Why do I write what I write?
It’s a good question, leading, but still when you look past the superficial airs that are contained in the thought it’s really a very good question. Why do I write the things I do rather than strive for The Next Great American Novel…?
It isn’t something I’ve been mulling over very long, it was just something that popped into my head over the course of my waking hours. A lingering question my brain woke up with as it struggled with the next chapters of my latest WIP. I found myself wondering why it is that I am drawn to the Fantastical and Paranormal genres, as opposed to writing more of the human condition and the realities and strife of this world and those around me.
Certainly I have a plethora of opinions on the subjects of politics and the manner in which we treat one another. I am not a one dimensional being without wants, feelings, desires, or needs to be realized or expressed. Why don’t I write of things from a more rooted and tangible place?
I’ve written a Contemporary Romance and while that seems trivial it was an odd sort of duck for me as it was so well rooted in the realities of now. It came easily enough; I didn’t have to research it or go looking for the story it was already there in my head. Complete with its trials and successes it’s imperfect characters reaching for absolution in a world where none can truly be found.
But it wasn’t as fulfilling as the hours of struggling that it takes for me to create the fanciful or the paranormal worlds that I have drowned myself in. I found myself wondering truly why that is. I write Epic Fantasy to twist and shape this world into something strange and yet strive to keep something familiar so that the reader has something to hold on to.
Not unlike spinning round and round, without a focus you can fall… I try to always have a focus. Can I tell you what that is? Honestly?? No. It’s a peppering of things. Language, environments, a turn of phrase from a familiar character. These things have kept the Fantasy Genera together for me.
I write of Vampires and Werewolves and other things that go bump in the night. Not because it is the popular thing to do but because I have had a visceral, deeply seeded, undiluted obsession with them for so long as I can remember. I devoured my first copy of Dracula when I was seven years old for Christ’s sake. Granted I was too young to quite understand the literary meanings behind the story, but there was just something about it that resonated with me.
The idea if immortality. To have lifetimes to shape and reshape one’s world. To make and mend mistakes. An opportunity to become the truest of self. To get “it” right. To learn anything, the heart could desire or strive for, and have time enough to achieve it.
Time. That is something all preternatural creatures seem to have in abundance. Some write of it as something to be mourned, the strife of seeing loved ones that are not like them wither and die. But I have always seen it as a way to see and celebrate life on a grander scale. To suck the marrow from everything. To feel and experience in a heightened state of perpetual rebirth.
There is also a darkness that is more safely explored in the paranormal genre that cannot be looked at from the more contemporary lines without it becoming horror or taboo. The inevitable taking of lives. The animalistic urges of the human species, the drive to devour everything in its wake including each other is certainly in the forefront of many a Paranormal tale.
Demons devour souls, Vampires take lives and Werewolves in their basest of tales brutalize and savagely destroy towns and people. All are outcasts, left to hide on the skirts of society even as they are the greater of beings. In truth there is so much more to the Paranormal Genre than many realize.
I think it’s this deeper space that pulls me to it. The need to at least for me, to explore the worlds that shun and embrace such darkness all while condemning it to niches and flights of fancy. We are drawn to the dark because without it we would never recognize the light. The Paranormal Genre lets us explore those longing pangs of wanton taboo that we are afraid to uncover when the sun shines so brightly on us.
There is a freedom in the prose and the wayward lines of the Paranormal genre that one cannot find in the contemporary literary fields. An unbridled opportunity to express oneself and all the debauchery that traverses through our minds and still be able to call it all just fancy and fiction.
To write it as mere mortals cavorting and taking part in some of the “sport” that the more interesting characters of the paranormal world, would have the books found at the bottom of a plastic wrapped slush pile and lost to the sands of time and regret forever. But desires and wants thinly disguised as shifters, vampires and fey find their way into “normalized” societies Okay list, because it is “acceptable fancy.”
So I precariously toe the line because I feel that I can more easily write of us and our deepest desires and fears putting it under a safe shroud that can allow us all to embrace the kiss of the darkest flames without the scars left behind by its ravenous burn.
Shannon (S. I.) Hayes has been telling tales for so long as she has been able to talk, and began writing them down shortly thereafter. She is the singular author of the In Dreams… Series, and a Paranormal Historical Romance called Centuries Of Blood: Becoming. Shannon is the Co-Author to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal Drama likened to Big Brother meets The Real World of the Preternatural, as well as several blogs and host to her own website. S.I.Hayes.com.
In her own words… I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep and fuck. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters be they human or something altogether else are no exception.
I don’t adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn’t presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.
I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda cannot help m’self. It is my best and worst personality trait, well mostly, being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worse. But I believe that the disorder has made me, well… Me.
I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped and molded it in to the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference.
Q. Where are you from? Does the area you live in influence your writing?
I’m from Connecticut, but now live in Ohio. The places I have lived and the places I have wanted to see surely influence my writing. I am a research hound, I’ve had many a map and Google earth search to find just the right setting for my tales. From Ct, to New Orleans to Glastonbury England. It’s all accessible now with the internet at our fingertips…
Q. Tell us your latest news??
I’m getting ready to release a new Paranormal Tale, California Moon (click for a FREE Preview) it was picked up by Booktope in November and it’s with the proofreader now!! We’re shooting for a February Release. This is the Blurb!!
Danny Johnston is a young bounty hunter, who for three years to hone her craft has lived and loved as a man. In pursuit of a lead to her family’s killers, Danny is thrown from her horse and attacked by something she cannot identify.
Jake Dorsey is a man traveling on his own while trying to leave his demons behind. When he finds Danny’s horse and returns it, he is awestruck, aware of the bounty hunter’s reputation.
They decide to travel together, if only to ease the burdens of traveling alone. Secrets and complicated situations compound as Jake believes Danny to be a man, while Danny believes Jake to be a Human.
When the truth is finally discovered, will starting an affair prove simple or will Danny be left to make the hard choice? Can she forgo vengeance for love or will the desire to keep her blood oaths prove stronger?
Here’s an Ad I made for it too!!
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
Oh, wow, I’ve been writing as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil. Was telling stories as soon as I could string two sentences together the way my folks tell it. So it was just a natural progression for me to wind up writing books. It started with short stories that always ended up far longer than assigned in school and then a partnership with a friend in the 8th grade that became Awakenings The Wrath Saga. That was the first novel written, but not published. In dreams was the 1st one published. Unabridged and HUGE! I pulled it and it became a trilogy, and far richer than the original!
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
The first writers I was introduced to were Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, and Bram Stoker. Later it was Oscar Wilde, The Bronte Sisters, Shakespeare and Anne Rice, then Douglas Adams, Frank Herbert, and Dean Koontz. I’m a bit all over the place and love them each for so many different reasons!
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
Oh so MANY CHARACTERS!! We would be here for days!! I have 20 years of them! And yes I’ve had some of them with me that long and longer! From Cynthia O’Connor to Amelia Spencer they all are a part of me and have been gnawing at me from time to time over the months and years of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Q. What motivates you to write?
Compulsion. I can’t push it. I go through long dry spells, but when the need to write hits, it’s a wild storm that runs off on its own fuel and I’m an unstoppable force to be reckoned with or reasoned with. You cannot get me away from it if I’m in a groove. It’s a need a compulsion, I won’t be able to sleep without getting the words out of me, it’s kinda scary, but the work is unquestioningly interesting nonetheless.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
Keeping up with it. Because of my Bi-Polar I go through my Up and down swings. Even with good medication and sleep habits life happens and swings occur. People and events will put me off, and I will lose my desire to do much of anything. It’s a struggle and most people don’t get it. They get frustrated with me which gets me frustrated with me. It’s a vicious cycle that kills my creative streak in its tracks and telling me not to feel a certain way is like telling a gushing wound to stop bleeding. Without stitches to close it, it’s not going to work… So pushing through all the bullshit and finding my creative center is the hardest part for me.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I didn’t learn anything recently, however I have had to do some research in to Plate tectonic research for my In Dreams Series, as it takes place on Earth 250 million years from now. I wanted to see what it would be like at that point, land mass, weather predictions, things like that. It was fascinating.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
I have an overactive imagination.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
They think I should be making far more money! LOL
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
If you want to be a writer you have in my opinion two options.
1: Go to school where you will learn structure, and tactics designed and aligned by dead famous people, and probably lose you taste for writing all together.
2: Pick up a pen and a notebook and just write! Write until your hand cramps up and the doctor tells you that you have Carpal tunnel. But say nay to the surgery because it will be of no use unless you plan to stop writing. If you are compelled to tell a story, simply tell it for the sake of the tale.
Q. What book(s) are you reading now?
Currently I am San Book, But I am Always on the lookout for something.
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