Friday, 6 May 2016

Author Interview - Courtney Shepard : @CAShepard76 #booksgs

It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome Courtney Shepard onto the blog today.

But before we crack on with the interview, let's take a quick look at her book.

Asha is fire. 

Every generation four sisters with power over earth, air, fire, and water are born to fight against a fanatical, secret faith. The Order exists only to sacrifice the sisters for their power. With each success their strength and control grows. They have never failed, for their rule depends on it. 

The sisters, separated at birth, are unaware of what hunts them...but they are coming. 
A handsome stranger discovers Asha in hiding, and swears allegiance to her cause. She falls for him; though he is not who he says he is. Betrayed and imprisoned inside the Order, Asha is without her power for the first time in her life. 

As the war heats up haunting secrets and true motivations are revealed, but the sisters must unite and override their instincts and trust the untrustworthy if they are to fight their terrifying destiny.


    MY: Hi Courtney, could you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author.

CS: I always wanted to write, but I never thought I could do it, not in a million years. I should have just tried, but life and doubts made it difficult. Then when I had my baby I finally had some time. I realized it was now or never. Once I started I couldn’t stop. It was incredibly fulfilling, exciting, and fun.

After I finished my first draft I had difficulty finding an agent, so I went the indie publishing route. I found a small press and ebook publisher interested, and the day I signed the contract was one of the best of my life. Champagne Book Group took me on, and they published Unbalanced as an ebook. I am hoping to go to print in the next year.

MY: What does your average ‘writing day’ look like?

CS: I am back to work and a ‘writing day’ is rare. I have a toddler and I don’t often get a full day to write. I usually write for a couple of hours after he is in bed. But if I do get a full day, then it starts with a pot of coffee. I sit on my couch with my laptop on my lap and dive in. It doesn’t matter if I don’t feel it. Those opportunities are too precious to waste. It usually takes me a few hours to get into a rhythm, but once I’m there I will write for hours. I can barely stop for food or bathroom breaks because a roll is a roll and they feel awesome.

MY:  Are there any authors that you particularly admire? And if so, why?

CS: I love to read and I am not a critical reader. I respect and admire all authors. I used to only read the classics. So I love the usual writers. Jane Austen, Fydor Dostoyevsky, the Bronte sisters, and Shakespeare. Then I read the Harry Potter series and stopped being such a literary snob. Now I read everything, and I love everything I read. I appreciate rich, expressive language and conflict, but a story with strong women is my new niche. I love Toni Morrison and her fully developed characters. She is a genius.

MY: What are you currently working on?

CS: I am currently working on Unbent, Book 2 of the Unbalanced Series. Unbalanced was Asha’s story, and Unbent is Mere’s story. Unanswered questions and plot motivations are explained and further developed.

MY: If you could give advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

CS: Don’t give up. I never thought I could do it. But I tried and I made it. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. So I understand everyone has doubts but if writing is what you love and want to do then don’t give up. Rejection will come, but if you can deal with it and persist you will succeed.

MY:  Authors are often portrayed as being cat owners who drinks a lot of  coffee. Is this true for you?

CS: Coffee yes, but no cat. I have a child, and he is more than enough to look after. But as a cat does, my son gives me love and snuggles and maybe one day I will get him a cat. LOL.

MY:  If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?

CS: Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books. I was drawn to the complexity of the characters and the rollercoaster love story. I was so obsessed with Heathcliff I named one of my characters after him. I would love to know more about how she created such an amazing story. I would also like to meet Tom Petty because he fascinates me. His music is amazing, but I also think he would be a really interesting guy.

MY: Where do you see yourself in five years?

CS: In five years I hope to have completed the Unbalanced Series and see it in print. I currently live in Vancouver, but I would love to live in a smaller town and have a little farm/B&B away from the city’s hustle and bustle. We all have our dreams and chickens and a slower pace are mine.

Book Extract 
Asha scanned the field. Just go now. The battle chaos was her only chance for cover. The ground shook again, harder this time.

Clay swiveled to his brother. “Rio?”
“It’s not me.”
Forget cover, go now.
With a crack and rumble, the ground surrounding the cabin broke apart and water burst from the earth. It sprayed as strong as any fire hose up and over the cabin. The pounding force was like a waterfall in reverse and the flames sputtered and died.
She had never seen anything like it, an enormous water fountain extinguishing fire burning that hot. The cabin door, charred and still smoking, flew off its hinges and onto the flooded grass.

Three figures ran out into the early morning glare. Asha took off her helmet and slouchy hood, but her eyes weren’t playing tricks. She could see them clearly, even across the distance, and her stomach dropped. They stopped short, facing an army with guns raised. No.
“Stop!” Her scream was too late; the soldiers fired. She didn’t have time to act; they were sitting ducks. She prepared for their thrashing bodies, but like a swarm of hovering locusts, the bullets stopped in mid-air and dropped.
What? She couldn’t get her mind around the scene unfolding before her. She’d lost control of her body. Her muscles wouldn’t move.
“Hold your fire,” Clay shouted, but the soldiers continued shooting. His brothers were the only ones not attacking. They had to be as shocked by the falling bullets as she was. She couldn’t blame them. She was as still and as useless as a rock, unable to move or act, only watch in growing disbelief. Three young women stood against an army.
“Asha,” yelled one of the girls, her eyes were even brighter green than Clay’s. “We’re your sisters. We’ve been looking for you.”
Where can you buy this fabulous book?  
Champagne Book

About the author

Courtney Shepard is a new indie author who writes paranormal and fantasy romance. After studying journalism she turned to fiction writing, publishing the first book in her four book series with Champagne Book Group. Courtney lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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