Today folks can you please extend a warm welcome to Erin Kellison. Erin Kellison is the author of the Shadow Series, which includes Shadow Bound and Shadow Fall, as well as the upcoming Shadowman (Sept 2011), and the e-novella Shadow Touch (June 2011). Stories have always been a central part of Erin’s life. She attempted her first book in sixth grade, a dark fantasy adventure, and she still has those early hand-written chapters. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English Language and Literature and went on for a masters in Cultural Anthropology, focusing on oral storytelling. When she had children, nothing scared her anymore, so her focus shifted to writing fiction.
GNOH – Hi Erin, how are things with you?
I’m good. Right now I’m working on the fourth book in my Shadow series. I love first drafts so I’m in a sweet spot right now.
GNOH – Could you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I’ve always scared easily—give me five minutes alone with an uncomfortable idea, and I can be terrified. It’s a gift. J Drives my husband crazy. I’ve always got a story going on in my head. Now that I’m on a deadline, I miss reading all the time. When I get the chance, I read in big gulps. I’ve always been bookish: got my bachelor’s degree in English Lit and Language, my masters in anthropology focusing on oral storytelling. Then I got up the nerve to write fiction. I started with horror short stories, actually, and would love to write more if I could find the time.
GNOH – So do you have any plans to rewrite your debut story from the Sixth Grade?
I still get that excited feeling when I think of the opening scene—strangers arriving with a dire message. I might just try it. Who knows?
GNOH – What first inspired you to write?
As a kid, I had elaborate fantasy stories going on in my head. And I loved to read. I relished the feeling of sinking into a book. It was natural to put those two parts of myself together on a page.
GNOH – Who are some of the authors you admire?
So many. Any list I’d make would be incomplete. Tolkien, Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz were favourites in my teens. I can easily see how they influenced me today. Lately I love to read Lois McMaster Bujold, Patrick Rothfuss, Jacqueline Carey, and had a blast with George R. R. Martin’s first book in his Game of Thrones series. I admire them all and am so grateful for their absorbing worlds. I relish that feeling of transport.
GNOH – How would you describe your writing style?
I just try to put what is in my head down on the page in the best way that I can. I aim to make the books fast, dark, sexy, with language and story-telling suited to a contemporary fairy tale.
GNOH – Would you say you write primarily for a female audience? How would you convince a bloke to pick up one of your books?
I figure blokes like scary, sexy, dangerous books just as much as women. J My books are very cross genre—urban fantasy, paranormal romance, horror, and suspense. I write dark stuff, with high body count and gothic romance mixed in. I do not spare anyone.
GNOH – So far all of your published novels form a series, was it always your intention to write a series of connected novels?
Yes and no. The first book, Shadow Bound, was written to both stand alone and to develop a perilous world. Since I had no idea if it would sell (the idea of a banshee heroine got me some raised eyebrows), I made sure the initial story was complete unto itself. I sold it in a two-book deal, so again I planned to keep the second story as a standalone as well, while expanding the Shadow world. Now I am contracted for three more—Shadowman will be out Sept 6 and I’m writing the fourth. I am getting ideas for stories beyond the fifth, but I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to write them. The characters all recur, so readers can revisit them.
GNOH – Your novels are concerned with a mirror world seeping into ours, a world that is a dark version of ours, with mirror versions of everyone. What was the inspiration for this? Did you draw on any classical sources or mythology for it?
Only the novella Shadow Touch has a mirror image, and that’s the shadow of the heroine, Ellie. Otherwise the worlds are divided between earth (the mortal world), the Shadowlands (a Between place inhabited by the fae, where myth and legend are true), and the Hereafter (Heaven and Hell so far). I studied a lot of myths, legends, and storytelling in school and envisioned a world in which they are all real, as are dreams and nightmares. They exist out of time in the Shadowlands and inspire or terrify humankind. “Shadow” is the stuff of magic and inspiration, and it is seeping into our world—bringing with it monsters, as well as a modern renaissance.
GNOH – So what would a mirror version of you be like? Do you have any dark traits that you have never had the courage to act on?
Oh, hell yes on the dark traits. For the most part I am a quiet person, but I have a lot going on in my head, most of it weird. I don’t know that courage really has anything to do with it. I put my weirdness down on paper for the world to read, which is terrifying. And I’m a parent—the scariest job on the planet. I suppose I’d like to take the filter off what I say every once in a while and tell people what I really think. But then I would either alienate people or start fights. And I am too tired (or lazy) to grapple with anyone right now. I plan on being a bold and bawdy old lady though.
GNOH – In Shadow Touch the heroines shadow can act independently from her. What would you have your shadow do?
The shadow is actually like a disembodied id. I think my shadow, like Ellie’s from Shadow Touch, would ignore any direction from me and act on curiosity, instinct, and basic drives. Which means at first it would probably catch up on sleep. Then… mayhem.
GNOH – Your villains are not the typical one dimensional characters, how hard to you try to flesh out the characters in your novels?
No character of mine is all good. A few are all bad, but they don’t know it, or won’t own it, or don’t care. I try very hard to make certain that there are good reasons for my characters to act the way that they do. If they do evil—and my good guys do evil sometimes as well—then they have chosen it purposefully. The bad guys are no different: they either exist out of the scope of human morality or they have discarded it because “good” doesn’t serve them. Occasionally, they do bad because bad feels so good. Why not be contrary? It’s more interesting.
GNOH – How do you keep track of all their character types?
Those I keep easily in my head—humans, wraiths (who have given up their deaths, as a hero might give his life), fae (immortal beings of myth and folklore), angels (mortal souls with special gifts who have returned to earth for a second life of service), and various halfbreeds. I’ve got a devil coming up in Shadowman. And I introduce wights. Actually, it’s the timelines that are difficult to manage. My husband finally created a spreadsheet for me so that I don’t make any mistakes.
GNOH – The third part of the series is coming out soon, can you tell us about what to expect from this one?
High stakes. The hero is Shadowman, aka the Grim Reaper. He creates (and doesn’t regret) as much danger as the bad guys. His motivation is the life of the human woman he loves and he will set the world on fire if he doesn’t get what he wants. There’s a devil on the prowl, an agent of the Gate to Hell that Shadowman creates. And there are angels massing for a doomed battle against Death, who cannot die. Meanwhile, his love has defied Fate, a very twisted fae who keeps her victims under her sparkling skirts. And an insane ghost has designs on the body of the heroine, if Shadow doesn’t swallow them all first. Shadowman releases Sept 6.
GNOH – Do you have a definitive end point for the series?
Not right now. I’m still discovering so much about my Shadow world.
GNOH – How would you say this series differs from other similar books?
Tough question. My books have been shelved or categorized in horror, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy and sci-fi, and dark fantasy. There are other cross-genre books out there, but I can’t think of any that have a similar world. Each story is underpinned by a dark, contemporary take on a fairy tale. And the initiation point for the series is the divide between mortality and the Hereafter—so my characters either belong on that brink (Grim Reaper, banshee, angels, devils, even humans) or have to contend with the nightmares that strive to cross.
GNOH – What does the future hold for you?
I hope a whole lot of writing. Come September 6, Shadowman will be out in the wild. Book four will be completed in next couple months, and I’ve just recently felt the first kick of book five. I’ll be working on a follow-up to my e-novella, Shadow Touch, which I am excited about. And then I have another series in my head that I’d love to get down on the page. I need a working time machine to get it all done. I’ll pay top dollar.
You can purchase of all Erin’s books from all of the usual places just click the links below