An Interview with Paranormal Romance Author Shiela Stewart

Sheila Stewart, author of the paranormal romance novel, DISCOVERY IN PASSION, has been writing for the better part of twenty years, pouring her heart out in words, living a fantasy through the characters she creates. It has always been a dream of hers to have her work published, and in 2006 her dream finally came to life.

When not writing, she is busy working on a website for a non-profit organization she belongs to, as well as a promotional blog for other authors, tending to her three children, and spending time with the love of her life, William.

Shiela has a deep affection for animals and it’s evident in the five cats, one dog, eight fish, and three turtles she owns. Aside from writing, she enjoys sketching, painting, singing, and dancing, as well as stargazing, astronomy, and astrology. Her favorite time of the day is sunset.

You can visit her website at www.shielasbooks.ca.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Shiela. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Thank you so much for having me today!

I’m a happily married woman who has been with my hubby for nearly twenty three years. We have three wonderful children who are growing up faster than I would like at times. I am an animal lover which anyone can see when entering my home. I have five cats, one female black lab dog, nine fish and three turtles.

I’ve been writing all my life. From the moment I figured out how to write I did. I honestly can not remember a time I didn’t write something. I’ve not only written novels but I’ve written several poems, none of which have ever been published.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Discovery in Passion is a tale of a haunted house and the woman who lives in it and her passion to set the spirits free while falling in love. This book was written in part about something that happened in my past. I lived in a farm house that was rumored to be haunted. There are several stories as to how it became haunted, some of which are that the woman who lived there had been starved to death by her husband, or that she died of a horrible illness. Accounts of her haunting include seeing her having coffee or tea at the kitchen table, banging around in the kitchen, opening and closing cupboard doors, opening the curtains in the morning to let in the sun, and giving a baby her bottle. I took all of those rumors, added a dose of romance and mystery and came up with Discovery in Passion.

Here is a blurb:

Nothing is ordinary in the small town of Passion, especially the love.

Wanting to start fresh, Cassie Evans relocates to the small town of Passion where she moves into the home of her dreams, complete with dreamy next door neighbor, artist, and handyman Thomas Healy. The only problem is, the house she bought just might be haunted.
Thomas Healy lives a life of solitude and that suits him just fine. Then Cassie Evans moves in next door and begins to turn his peaceful live upside down. He tries to ignore her, but ignoring a woman as beautiful as Cassie isn’t so easy, especially when she shows up at your door, naked, begging for you to paint her. Thomas’ first mistake was to agree to it, his second was to take Cassie to bed, now she’s all he can think about.
When their blossoming love is overshadowed by a ghostly haunting, the curious Cassie launches an investigation into the life and death of her home’s previous owner, uncovering a mystery and attracting the attention of a killer. Where will Cassie’s discovery lead her, to the love of her life or to death itself?
Welcome to the town of Passion.

What kind of research was involved in writing “Discovery in Passion”?

There really wasn’t much research involved other than finding the layout of small towns to use as my fictional town of Passion. I wanted something not too small but not so large that a person walking down the street wouldn’t recognize their neighbors. I wanted that typical small town where everyone knows everyone and gossip runs rampant.

I did some research into how investigations are run, how a murder is investigated and the weapon that is used in my story. I also corresponded with an RCMP depot in southern Saskatchewan on ranks and how small town police stations are run including how many officers/constables are employed in a town of twenty five hundred people. RCMP stands for Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

My publishers are wonderful gals. Lori James, COO of Linden Bay Romance does a lot of cover designs for the LBR books. She did my Passion series and she did a wonderful job on them. I’ve had plenty of compliments on how hot and steamy my Passion covers are. But with each new book, all Linden Bay Authors get a say in how their covers should look. When the contract for a story is signed, Lori contacts the author for input on what the cover of the book should look like. So the author gets to add what he or she would like for the cover of their novel. They are very accommodating at Linden Bay Romance and I have yet to have a cover I didn’t like from them.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Oh, it’s been very bumpy and I have the bruises to show for it. I spent years submitting manuscripts to publishing houses before I finally signed a contract with one. I have a box of rejection letters that I keep in my bedroom closet and ever so often I pull it out and look through them and go... “Ha, you didn’t want me. Your loss! Fool!” LOL

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It only took approximately five months from the time I signed the contract to the time Discovery was released. I had no idea all the work that went into having a book published until my first book, Kidnapped was published. The book goes through so many hands before it’s released and each person that looks it over does so for the author’s best interest. You have one editor who reads it over for consistency in the plotline and if everything is goods, she sends it to the next editor who then works with the author to fine tune the book, cutting out repetitive words, fixing sentence structure, dialog, tags, comma’s, points of view and so on. Then, when all that is done, she hands it off to the nest editor who goes through it and checks it line by line to make sure everything is good. If she finds any errors, she marks them down and send the document to the author who then goes through the document as well to find any mistakes that were missed during the other editing sessions, or improper formatting. She then sends it along with her corrections to the COO who makes the corrections and sends it back to the author and all the editors for final green lighting. Which means, “The go ahead to publish”. Whew! I’m tired just typing all that. LOL

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I don’t have an agent as of right now. I may, someday in the future deside I may need one and when that time comes I’ll do exactly what I did when I began looking for publishers. I’ll do some research, get as much information as possible and ask around and find out if any of my fellow authors have an agent they would recommend. Right now, I don’t feel I need one.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Actually, there are already two other books in the Passion series. Escape in Passion and Mercy in Passion. Both, along with Discovery in Passion, are available now in ebook and in Print.

Escape in Passion:

Nothing is ordinary in the small town of Passion, especially the love.

Wanting to start fresh, Cassie Evans relocates to the small town of Passion where she moves into the home of her dreams, complete with dreamy next door neighbor, artist, and handyman Thomas Healy. The only problem is, the house she bought just might be haunted.
Thomas Healy lives a life of solitude and that suits him just fine. Then Cassie Evans moves in next door and begins to turn his peaceful live upside down. He tries to ignore her, but ignoring a woman as beautiful as Cassie isn’t so easy, especially when she shows up at your door, naked, begging for you to paint her. Thomas’ first mistake was to agree to it, his second was to take Cassie to bed, now she’s all he can think about.
When their blossoming love is overshadowed by a ghostly haunting, the curious Cassie launches an investigation into the life and death of her home’s previous owner, uncovering a mystery and attracting the attention of a killer. Where will Cassie’s discovery lead her, to the love of her life or to death itself?
Welcome to the town of Passion.

Mercy in Passion:

Nothing is ordinary in the small town of Passion, especially the love.

Wild, rebellious, and perpetually in trouble, Justin Davis was labeled the town troublemaker and an embarrassment to his father, the chief of police in the small town of Passion. When Justin was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, he impulsively left the town he’d called home, vowing never to return.
For six years Beth Healy pined after Justin, the boy next door who she’d come to think of as her friend, and had wanted for a lover. Now an officer of the law, Beth is shocked when her pursuit of a speeding car leads her to the one man she’s been longing to find—Justin Davis—and after all these years, he’s finally come home.
Despite the sizzling attraction, Beth’s feelings of hurt and betrayal linger and acceptance and forgiveness don’t come easy. Justin soon discovers that begging for mercy and allowing Beth time to grow to love him again might be the only way to win her back. Then an enemy of Justin’s begins to threaten his life, forcing Beth to make a choice. Will she be able to put the past behind her and trust in the man that Justin is now? Welcome to the town of Passion

And I also have a new series I’m working on. Book one, Seducing the Darkness has just been released in ebook format. In total there are five books in the Darkness series.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I used to be a morning writer but lately my brain seems to want to create later in the evening and at night. Perhaps it’s because the series I’m working on now involves darkness. Who knows. I enjoyed working during the day because all my children are in school or at work and I would have the house to myself. But as the summer days approach I find myself wanting to be outside, tending to my flowers and yard rather than hide inside with my nose in a computer.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest to promote your book?

I think it would either be television commercials for my books with real actors and actresses portraying the heroes and heroines or billboard ads. Nothing like a big sign boasting a picture of a book cover to draw attention. J

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Well, let’s see. The author is the one who put heart and soul into the story so it should be a priority to that author to promote their work. Since the internet has become so prominent in everyday life, promoting is so much easier. Authors can have a website devoted to them and their work. They can attend groups that chat about books, and advertise on as many sites as they want.

I personally belong to several yahoo groups where authors are free to discuss their books, supply excerpts, and talk up their story as much as they want. I have my own yahoo group that I use to communicate with my readers. I also belong to several other groups such as Facebook, Myspace, Book Marketing sites, just to name a few. And then there are the blogs. I try to scout out blogs and make appearances as much as possible. I also have two of my own blogs, Romance with Shiela is a place where I post everything and anything I feel like posting. Jokes, pictures, excerpts, funny pictures or just to rant on. Book Cover Lovers is another of my blogs but it’s not about me. I put other authors book covers up along with their information and places where their books can be purchased. I believe in helping others as well. We’re all struggling to promote ourselves and any chance and author can get to have his or her name and book out there the better.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Never give up! Never stop learning! But most of all, write what is true to your heart. Learn your craft, get to know the market, find out what sells, and find out what publishing houses want in a story. Also, join groups, get to know other authors. We’re always willing to give pointers or advice.

Thank you for coming, Shiela! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Thank you so much for having me here today! It’s been a pleasure!

I can be found almost anywhere on the web. I also have a website that the viewers can check out that is full of details of me and my books and some fun and interesting activities.

My website is: www.shielasbooks.ca

Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shielasromanticdesires/

Romance Blog: http://romancewithshielastewart.blogspot.com/

Book Cover Lovers: http://bookcoverlovers.blogspot.com/

I also have a newsletter: shielas@shaw.ca

ATTENTION: This interview is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. As a special promotion for Shiela Stewart’s book, DISCOVERY IN PASSION – BOOK 1 IN THE PASSION SERIES, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away one FREE virtual book tour or $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky person who comments on Shiela’s blog stops during his virtual book tour in July. Leave a comment below to have a chance to win one of these prizes! For more stops on Shiela’s book tour, visit www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com.

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