Today, I’m happy to introduce Selene Grace Silver. I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing three of her books and I’m a huge fan of her work.
Selene: I am a life-long reader who meandered my way through college, eventually ending up with a BA and MA in creative writing, focusing on prose fiction. Then, I did what lots of English majors out of college do: I became a public school teacher. I ended up really liking the work, but it distracted me from writing for about ten years. Good teaching is a creative act too, and it uses up that part of one’s daily energy. About two years ago, I recommitted myself to writing fiction again.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Selene: I started out in journalism at university, so I suppose I was writing, albeit nonfiction, already when I was eighteen. By twenty, I started to seriously study the art of fiction writing and take creative writing classes. Back then, I was focused on writing literature with a capital L. I don’t think any of it was particularly memorable, though a few short pieces did get published. Then a couple of years ago, I got bored with reading and trying to write fine literature, so I started reading my favorite genre—romance—again, and realized that I’d like to try writing it. I submitted my first finished story to Boroughs Publishing Group last summer for their Lunchbox Romance line, and they picked it up. They published The Swing of Her Hips in September 2012. I published two more short romances, Crash Into My Heart and Her New Year’s Knight shortly after that through Amazon’s author program.
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent publication?
Selene: Brianna’s Bewitching is a novella that introduces readers to a new paranormal series I’ve been developing and writing. The opening books are set in 1977 around a small community of witches and warlocks who have the power to shift reality. The first title concerns a young woman who is gifted with magical abilities. She’s a university student who is involved in the women’s rights movement. At a rally, she falls, topless, into the arms of a conservative cop. Naturally, the two hit it off like a match to dry kindling. This is a romance.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
Selene: I’ve loved stories about witches since I was six. Also, one of my favorite romance fiction writers is Kresley Cole and I admire her paranormal Immortals After Dark series. I love the strong female characters and the way her heroes are relentless in pursuing and winning the love of their heroines. I wanted to try my hand at creating a series as wonderful as IAD. It’s a huge challenge but I tend to set ridiculous goals for myself. Even though I might fall short, I achieve something.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story?
Selene: Figuring out the way magick would work in the story. I wanted to create a unique world. I have been inspired by some of the recent science fiction and alien series on television and in the movies. I also wanted to maintain a natural, contemporary feel to the stories. I hope it appeals to people who like contemporary romances as well as those who enjoy paranormal romances.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Selene: I love the heroine Brianna. She’s so bold and fearless, but also a wee bit naïve. I was shy as a young adult and would have loved to have had her sense of self-worth and confidence at that age. I also like that she’s pretty self-forgiving when she messes up.
Tricia: Which character was the most challenging to write?
Selene: Actually, strangely, it’s the new heroine in the Witches and Warlocks series’ second story, Adara. I’m really struggling to work out who she is. She gets burdened by a huge spell immediately at the start of the story and I haven’t quite worked out her feelings and reactions to it yet. Brianna’s brother Bo, who is in Brianna’s Bewitching, comes to Adara’s rescue as the hero in the second book. The spell cast on Adara ties them irrevocably together and sets in motion the overarching story for the entire series.
Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?
Selene: As mentioned, I love Kresley Cole’s writing for her spirited heroines, her alpha heroes, and the witty repartee between the characters. I also read historical romances and so, for basically the same reasons, I love both Sabrina Jeffries’ and Elizabeth Hoyt’s work. Honestly, the list of writers I admire is huge. I keep links to my favorites on my website. I am an avid reader as well as a writer, so I love to participate in online communities like GoodReads and promote the writers I love. I keep a special shelf there with my favorite books on it.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Selene: Too many. It drives my husband crazy. I’m writing the first complete draft of The Binding of Adara, which I intend to publish late spring. I am also revising the first of another series, a futuristic novel, tentatively titled StarDaemon. And I have about three or four short pieces in various stages of completion. Finally, I have about three quarters of a YA romance written. I write the way I read, with about four or five stories going at once.
Tricia: If Brianna’s Bewitching was ever made into a movie, which actors and actresses would you cast?
Selene: I think Dakota Fanning, who’s nineteen, would be great as Brianna. I don’t know who’d play Jack. Maybe your readers have a suggestion?
Tricia: How do you handle unfavorable reviews?
Selene: I have unfavorable reviews? Sigh. I basically hold my breath, read them for any constructive information, and if there is none, dismiss them. If a reader has a fair comment, I try to keep it in mind for future consideration. But I recognize that it’s impossible to please everyone. I am my own first reader and critic. So I write for myself foremost, then trust my beta readers, and my critique partner, Susana Ellis, to have alerted me to any serious problems with the story or the telling of the story. Individual style is an important aspect of fiction writing. Sometimes a writer’s voice ignites or soothes a reader’s sensibilities perfectly, and sometimes, it doesn’t. That’s why it’s such a wonderful thing that there are so many different writers and so many different readers.
Tricia: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have five books with you, which books would you choose?
Selene: Could it be a revolving carrousel of five books? I’d need my Kindle to have a solar charger and be loaded with a couple of thousand favorite books. I simply can’t narrow down to a list of five.
Tricia: What songs/artists are on the playlist for your book?
Selene: Definitely Calvin Harris’ album 18 Months. His hit “Feel So Close” played over and over while I was writing. I also listened a lot to Ellie Golding. But for a reader, check out the top pop hits of 1977. It’ll set the mood to Brianna’s Bewitching perfectly.
Tricia: Do you have any special skills, education, or hobbies that enhance your writing abilities?
Selene: Being an English teacher certainly gives me an advantage as a writer. I know how to use semicolons properly. I can also diagram sentences better than the average person. Seriously, though, when I was in grad school, I trained to teach writing and taught Freshman Composition for a couple of years, so I honed my senses into what good writing looks and sounds like. In the end though, being an avid consumer of written stories is the best preparation for a writer. Writers need to read a lot. It’s weird to meet other writers occasionally who don’t read much. If someone doesn’t love reading, why would he or she write? Writing and reading is a community event. And, frankly, people who don’t read, simply are not going to be good writers. They are living in a storytelling black hole.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Selene: Obviously, read a lot. Read every day. Read a wide variety of authors. Read carefully all the works of one or two favorite authors. Read with a writer’s eye. Figure out why you love a specific book, why it moves and inspires you, then tell your own stories replicating the techniques of the writers you admire. Eventually, you will develop your own unique voice and style. Finally, write the story you want to read. Then get people who know grammar to read your work, and people who read the kinds of stories you write to read your work. Feedback is essential. Writing for another reader is essentially revising. Anyone who hates to write sentences, and rewrite them, and rewrite them again, will hate writing. I write because I love doing it. Write because you love doing it.