Today with us we have Sarah E. Stevens. Her debut novel, Dark Moon Wolf release later this week. In celebration, Sarah will feature on this here blog in the lead up to her book launch. Here we will be starting off with her author interview.
Your debut novel is called, Dark Moon Wolf, what can you tell us about it?
Dark Moon Wolf is a fantasy novel about Julie Hall, a single mother whose four month-old baby turns into a wolf pup under the full moon. How could her son possibly be a Werewolf? In her quest for answers, Julie stumbles into a string of murders and realizes these unknown enemies are now targeting her—or her son.
What inspired you to write this book?
When my youngest son was four months old, he bit my shoulder so hard that I still bear the scar. At the time, I swore a lot, and then thought, “Well, at least he’s not a Werewolf.” Then all these questions ran through my mind: What if he were a Werewolf? How would he have become a Werewolf? What if that means everything we think we know about Werewolves is wrong? What would it be like to be the mother of a Werewolf? My book rose out of that moment and the characters who started living in my head.
Were there any parts of this story that were particularly difficult to write?
I am not a violent person, and I’ve never been involved in any type of physical fighting. I think those action sequences were the hardest for me to write, because I don’t have any experience to draw on. The good thing is that Julie is also not much of a fighter and these are her first encounters with violence, so I could imagine how she would react.
Do you have a favorite character? Tell us about them.
At the center of my book is a trio of three friends: Julie, Eliza, and Sheila. I wanted the book to revolve around the importance of female friendships—so true in real life, yet sometimes overlooked in fiction. Sheila may be my favorite character in the book. She’s dramatic, staunchly loyal, and smart. She’s the kind of BFF you always want at your back. And she might just have secrets of her own…
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book? Anything weird you needed to research?
This book didn’t take as much research as some, because I’ve spent time in all its locations: southern Oregon, Greybull, WY, and Las Vegas. I read a lot about wolves. Do they see in color? How’s their sense of smell? How do they communicate? What’s their body language mean? Things like that!
What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
Julie would say I need to give her a break and write only happy things for her and Carson. 🙂 She’d thank me for making her love for Carson so clear and strong. If she were real, we’d be buddies.
What do you love most about the writing process?
My favorite part of writing is when the characters become so alive that they dictate to me what happens next. For instance, I tried to name Carson all sorts of things, but Julie insisted on naming her baby Carson, no matter what I tried. In book two, Eliza does something that took me completely by surprise, because her actions weren’t part of what I’d plotted. However, as soon as she made those choices, I realized her character development mandated it—I just hadn’t seen it coming. That’s amazing, when your characters are so much like real people that you, the author, are caught by surprise.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I’m not sure it was the hardest scene, but I may have spent the most time agonizing over the first chapter. That’s the part that will entice the reader to settle in to your novel or set it down. Chapter one has to hook the reader, set the tone for the book, make the characters intriguing and likable.
What is the first book that made you cry?
What a hard question! I’m not sure if I can remember the very first book that made me cry. Perhaps Charlotte’s Web? I’ve cried over many, many books. I fall in love with books and characters and worlds.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I am currently writing book three in this series, Calling the Moon. Book two, Waxing Moon, is under contract with The Wild Rose Press, and I’m working on edits. I envision three books in this series, after which I will move on to other projects.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I love everything written by Robin Hobbs and Sharon Shinn. Neither are particularly under-appreciated, but they are also not the first names out of fantasy-lovers’ mouths. They should be!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A handful? Probably two that are complete (yet should NOT see the light of day!), a bunch that were false starts.
What did you edit out of this book?
I deleted one scene in Las Vegas where Julie and her friends encountered a different type of paranormal creature and had to fight it. No spoilers, because that part will appear (slightly changed) in book three. 🙂
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
Heck, yes! Book three, tentatively Rising Wolf, is the main work in progress. I have another novel idea begging to be written, as well as a set of linked short stories.
What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?
I love Eliza, but I think we’d butt heads a lot. That’s a stubborn Werewolf!
I live and work in Evansville, Indiana with my husband Gary, our three kids, three cats, some fish and some hermit crabs. In addition to being a writer and a voracious reader of all things fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal, I’m a board game geek, an artist, and a dabbler in making chain maille jewelry. My whole family is unabashedly geeky: Gary designs board games, we have family D&D night on Thursdays, and we own more Magic the Gathering cards than we’d like to admit.
I love to write about strong women and their friendships–combined with magic and love, of course.
Dark Moon Wolf is available to BUY from 22.2.2017