Centuries ago, the Faerie Realm was decimated by a vile and corrupt spell. To survive, the different faerie races―led by the Fae―escaped to the Human Realm where they’ve lived ever since.
As the Fae Patriarch of Boston’s criminal underworld, Aohdan Collins enjoys his playboy lifestyle while he works from the shadows to expand his growing empire, until one night when he shares a shot of whiskey with the lovely Seireadan Moore…
A Fae Seer, Seireadan is haunted by a vision of the Fae responsible for destroying Faerie and murdering her family. Common sense tells her to stay away from Aohdan, but his magnetism and charm are irresistible.As their passionate affair intensifies, Seireadan is pulled into the center of the underworld. And while her heart is bound to Aohdan, she cannot let go of her lifelong quest to hunt down the Fae who haunts her visions… especially when she realizes Aohdan might be the key to helping her find him.
But is revenge worth betraying the one she loves?
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Susan K. Hamilton whose book Shadow King thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love fantasy but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Susan K. Hamilton will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Susan K. Hamilton!
Susan K. Hamilton is the award-winning author of epic, dark, and urban fantasy books including Shadow King, Darkstar Rising, and the forthcoming The Devil Inside. She’s also dipped her toe in the short story pond and had her work included in the ESCAPE! Anthology.
Horse-crazy since she was a little girl, she also loves comfy jeans, pizza, great stand-up comedy, and pretty much every furry creature on the planet (except spiders). Susan lives near Boston with her husband and a cat who runs the house like a boss.
Now, how wonderful does Susan K. Hamilton sound?! Susan K. Hamilton is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Susan K. Hamilton’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name’s Susan K. Hamilton, and I write primarily in the fantasy genre. My latest novel is a dark urban fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’d actually never written dark fantasy before, but I was trying to come up with an idea for a NaNoWriMo project. I wasn’t having any luck but then I was out raking leaves in my yard, and I started randomly thinking about Irish fairies and folklore and what they might do in our world. I figured the “light” fairies would be the models, actors, and other beautiful people… but then I thought that if that’s what light fairires would do, then “dark” fairies would probably be criminals. The idea of dark Fae running Boston’s criminal underworld popped in to my head, and I got really excited about it.
That idea became my NaNo project, and that turned into Shadow King.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
In the past, I’ve written more epic fantasy. I actually really didn’t know a lot of about dark fantasy when I started. I just had an idea and I ran with it. Later, once I had my draft done and was starting to go through the editing process, I started to wonder how I’d market it. I did a little research and realized that it fit into the dark / urban fantasy sub-genre.
But to answer your question, what primarily attracted me to fantasy in general is the latitude a writer has to do what they want. Of course, you have to build a world that people can immerse themselves in, but I like the idea that if I want the oceans to be orange, I can make the oceans orange.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Well, this one isn’t a series – not at this point. I have an open enough ending to continue, and I am working on a follow up, but at this point “book two” is really a big pile of notes and comments and scenes that I need to give a little more shape to.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did some research for this – mostly on some different types of faeries. While I wanted my main group to have a Gaelic/Irish flare, having a variety of faeries from a variety of cultures was important to me.
As for Boston, a lot of the book takes place in and around the part of the city where I work so my “research” was really doing a lot of walking around. When I was first writing Shadow King there was a set of luxury condominiums being built right next to the building I work in now. Each day at lunch I’d walk and take a lap around the construction site. Each time when I’d get to the part of my walk where I looked back at the city, I knew this is where Aohdan would live.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Well, I’m up by about 5:15 in order to be at my day job around 7:00. I try to write at lunch, but I’m not always successful. Depending on traffic, I’m home by about 5:00 or so, but then it is either house/yard work or down to the barn (I part-lease a horse so I ride three days each week). Then I try to grab some writing time at night if I’m not too tired.
When I take lunch at work, I try to find an empty conference room to write so I’m not interrupted. At home, I have a computer in the living room and that’s where I do most of the writing. Because I’m not always sure how much time I have to write each day, I don’t usually set a specific goal because I find it really frustrating if I don’t hit it.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do have another book that is with Inkshares. The title is The Devil Inside and right now it is waiting for its turn to go to the editor. I’m hoping it will get there in the next few months and that would mean a release date at the start of 2020.
It is another dark fantasy, but is a totally difference premise than Shadow King. In Devil, Heaven and Hell are part of a large corporation, and when an ambitious devil and disgruntled angel cross paths, sparks fly. I think there is a little more melodrama—and a little more humor—but that is one of the things I really like about it.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I think character names are important, but I try not to overthink them. In Shadow King, my female lead is named Seireadan (when you say it, think of “Sheridan” without the “h”). Her name has Gaelic/Irish roots and roughly means wild or untamed, and that’s a quality I think she has so I wanted her name to reflect that. Aside from that, I try to pick names that make sense for the character, that feel right, but each one doesn’t have a deep specific meaning.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I actually just finished a short story that I submitted for consideration in a short story anthology, and it is straight contemporary fiction, which is quite a switch for me. That one didn’t make it, but my other submission did, which is very exciting.
I’d love to do harder science fiction or science thriller, but I don’t know if I have the patience to write the hard science part.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A lot of things about writing are hard! One of the things is the pressure I put on myself, especially now. It is one thing to have something written and be shopping it around, but I find that now that Shadow King is out, the pressure to follow up on it is huge.
The other hard part is balancing the need to market and promote what I have out but still give myself time to write new things. It is much harder than I thought it would be.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think they are interesting. I did a couple to promote Shadow King and Devil Inside when I was funding them through Inkshares. There is probably some value in them since we do live in a video-oriented world, but if I’m being honest, I’m not sure if mine made much of a difference.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Probably keeping at writing when I got frustrated, and getting back on track when I almost got derailed. Quite a few years ago I wrote and self-published my first novel, Darkstar Rising. After that, I struggled for a long time because I tried to make my new ideas be something they weren’t meant to be—and what I mean by that is after Darkstar, I told myself I was going to write a trilogy. But I don’t think the idea I had was meant to be a trilogy. The more I tried to force it to be something it wasn’t, the more frustrated I got. I wasted a lot of time trying to make that book fit a mold it was never meant to fit into, and eventually I stopped doing original writing for a while … until I got the idea for Shadow King.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Oh wow. The best thing? I’m going to pick two things. The first is some of the other wonderful authors and writers I’ve become friendly with. The second thing would be when I hear from readers that they’ve read and enjoyed my books. That’s a really cool feeling.
Have you always liked to write?
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Three pieces of advice…
Just write – don’t get hung up that your first draft isn’t perfect. First drafts shouldn’t be. That’s what editing is for. Get the story out of your head first and then go back to polish it.
Cut yourself some slack – we all want people to love our writing, but the reality is, not everyone will, and that’s okay. Remember, no two people will experience your writing the same way. One might love it, another might not. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer, it just means that you’re not that person’s cup of tea.
Find your tribe – make friends with other writers. They might be in a writing group in your local area or through an online group. These people will be some of your best supporters, and will give you good, honest feedback. And, when you’re really having a rough time, they understand what you’re going through.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’d kinda be up a creek because I write for my day job, too – I do employee communications work. If I couldn’t do anything with writing, I think I’d like to be a film editor. Or maybe a a scientist. First thing I ever wanted to be was an astronomer, but then I discovered that I was far better at writing than I was at math, chemistry and physics.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read them. I know some people say you shouldn’t. As for responding? Well, for some good ones, I might click a “like” button if it is available but I don’t typically interact with the reviewer, at least not extensively. Maybe I’ll say “thank you” or “so glad you liked it” but that’s about it.
Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with too many negative reviews. I don’t respond to them because I understand that I’m not going to be everyone’s favorite. Like I said earlier, anything creative is subjective so one person might love my style, the next person may not. So, if someone says they don’t like it or leaves a negative review, that is certainly disappointing but they are entitled to their opinion.
A good thing to remember is that you’ll probably get positive and negative reviews… if you do get negative ones, go back and read the positive ones again. It helps you remember that there are readers out there who love your work. The positive helps balance the negative.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
How long it takes. Self-publishing is a bit faster, but traditional and hybrid publishing takes a long time. It took nearly two years from when I finished the Launchpad Competition—which is how I got connected with my publisher—to when Shadow King was officially released. That’s a long time to wait. The end result is worth it, though!
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Sure thing. My upcoming novel is titled The Devil Inside, and it will hopefully be released in early 2020, but that will depend on when it gets a turn with the Inkshares editor. It is a dark fantasy with a touch of melodrama and a little snarky humor. This is what I anticipate will be on the back cover:
Mara Dullahan has a reputation. And a secret that could rock Heaven and Hell.
Smart-mouthed and irreverent, Mara has a knack for sniffing out corrupt souls. Her fellow devils resent her success, and some suspect Mara isn’t what she seems—after all, no one in Hell has ever seen her wings.
After a long day at the office, Mara has a few drinks and crosses paths with Duncan DeMarco, a handsome angel stuck in a dead-end job with a boss he can’t stand. Duncan is exactly the kind of trouble Mara doesn’t need but can’t resist. They embark on a passionate, illicit love affair, knowing that it will likely mean their careers—and quite possibly their very existence—if they’re found out
When Mara’s biggest rival in Hell’s Sales & Acquisitions Department uncovers her secret—and her feelings for Duncan—their confrontation spins wildly out of control with dire consequences. Mara tries to cover her tracks, but sniffing out dark secrets is what the denizens of Hell do best.
Backed into a corner, Mara must choose: Do nothing, and watch Duncan pay the ultimate price for her… or reveal all her secrets, and watch all Hell break loose
And this is a little snippet from the manuscript. To set the stage, Mara (my main character) is eating at her favorite sports bar when her rival, Kemm, drops in to needle her:
Despite what people thought, both angels and devils did need to eat, drink, and sleep when they co-existed with humans. Not nearly as much as the humans, but it was still a necessity from time to time, and to make herself less conspicuous, Mara followed the human routine of eating and sleeping regularly. After a large bite of her cheeseburger, a happy sigh slipped out of Mara but her appetite soured a moment later when her rival, Kemm, thumped down into the chair Duncan had been sitting in.
“Those cheese fries look good,” said Kemm. His hand inched forward.
“I will stab you with my fork if that hand moves another inch,” Mara warned him.
“Such a bitch,” he muttered.
“Something you want, Kemm?”
“Looking pretty cozy with that angel.”
“What, I can’t entertain myself? You can have a pretty funny conversation with a tipsy angel. But you’d need a sense of humor to know that.”
“You’d be just the type to go soft hanging out with an angel.” There was a predatory gleam in Kemm’s eyes that Mara didn’t like.
“Whatever. You’re still going to lose out at the end of the year.” Mara took another bite of cheeseburger and ignored Kemm until he got up, glowered at her, and stomped off.
Two bites later, Mara finished her dinner and leaned back in the chair. Kemm was breathing down her neck this quarter; it had been a while since they’d been in such close competition. She was going to have to close, and close big, if she was going to shut him up once and for all. And it wasn’t going to be easy.
Where did your love of books come from?
My family. My parents are both readers – and my grandmother was a reading teacher, so I had books pretty much from Day 1.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I’m not going to go into my list of favorite authors: that would take too long. But the Keltiad series from Patricia Kennealy-Morrison has always been a favorite. The books are Copper Crown, Silver Branch, and Throne of Scone. I don’t think they’re in print any more, but I loved how she wove fantasy and sci-fi together really seamlessly. The
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Probably my Shadow King male lead – Aohdan Collins. He was the first character I thought of in the book and I just had a really clear idea of who he was. He’s not always the nicest person, I mean, he is a crime boss, but he does have special place in my heart.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both. When I get on a roll, I get very energized but eventually you can’t sustain that, and then the exhausted part kicks in.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I probably land on the original side. I think if you write a good story, you’re going to find your audience. There is a certain amount of giving readers what they want but you have to be careful. If you try to please everyone, you run the risk of losing your unique voice.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve had the good fortune of meeting many outstanding writers and authors through Inkshares and through social media. I’m in a great online writers group called Writing Bloc, and they’re fantastic. I’m honestly not going to name names but that is mostly because there are so many, that I’m afraid of accidentally forgetting someone and I’d feel terrible about that.
But, they’ve made me a better writer by giving great advice, challenging how I’m looking at my characters, and reminding me that I’m not out there all by myself (this is a shout-out to everyone at Writing Bloc).
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Maybe “Plot Twist!” or “That Didn’t Go Quite the Way I Planned.”
Actually, I could use both and use the second one as a sub-title, I suppose.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Susan K. Hamilton! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,