Fangtastic Friday – Interview with Savanna Kougar
Please welcome Savanna Kougar, author of erotic paranormal romance. Her Insatiable Dark Heroes ~ over three weeks on the bestseller list and eight days at #2. *4* Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies Review.
Black Cat Beauty ~ 4.5 Top Pick from Night Owl Romance.
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ American Title IV finalist ~ rated highly by readers at Siren-BookStrand.
When a Good Angel Falls ~ Author Discovery by romance author, Lindsay Townsend.
Red Lioness Tamed ~ *5* Flowers from BookCravers Reviews ~ 86 from Mrs. Giggles.
All Shades of Blue Paradise ~ *5* Stars from ReviewYourBook ~ Author Discovery by romance author, Lindsay Townsend.
Tangerine Carnal Dreams ~ Savanna’s first stallion shapeshifter hero and her topseller at ebook reader.
ETS – Impressive list of books, and an 86 from Mrs. Giggles! Nice. Please tell us a little about yourself.
SK – Hi, Dawn, thanks so much for having me.
This is the part that’s never easy for me. However, I’ll go with the theme of Independence Day, a few days away as I write this.
I’m a person who loves and craves freedom. I also have this deep yen to experiment with my romance stories. How does that affect a writing career? It’s definitely an exercise in hit and miss, or finding the right publishers, then, hopefully, attracting the readers who enjoy my books.
My first real opportunity to become published came from Siren Publishing, now Siren-BookStrand. I’d submitted WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS, my 2012 fantasy. They wanted to contract it if I heated up the love scenes. At the time, being a complete newbie, I wasn’t exactly sure how to do that. And, there was another problem: Sedona and Volcano’s love story didn’t seem suited for that heat level.
Instead, I offered Siren ALL SHADES OF BLUE PARADISE, my aristocratic OtherRealm fantasy where Lady Sheridan is Baron Zaggry’s slave lover… and it was off to the publishing races, especially when I discovered I was also an American Title IV finalist for MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS, my 2051 suspense futuristic that takes place on the colonized, risen land of Atlantis. E-published by Siren-BookStrand, ‘Murder’ is about to be available In Print. Big smiles here.
Because my life took several drastic turns, I’d had little time to learn about the publishing world ~ ebook, small print or NY Print. Yep, suddenly I was thrown into the fires of a new world, and did those flames rage… in fantastically good ways and in deeply frustrating ways. But, here I am, still burning brightly after a couple of years in this tough, rough game where the other authors are the absolute best!
ETS – We interviewed Lila Dubois at EtS a couple of weeks ago. One of her warnings boasted of having a M-M-M-M-M-F scene. Your book, Her Insatiable Dark Heroes, had a warning of F/M/M/M/M. She beat you by one male! Damn! So, I must ask you the same question I asked her. Was that a hard scene to write? J
SK – Well, dang, one male… but there it is, I’ve been beaten fair and sex-hot more than square.
I’ll assume you’re referring to the sex scene, yes, it was a total challenge on several levels. For one, there’s the logistics of what is occurring, the blow-by-blow description… so to speak. *Let me insert here ~ the imagination is a wonderful thing!*
Then, there’s all the emotions playing out, including the passion/erotic feelings that are going off like bombastic firecrackers for all five people ~ Wendra, and her four dark superheroes, Zavier, Zent, Zion and Zotorro. My heroine and my heroes were all created equal in my mind. So, giving all of them time and attention, as I wrote the action scenes, the sex scenes and their love story, was quite the balancing trick in this particular novel.
One naughty little tidbit ~ how many superheroes does it take to turn on the author? So she can’t write… for awhile… *imagination allowed here*
ETS – Before I write up an interview, I stalk my author just a tiny bit – don’t get worried now – just enough to get a ‘feel’ for the author. I read somewhere that you have a B.A. in history. What is your favorite time period and why?
SK – Wow, you do ‘research’ your author.
Okay, for the ‘known’ historical periods think GONE WITH THE WIND, only the South before the Civil War. Leave out the slavery during that delicious extravagant time and give me the plantation life, the acres and acres of land with the gardens and the crops growing. Give me the horses ~ I’d ride faster than Scarlett.
And, who can resist the entertainments, the gowns and balls? Not me. Oh, and the gorgeous mansions!
Yep, give me Rhett and let me be Scarlett, only with a Happily Ever After, of course.
ETS – A knight in shining armor, or a wild, untamed Highlander?
SK – There can be ONLY ONE Highlander for me… Duncan Mcleod as played by Adrian Paul. Good lord and mercy, give me a Scarlett O’Hara fan or simply blast me with an air conditioner on high! Not only was *my* Highlander wild and untamed, Duncan was also a knight in shining armor in the TV series. Better yet, he was every historical hero I adore… *swoon*
ETS – You were an American Title IV finalist for your novel, Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis, which is now available at Siren Publishing. What was that process like?
SK – Get on that new-for-the-summer roller coaster and just try to hold on while enjoying a happy dance of pure giddiness… while daring to hope for that future contract… yet knowing realistically that disappointment will be the most likely outcome. When it hits, it’s like the entire roller coaster slammed into an enormous concrete wall. Only you’re still alive *eat lots of chocolate here* and in the meantime, you’ve decided to strike while the iron is hot, sending out submissions to e-publishers because that is the future best market for romance novels of every stripe and kind.
The whole process of being a finalist was an awakening of major proportions for me, especially in how the publishing biz works.
ETS – You love history and yet you write futuristic. Have you ever desired to write historical romance?
SK – At one time I would have loved penning a historical romance. What changed my mind was two realizations during the mid 1980’s.
One, the romance authors who were writing them covered all the bases and wrote their novels with such excellence, I really didn’t want to imitate what they had beautifully and romantically accomplished.
Two, the paranormal always snuck into every story I started writing or every idea I had for a story ~ and I have tons. At the time, the paranormal as I was writing it, was a publishing no-no. That is, until Jayne Castle’s SWEET STARFIRE, published in 1986, crashed the barrier down. When I read that novel, the sun broke through in my mind and I knew I had a shot at getting published someday.
ETS – What’s your favorite – Star Wars or Star Trek?
SK – Oh, gosh. No fair! It probably depends on the day and my mood. I’m going for STARS WARS today, though. I’m in the mood for a space opera adventure and a wild fierce, no holds barred romance.
ETS – I never play fair. J Tell us a little about your writing process. How long does it take you to finish a book? Are you a plotter or pantser?
SK – Hmmm… how long? These days, I’m not certain. I’ve been damn prolific starting stories, even getting them close to THE END. Really, it depends on the story itself and how inspired I’m feeling.
Now, though, with all the interruptions for promo, editing and other writerly biz, I’m slower than I like. Another factor that has slowed me down is crafting my writing style toward what is considered to be ‘good romance novel writing’ these days.
Plus, I’m always balancing several writing tendencies I have ~ being experimental, a freestyle wordy flow that includes a poetic way of expressing emotions. At least, I try my best to respect the particular ‘crafting’ views of my publishers as I write.
Also, there’s what I learn everyday about how to write a better story. Incorporating that knowledge has also slowed me down, in a good way, because it’s deeply important to me that I write the best story I can ~ something that is true for every author I know.
Right now, I’m working on BRANDED BY THE TEXANS, my next Siren Amour Menage. The story is going well and I’m thoroughly enjoying Kylie and her rough and tumble cowboys, Dillon, Dono and Dash… but dang it! The writing is going too slow! For all the above mentioned reasons.
Mostly, I’m a seat-of-my-pantser. I only seriously plot when the outline of my story presents itself organically, or when the plot becomes complex. This usually occurs. So, I’ll have to organize the important details at some point in the penning process.
Being a pantser, I’ve written myself into so many corners it’s become second nature to figure my way out of them now. More to the truth, I let my heroines and heroes figure or fight their way out of the impossible circumstance. Or, I let them find their way out of an emotionally devastating situation. Okay, sometimes, I let Fate intervene. After all, their passionate love must triumph. I’m a happy ending kinda girl.
ETS – What authors have inspired you throughout the years?
SK – This sounds trite, although, it’s true. Every author I’ve ever read, fiction or non-fiction. As I consider your question, I realize, the authors who write courageously inspire me. That is, I mean the authors who take a chance. They don’t stay with the tried and true, but blaze new trails as Jayne Castle, aka Jayne Anne Krentz, did with her first paranormal futuristic.
It thrills me no end, to see the amazing variety currently available in the paranormal romance genres. These are authors who take real chances, who are courageous enough to create new realms, where no reader has gone before.
ETS – If you could meet anyone – dead or alive – who would you choose and what would you ask?
SK – Oh, gosh, that’s an impossible question for me. There are so many.
Right now, I’m in the mood to have a lavish dinner meeting with Cleopatra. I want to listen to her entire story and ask any question that pops up in my mind, while we dine and sip a fruity splendid wine from chalices.
ETS – You write about shape-shifters…if you could shape-shift into anything, what would it be and why?
SK – Okay, here’s my tricky dicky answer. I would shape-shift into a goddess who can shape-shift into any creature/animal she desires. Of course, she adores the Big Cats, Wolfies and lots of wild canines. She has to have her pleasure gallop as a magnificent horse. She flies the skies ~ falcon, hawk, eagle ~ even Thunderbird. And, of course, soars as a dragoness.
ETS – What can we expect to see from you in the near future? What are you working on now?
SK – In the near future my latest shapeshifter erotic romance, STALLION OF ASH AND FLAME, will be coming out in November 2009 from Siren-BookStrand. It’s also scheduled for print in April 2010.
Yep, I’m doing a major happy dance over that contract. Plus, there’s an extra sense of satisfaction at having my second stallion shapeshifter book ‘coming soon’. The story is written strictly from the male POV, my very first. And, it was rejected by another publisher for reasons that made no sense. However, that turned out to be the ole blessing in disguise, since I got a better deal with Siren-BookStrand.
Also, I’m participating in a fun, cutting-edge contest with my mss, CURSES WERE STRANGE BEASTS at TextNovel.
Hey, all you authors and aspiring authors check out the Dorchester/Textnovel contest at ~ textnovel.com ~ it’s another way to get your name and your novel out there.
ETS – What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
SK – I’m not the best advice giver because my path to becoming published has been on the bizarre side and not accomplished by the ‘common wisdom’ out there. That being admitted, my intuition has played a big role in where to submit and how to build my career, such as it is.
I will say, that one strategy I’ve used, is simply to go higher. For example, you can learn a lot by entering all the romance contests available through the RWA’s various chapters. However, at some point, it’s time to submit to publishers. Heck, you might as well get rejected by editors instead of judges. And, if you get a contract offer, then, guess what, you’re on your way.
The same goes for being rejected by a particular publisher. Your story may not be what they’re looking for, yet perfect for another publisher. Or, it may be time to go higher. Yep, do it. Submit to a publisher that has a larger presence in the romance world.
ETS – Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
SK – You are most welcome! Yep, I have to agree with Lila Dubois, I definitely think you were HEAVEN SENT because Dawn McClure does it good, interviews and romance novels, that is.
ETS – LOL I’ll take it! Thank you so much. J *Pssssst….I’ll pay you later*
BTW ~ One person who comments will win a PDF copy of their choice from this list ~
All Shades of Blue Paradise
Red Lioness Tamed
When a Good Angel Falls
Tangerine Carnal Dreams
Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis
Black Cat Beauty
Happy Summer Reading…May your most romantic dreams come true…
~ Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the wild side of romance ~