Another Saturday, another great spotlight interview! We have the lovely A Shiloh with us today. She also goes by Ally. Let’s find out more…

Your debut novel, Writer’s Block: An Unexpected Love Story has such a great title. Did you ever experience any writer’s block while writing it? Is there a specific significance with the title and the story?

Yes, I did experience writer’s block while writing this book. For a few days, I stopped completely, not knowing what to do next. I finally started to tell my fiance about the story line and where I was stuck. He simply gave me an idea without much thought and bam, I went with it! I was on a roll after that. The significance of the title is because the main female character, Stacey, is a romance author and her writing keeps coming to a halt because of unexpected, and some unfortunate, events happening in her life. I thought it’d be fun to add the meaning of writer’s block to her own life in itself.

Is Writer’s Block a standalone novel, or will there be a book two? Where did the story idea come from?

As of right now, Writer’s Block is just a single novel, but if readers respond well to it and want it to continue, I’ll definitely take it into consideration. As for the idea of the story — I thought it’d be interesting to have the female lead be in a similar situation to me — wanting to keep her identity a secret by using a pseudonym, in order to keep her life as normal as possible. My own reasoning is slightly different, but the concept is similar.  As for some of the obstacles within the story, I’ve worked in a few agencies that dealt with victims of crimes, so I used my experience with that to portray the situations in the novel as accurate as possible. As for the other aspects of it, I just really let my mind wonder and remained open-minded whenever any ideas would hit me. I’d literally take out a notebook and jot down any ideas that suddenly came to mind.

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SPOTLIGHT: Nat Kennedy

Time for Spotlight Saturday again! Joining us today is Nat Kennedy. She writes gay fantasy. Let’s find out more…

You write gay fantasy. What draws you to that genre? What’s your favorite part about writing in that genre?

I really discovered my love for reading when I found the fantasy genre.  As a kid, I read animal books, and some of the Beverly Cleary, and that’s about it.  Then I discovered Xanth, a magical place where everyone has a magic talent.  The idea of this world with magic flipped my eager little reading lid wide open.  I devoured all the fantasy that I could, even if it wasn’t 100% up to my tastes, because at the time I didn’t really have many options.

I was never much of a romance reader.  I still liked my external/active plot.  I wasn’t interested in a story that was solely about two people falling in love.  Of the few romances I had read, the books were focused on women being saved and ‘oh, that brute of a man’.  Maybe I just hadn’t found the good stuff, but what I’d found wasn’t for me.

About fifteen years ago I read some romantic gay fantasy.  The stories weren’t just about the relationship, about the two characters finding love.  There was plot.  Guys were loving each other and doing things, not pining, not waiting, but being active. So, I found this subgenre and decided this was where I belonged.  I wrote little stories for friends.  Then longer novels.  Finally, I decided to take the plunge.  Last year I self-published two novellas for a greater urban fantasy series – the Wielder World.

My favorite parts?  Plotting, worldbuilding, slow burn romance.  Because there are other outside forces at work, it isn’t just about the relationship.  The characters react to the fantasy plot slapping them about, forcing them to choose and act and then, along the way, they fall in love.

You have two books out in the Wielder World series, Edge of Desperation and Center of Deception. How many books do you plan on in this series? When can we expect the next one out?

Wielder World is a planned four book series, though honestly, if I get to that point and I feel there is more story, I will continue.  The two novellas are openers, introductions to my three main characters: Reggie, August and Kyle.  They are pre-romance, a way to explore the characters, define the world, and let you know what’s at stake.  Following those is a short story treat, called Places Between, which focuses on a fourth character, Bethany, an agent for the government.  After these shorter works, there are two novels.  The next book, Afflicted to the Core, is in the editing phase.  In this novel, the romance and heat ratchet up.  The men fall for each other as they struggle against the twisted government, the shadow agency, and the Wielder cults.  They’re knee deep in trouble, and along the way, they find love.

Expect Afflicted to the Core out this year, early fall.

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SPOTLIGHT: Ember-Raine Winters

Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! This week we have the lovely Ember-Raine Winters. She writes romantic suspense. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Ember! So glad to have you on Love Indie Romance. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! Thanks for having me! My name is Ember and I recently published my first romantic suspense novel Beautiful Delusions in February. I love reading and watching football. It’s my favorite. I love contact sports! I live in Central California with my two beautiful children.  I love reading and writing romance! I’m a mood reader so you can also find me reading science fiction or fantasy if the mood strikes me.

Your recent new release is Beautiful Delusions. One of your main characters, Kaylee, suffers from PTSD. How hard was it to write a character like that?

It’s pretty hard I mean I know a lot about PTSD but I also know there are different forms and like everything else it manifests differently in some people. Kaylee suffers in a way that’s most common. The hardest part about writing this, though, was because of my own experiences and many of her flash backs were extremely vivid. It took me a lot longer than I had hoped because I had to keep stopping.

You’ve written two other novels, Born to Resist and Born to War, both dystopian type novels. Do you find a certain type of genre easier to write?

Not really, all of my novels tend to be edge of your seat, fast paced novels whether it’s the dystopian ones or the new romantic suspense series I have been writing. I guess that would be what I find easiest to write. There is a sweet little romance in my first series as well but it’s not the focus of the story. I guess romance would probably be the genre I find easiest as long as there is some angst and action!

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It’s time for Spotlight Saturday again. Today we have the lovely Amie O’Brien with us. She writes historical romance. Let’s find out more…

Welcome, Amie! We’re glad to have you here on Love Indie Romance. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you! I was excited to get the invite. Basically I’m just a “thirty-something” (holding tightly) Midwest girl. Though currently buried in snow, I’m looking forward to planting flowers in the spring and spending time with my family on Lake Michigan. My passions are horses, reading, traveling, big cities, and IKEA. (Yes, as in Swedish furniture.)

Your debut novel is The Merchant’s Pearl. Where did your inspiration come from for this novel?

Years ago I became friends with a gal who had a nonprofit in Cambodia rescuing girls from sex-trafficking. I was deeply impacted by the hurt and sense of devalue these girls were feeling. Some were as young as my own daughter. I had all these thoughts reeling in my heart and I knew I wanted to make a difference. Fast forward a year and I hit a time where I needed to back away from my favorite hobby–horses. My daughter had gotten injured, and we needed to explore something safer. She started theatre and I bought some running gear. Quickly my butt landed on my sofa and I switched to “Plan B”, LOL, writing. The Merchant’s Pearl was a storyline that actually came to me in the shower one morning. I wanted to create a Victorian novel, something Jane Eyre-ish, but I wanted to tackle those same issues of injustice and slavery.

You write historical romance. How much research did you have to complete to write your novel? 

From start to finish the novel took over three years to write and polish. I spent well over a year researching morning, lunchtime, and evening. Then I would work on writing every night when the family went to bed. I’d get so excited, I had to write while it was fresh in my memory. I had Turkish historians I’d correspond with via email, as well as stacks of books I’d purchased from American professors. I even scoured the internet for super old articles from around the world. Then I got really crafty. I had an intern who was currently going to the university that I, myself, had graduated from a decade before. He’d take me to the library and check out dozens of the hundred-year-old scholarly books I couldn’t otherwise get my fingers on. He was a God-send. “Superman.”

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SPOTLIGHT: Chloe Flowers

Welcome to Spotlight Saturday! This week we have the lovely Chloe Flowers. She writes historical pirate romance, action adventure, and women’s adventure. Let’s find out more…

Argh, matey! You write about pirates and adventure. So exciting! What inspired you to write these kinds of stories?

What saucy wench Who doesn’t love Jonny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean? I’ve seen many Caribbean Islands; I also went to college in the South. I love both.

While in Charleston, I bought a couple books. (shocking, right?) One of them was about ghost stories of the Outer Banks containing a detailed account of pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack Rackham (a lady pirate who kicks ass with an adventurous streak? I’m all in). The other was an actual journal written by the wife of a plantation owner. It contained recipes and remedies…then my imagination took over and I wondered how a British Admiral’s daughter might handle being smuggled out of England after an assassin begins killing members of her family, then plopped on a plantation just prior to the War of 1812 (umm…she doesn’t handle it well, by the way).

Tell us about your Pirates & Petticoats series. Is this an ongoing series, or can each book be read as a standalone? How many books do you plan to have?

Pirate Heiress and the 5th book (soon to be released) can be read as on their own. The first 3 make up a saga and tell the tale of Keelan Grey, an independent, sword-wielding Admiral’s daughter and merchant ship captain, Landon Hart, a scoundrel who’s manages to piss off  annoy a vicious pirate. They start in Charleston, S.C., one of my favorite places on the planet. Books 1 & 2 (Hart’s Desire and Hart’s Passion) should be read in order. Book 3 (Hart’s Reward) can easily be a standalone, if you can go without knowing how Landon seduces finally wins Keelan’s heart.

What kind of research is involved in your writing? Are you a plotter or pantser?

Some call it daydreaming, I call it plotting… I plot, plan and scheme. Once I get my story running through my head like a movie trailer, I sit down and write. Sometimes, however, my characters ignore me and take a deviant path, which always ends up in a quagmire of laughs and adventure.

For me, research is the fun part. (my husband just heartily agreed). I spent a few months learning more intimate intricate details of the Battle of 1812, since my books take place during that time. My 5th book starts in Jamaica and travels to Louisiana during the Battle of New Orleans, one of the most miraculous U.S. battle victories of all time. Andrew Jackson had this ragtag, army of misfits (barely 4500 men) made of merchants, hunters, trappers from Kentucky and Tennessee, slaves, free black men, Indians, and Jean Lafitte’s pirate’s against 15,000+ highly trained, battle-hardened British troops. (Can you guess where I’m going with this?)  :0)

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