MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SHAWNA ROMKEY
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Shawna Romkey, young adult, paranormal, fantasy
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My book is currently in a box set, called Rite to Reign, and the theme was witches. So at first I thought I’d write a MacBeth retelling from the witches’ point of view. Then I’m not sure how I came to it, but I thought of the Wicked Witch of the East from the Wizard of Oz. What if she didn’t die? And what if she really wanted to get her shoes back? Then I rewatched the movie with that new perspective, and really, Dorothy shows very little guilt and goes off on a mission to kill another witch and take her broom just in order to get back to Kansas. Then I just had fun rewriting the story from the witch’s perspective. What if she wasn’t wicked? What if she just wanted her freakin’ shoes back?
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
The first book I wrote was a story of something that happened to me when I was a teenager. I liked that voice. I liked first person. I liked Twilight. The genre just sort of stuck for my first 5 or 6 books. I’m thinking of doing some more grown up stuff, but it hasn’t happened yet.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Ha, well I rewatched the Wizard of Oz movie and looked into stuff from the book that isn’t in the movie. I hadn’t read the book before, so I had to look up the other citizens of Oz, what kind of magic they had there, what kind of creatures, that sort of thing. Not a lot of super serious research.
Can you tell me about your Series?
I’m not sure if it will turn into a series, but it might be fun to write a book for each of the witches of Oz.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I tend to write in the summer. I teach college, so I’m off from May to September. I tend to try to write at least an hour a day or 1000 words when I’m working on a project. But I don’t guilt myself if I don’t write during the school year. If I want to, I do. If not, I focus on the day job or marketing for the book.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I generally try to find appropriate names that maybe mean something in another language. Sometimes they just sound appropriate. It’s different for each book.
Where do your ideas come from?
Sometimes they come from a real life event. My Speak of the Devil series was based on a car accident three of my friends from high school were killed in. My Becca Redford series came about from me watching my dogs wrestle around (a wolfhound and a husky mix). Easterly, just came from me trying to come up with a fun witch story to write.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Haha! I’d like to try some erotic romance, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually follow through.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Haha! It’s all hard! Finding the time. Plotting. Not hating everything I write. Marketing the book.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I hired someone to do a book trailer for my first book. It was kind of cool. I’ve played around with doing my own a few times, too.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Well, it took me 20 years to get my first contract, and I didn’t give up. I was about to. LOL! But I gave it one last shot and got a contract offer. And last year I was in another box set that hit the USA Today bestseller list, so that was awesome.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
The best thing is when readers tell you your book helped them in some way.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to maybe have quit my day job and be writing full time. That’d be nice.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes, since I was 5 and I wrote my first “book” after my first trip to the library. I was hooked.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write. And don’t give up.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Not always. Sometimes. I don’t respond publicly. Only if someone sends it directly to me.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Getting the book cover! I love that!
What are you working on now?
I’ve finished Easterly for the Rite to Reign set, and am working on marketing it for the Dec. 11 release.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Excerpt from Easterly:
“Really, Stazia. I could get you a dress. Your hair is lifeless. Lay off the conditioner. Black tank top? Black tutu? Black and white striped tights and red shoes? Seriously? You can make those a different color, you know? Come to the mansion, and I can make you look presentable. Pink would look good on you. Maybe a pixie cut?” Glinda said.
Stazia shuddered. Pink.
“You shouldn’t go, Stazia,” Ezmerelda said. “This is your duty, too, you know. With Mother gone…”
Stazia knew it was true. The Witches of Oz should be working together to fix the realm. She cared about Spot, she cared about the innocent people of Oz, and she wanted to help them. But so much had been said lately about how wicked she and her sister, Ezmerelda were. So many lies.
“The people of Oz hate everything we do, so why bother?” Stazia said.
“They don’t hate me,” Glinda said with a sugary smile.
“They hate Ezmerelda and me,” Stazia countered. “I can barely go into the villages anymore. There’s so much vitriol.”
“They’re just jealous of your powers,” Glinda said. “Your magic.” She eyed Stazia up and down, her gaze resting on the ruby shoes.
“They can have it. I don’t need it. I don’t do anything of significance with it. I pop here and there. That’s about it. If they hate me so much because of it—”
“Don’t be so foolish!” Ezmerelda said. “Your magic is your strength. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of it.”
“I mean it, Ezmerelda. I hate it. I can go without it. It doesn’t help me in the least. I’d much rather have no magic and just live a quiet life in a cottage in the woods. Find a place far away on the other side of the prismatic arch with no magic at all,” Stazia said, wafting over to the window and gazing outside.
She touched her fingers in opposite corners of the crystal plane and pulled them in closer together. The scenery outside got smaller, and her range of vision stretched farther out. She did it again, zooming out until very little of Oz was recognizable, and she felt like she was looking down from the stars at an entire unknown world. She pointed to a place on the outer edge.
“There! I wonder if they have magic. I wonder if they’ve heard about the ‘Wicked Witch of the East.’”
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Easterly is available in the Rite to Reign box set which can be preordered now! http://www.books2read.com/ritetoreign
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thanks for interviewing me!