Friday, March 22, 2019

Author Interview with Shanna Swenson with GIVEAWAY!!

Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hi, I’m Shanna, the author of the Abundance series. I am a full-time cardiac sonographer, Cancer, and dreamer. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I love movies, pro-football, traveling, hiking, Yoga, taking pictures, sunsets and hanging out with my own “knight in shining armor”. I enjoy the simple things in life and laugh a lot. 

How did you get into writing? 
My third-grade teacher told my mom that I would one day be a writer. I can’t remember what story I wrote then, but it must have been a good one (haha) to impact her that way. I started writing (with intent) at the age of fourteen in high school. It was mostly just for fun, but then I got the idea for book three of my series in my junior year and just let the ideas flow. 

Do you remember any of the earlier stuff you wrote, was it mostly based in romance, or did you test the waters with other stuff, too? 
The stuff I wrote, in the beginning, was inspired by a friend who was pretty much doing the same thing. We wrote plays about our lives (or what we wanted them to be- haha.) In my “play”, my BFF and I had fictional boyfriends. They were football players from Florida who had moved next door to us. It had romance, high school drama, and suspense. So, it was kinda like a precursor for my books, I guess. 

What draws you to the romance genre? Do you think your stick to it or switch it up in the future? 
I feel like the first “real” romance novel I read (at the age of thirteen) led me to write romance. It’s such a dynamic genre with various avenues you can take. And so many tropes to choose from. I feel like my books are more than just romance, they have suspense too. I will probably get into other genres. My father in law is a retired homicide detective, so we are planning to collaborate on a murder mystery at some point ;-).

I could definitely see the influence of a murder mystery type idea floating around, particularly when you were writing about Troy. 
Haha, yes. There’s always a nice element of surprise with a murder and some drama created that wasn’t anticipated. 

Anyway, back to romance. Do you have a favorite romance trope? 
I guess my favorite would be the “knight in shining armor” and “enemies to lovers”. Who doesn’t love a hero?! ;-)

What are some of your favorite authors or favorite reads? 
I love Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, Richard Preston, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I have a very eclectic taste in books (movies and music) as you can probably tell. Paranormal and fantasy are probably my favorite genres, but I’ll read almost anything. 

Loving the fantasy genre, do you ever think you’ll write something that has a ton of fantasy? Or are you going to stick to just reading that genre and stick to more realistic fiction? I can imagine fantasy is probably quite a bit different to write… 
Creating worlds is wonderful, and I wouldn’t be opposed to writing fantasy. Fantasy involves a lot of characters, which I had someone complain about actually- that I had too many characters-ha ha! I thought to myself “Have you ever read Game of Thrones?” It also involves a large amount of planning, I feel like. Maps, new races/species, languages, cultures, etc. But… you never know what will inspire you, so I’m not going to rule it out ;-)

Do you remember the first romance novel that you ever read or what made you fall in love with the genre? 
Yes, the first “real” romance novel I read at the age of thirteen was Nobody’s Baby but Mine, and it’s still one of my all-time faves. It was funny, sexy and witty, and I fell in love with the characters. It made me want to write characters like that. 

For the first book in your Abundance series, where did you get the inspiration to write this story? Did you start with a particular character first, or location, or situation..? 
I was inspired by the movies Hope Floats and The Horse Whisperer. I wanted to showcase the healing power of true love in the face of tragedy. I asked myself what could be the worst thing a mother could experience that would break her faith in humanity. Once I answered that question, I knew exactly where the story was going. I saw it in my head. The situation came first then the characters. I had already written book three (and lost it when I moved), but I thought it needed a back story, thus the idea for Abundance was born. 

Are all of the books in this series going to be stand alone? 
Yes, I don’t really write “cliffhangers”. I don’t really mind them, it just happened to turn out that way. The original series was only going to be three books, but a couple side stories happened, it turned into a saga, now it will end up being six books total. 

Is the thing that ties them all together the location, or are there recurring characters that you expand on? 
With all the characters introduced in the first book, it kinda branches out. There are recurring characters, but the location also plays a part. Each book continues the saga and delves more into characters that the reader has already met or that are introduced as the series progresses into the future ;-) The featured POV changes with each book, so that the reader can catch up with prior couples, but is also told new stories about new couples, if that makes sense. 

When writing Natalie and Jack’s relationship, or any love relationship, what do you find to be the most important or difficult thing to master? 
The chemistry, the realness of the characters plights and their connection. With Natalie and Jack, it was easy. He was immediately attracted to her and just needed to tear her walls down gently to get her inner light to shine. I wanted it to seem real and raw and desperate, and I feel like I achieved that. 

Have you written characters where neither of them are attracted at all, at least at first? 
Yes. There are several characters in the series who aren’t attached in the beginning. Book 2 is more of an “enemies to lovers”/beauty and the beast type feel to it. Book 3 is a coming of age with an unexpected love story. 

Troy was so. dark. Completely took me by surprise. I was like, holy shit, he is a MURDERER. What inspired his character? 
All too often the sad truth hits close to home. Troy is that guy that everyone knows (or thinks they know). The one with a hidden agenda. The good-looking guy that has a closet full of skeletons just waiting to be discovered. He’s the best friend, lover, relative- that’s really a monster. But no one knows the truth… until they do. He was inspired by all the wrong in this world. It just needed a face and name. Plus I needed someone everyone could hate ;-) 

Dan, too - awful person. 
Yes, Dan’s evil came as a surprise. We all knew he was a jerk, but didn’t know just how cruel he could be.

What advice would you give to anyone out there thinking of becoming an author?
Follow your heart and your dreams. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. Do it for yourself!

This interview was done by MJ. You can follow MJ on Twitter and Instagram.

Shanna Swenson is the author of the Abundance series, adult contemporary romance novels that showcase the healing power of true love in the face of dark tragedy. She began writing at the age of fourteen. Shanna lives in Georgia with her husband of three years. She performs cardiac ultrasounds by day and writes every chance she gets. She fits her zodiac sign of Cancer to a T and enjoys the simple things in life. Shanna is an avid reader of good books that thrill, chill, and warm her heart. She loves supporting her fellow indies and when she’s not writing her next novel, she likes to travel, watch movies and pro-football, hike, practice Yoga, and hang out with her own “knight in shining armor”.

Her debut novel, Abundance, was published in September 2018. Book two, Return to Abundance, just premiered in January. She is currently working on the prequel to Abundance, Starlight Valley, which launches on March 9th and Book three in the six-part series, Escape from Abundance, will launch this summer. 

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