active online and even just following them on blogs or twitter can give you a good sense of what’s going on, along with contest, special call and pitch opportunities. So, I guess the best advice I can offer is to stay flexible and stay connected.
What’s been the response so far from readers?
The response so far from readers has been very positive. Romance readers are a pretty warm and welcoming group. They’re passionate about their books and not shy about using social media to interact directly with authors.
What’s coming up next for you?
My new book, out January 2nd, is a departure from the world of the Yaguara. Demon Crossings is set in Iowa and based on Norse mythology. The basic setup is that Asgard was destroyed centuries ago. The small town of Ragnarok, IA is one of several small pockets of Æsir refugees scattered across our world.
Here’s the blurb:
Private investigator Grace tracks a kidnapped child to middle-of-nowhere Iowa. Encountering a strange creature she knows can’t be a local animal, she doesn’t need her psychic abilities to figure out the sleepy town is not what it seems. When she meets the intriguing Aiden, she’s plunged into a world of Norse gods and fire demons where the Wild Hunt still rides the night.
Aiden needs Grace’s help to cross the portal between worlds and rescue his daughter. Grace is unlike any woman he’s ever met. He’s drawn to her courage, distressed by her vulnerability and doubtful of her motives. But he knows that her visions are the key to defeating the enemy and bringing everyone home alive.
Grace wants a future with Aiden, even if it means she’ll never have a normal life. When a test run to the portal takes a terrifying turn, they must learn to finally trust each other or Aiden’s daughter, and their chance at love, will be lost forever…
I’m looking forward to the new year and its release.
Thank you for having me at Book Spot Central!
Thank you for dropping by to chat!
You can find out more about Eleri’s books at her website, eleristone.com. Be sure to check out Demon Crossings in January if you’re looking for something a little heavier on the fantasy side of paranormal romance!
Thanks, Jenny : ) And there are so many different ways to connect. I like Twitter a lot but I know a lot of people who prefer facebook or forums.
Eleri, you've definitely been blessed by the cover gods. They're all gorgeous. And I love your advice to us new(er) authors...stay flexible, stay connected. The writing/reading community is hugely supportive, friendly and fun...no matter how shy or busy someone is, it's worth jumping in to conversations -- like this one!