Fans of the paranormal will enjoy today's guest, Shelly Holt and the interview she gave me. She's also here today discussing her new release, Tasting Fire, as well as giving away a Starbucks gift card to those of us with a coffee addiction. So let's welcome Shelly.......
TSP: How did you get where you are today with your writing career and would you do anything differently?
SH: I originally set out to write YA and I wrote several books that were ultimately rejected by traditional publishers. I realized that my writing wasn't the problem. I simply was writing in the wrong genre. I did a tremendous amount of research to find out what was selling and came to the conclusion that paranormal romance was doing well and was a good fit for my writing style.I decided to self-publish Tasting Fire well before I finished writing it. I knew the book was fully marketable and I would have no problem finding a publisher for it, but I wanted more control over my own book than a traditional publishing house would offer. The downside to the control was the responsibility. I am personally responsibly for every aspect of the book. I would have done it all the same again in a heartbeat though. My cover is beautiful and quite unique. If I had gone with a traditional publisher, I would have had no say it it and had to take my chances. I did pay for professional formatting for the book and believe it was a very wise decision.
At the moment I am wearing hat number three, which is publicist. I have written a wonderful, intelligent, sexy, adventure, but if nobody knows about it, what good does it do? I have spent the past three weeks doing publicity for Tasting Fire and will probably spend the next month or so doing more.
TSP: What is an average writing day like for you, and while writing do you have any inspirational items around you?
SH: My day depends on where I am in the process. Remember, I am self published so I wear all the hats, writing, editing, proofing, and publicity. During the beginning phases back in March of this year I was doing research. I learned a tremendous amount of information about the Asian Snow Leopard and its habitat. I also read up on the cultures that live in the Himalayas. I would do my housework in the morning and the afternoons and evenings were spent reading up on information that I would need to build my back story. After that, I began the writing phase. I was pretty much on the same schedule and will admit I overdid it a little. I sometimes would write for 10 hours a day, everyday of the week. The third phase was editing and copy proofing. It was my least favorite. I must have read the book at least 500 times by now and yes I see snow leopards in my sleep. I also had to be really careful about when I proofed my manuscript. I was very careful not to proof late at night, when I might miss errors. I think it actually took me longer to proof it than to write it.
Inspirational items? Behind me is a decal on my wall that says “Live the life you have imagined” I think that says it all!
TSP: What can you tell us about Tasting Fire and are there any actors/actresses that remind you of your main couple?
SH: From my Amazon blurb......
Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth, The Asian Snow Leopard. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. As a young man, Kai left his small village where the mountain touches the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.
Tasting Fire is not your avera
ge paranormal shape-shifting r omance. I created a plot that revolved around the hypothesis that if there were shape-shifters, how could they realistically come to exist? I researched methods of bacteri al transmission and eventually came up with the idea that if shape-shifters throughout his tory were caused by an infecti on, it would have to be diffic ult to catch, otherwise everybody and their grandmother would be a shape-shifter. That was how I decided to make the infection come from a thermophilic (heat loving) bacteria that l ives only in hot springs around the world.You can't catch it from another shape-shifter, but y ou can inherit the condition from your parents. This method of transmission gives rise to the many different mythologie s of shape-shifters that have evolved from every culture on t he planet.
As Dr. Rae Hales, my heroine s
urmises “if the Pari are real, doesn't that mean they could all be real?” (Hint ...more sequels) I treat shape-shifting in the books as a medical condition. It has significant physical, social and economic side effects that arise from the condition and the thrust of the book deals with that.
There is no magic in Tasting Fire by design. This forced me as a writer to develop a strong plot and create fully developed characters. There is humor, adventure, passion, and intelligence. Tasting Fire is not a light read. If you want a book where the hero and heroine fall into bed within the first two minutes of meeting each other, than this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a rich, textured story, full of world building and character development, and if you want to lose yourself in an intelligent, romantic, sexy, adventure, this is your book!
As far as casting my book, I would have to nominate the sexy Yul Kwon from Survivor to play Kai Tenzin. Dr. Rae Hales would have to be played by the lovely Scarlett Johnansson.
TSP: What do you have coming out next and are there any genres that you haven't yet written in that you'd like to try your hand at?
SH: Book two in the Tasting Fire series. It will take place about thirty years after the events in Tasting Fire and its heroine will be a half human, half serpent shape-shifter. My desk is currently covered with information about the Naga which are a mythological race that are part human and part serpent. The Naga have been worshiped in India for thousands of years and many clans are proud to claim ancestry from them.
I would love to try my hand again at YA.
TSP: How has the digital revolution affected your career and do you have an e Reader yourself?
SH: My career is just starting so it has effected me quite positively, I would have never been able to self publish without it.
I have a Kindle, but it's two years old and I am hoping for my birthday which is in just a few weeks to upgrade to a Kindle Fire. I love my Kindle, I noticed my practice seems to be to still buy reference books in paper, but fiction is all on my Kindle.
TSP: My site is all about favorite things, what are some of your favorite things/the things you can't live without?
SH: I'd have to say my coffee maker and my computer, and of course my Kindle. Since you also like to review other media, I'll share some of my favorite movies and T.V. shows. I am really into Dr. Who, and will watch endless reruns of Sex and the City. Among my favorite movies are Xanadu and Tuck Everlasting.
Shape-shifters have always walked the earth. Shrouded in myth and folklore, hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting. Advances in modern science are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. When he is forced to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all. Their action-packed adventure will take them around the world to discover the truth behind the legends and reveal the future of humanity.
“My name is Kai Tenzin. I was born in a village high in the Himalaya mountains of Tibet.
I am a Pari. My people are born with the ability to transform into the animal you call the Asian Snow Leopard. The Pari have been among you since the dawn of human civilization. We have seen humanity at its worst. We have watched from the safety of our mountains, as human tyrants unleashed their destructive fury and let the blood of the innocent flow freely over the land. For centuries we have cowered in fear of what horrors the human heart would unleash upon us if discovered. We always strived to know the animal within us, but we always considered humans to be the true beasts. We feared you and did not wish to know you.
I am guilty of that crime more than any others of my kind, and yet, I personally have seen human compassion in action. When it does happen, it is an act of such profound beauty, that the darkest place in the universe, namely, the human heart, can not hide the infinite luminescence that shines forth. You have it within each and every one of you to be a shining flame that brightens the darkest night. We should have had more faith in that. I should have had more faith in your humanity and my own. Instead, I chose to help my people to continue to hide in darkness.
We stole from you the chance to know us and hid where only hate and fear can grow. For that I apologize and can only ask for your forgiveness. I stand here today, humbly begging you for a second chance. If we possess the courage, together, we can open our hearts to each other.
My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.
It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer! In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment. We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day. I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem. I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons. (Hey! it was 1980.) I turned it in the next day. Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no internet yet). The teacher stated and I quote "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?" Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side. I did some research on the internet and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.) I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.
P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!
Shelly will be awarding a $20 Starbucks GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
-To be entered, leave a comment, along with your email addy.
-A winner will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning. A list of all participating blogs can be found here
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 12/12.