Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest Author Interview: Shannon McKenna and One Wrong Move Contest

I'm the next stop on Shannon McKenna's One Wrong Move blog tour, and I'm thrilled to have had the chance to interview Shannon since I’ve been a big fan of her books. Shannon write sexy thrillers with larger than life heroes, some of which who put the “A” in alpha. Shannon’s book have been considered “erotic” and she pushes the envelope in ways readers will enjoy...

KB: For those who may not be aware, can you tell us about yourself and what you write?

Shannon: Hello, and thank you for having me on your blog! I am, since 2001, a writer of hot romantic thrillers, most notably of the so-called McCloud series, though there are eleven books planned and only four brothers, so it really goes very far afield of the McCloud family. But they all exist in the same universe. I live in Southern Italy, and I love my job, and my readers!

KB: You’ve been writing about the McCloud clan for ten years. When you first published, Behind Closed Doors, which is my favorite book of yours, did you plan to write a series or everything just fell into place?

Shannon: No, actually, at that point I was really innocent about all the tricks of writing romance. I just wanted the lonesome, brotherless, bereaved Seth to have a little help and someone else to relate to other than the heroine, so I thought I would introduce the FBI partner of Seth’s murdered brother. And then I gave that guy some brothers of his own, just for some texture, some snappy banter. And then, those guys started getting interesting to me. But at this point, I would do it deliberately, because I really like revisiting characters that I have already met and grown fond of, both as a reader and a writer.

KB: You write heavily erotic romance with uber alpha heroes and nasty villains. How do you come up with these characters and your world? Do you base your characters on specific people? Do you find it hard writing love scenes or do they come easy to you?

Shannon: I think all characters I write are in some way composites of the aspects of our own character. Even the dark evil ones reflect the things I’m afraid of, and the things I repress--though I promise, I have never had a hankering for world domination. I take inspiration from books, movies, real life. I listen carefully to speech patterns (when I have a chance to listen to people talking in English unscripted!). Certain qualities of the characters I write are based on people I know, but never a whole character. I take a little bit of this, a little bit of that. For instance, there was this kid I knew when I was growing up, the older brother of a friend of mine. He was nothing much to look at, with tangled teeth and greasy hair, a real screw-up who sold drugs and flunked out of school, but one day, when my friend and I were hiking way up in the hills behind where we lived, we ran into him. It was dusk, and there was a lot of long, dry grass. We heard a rattlesnake start to buzz right near us, but could not figure out where it was because the grass was too long. This sixteen year old guy took out his knife, and threw it, whish, swick, and cut that snake’s head off, blind, practically in the dark. I was very impressed with this, at the tender age of eleven. Not surprisingly, my hero in RETURN TO ME could do this very thing--though he was taller, more muscular, with better teeth, and considerably more accomplished than my friend’s brother.  And of course all the McCloud brothers could, blindfolded and hanging upside down, of course. Pick and choose, that’s the name of the game! As for love scenes, well, I love them. They are very hard for me only in the sense that it’s difficult not to repeat oneself, but I find them exciting to write, because it’s such an incredible vehicle for communication, character development, even plot development, discovery. I can’t imagine writing without them. At least now.

KB: If you could make any of your books into a movie, which one would you choose and which actors and actresses would you love to play the roles?  

Shannon: I think I’d go with BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, my first. And my heroine would be, oh, let’s be extravagant, and say Scarlett Johanson, who I think is the most stunning blond starlet to grace the screen ever, plus she manages to do sweet and demure as well as stunning, like Raine. Benicio Del Toro for Seth, although he might be a bit old for it now. But I don’t care. I wrote the book ten years ago, and he was perfect then!

KB: Erotic romance this year has exploded by leaps and bounds. Do you read erotic romance and if so, who are your favorite erotic romance authors to read?

Shannon: I do sometimes read erotic romance, but I’m very picky about it. My absolute favorite is Emma Holly, who I think is absolutely brilliant. One of the best writers I know of, and not just the love scenes, mind you. It’s all good. She just has a turn of phrase that brings tears to my eyes. BEYOND INNOCENCE and BEYOND SEDUCTION are just perfect. And there are the ones who were blazing the way with erotic romance ten, twelve years ago—like Robin Schone. She wrote some marvelous stuff that was very bold and ground-breaking and fearless. And then, there’s yours truly! Ten years ago, I myself was marketed as erotic romance because it was so fashionable then, and there was this big boom. For some reason, it became less fashionable, and I was marketed as straight romantic suspense, though it was never any less hot than it was before. And now erotic romance is hot again. What’s a writer to think? It’s bewildering.

KB: What’s your daily writing schedule like? Do you have a day job or do you write full time?

Shannon: Full time! That is to say, no job other than being a mom of two small kids, that is. I would just get up and write in my jammies all morning for the fact that before my writing day can start, I have to deliver my children to their scholastic destinations. So I am forced to make myself decent. I’m trying to institute this new practice of getting up super early and writing before my family wakes up, but so many things can derail that—vacations, jet lag, late nights, sick kids, insomnia. I hope to get into a rhythm soon, since the school year is about to start. My ideal day would start at 5AM, so I can use that silent hour at the beginning of the day when the airwaves are not jammed and the phone does not ring. I’ll just sit in my squishy chair and scribble for an hour. Then there’s the lather of getting the kids to school, and the errands and shopping happens then, and trying hard to get home in time to have a proper chunk of time for the next writing session, mid morning to midday. Then there’s lunch, which is sacred here in Italy, although I miss the American quick sandwich. Then there’s another chunk of time before it’s time to go get the kids at school, and that’s it, for my writing time. My friends who are mothers of older children tell me I’ll have all kinds of time to myself again, once my kids reach the stage where I’m so uncool, they can’t even talk to me. Do I look forward to that day? Hard to say. Depends on how much sleep I’ve gotten.  One bummer I have discovered about the early morning writing is that it totally nixes the mellow adult evening TV or movie time, and I really love movies and those awesome TV series that they make these days. (Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, Heroes, Prison Break, True Blood! Awesome!) I really love filling my creative well with cinematic stories, but it ain’t happening if I have to get to bed by ten. Sigh. Life is a series of tradeoffs.

KB: Self publishing is another avenue for many writers and authors. Would you ever self publish?

Shannon: Sure, I’d love to try it. I think it would be fascinating. I am daunted by the amount of work that it would require, since I barely manage to stay on top of my writing as it is. But it is impossible these days not to consider it, with all the success stories flying around.

KB: On your website under your “diary” section you write about your travels to Italy. That’s one place I would love to visit but have never been to. What are the top 3 things to see while in Italy? Also, where else have you traveled that you recommend others visit? 

Shannon: That’s a really hard question! I haven’t seen anywhere near as much as I would like of Italy myself! I guess I would have to just say, Venice for sure, because it’s sinking, and you should hurry up and see it quick before the melting icecaps submerge it. And the Amalfi Coast is really wonderful, if you don’t get carsick, and like lemon liqueur and pastiera. And anywhere in Tuscany and Umbria are wonderful. Oh, but what about Rome, the Collesseum, the Sistine Chapel? What about Spello, and Orvieto, and Palermo? What about the Museo Uffizi in Florence? You can’t confine yourself to just three things! But fortunately, wherever you go, the pizza is awesome and the gelato is fabulous and the wine is excellent, so it really doesn’t matter where you go. Just go!

KB: If you could have any other job besides being an author, what career would you love to do? What job would you stay away from? 

Shannon: Oh, that’s easy. Singer! It’s my other great joy. I adore singing. I sang professionally for many years, but then gave it up for writing novels. Fancy that. Novel writing as Plan B. Practicality has never been my strong suit. And as for the stuff to stay away from, well . . . anything that involves crunching numbers, or teaching. Never wanted to teach, ever.  

KB: If you could be a heroine in a book, what type of heroine would you be and who would be your ideal hero? What would the title of that book be?

Shannon: I’d be a heroine in a gothic romance, hiding my secret but blazing sensuality behind my lacy fischu and my prim ruffled cap . . . cheerful and virtuous, but with a sense of humor, ready to save my brooding and scarred gothic hero with the healing power of my love, a la Jane Eyre. I’d title it something goofy and over-the-top, like, The Beast of Blackburn Hall. Yeah. Beastly. I go for that.


Shannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of over ten action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she'd ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments.



Synopsis: Alex Aaro has spent most of his life on the run from his Ukrainian mafia family. But when he learns that crazy Aunt Tonya, the only relative who ever gave a damn about him, is dying, he risks returning home to say goodbye. He’s prepared for anything except the call from his friend, Bruno Ranieri, that sends him on a wild and dangerous ride with a mysterious woman who holds a deadly secret and a white hot passion that binds them together.

Social worker Nina Christie has no idea how much trouble she’s in when her Aunt Helga shows up bleeding at her shelter, babbling in Ukrainian—and with one inexplicable act thrusts Nina into the heart of a nightmare. Now a ruthless crime syndicate will stop at nothing to make Nina disappear, and only Alex Aaro, that inscrutable six-foot-four rock hard slab of lean muscle, stands between her and certain death. Now Nina and Alex are in a race against time, death, and their desire for one another…

Shannon is giving away TWO prizes, a copy of one of her books at each blog stop on her tour AND a grand prize giveaway of a Kindle Touch!!! There are several copies of One Wrong Move, Blood and Fire, Ultimate Weapon, and Fade to Midnight up for grabs!

1) To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2) To win a Kindle Touch: Click the link to go to Shannon’s website and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on September 27th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ClaudiaGC said...

Thank you for the interview! I love Shannon's books! I hope she will be at a convention in Berlin again this year so I can meet her!
Thank you for the giveaway.

claudigc at msn dot com

Shannon McKenna said...

I'm going to try to come, Claudia! Glad you enjoyed the interview, and good luck with the giveaway!

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Congrats to Shannon on the upcoming release. She's created some of my favorite heroes like Seth.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com said...

I was lucky enough to read an ARC of One Wrong Move (the first book of Shannon's I read) and now I can't WAIT to get my hands on more of this series!
KarysaFaire at gmail

krg said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview, I never knew she loved to sing and sang professionally. I would love to hear her sometime. I am so looking forward to reading her latest addition to the McCloud series! Thanks also for the chance to win!

Blanche said...

Fantastic interview and giveaway....thank you! I'm such a big big fan! I think one of my all time favorite books is Standing In The Shadows, I absolutely love Connor and Erin!! :)

Cathy M said...

Behind Closed Doors got me hooked on sexy romantic suspense stories, and I totally agree with Scarlett and Benicio as Raine and Seth.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Elizabeth H. said...

Thanks for the interview and the awesome giveaway!! All of Shannon's books are on my to-read list and I am crossing my fingers hard in hopes to win one of her fabulous books!

ehaney578 at aol dot com