I'd like to congratulate Silke on the release of Howl, a tale about wolves of the shifting kind I had the pleasure of working on with her. So, without further ado, I'm handing you over to Silke for a little Q&A...
Welcome, Silke, and tell us a little about the types of stories you enjoy reading.
Well, now. That's a loaded question, since I read absolutely everything. Back of cornflakes packets, shampoo bottles, the lot.
I enjoy a good yarn, no matter what genre it is. I predominantly read paranormal, but I dig out the odd historical and contemporary too. Futuristics are another favorite. I like a strong hero who is not afraid to look like a wuss sometimes. The ones I really enjoy are Gena Showalter's heroes. Grumpy and cranky, but oh-so-sexy. There has to be action in the stories, and it has to be plausible. I don't really read first person books. They go straight back on the shelf. It's just not my thing, and I can't get into first person.
When did you know you had to write Howl? Were there any events that sparked the story off?
I took a week off work, wanted to slouch and watch TV, and do nothing. That worked for about a day.
Then I listened to some music, came across Howl by Florence and the Machine--and next thing I knew, there was a wolf in my head. And he was noisy. Persistent. Annoying.
The odd thing about Howl was that I knew all of the story from the moment it popped into my head. It was also the fastest story I've ever written--one week. Sleep is overrated. Ask Zalin.
Why do you think wolf shifters remain popular? Would you ever populate your stories with other types of shifters?
I think they still hold mystery, and the wild animal appeals to people. Taming the beast, so to speak. I actually have a cheetah shifter sitting on my harddrive, begging to be finished. Oddly, lion shifters don't appeal to me. I don't know why. They do hold a fascination for others, however.
Tell us about Zalin. What makes him tick?
Zalin is really a loner who likes company. A bit of an odd duck, to be sure. He's Alpha, but he defers to another Alpha. Grudgingly. He moves from pack to pack and is never really home anywhere. I think if there is one thing that defines him, it's that he has a massive protective streak. He just can't help helping and protecting people. If there's someone in need, he'll be there. He's also big on promises. If you make one, you keep it. People tend to use that against him, or take advantage of it. He's had his share of hard luck, and he understands rejection and betrayal, which is why doesn't like what happens to Lucia.
Do you have any other published works?
I have a novella named Smitten out, which is part of an anthology, but it's a standalone book. It's about an angel on probation, who has to contend with the woman who caused the loss of his halo, coming to him for help. Ash so doesn't like that. He'd rather never set eyes on her again. After all, how is an angel supposed to redeem himself, when his nemesis tempts him at every turn?
Which authors get your creative nod of approval and are the ones you return to time and again?
Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole. I like their books a lot. Sherrilyn Kenyon's League Series is a very old favorite of mine, having read Born of Fire way back in 1999. I find my tastes have changed a lot over the years, and old favorites are still keepers, but I don't read them again. The first romance I ever read was Shanna, by Kathleen E Woodiwiss--but I can't read her books anymore. The way they are written turns me off now, and I'd rather remember them from when I first read them, or I'd spoil the memory.
If you had no financial limitations, describe your ideal writing/living environment.
Ohhh.... I would likely have a huge battery of computers and monitors (check out Terry Pratchett's setup some time, it's awesome.), and I'd set them up in a conservatory. Or maybe have a proper computer room and a superfast laptop I can use in the conservatory or outside. I'd have a nice comfortable chair and an old-style writing desk with room to write letters. (I write letters by hand, with a fountain pen. And post them to people. Even if they have email. It's nice to get a letter in the mail, you know? I’m probably weird, because I send handwritten thank you letters--for rejections.)
There would not be a TV in the room (I don't have a TV in the room now, either. Hate that. Too distracting.) Most of all, I would have the room entirely to myself. The where doesn't really matter to me, as long as there is greenery outside, not a built-up area. (Yeah, I like nature.) I don't want a huge mansion or a castle. A farm would be nice, but the house itself needs to be manageable. We don't need sixty rooms to rattle around in. Enough to have people over and entertain comfortably, room for a horse and a dog and whatever other animal I drag in. Somewhere in the countryside. I'd love to live in the US, but I think if pushed, we'd probably end up in New Zealand.
If I really had the money... I'd buy a house in the UK, a ranch in the US, and an island in the Maldives for holidays. :)
Maybe throw in a lodge somewhere in Africa, just to keep my dad happy, who would like to go back there some time. (I've never been.)
Okay. Anyone got the (winning!) lottery numbers handy?
And I'd have air-conditioning in that computer room!!! (I'm in the UK, we open the windows, you know?)
Are you planning any follow-ups to your setting in Howl?
Oh yeah. It's actually almost finished. I've got about 3-5k more to write, then have a good read through to catch inconsistencies and typos and stuff--then it'll be sent out. (By the time the post is live it'll probably be finished.)
It's Tiffy's story and starts off about seven months after Howl ends. It's not a young adult novel (although Tiffy is just past 17 at the beginning of the book), but the first meeting with the hero happens when she's still jailbait. Not that she cares, but it scares the dickens out of Keric, who doesn't want to end up in jail!
Well, there is Querytracker (http://querytracker.net/), of course. I use it a lot to check out trends, agents and publishers. Their forums are pretty good too.
Goodreads (http://goodreads.com) is a great place if you like to read (and great for authors too.)
My own blog, Evilauthor (http://www.evilauthor.com), has a ton of stuff which can be useful to authors.
If you're looking for a great critique group, check out Passionate Critters (http://www.passionatecritters.org)--although we are currently closed for new people, you can still apply--just be prepared to be on a waiting list while we're closed. (New members are voted on.)
Another I go to infrequently is Novel Publicity (http://www.novelpublicity.com/)
Cindy Myer's Market News (http://cindimyersmarketnews.wordpress.com/) is a valuable source, too. Subscribe to her newsletter or RSS this one. :)
Thanks for having me, Nerine!
Silke grew up in Germany and is used to things going bump in the night--and it wasn't always the acrophobic cat, or someone hitting their head on a low beam on the ceiling.
She writes paranormal romance, usually at night, and blames Anne Stuart to this day for all her ambitions and strange stories, after reading one of her books.
These days the only thing going bump at "oh-dark-thirty" is her--usually when she smacks into the sofa while creeping to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
Silke likes to hear from her readers. Feel free to contact her via her blog at http://www.evilauthor.com, follow her on Twitter, or become a friend on Facebook.