Today my guest is author Shani Struthers, from Brighton, UK. Today sees the launch of her third Psychic Survey book, 44 Gilmore Street.
This follows on from the popular earlier novels, The Haunting of Highdown Hall and Rise to Me. She has also written a prequel, Eve, which is featured in my blog here
These Psychic Survey novels have already garnered a staunch review base of 50+ reviewers, a great achievement.
The main characters who form the Psychic Survey team are Ruby, Theo, Ness and Corinna who deal with ‘domestic spiritual clearance’ – a great invention.
Her other paranormal novel is Jessamine.
Shani has been fascinated by the paranormal for most of her life, and as she says in our Q&A session below, all of her stories are inspired by true events and experiences.
Q & A
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been a copywriter for over twenty years, working mainly in the travel industry but I’ve only been writing novels for four years.
What influenced you to start?
I’ve always wanted to write a novel; I’ve been threatening family and friends with it for a long time so I thought I’d better make good that threat!
How do your family/friends feel about your writing?
They’re proud of me but, as you know yourself, Nik, when you’re writing/editing a book you tend to live and breathe it – I think they’d rather I came back to the real world more often!
Are you planning to write any more romance books or will you stick with the paranormal? Of course, you can indulge in romance in paranormal novels too!
Jessamine closed the gap between my romance and my paranormal books, it’s a romance but with a supernatural edge to it. There’s also a touch of romance in the Psychic Surveys books between the two main characters Ruby and Cash but it’s real and down-to-earth as opposed to slushy. I’m not averse to romance in any way but I think paranormal is my genre from now on, it’s more fascinating to write.
I know some of your favourite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill. A tall order, I suspect but what is your favourite book? And why?
It is a tall order but rather than say what is my favourite book I’ll say what book has inspired me most lately – it’s Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while and finally got round to it and loved it. Like the black and white film of the book - The Haunting with Claire Bloom – it’s a real lesson in ‘less is more’. So much is left to the imagination and it’s that that is truly terrifying. That’s the way I want my writing to go in future.
What challenges have you overcome in having to concentrate on the supernatural?
I don’t write horror as such, I write paranormal but I have had to delve into some very dark research because of it – research that left me feeling very unnerved. I’ve decided not to focus on anything Satanic but to focus on the ghost element instead – and I always try to look for the human story behind the haunting, that’s what really fascinates me most – why a spirit is grounded.
There’s also an element of time travel involved, since ghosts have a habit of appearing in their future. Would you consider a time travel novel at some point?
We are conditioned to think of the world as linear but maybe it isn’t and maybe the spirit world isn’t either. Never say never.
Is it a challenge, this delving into the past to unearth the present haunting?
It can be but I look for inspiration in real life events and then add a heavy dose of fiction.
Who is your favourite character in all your books and why?
I love them all – the good and the bad – but my favourite is Ruby Davis, the main character in the Psychic Surveys books. She starts off as fairly naïve due to a sheltered upbringing by her grandmother but over the course of six books she’s going to find herself going down some very dark roads. I like to write strong, independent female characters and she’s going to need every ounce of her strength.
Ahah, six books! That’s good planning, Shani. Creating a series can bring its problems. For example, how do you continue to think up new storylines using the same characters and yet remain fresh?
I have a story arc in mind and that helps – a journey for each of the characters to go on but yes, it’s a problem regarding trying not to info-dump too much in subsequent books – to keep them action-centred rather than a recap.
As an author, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
Confidence – you know what it’s like, ninety nine people can love your book but one slates it and which one affects us more, yep that one in a hundred. That’s the biggest challenge for me, listening to criticism but only if it’s constructive.
Other than writing, what are some things that you love to do?
Just hanging out with my friends and family really, eating, drinking and being merry!
Thank you, Shani. And good luck with your latest, 44 Gilmore Street.
Readers find Shani here:
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9
Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/beoHLv
Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street