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This week I am pleased to serve as a book tour host for Renee Scattergood, author of the Shadow Stalker series. I had the opportunity to interview her and am sharing what I’ve learned on my blog. She is a fascinating person with a good heart, and I look forward to knowing her better in the future. Stay tuned for more information about her book series to be posted later today.
INTERVIEW – March 2015
Renee, you live in Australia, which from my perspective as an American, is a very exotic place with many different and sometimes extreme landscapes. When you were building your world, how much (if at all) did you draw on your native country for inspiration?
Actually I’m originally from America. I moved here 10 years ago to be with my (now) husband. That said, though, a lot of my ideas for the Dark Isle came from the wildlife here. There are no plants that will eat you, but we used to have a vine-like thing growing in our yard that had the largest thorns I’d ever seen. It kind of scared me because those things really hurt if they got you. I stepped on one once and my foot hurt for days. It was my inspiration for the bush that shoots the thorns at Auren in Episode 3, I think it was.
What is Auren’s most challenging inner struggle, and where does she draw her strength from to face it?
Her most challenging inner struggle is yet to come. I don’t want to give too much away cause most of this will take place in Parts 3 and 4 of the series, but she will have to do something that will make her appear to be the enemy by most people, including Kado. But she will have Makari and Kado’s niece, Calista, for support. They will give her the strength to keep going.
Relationships between characters can be very complex and revealing of their personalities. Which characters in your series seem to have the most unique and interesting relationships with each other? Was it difficult for you to write that relationship in a way that allowed your readers to see it the way you do in your head?
I think Auren and Kado have a pretty unique relationship. He was the father figure to her, but also a mentor and guide as a shadow stalker, though she spent years not knowing about any of it. It wasn’t too difficult to write at all. I think their relationship developed pretty naturally in my head and it’s been pretty easy to put that on paper (so to speak).
Auren and Makari will have a very unique relationship as well. It’s going to be her relationship with him that carries her through the rest of the story. They have a strong bond, but both have grown up with very different ideals and it’s going to make things interesting for them.
Sometimes despite our best laid plans as writers, certain characters end up surprising us; someone we thought would play a minor role ends up being a favorite character, or someone we thought would be the hero falls flat and we have to change them or even remove them all together. As your story developed from just an inspired idea into a written series, which character surprised you the most?
Actually it was Makari, Drevin’s son. I always knew he was going to have a son who played a role in the story, but originally his role was very different. He was going to be the one to capture Auren, but then when I started plotting out that part of the story, the two of them fell in love when I wasn’t looking. I’ve rolled with it, though, and I love how it’s turning out.
Since you are publishing each episode as you go, keeping careful track of descriptive details and plot threads must be critical. How do you manage them all so that you don’t accidentally contradict yourself or lose track? Do you have a formal system, or are you just good at keeping it all in your head?
I’ve been keeping it all in my head for the most part, but that’s becoming increasingly difficult. This coming month, as I’m planning the first Savior of the Serpent Isle novel, I will be going through each episode and making notes of every important detail as far as the world and plot are concerned (cause the plot has changed a bit too and I need to account for that in future episodes), as well as a timeline for every event. I also need to create more complete character profiles based on what I’ve written so far, not just in the episodes, but in character interviews and everything else I’ve established publicly. It’s going to be an interesting project.
What made you decide to write a young adult series, and do you find that your audience is primarily that younger age group, or do you have more adult fans?
So far I have more adult fans. Originally the story was not meant to be a young adult series, but it was suggested since my main character was a teen, I should try to reach that audience as well. The later episodes may have more adult themes, however, so I’m not sure what I’ll do about that yet.
Raising an autistic child can be very challenging and unpredictable. How do you find that delicate balance between taking care of family and meeting your writing deadlines? Do you ever include your daughter in the writing process, even if only in very small ways?
It’s actually pretty difficult to be honest. I haven’t found my groove yet, and considering her needs change on a daily basis, I doubt I ever will. I’m a very organized, follow the checklist, get things done according to schedule kind of person, and having her in my life has challenged all that. I’ve had to learn to let go of my overly organized tendencies and just go with the flow because that’s all you can really do.
She occasionally shows interest in what I’m writing, but often she loses interest as quickly. Most of the time she’s in her own little world and my stories spark her own imagination and then she’s off and doesn’t want me to talk anymore. LOL
She wants me to write a junior series based on the Shadow Stalker world, which I intend to do when I’ve finished the episodes next year. I was thinking I can do it on Kado and Cathnor as kids, with a female cohort thrown in there about Kado’s age to make things more interesting for the girls. Kado and the little girl can have little adventures that Cathnor has to bail them out of.
Is there anything else you would like to share with potential readers and fans about yourself, your series, or upcoming events you have planned?
Well I have a newsletter, and subscribers get a lot of freebies, as well as news and updates on what I’m working on and events coming up. New signups get a free copy of my latest episode of Shadow Stalker, I give away 12 free episodes each month in a draw, and I’ll be giving away a free autographed copy of the Shadow Stalker Part 1 Bundle next month (April). So anyone who wants to sign up can do so on my blog: http://reneescattergood.com.
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