Welcome back to this month’s Featured Author Friday! Most people are familiar with the more established authors but this feature focuses on introducing some of our favorite authors that you might not know about. Today is the wonderful and talented Shannon Richard! Shannon currently writes the contemporary romance series, Country Roads, and is working on a brand new book, I Run to You. Read on to learn more about Shannon and her books!
It’s Time to Pick Shannon’s Brain!
Badass Book Reviews: Welcome, Shannon! So, how did you begin writing and what made you choose the contemporary romance genre?
Shannon Richard: I’ve had stories running around in my head for as far back as I can remember. I’d jot down a scene here or there, but I never really stuck with it. That is until my senior of college. I got an idea in my head for a story and I just had to get it out.
I didn’t set out to write contemporary romance, I just wrote the story as I saw it. I have a lot of stories running around, and a few of them actually fit into different genres, New Adult and Fantasy being two of them. So it isn’t so much that I choose a genre, but that the genre chooses me.
BaBR: What is the biggest challenge to writing a believable romance?
SR: The biggest challenge for me is the guy’s perspective. It’s sometimes difficult for me to get in the hero’s head. I know how I think as a woman, but I have no idea as to the inner workings of a guy’s mind (it’s a scary place I’m sure).
BaBR: Who is your favorite character that you’ve created?
SR: Mattigan Riley. She’s the lead character in I Run To You, the first book that I ever wrote. A book that is still unfinished at the moment. But as I’m currently working on it, I hopefully won’t be saying that for too much longer.
Mattie was the first character that spoke so loudly to me that I had to sit down and write. She was the character that drove me to discover my passion of writing. She is a junior in college, and still figuring out who she really is (as are we all). Her self-discovery had a lot to do with my own, so she’s very much a part of me.
BaBR: Can you give us a peek into your writing space?
SR: I write at work or at home. My day job has a lot, and I mean A LOT, of down time. I’m very fortunate to have bosses that allow me to write at work (that is, when all of my other job related tasks are done). If I’m writing at home, it’s either in my room or on my sofa.
BaBR: Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
- Wishing that the men I write about were real…wait, does that count as a hazard?
- Laying awake for hours trying to sleep but unable to turn my brain off because I keep working out a scene over and over and over and over again.
- Waking up at five o’clock in the morning with an epiphany and being unable to go back to sleep.
- Figuring out an important plot point or key scene of dialogue and not being anywhere near my computer. I feel beyond twitchy until I can sit down and get it out.
- Having the overwhelming need to take my computer with me wherever I go. This is so #4 doesn’t happen as often.
BaBR: What would you say are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
SR: Learning to find that right balance in day-to-day life. There is never, and I do mean NEVER enough time. Prioritizing what needs to be done can get to be a lot sometimes. I have days where I will sit in front of the computer for hours with nothing really coming out on the screen. It feels like such a waste of time, because I could be doing something else.
But the thing is, while I’m sitting there I’m focusing on the story. It’s like doing a puzzle, you pick up piece after piece and it’s not right, and then you finally find the correct one and you’re off again, typing faster than you can think.
And then on the other hand, whenever I’m sitting still for a second with nothing to do, I’m always like, “Where is my computer? I could be (should be) writing right now.” But sometimes you have to just sit back and take a breath.
BaBR: What do you consider your biggest success? Your biggest failure?
SR: I applied to go to grad school and didn’t get in. That rejection letter felt like the biggest failure that I’d ever encountered…at the time. The thing is, if I had gone to grad school I wouldn’t be where I am now.
But don’t get me wrong. This definitely isn’t me saying “don’t go to grad school, you can be a published author without all of that nonsense.” It’s just me saying that what I thought was this huge failure in my life led to me being published, which I believe to be one of my biggest successes.
BaBR: And finally, do you have any favorite books or authors?
SR: Do I have any favorite books or authors? Do you have a day to sit down and listen to me wax poetic about all of them? Or maybe a week…possibly a month?
As far as classics go: Jane Austen hands down. I am and forever will be in love with Mr. Darcy.
Books: Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion
Young Adult: J.K. Rowling (yup, I’m a Potterhead), Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Cassandra Clare, The Twilight series, and Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Julie James – Everything this woman has written, though Something About You is my favorite.
Jill Shalvis – All of it. All. Of. It.
Robyn Carr – The Virgin River series
Rachel Gibson – I’ve read and adore all of her books, but Nothing But Trouble is my favorite.
Christina Lauren – The Beautiful Bastard series, all of them are ah-mazing but Will from Beautiful Player is wonderful…just so wonderful.
Sylvia Day – The Crossfire series
Fantasy: Ilona Andrews (The Kate Daniels series) and Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series)
There are many, many more, but I’ll stop while I’m ahead.
All About The Author
Shannon Richard grew up in the Panhandle of Florida as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book, and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music.
She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in English literature and still lives in Tallahassee, where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis.
She’s still waiting for her Southern, scruffy Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she’s a pretty big fan of the whimsy.
Bring On The Books!
The Country Roads Series
Shannon Richard’s debut contemporary romance series featuring small-town living, delicious drama, loveable characters, and steamy romance
Things Paige Morrison will never understand about Mirabelle, Florida:
Why wearing red shoes makes a girl a harlot
Why a shop would ever sell something called “buck urine”
Why everywhere she goes, she runs into sexy-and infuriating-Brendan King
After losing her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, Paige has no choice but to leave Philadelphia and move in with her retired parents. For an artsy outsider like Paige, finding her place in the tightly knit town isn’t easy-until she meets Brendan, the hot mechanic who’s interested in much more than Paige’s car. In no time at all, Brendan helps Paige find a new job, new friends, and a happiness she wasn’t sure she’d ever feel again. With Brendan by her side, Paige finally feels like she can call Mirabelle home. But when a new bombshell drops, will the couple survive, or will their love come undone?
Ready for Some Mirabelle Gossip?
BaBR: I love your little town of Mirabelle. Growing up in South Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, it reminded me of several different towns. Did you base Mirabelle on any specific town?
SR: Mirabelle is actually based off of Franklin County, Florida, which is about an hour south of Tallahassee. The area has much the same feeling as Mirabelle. Small. Close knit. Right on the Gulf Coast. Most of the houses on the water are built on stilts. I think there are only two grocery stores (one that I know is a Piggly Wiggly). One of the towns in Franklin County is Carrabelle, and I just loved the –belle in it so I made up Mirabelle.
BaBR: Why did you choose to focus on a different character pairing in each book? Do you have a current favorite?
SR: Each of my books is only through the perspectives of the hero and heroine. I’ve read books that have many different perspectives, and though I love them a lot, that wasn’t how I envisioned these stories. BUT readers will get glimpses of past and future characters in each of the books.
I really do love all of my characters, but Nathanial Shepherd (Shep) is just a smidge closer to the top. I’ve gotten to know him through three completed stories now, and there is just something about his tall, dark, handsome, tattooed, scruffiness that I love a lot.
As for Hannah Sterling (the heroine in Unforgettable), she is the only woman that Shep has ever loved and it’s been fun getting to know her and understanding why Shep hasn’t gotten over her after thirteen years. It’s also really fun bringing Shep to his knees whenever she’s around. He’s so done for that he barely knows what to do with himself.
BaBR: I loved that Paige was an artist and experienced in so many different medias. Do you have a background in painting or photography as well? If not, how did you go about researching this topic?
SR: I have absolutely no experience with painting or photography, unless you count coloring books or taking pictures with my iPhone, which I don’t think that you are. I am fascinated with it though. It’s something that I really wish I had a talent for, and since I don’t, I gave that talent to one of my characters.
As far as research goes, I just looked stuff up on the internet or I had an image in my head of something that I wanted Paige to create. Some of her other creations are things that I’ve seen at craft fairs or art shows.
BaBR: If Paige and Brendan’s story where to become a movie or TV show, who do you imagine being cast in those roles?
Brendan King – Chris Evans
Why? Do I really need a why? That man is without a doubt one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen. His muscles might’ve influenced me…a lot. He has some very impressive muscles. And he can do that cocky little grin thing that Brendan does so well. I’m also a fan of facial hair and Chris Evans with five o’clock shadow is perfection.
I’m a huge “Grey’s Anatomy” fan and a couple of seasons ago there was a new character introduced to the line up. It took a little time for intern Dr. Jo Wilson to grow on me, but her relationship with Alex Karev has been very interesting to watch over the past seasons. I think she’d be a good Paige, even though she is a little short for the role.
BaBR: Will we learn more about Brendan and Grace’s mysterious fathers in the other books or is this a plot point that will remain a mystery?
SR: Brendan and Grace have different fathers. Brendan’s was his mother’s high school sweetheart (Crayton Dallas), who wasn’t all that sweet. He left Mirabelle when he found out about the pregnancy and never returned. As for Grace, her father is a mystery that has been talked about for years, but the mystery is revealed in Undeniable (the second book in the series).
BaBR: Is there any chance we might get a prequel novella about Tara and Juris’ online love and her moving to Mirabelle to be with him?
SR: You know what’s really funny, I never even thought any more about Tara and Juris’ story than what I’d written. One of my brother’s co-workers read my series and she picked up on them immediately and wanted to know more. I don’t know. Maybe one day. It’s quite possible that there is something sweet and endearing under all of that beard on Juris’ face. We shall see.
BaBR: I know the other books in Country Roads have been published as eBooks already, but I am waiting for the print releases! Is there any difference between being an eBook-only author and a print author? Does either have specific drawbacks or positives that are missing from the other?
SR: When I signed with my publishing house, it was always with the intention of a mass market run for each book. They just really wanted to do an eBook run of the books first. I think that the positives and drawbacks are the same for authors as they are for readers when it comes to eBooks vs. print.
There was just something very special about seeing Undone on the shelves for the first time, about holding it my hands and seeing the physical proof of my work, that I just couldn’t get from an eBook.
But eBooks are instantaneous which is also really good. People just have to click a few buttons and the book is delivered to their eReader. I was hesitant to jump on the eReader train, but ever since I got my iPad mini, I love it. It’s beyond convenient. When I want to take more than one book with me at a time I’m able to. And now that Undone is out in mass market, if people don’t want to wait for the next two, they can still get access to it, which again is very convenient.
Really it isn’t so much about the author as it is the reader. The readers are the ones that I want to make happy, so having it in the format that they prefer is what is important.
BaBR: Can you give us any hints as to the publication date of Country Roads #4, Unforgettable? Do you have any other books, series, or projects in the works that you want to share?
SR: I don’t have any ideas about the publication of Unforgettable. I’m still in the middle of it, and have actually had to take a step back to work on something else. I’m nose deep in edits for I Run To You, the first book that I ever wrote, and trying to get that polished up. As for now that’s all that I’m working on, but hopefully there will be many, many future projects. 🙂
Ready for Some Mirabelle Gossip?
Does Country Roads sound like your kind of series? Shannon has been kind enough to offer up one signed copy of Undone for you Badass readers! Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this fabulous book. This giveaway is limited to US readers only.
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