Today I welcome fellow Rave Reviews Book Club member, S.M Spencer as part of her blog tour for her young adult fantasy series set in my own homeland, Australia.
Absent Shadows Blog Tour
Q & A - SM Spencer, author of the Absent Shadows Trilogy:
What was it that made you decide to become a writer?
I think the desire to be a writer started in my teens. I read a lot and would often get caught up in the characters, living their stories long after I’d finished the books. I had a great deal of respect for authors that could do that, and I wanted to be like them.
What authors inspired you when you were younger as well as now?
Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ray Bradbury were among my favourite authors when I was young, and now I tend to go through various genre moods. I devoured the Harry Potter books and The Chronicles of Narnia (didn’t everyone?) but also enjoy finding an author with a continuing series, like Patricia Cornwell, John Lescroart and Janet Evanovich. I particularly enjoy a good mystery/thriller with a romantic element.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of fellow indie authors, from the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) the indieBRAG Medallion site, and Awesome Indies just to mention a few of the sources. There are some incredibly talented authors out there that don’t get a lot of publicity and it’s such a pleasure to stumble upon them.
What inspired you to write the Absent Shadows Trilogy?
I was working around the corner from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, up near the Flagstaff Gardens. Walking around at lunchtime, I started sensing that I was smack dab in the middle of the perfect setting for ghosts and vampires—and the story just developed from there.
Of course, the late night ghost tours I’d done in the area, where I’d learned the history of the cemetery under the market’s carpark and about ghost sightings all throughout the area, really helped. And like many, I was caught up in the resurgence in popularity of vampires.
Will we see these characters again?
I believe so—the continuing story is bubbling away in my mind, and when it’s ready, it’ll surface. I’m just waiting for the next generation to grow up a bit!
You grew up in California and now live in Australia. Do you feel this helped with writing the story?
I think everyone’s writing is influenced to some extent by where they were brought up, and where they currently live. In the Absent Shadows trilogy, I was able to give Lili the experience that I’d had. She travelled to a new country and felt desperate to fit in, not wanting to look or sound like a tourist.
I think enjoying the benefit of having lived in both the US and Australia certainly added credibility to Lili’s story. All the places she went to both in California and Australia were places I’d been to myself (with the exception of a few completely fictional locations).
Were any of the characters taken from real life?
Aspects of the characters were inspired by people I’ve known, but none were taken from any one person in particular.
What other genres are you writing in?
I’m currently writing a contemporary/rural romance and also science fiction/thriller.
If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Crystal. I loved writing her. She is caring, and beautiful, and gentle and all things feminine. But at the same time, she is strong and powerful, and not to be messed with. She is Aphrodite and Athena wrapped up in one awesome little package.
What is it about vampires that made you decide to use them as your main “creature"?
Mostly, I think it’s a bit of that beauty and the beast thing—seeing through the horrible exterior to the goodness that dwells deep inside. You have this hero who is handsome and charming, but also deadly, dark and powerful. And the heroine sees all sides of him and falls in love with him anyway.
Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I love where I am right now. It’s taken me a lot of years to get here, and I’m savoring the ability to progress my journey toward becoming a better writer. I hope to continue with my writing, as well as encouraging and supporting other indie authors.
What are three things that might surprise your readers to find out about you?
Growing up, my favourite TV shows were Dark Shadows, The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits. I loved all things paranormal, and one side of me truly regrets not doing a degree in parapsychology.
My favourite food, and the one I’d chose if I could only have one for the rest of my life—tortilla chips (or as we say here in Australia, corn chips)! And a bit of salsa on the side, please.
My favourite sound—a kitten purring. There is, quite simply, nothing better. Well, perhaps there is one better sound … the soft uttering of the words ‘thank you’. And I’d like to say them to you for providing this wonderful opportunity for me to connect with you and your followers.
Where can readers find you and buy your trilogy?
Only on Amazon: Amazon.com
They can also follow me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer for advice about upcoming promotions as well as updates on the books I’m currently working on.
The Absent Shadows Trilogy is the story of nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre who decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.
When she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing Lili finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him. Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy.
Follow Lili’s journey across Australia as she searches for her destiny, faces some of the hardest decisions of her life, makes incredible sacrifices, and encounters deception in places where it is least expected.
Sometimes, when something bad happens, time seems to slow to a crawl.
Like that time I was running to visit my friend who lived down the street. I was only about ten at the time, but it seemed like it was yesterday. I remember exactly how it felt as I ran down that street toward her house. And how, when I was only part way there, I stepped on an acorn and my foot rolled out from under me. As I fell, the pavement got closer and closer to my face—in horrible slow-motion. I hit the ground with my hands stretched out in front of me, scraping the skin off both palms. They barely bled but man they hurt like crazy.
Yes, I could replay that memory like a slow-motion movie in my head even now—years later.
But this … well, this wasn’t like that.
What happened next was like a series of still photos. Tom flew out of the bedroom in a blur, but stopped just long enough for the image of his face to be burnt into my mind. His eyes were no longer soft brown, but were instead a glowing red, and his normally tanned complexion was now pallid grey. But what really stood out was the blood that ran down from the corner of his mouth.
Then I heard Sam’s voice—loud and harsh. ‘Go!’
Tom was gone and I heard the door slam.
I closed my eyes for no more than a long blink—it couldn’t have been more than a second—but when I opened them, Sam was in the bedroom, bending over Claire. Was he doing something to her neck? She was so still.
I ran to the doorway but stopped short of going in. I couldn’t draw a breath to scream or talk. I just stood there, frozen.