1. What is your name and where do you call home?
My name is Shauna Leone and I live in Cornwall.
2. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
My latest book is my first novel and is called The Resonant. It’s an action adventure spanning 3 continents and 12,000 years, involving ancient relics, human sacrifice and visions of past lives.
3. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Right now I’m working on a sequel to The Resonant. Originally, when I started out, it was going to be a one off book, but I’d like to explore the characters a little more. I think there might be a mythology there which I hadn’t planned even after the first draft, but after what I think must be about draft 5, things began to evolve and I’m excited to find out where it might go.
4. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I remember. I’m not sure what started it all really. Just a love of stories and the dramatic I guess. I used to watch all these TV shows and wish I could be in that world so I think writing down my daydreams made them seem more real.
5. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
Yes, got to get readers somehow. There are so many books out there and it is so hard to get noticed. It is a very scary thing though, actually asking someone to give you a critique and setting yourself up for that kind of judgement. I read on a bestselling author’s blog the other day about how he avoids bad reviews and years ago the author would be protected from such things by agents etc. keeping his fragile ego intact. I would love to have that luxury. Of course when you have a good review it is the best thing in the world but those aren’t the ones that you fixate on.
6. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
I designed my cover. I knew I wanted a skull on the front and thought I’d go to a designer but then when I was playing with ideas I found an old picture of me diving, and the bubbles coming from the tank really looked skull like so with a bit of photoshop I enhanced them and got the creepy skull I wanted.
7. How did you come up with the title for your book?
With a lot of thinking about words relevant to the story. It had a completely different title at first which was a very relevant Egyptian word but I realised no one would be able to remember it, pronounce it, or spell it, which with a first book probably wouldn’t be such a good thing. When you’re Stephen King you could get away with it but not little old me. I actually much prefer this new title anyway.
8. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
At the moment, no, but that’s because I haven’t read it since it was published. Before that every time I thought it was finished I’d then read it again and wonder how I could ever have been happy with it and so it grew and changed with each draft. Now that it is published I probably won’t read it again for a while but I bet when I do there’ll be something I cringe at and wish I’d written differently.
9. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
I would love to have a book trailer but haven’t got one yet. Anything that draws attention has to be a good thing. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book on the strength of the trailer. It’s usually the cover which makes me notice a book and then whatever is on the fly leaf would be the deciding factor to actually purchase it.
10. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
I must admit I like tangible books still and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. My book is only available as an ebook at the moment but it is a little dream of mine that one day it will be a shiny hardback on my coffee table.
11. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Self published. That’s not to say I’m against traditional publishing but I just wanted to get my book out there and see what happens rather than waiting for agents to get back to me, usually saying they have 200 books sent to them a week and only take on 5 a year.
12. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
I’ve read a few books more than once. The last one was “The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly.
13. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
No I don’t think so. That would be the obvious thing to make me pick it up but if the synopsis didn’t look appealing I wouldn’t read it.
14. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
I don’t know if you’d call it the quality of the cover but I definitely don’t read books with big muscled men on the front embracing forlorn women or the ones with really flowery writing that I just know will be all romance and tragedy and not much else.
15. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Bad Men by John Connolly. I’m collecting all his books in hardback at the moment.
16. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Write for yourself. That might be obvious to many people but when I first started to write The Resonant I got so bogged down in what people like, what they’d think, want, expect, if this was something I was actually going to publish. I still panic when I hear friends talk about these very profound moving books which probably won a load of prizes and I think, well mine is nothing like that. But then I think, to be honest I don’t necessarily want to read those books. I want to escape reality and enjoy a good story. I don’t particularly want a comment on today’s society or whatever. Actually that leads on to another piece of advice which is to try not to compare yourself with other writers. Aim high, definitely, but reading your favourite authors and worrying your book is nowhere near as good as theirs won’t help anyone. This is a piece of advice I keep trying to tell myself anyhow.
17. Where can your readers follow you?
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Resonant/233160286784617
Twitter: twitter: @shauna_leone
Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!