I’m delighted to have the lovely Shani Struthers on my blog today. Thank you, Shani, for talking to us whilst you are on vacation.
Shani and I met on Facebook a couple of years ago. She’s been hugely encouraging to me and it’s great to host her today.
Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, one of the first literary conundrums Shani had to deal with was her own name – Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways but in this instance it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni – although she does indeed know a Shanni – just to confuse matters further! Hobbies include reading and writing – so no surprises there. After graduating from Sussex University with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes crafting novels too. Writing both contemporary fiction and paranormal mystery, she is the author of The Runaway Year and The Runaway Ex, both published by Omnific Publishing. Her paranormal work is published by Crooked Cat Publishing and includes Jessamine and the bestselling Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall and Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me. All are available on Amazon. The Return – published June 2015 – is the third in the Runaway series but can also be read as a standalone. Coming soon: Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story.
Tell me, Shani. How would you describe yourself as a colour? Are you a light and airy pastel person, or more of a deep, dark, sultry and mysterious colour?
Colours – they are the bane of my life! I wear black – end of! But everyone keeps saying to me ‘you look so washed-out in black, wear something bright, red perhaps, green, you’d look lovely in green’ and so on and so on. Well, no, I’m not going to wear colours – I like black, I always have done and always will do. You’re not just a Goth for Christmas you know, I’ve taken a life-long pledge!
Are you a morning person, or a midnight candle burner?
A morning person – up with lark I am and ready to crack on with the day. Having said that, I’m a bit of an evening person too – I tend to go out with friends around three times a week and never stroll in until gone midnight. Which makes me a ‘burn the candle at both ends’ type of gal, I think!
Tell me something you would like your readers to know about you.
I might wear black all the time, I might burn the candles at both end and I might write books that veer towards the dark side of the paranormal but actually I’m the most cheerful person ever! Honestly, I might look doom and gloom but I was born happy!
Bedtime, relaxing so you can sleep sounds. Is your preference, white noise, TV, soft music, ocean waves, forest or meadow sounds, babbling brook, or something else, Shani?
The sound of silence please at bedtime. A babbling brook could be play havoc with the waterworks and white noise is just plain annoying.
I agree, Shani. I need absolute silence for sleeping too. Tell us, when did you start writing?
Most writers would have you believe they’ve written since they could hold a pen, well, I haven’t. I spent a lot of my formative years devouring books rather than attempting them. In my teens I dabbled with poetry and then I got a job copywriting after university and have been doing that for a long time. It was only around 3 to 4 years ago I thought I’d write a book – that was The Runaway Year, a contemporary romance set in North Cornwall. It did well on submission, was duly published and sent me on my way. Several more books followed, two more in the Runaway series and my paranormal range, which I’m now concentrating on. Beware, once you unleash the muse, she won’t let you go.
Please tell us, Shani. Where do you get your ideas?
They come at me from all angles, and often in the most bizarre of places at the most bizarre of times. There’s no shortage of ideas, look around you, at life, the news headlines, Facebook even, there’s a story brewing just about everywhere. My tip is be open to ideas, receptive, they’ll come to you, you don’t have to go looking for them.
When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
I always write consecutive scenes; I start at the beginning and plod on to the end. I have a vague idea of plot but it is just that – vague. I prefer to let the story develop organically, when you do that, it often goes in a way you could never have anticipated. I think the reader doesn’t know what’s coming so why should I, the writer? I let my characters do what they want (within reason) and so far, so good. I’ve been advised in the past to plot and I have tried it, but I write best when I don’t outline.
Which geographical locations are your favourites and why?
I’m a travel writer by day so I LOVE locations! The Runaway series is set in North Cornwall, a place I absolutely love and have been visiting annually since I was a child. It’s rugged, it’s wild, it’s the perfect setting for a group of twenty to thirty-something’s to play out their lives against. Jessamine, a paranormal romance, is set in the Highlands of Scotland – the Glenelg peninsula overlooking the Isle of Skye. It’s dramatic, mysterious and somewhat bleak surrounds suit the story perfectly. Last but by no means least, my Psychic Surveys series is set in Lewes, five miles away from where I live in Brighton. You gotta write about what you know and I know about my home county!
What are you working on now, Shani? Would you like to share anything about it?
I’m in Florida at the moment but when I come back in September I’m going straight into edits on Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story. A spin-off novella from the Psychic Surveys series, it features two of the most popular characters from it, Theo and Ness, who come together to work on a case in Yorkshire. Based on true events, it’s not just the market hall that’s haunted, it’s the entire town! I’m also working on Psychic Surveys Three: 44 Gilmore Street, which is due out in the spring of 2015.
Please tell us about your latest release!
Recently released is the third in the Runaway series – The Return. I say it’s the third, it can be also be read as a standalone and is quite a tearjerker I’ve been told by the readers, but it’s good to have a bit of a cry now and then I think, so I’m happy to be of service!
How can we find you? Do you have a web page, Facebook page or any buy links?
I do indeed, here’s the links:
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9
The Haunting of Highdown Hall
Global Link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00JY83HBI
Rise to Me
Global Link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00U4ZFO5W
The Runaway Year
The Runaway Ex
Global Link http://authl.it/3gl
It’s been fun chatting to you, Shani. I’m definitely going to download your Christmas ghost story. Sounds like the perfect read for curling up by the fire with a glass of mulled wine.