by Anna Campbell
I've been really looking forward to introducing you all to my lovely friend M.J. Scott. M.J. is a long-time and very active member of Romance Writers of Australia and it's always a pleasure to see her at our conferences.
It's even more of a pleasure to talk about her debut book SHADOW KIN which hits the shelves (and the e-waves) on 6th September. The great reviews for SHADOW KIN are rolling in. RT Book Reviews said, "Exciting and rife with political intrigue and magic, SHADOW KIN is hard to put down right from the start. Magic, faeries, vampires, werewolves and Templar knights all come together to create an intriguing story with a unique take on all these fantasy tropes...the lore and history of Scott’s world is well fleshed out and the action scenes are exhilarating and fast."
Here's the blurb:
On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...
Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart...
You can find out more about Mel and her books and read an excerpt from SHADOW KIN on M.J.'s website: www.mjscott.net
M.J., welcome to the Romance Bandits and congratulations on the release of your debut book SHADOW KIN. Can you tell us about this story?
SHADOW KIN is the story of a half-Fae assassin who has been controlled all her life by some fairly unpleasant people.When she botches her latest assignment and meets someone with a different perspective on the world, things begin to change.
You describe SHADOW KIN as ‘dark fantasy’. Can you tell us about the world your characters inhabit and what inspired it?
I will confess that when I first started SHADOW KIN, I thought it was urban fantasy. But then I realised that they weren’t wearing modern clothes and when the first gun appeared, in my head it was an ornately engraved old-fashioned pistol. Then as my heroine told me more about the world and said that the four races who live in the Half-Light City maintain peace through a treaty, I started to think about what sorts of things a treaty between humans, vampires, werewolves and Fae might govern. The obvious things seemed to be rationing the amounts of iron and silver that are available for use. Which has some flow-on effects on the level of technology the humans have reached. Plus there’s magic to deal with. SHADOW KIN isn’t steampunk but the world is somewhere around an early Victorian level of technology, with some differences. As for the inspiration, I can’t point to any one thing. A lifetime of reading fantasy, science fiction and lots of historical romance, I guess!
Sounds great! What’s next for M.J. Scott?
Book 2, BLOOD KIN comes out in June next year. I’m just finishing book three and am working on other things that I can’t yet talk about.
Here in the lair, we LOVE call stories. Can you please share yours?
My call story is a bit of a saga. SHADOW KIN was the third book of mine that my agent went out with. I wrote it in a year where I was having a lot of near misses, so it was a bit of a roller coaster plus it was a bit of an odd book and I wasn’t sure where exactly it would fit and was feeling gloomy about the whole thing (even though I loved the book). Luckily my agent loved it too and then, when she sent it out, we got the first offer in about three weeks. But it then took another two weeks to get other offers and have a bit of an auction, during which I had to keep quiet about what was happening and didn’t sleep much. Lots of very early morning phone calls and emails given the time difference between Australia and New York. When we got to the actual final result, my agent finally got to make “the call” after nearly three years of repping me and there was much squeeing and snoopy dancing. Then I got to share the good news with the world and have a long nap. lol
I bet that was a very happy nap! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Stick to it, keep learning and don’t give up. It took me nine years to sell and almost ten years before I finally got to hold my book in my hands but it’s worth all the hard work along the way!
Your heroine is an assassin – did you set out to write a bad girl heroine?
The couple of urban fantasy books I wrote before SHADOW KIN both had heroines who started out more normal and got dragged into darker worlds. When my heroine showed up in my head, standing outside a door, getting ready to go in and kill someone, I realised I was dealing with a whole different kettle of fish. So I didn’t start off to write her that way, she arrived that way and then the hero popped up almost her complete opposite and I had a good guy hero to deal with too. Which was a lot of fun to play with as a writer as things are rarely quite as black and white as they seems.
Okay, Banditas, I had a blast writing a bad girl/good boy story even though it was different to what I’ve tended to write before (as I’m usually a bit of a sucker for a bad boy hero). What’s your favourite romance pairing? Do you like to see the good girl get her bad boy or two charming tricksters go head to head in a bad boy/bad girl heroine or see a good guy get his world turned on its head by a sexy bad girl? Or even see two good people struggle to get it right?
Thanks, M.J. Get commenting, people. There's a copy of SHADOW KIN up for grabs today! Good luck!