This week I'm pleased to introduce Gwynn of Today in Shenaya, who will be starring in this week's Blogger in the Spotlight.
Big welcome, Gwynn along with her characters Seth and Erin who are the main characters in her upcoming novel.
Gwynn's author spotlight:
Seth writes . . .
One of the things Danica wanted to know was who my favourite author is. That’s a no-brainer right there. Orson Scott Card. Who else writes the coolest sci-fi? The man’s a genius. He can get into a character's head like no one else I know. And he can actually see into the future. No kidding. Ender’s Game was written in 1985 – nine years before I was even born – but in it Card wrote about personal computers in every home, linked to a system almost like the internet. His characters even wrote blogs and joined chat rooms – years before anyone had even heard of those concepts.
Those who don’t like sci-fi still have plenty to choose from. Card has written well over a hundred books, plays, poetry anthologies, even some books on how to write. Talk about prolific. And diverse. He has a series out on the women from Genesis in the Old Testament. Rebecca, Sarah, Leah and Rachel. I don’t claim to have read those – after all, I am a guy. But what I do like is that he’s hot on series, so you can fall in love with a character and follow him for years of his life.
Erin writes . . .
I read Sarah, and trust me, it was beautiful. The relationship between Sarah, Abraham and Hagar was so sensitively handled. It felt like I was there, a witness to that family drama set thousands of years ago. You can hardly believe it is the same writer who gave us books like Pathfinder or Ender’s Game. Seth’s right. Orson Scott Card is pure genius.
Q & A with Gwynn:
Before we get to Gwynn's spotlight I just want to say sorry this part wasn't up on time. My bad. And secondly, say how excited I am for this upcoming novel. It's called Cursed and is part of The Soul Wars Saga. It's set in Africa and sounds awesome. I mean just look at the tagline. EVERYONE HAS A SOUL MATE. BUT WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOUR SOUL MATE WOULD RATHER SELL HIS SOUL TO THE DEMONS THAN BE WITH YOU?
How long have you been blogging?
I’m very new to blogging, having only started by blog in February this year.
Why do you love blogging?
I know it probably sounds silly, but researching the content for my posts and watching my blog grow has been one of the most exciting things I’ve done in years. Apart from writing, of course. I feel a real sense of achievement when someone who lives on the other side of the world - whom I don’t even know! - leaves me a comment saying they enjoyed my blog.
Why did you name your blog Today in Shenaya?
Shenaya is a place where strange – and often dangerous – things happen on an almost a daily basis, therefore it seemed to make sense to call the blog Today in Shenaya.
Why did you decide to create a blog where your characters Seth Hunt and Erin Anderson would be the writers?
I looked at a lot of blogs before I started mine, and it taught me two things. Firstly, I didn’t want to write yet another book review blog on which I hung my own books. And, secondly, if I wanted to be seen out of the literally thousands of brilliant blogs out there, I had to do something unique. So I discussed it with my target audience – my teenage daughters and their friends. One of them (my almost-daughter Ashleigh) suggested that Seth and Erin should speak. It was pure genius, I think.
What can you tell me about your saga The Soul Wars?
The SOUL WARS SAGA is a paranormal/fantasy/romance trilogy aimed primarily at Young Adults. But enough older adults have enjoyed Cursed, the first in the series, to convince us that it has great cross-over potential.
In a nutshell, the series is about the war waged between good and evil for Seth’s and Erin’s souls. The battleground is ancient Shenaya and modern-day Botswana. The combatants are the dead and the living. On the side of good, we have the Guardian angels, while the Gefallen, the disembodied spirits of the dead, lead the enemy into battle. The weapons are Seth’s and Erin’s choices. The pretext for the war is a curse which has to be lifted before Seth and Erin can be together forever.
My Literary Agent, Claire Strombeck, is taking Cursed and the first three chapters of Sacrificed to the London Book Fair in April. Hopefully we will sign a publishing contract. As an aside, she is so excited about the project that she keeps telling me Cursed will buy her a holiday house in the South of France! I love her confidence.
I have included a short synopsis of Cursed, the first book in the series.
Erin and Seth head to desolate salt pans in Botswana, searching for a lost city where a pear-sized diamond has been buried.
Long-dead Reuel, the first of the cruel overlords who ruled the lost city (known anciently as Shenaya) and his followers, fight to keep the diamond hidden. For this is no ordinary gem. Embedded in its heart is the cure for the curse Reuel invoked upon his posterity. This hex forces his family to forsake their soul mates and to worship him.
Guardian Angels ensure that Seth and Erin’s vehicle bogs in treacherous mud on the pans where the diamond is hidden. Erin finds the stone, and Reuel sends a tornado to kill her. When that fails, he sends a pack of demon-possessed hyenas.
Using the diamond, Erin and Seth travel back in time to before their births where, in the world of spirits, they discover that they were once soul mates. Their spirits accept custodianship of the diamond, promising to do all they can to lift the curse, knowing that Reuel and his demons will use all their formidable powers to kill them.
Seth refuses to honour the promise his spirit made. He tries to escape but there is nowhere to hide. Erin touches the diamond, taking them both back in time to Shenaya. Here Erin has to fight the powers of darkness to win Seth’s love again.
The working titles of the other two novels in the series are at present: Sacrificed and Redeemed.
Why do you love writing?
Writing is a place I can loose myself. I can go into my parallel world and forget about the so-called real world for a while. It allows me to be creative and to use my imagination in a way nothing else does. I have never had ‘regular’ creative talents. I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. Neither can I sing or dance. I’m not sporty. But I can imagine amazing things and then describe in a compelling way.
Why did you decide to write in the young adult fantasy/paranormal genre?
Because teenagers are up for almost anything, there is such scope in writing for them. They will readily suspend unbelief and allow the writer to take them into almost any kind of world, as long as it’s exciting and different – and they can imagine themselves there. I love that because I am no different.
What inspired you to set your novel in southern Africa?
They say ‘write about what you know’. I live in southern Africa. I have travelled the length and breadth of it. I know the people, the cultures, the myths, and the superstitions. It was logical for me to combine that with my own Eurocentric upbringing.
What are you currently reading and what are you going to read next?
I am reading a free book picked up on Amazon called Falling Star by Diana Dempsey. It’s not my usual genre, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying it. Next, I am starting the Divergent trilogy. Can’t wait.
Anything else you think readers should know about you?
Just that I’m passionate about my characters and my books. They are as real as my own children. Sometimes I think that Seth and Erin and all their friends and enemies actually live in a parallel universe, and I am merely here, recording the events of their lives as they unfold. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Thanks for stopping by.
Well that's all for this week's Blogger in the Spotlight. Be sure to check out Gwynn's blog, Today in Shenaya.
Also, if you're interested in being spotlighted, please see the Blogger in the Spotlight page. Also, I have a ton of spots opening up for spotlights, so please email me if you're interested.