Today I’m really pleased to be able to welcome paranormal suspense author Shani Struthers to the Blog. Shani is a Brighton based author who has set her Psychic Surveys series in the city, and is working on a new series based in the most haunted cities around the world. Thank you for taking part today Shani, lets begin:
You set some of your books in and around Brighton. What makes the city such a great location for fiction?
Well first of all I live in Brighton so I know it very well and secondly, it’s just a great city! It’s diverse, it’s cosmopolitan and it’s very tolerant. Seriously, all of life is in Brighton, the normal, the not so normal, the weird and the wonderful. It’s a great place to base a Psychic Surveys high street consultancy. I actually think if there was such a business in real life it’d be embraced by the locals! Now… there’s a thought…
You go into a lot of detail for the paranormal investigations that Ruby and her team conduct in the Psychic Surveys series. Is the paranormal of interest to you outside of writing about it?
Definitely, my mum had a life-long intellectual interest in it and so paranormal matters would often be discussed in out house. I grew up with it and developed an interest myself. Also, I’ve veered towards that genre in film and literature but I’m not into gore or gratuitous stuff, like the less is more angle and stuff that’s been well researched too.
What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about being an author before you started to write?
So many things but certainly that you’ve got to have a thick skin, not everyone will like what you are doing and not everyone is afraid to say so! Also, that it’s a marathon not a sprint and to take time delivering a quality product that you can be proud of.
Can you remember which book made you think ‘I want to write a book like this?’
The Stand by Stephen King – I love that book and the depth of characterisation is superb. But really it’s just one book that’s made me think like that, it’s so many and there are those I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write like, not in this lifetime anyway. Marion Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, is a tour de force, oh to be able to write a fraction of the way she can.
Do your ideas for stories come in fragments or complete ideas?
Just in fragments. Often I start with a vague idea, sit down, write the first sentence and then let it flow from there. I have tried to write a plan beforehand but it doesn’t work for me, I always veer from it too much. I wish I could write a plan though. I’m sure it’d make the whole process easier!
Some of your writing is from the ghost’s perspective. Is it different being in a ghost’s mind to a psychic investigators?
Whenever I’m in the ‘ghost’s’ mind I always imagine myself as caught in a hinterland, existing between two worlds, experiencing a whole range of emotions: confusion, bewilderment, fear, sorrow and anger. To be honest, thinking about it, the emotions aren’t so different being in this world sometimes! Fear though is the real factor, it’s fear that will keep a spirit grounded; fear of letting go, leaving loved ones and, of course, retribution.
Are you creative in other ways apart from writing?
Not really! I wish I could paint but I can’t. I wish I could sing but I sound like a foghorn. I can’t even frame a decent photograph!
Which books and authors do you currently think deserve more exposure?
There are so many good indie authors out there that have no promo whatsoever behind them and so we don’t hear about them or hear about them only by chance. It’s a real shame. What we tend to hear about is the same old same old, not just the same authors but the same book rehashed a thousand times because initially the concept sold well, even calling them similar names and giving them similar covers! I actively seek out indie authors (because I am one!) and have enjoyed some terrific stories because I have. Authors I’d recommend include yourself, loved The Revelation Room, Sarah England, John Bowen, Rumer Haven, Gina Dickerson, Catriona King and so many more.
Lastly, please would you tell us something about your recent release or work in progress?
I’m currently working on the first in a new series. This Haunted World Book One: The Venetian. It’s a series of books not linked by characters but by locations – they’re all going to be set in and around the world’s most haunted places! First up in The Venetian is Venice and the nearby island of Poveglia in the Venetian Lagoon – the former is the ‘world’s most haunted city’ and the latter, the ‘world’s most haunted island’. The books will mix fact with fiction and I’m really excited to write them. The Venetian has been read by several beta readers already and received great feedback. I’m planning on a late summer/late autumn release.
Thank you again Shani for such an interesting interview.
You can find out more about Shani and her books in various places online:
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9
Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/beoHLv
As always, thank you for reading.
All the best,