If Wishes Were Shadows by A. Sangrey Black

If Wishes Were Shadows 

Happy New Year!

Today we have the pleasure of speaking with author A. Sangrey Black about her new novel If Wishes Were Shadows. 

1: What is
IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS about? As the author, what do you say it is about?

Shadows is about a businesswoman named Calinda Byer who is in love with an ancient, dominant Master vampire named Adam Straton. They've been involved in a BDSM relationship for about two years, and she's ready to take the big next step -- THE big commitment of being turned into a vampire. Adam doesn't think she should make that kind of decision until she has seen the real depths and shadows of his lifestyle as a vampire; things he's kept from her partly because he believes it's private unless she's his mate, and partly because he's afraid it would drive her away. There is a great deal about his life as a vampire that she doesn't know, or if she knows, doesn't understand. So they have agreed to spend the weekend at his country house, and he will introduce her to his true darkness. Including his male vampire lover of over a hundred years.

The question is, just how far is Calinda willing to go to keep her beloved vampire?

2: How did the idea for this story come about?

I've been wanting to try writing BDSM for a while. I write mainstream vampire romance and urban fantasy (as H.A. Fowler), so it seemed a natural fit to have vampire characters in a more hardcore environment. It was also a great opportunity to use a human character on the edge of turning as the outside character -- the human that the reader could relate to as she is exposed to this world for the first time.

3: Where is your well of inspiration for this novel? How did the idea come to you?

I used to write this genre way back in my fanfic days -- I figured since BDSM was in style, now would be a great time to bring some of that dark, paranormal BDSM into my professional writing. Cobblestone Press was looking for ménage and BDSM stories, so I decided to combine both of those with my favorite genre, and really walk the edge of erotica and paranormal romance -- because as dark and scary as this story can be, it really does look at a different kind of love from a unique viewpoint. I think a lot of people thing BDSM is what you find in 50 Shades of Gray, but it's not. At all.

4: Do you base any of your characters on real people? If so, do they know, and how do they feel about their portrayal?

Sometimes I borrow bits and pieces of people I know, but it's more likely that I steal entire characters that I see on the street or at the mall, the library, or what have you, and just make up stories for them based on whatever it is that catches my attention about them. I'm often inspired by particularly interesting fictional characters as well.

5: Writing music? What is coming through your speakers when you're writing?

I actually need silence when I'm writing, but I put together playlists for each story to listen to in between writing times to keep the emotional flow going. Sometimes, entire scenes or stories are based on songs, and having that song seared in my mind and heart makes it more authentic when I sit down to write.

6: If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
I didn't really have one when I wrote it, but every time I hear "Humming" by Portishead, I think of IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS. It's creepy and sexy at the same time, and the lyrics talk about emptiness and taboo feelings, something missing in someone's life, as both Calinda and Adam think as they embark on this really dark, intimate journey together that will ultimately decide the fate of their relationship.

: For you, what is the most problematic portion of writing a novel? Plot lines? Character depth?

Sagging middles! The easiest parts of writing a novel for me are characters, beginning, and endings. I almost always have those complete in my head and outlined before I begin writing. It's the middles that kill me. It takes forever to determine what the characters are doing in that time between the exciting beginning and the exciting end!

8: When writing, are you ever stumped? How do you get over it?

Sometimes I get stuck. Even with an outline I wander off track by following what characters seem to want to do, and if they stop talking at that point, I have to find a way back to the story. Sometimes I'll keeping banging away at it until it shakes loose, but sometimes I have to set it aside and either work on something else for a while or take a reading break until either an answer comes or I'm ready to go back to the banging again.

9: Do you have a character that is most like you? If so, why and how?

It sounds cliché, but there's a little bit of me in every character, I suppose. Although I wouldn't want to admit it, with some of them. LOL. Others are idealized versions of myself, or possess at least some characteristics that I wish I had. Of course, writing paranormal stories gives me the chance to imagine possessing powers and having experiences that don't even exist. I think the only character that was really LIKE me was the first heroine I ever wrote in my first terrible novel, a contemporary that was such fantasy fulfillment, it's not even funny. But I really wrote that novel just to see if I could. For fun, so I wasn't terribly concerned that the heroine was so obviously me.

10: Are there any characters that were difficult to write? If so, why?
I struggle with villains/antagonists sometimes. I often have to re-write them after the first draft, because they often come off very mustache-twirling, mwahahahaha types, without any depth or sympathetic tendencies. A good antagonist has to be more than just evil, and I tend to forget that when I'm really in the moment.

11: What are you favorite authors and books? What do you like about them?

I hate this question! LOL I have read and loved so many books over the years, and discover so many new authors all the time that I feel like I'm not doing them justice if I name favorites. But I guess my favorite authors are the ones that write characters and relationships that I really care about, that stick with me between books and make me fret for the next part of the story. Diana Gabaldon, La Nora (as JD Robb), Kim Harrison, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Butcher, L.A. Banks, Anne Rice, Rachel Caine, Laurell K. Hamilton… I could go on and on! As for books -- it's even worse! I love the series of all my favorite authors, but my all time favorites are OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR by Judith Devereaux, and MYSTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Those were books that really ripped me apart emotionally, bringing me to the highest peaks and very depths of feeling. If a book or series makes me laugh, keeps my knuckles white with suspense, makes me sigh with the romance, and makes me cry, it has my heart forever!

12: What are you working on now? What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I'm taking a little bit of a break right this moment for the holidays -- plus, I was feeling a little burned out. I wrote three novellas in a row, plus good chunks of another, a novel, and some others. After the New Year, I have a tight schedule -- several short stories in varied categories, most notably a few new shorts in the SHADOWS series, of which IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS is the first. I have plans for a number of m/m short stories and novellas, some contemporary and some paranormal, as well as an erotic paranormal series starring an incubus and succubus that's… sort of hard to explain. LOL I also have some mainstream projects on the horizon under my H.A. Fowler imprint coming next year, as well.

13: If any actress was to play you in your biopic, who would it be?

Ideally or realistically? LOL I would love to say Adele… except she's a singer, she's British, and she's a lot more elegant style-wise than I am. But she's got that whole "screw you, I do what I want" thing that's sort of the basis of my personality. But you'd have to throw some Drew Barrymore goofiness and kindness, some Susan Sarandon dedication to causes, some Kat Dennings filthy sense of humor and giant boobs…

In other words, I couldn't think of just one. :D

14: Speaking of family and friends, do you have a support system when it comes to writing? What was the reaction from those close to you about your novels?

Mmmm.. this is a complicated one. My family is ambivalent at best about my writing vampire and paranormal romance. They know I write mainstream smutty fiction, and they're okay with that, although no one has read a single piece that I've written! They're proud that I'm published, but they're not much for vampires… or smut. As for my darker, kinkier stuff, they KNOW NOTHING. While I created my A. Sangrey Black alter ego primarily as a fun branding thing, it's also because nobody in my family would be cool with my writing either gay or BDSM fiction.

15: If you could change anything about the book(s) that are already out there, is there something you wish you'd changed?

Oh, man! I can't read a lot of my old stuff, because I want to rewrite it all. Grammar, plot, characterization -- the sex scenes, oy! Of course writing skills are fluid, so hopefully you change and evolve as your career goes on, but what you have out in the world already is there until your rights revert! Which I was lucky enough to have happen with one short story under my H.A. Fowler brand, called POSITIVE ENCOUNTER. Since it's so tricky to sell a piece that's already been published, I decided to self-publish -- AFTER MASSIVE RE-WRITES. LOL! I mean, I kept the foundation and skeleton of the original intact, but I fixed a lot of things about it that were terrible, or that I just didn't like before I published it again. That was really wonderful, even if I only sold a few more copies.

16: You're about to write. Do you have a ritual?
I don't know if it's a ritual, per se, but I generally sit down with an extensive character outline for each of the major characters -- I have a form I use with over 100 items. I can't express how important it is to know your characters that well. Even if you don't use all of the information, if you know the most intimate details about your characters, it can really save your story if you get stuck, or add richness it might not have otherwise.

After that, I'll do a quick outline of the entire story, using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson and a modified version of The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. Then, depending on the complexity and length of the piece, I'll do a full outline using The Marshall Plan Action Sheets.

17: Do you have any great programs to write or edit your books?
I have a collection… and I don't always use them the way I should. I have Write It Now, which has been the one I've used the most. I also have YWriter, and I'm trying to learn Scrivener right now.

18: What are you currently reading? Other than real estate course work and politico articles, of course.
Heh. Because I'm not already completely over-scheduled, I've taken on some book reviewing, so I have a stack of books I'm reading all at the same time. For fun, I'm reading the hilarious FLIRTING WITH FANGS by Peg Pierson and the O COME ALL YE KINKY Anthology from Riptide Publishing; for review, I'm reading DELIVER ME FROM DARKNESS by Tes Hilaire, and in my quest to catch up on some of the urban fantasy series that I've missed, I'm reading AT GRAVE'S END by Jeaniene Frost, and FINALLY, for craft I'm reading EMOTIONAL STRUCTURE: CREATING THE STORY BENEATH THE PLOT by Peter Dunne.


19: Do you have any great moments in writing to share? A character hits too close to home? A plot line makes you cringe?

Of course, the best part of writing EVER is hearing positive feedback from readers. There is no feeling in the world like having someone tell you that your story moved them or made them laugh or cry… or get really hot. *G*

There are small victories that sometimes are the only fuel to keep you going in the lonely world of the writer: when you write a really great line, scene, or chapter that feels like it conveyed exactly what you wanted it to, for example. When a character develops a mind of her or his own and does something wonderful that changes the course of your story for the better. For me, I find completing a sex scene really satisfying. LOL. It's sex on a page, sure, but it still makes me want to light up a smoke -- if I still smoked, which I don't. So mostly I just grin a lot and pat myself on the back.

When a piece is finished, of course, that's great. Selling it is even better! Signing your name on a contract is a beautiful thing. Seeing your cover for the first time (unless it's bad, and then… well, that could be an entire post in itself), and RELEASE DAY! The very best day of all.

If you write from the heart, you'll be struck by what you produce more times than you might like. Sex scenes are like that in a fun way. But particularly wrenching emotional scenes can sometimes really hurt to get through. In one of my H.A. Fowler books, there was just one tragedy after another piled on the hero and heroine, and every time their hearts broke, mine did too. I cried a lot writing those books.

I have an unfinished manuscript I'm working on that involves some pretty gruesome scenes, and even though I have a horror fan's iron stomach, even I've had to pause and take a few deep breaths. But I think it's important to keep telling that story to make sure the horror of the premise is clear.

20: You meet one of your characters in a dark alley. You...?

Depends on who it is! LOL. The SHADOWS characters are very sexy… but also very dangerous. While Adam wouldn't just rip someone apart in an alley or something -- he's far above that -- he's also a sadist. So as long as we're in the alley, I'm good. If I go home with him and end up in the dungeon? Yeah, not so much.

Calinda? I can't really answer that without spoiling IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS. Her character could be going through some serious changes from where she began.

George William? Well… let's just say it depends on his mood. Maybe jump his bones… maybe run screaming for my life.

21: What do you want fans to know about IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS? About you? What do you want them to know about your day, your passions, your mind-frame when you're writing?

IF WISHES WERE SHADOWS was really an experiment for me… and I loved doing it. Which means I'll be doing more in the paranormal BDSM arena. The genre really sets me free as a writer -- Safe, Sane, and Consensual is VERY important when writing human BDSM… but the rules are next to non-existent when you're talking about immortal creatures. It's cathartic and dare I say even fun to delve into the darkest corners of my own fantasy world and be able to express that in stories that I hope other kinky people will enjoy.

It's a fun irony to tell people that I'm about as vanilla as they come in my personal life. But I'm fascinated by the range of human experience. In writing IWWS, I made sure to talk to people in the life, as well as doing a ton of reading, to learn what I could about BDSM. As much as possible without living it, of course. However, I didn't get to talk to any vampires, which was a mixed blessing and bummer.

I am one of those truly lucky people who get to do what they love all day long. I do freelance work for a "living," and while I complain about it a lot(because it's taking time away from my fiction), I can't express how much better it is to be here at my desk at home writing than sitting in an office all day long wishing I was writing, as I used to do.

Writing is my passion, my escape, my way of relating to the world in a more colorful way. I get to do and say and see things in my writing that aren't even possible in real life. My parents always encouraged me to use my imagination as a kid -- well, this is what they get! LOL

Tour provided by Full Moon Bites Blog Tours. 


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