Originally posted on the Virtual FantasyCon 2016 Blog:
Renee Scattergood is the author of the Dark Fantasy series, Shadow Stalker. She lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, their daughter, Taiya, and their four fur friends. She prefers to spend her free time with her family and reading fantasy novels.
What is your chosen genre, and why?
I write dark fantasy, though I didn't set out to write it. I knew I wanted to write fantasy because I've loved reading fantasy since I was a kid, and when I started writing, it just came out the way it did. I'm still not sure if I should be worried about that.
Name of your most current book, and if it’s a series, what is the series title and how many volumes are anticipated?
Shadow Stalker is the serial I'm working on at the moment. It's going to be 24 episodes long, and I'm bundling it into four parts with six episodes in each. I'm working on Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18) right now, and next year I'll be releasing Part 4 (Episodes 19 – 24).
Summary for your most current book.
Auren learns she is destined to enslave the people of her world, and Drevin, emperor of the Galvadi Empire is determined to end her life before it happens. Her foster father, Kado, has sworn to protect her and trains her as a shadow stalker. But her training is cut short, when their people are overrun by the Galvadi Empire. Now she has to find a way to help her people without succumbing to the prophecy.
Who is your favorite character in the story?
While he's not the main character, he's the first character I came up with. I was reading The Celestine Prophecy and he just popped into my head fully formed. I knew he would be the mentor to my main character. I can't explain why he's my favorite except that I've always had a soft spot in my heart for him, even when he's being completely unreasonable.
Are there any short stories or companion novella’s?
I do have a couple of short stories I've written. One is a prequel story to the serial, called Escape From the Dark Isle, and it's free to read on my blog. I also have a prequel novella called, Demon Hunt, that takes place a year before the start of my Shadow Stalker serial.
What inspired you to write it?
As I mentioned before, I came up with my character, Kado, while reading The Celestine Prophecy. Once I had the character in my head, the story starting coming together in my head. I couldn't think of anything else, so I knew I would have to write it. Oddly, at the time, I had pretty much given up on writing because a few years before then I lost an entire completed manuscript when my computer crashed. You never think it will happen to you until it does. I didn't feel passionate about writing since then until Kado popped into my head and nagged me until I began writing their story.
Would you like to share an excerpt with us?
From Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (Episode 1):
"Auren, this is my friend, Cathnor."
I shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Auren."
Kado and Cathnor began talking in a strange language as they led the way toward a path in the woods. The island was a lot warmer and humid than I was used to. Standing in the direct sunlight was like being under a heat lamp, but it didn’t help the humidity levels, it was much cooler in the shade of the trees. The palm trees hinted at the possibility that we were in the tropics, but there were no tropical islands anywhere near the Serpent Isles. As far as I knew, closest one was several days travel from Nadiria.
The plants and flowers were amazing. They were large, as though the island was home to giants, and their honey and lavender scent made my mouth water. I felt myself drawn to them as though there was an invisible leash pulling me towards them. I started walking over to one of the blossoms when Kado caught my arm and pulled me back.
"Do not stray from the path or touch any of the plant life, Auren. Some of it is very venomous."
I nodded, and he resumed his conversation with Cathnor. Venomous? That didn’t make sense. I scrutinized the seemingly harmless plants and frowned. They didn’t have fangs or stingers that I could see. After jogging to catch up with the two men, I attempted to listen in on their exchange. Somehow it seemed I should understand what they said. It was as though the meanings of the words floated in my mind, but eluded me when I focused on them. Kado appeared to be agitated about something, although he never changed his tone. It took about twenty minutes to reach the outskirts of a village where another man was waiting for us. To my surprise, Kado hugged him as well, although it was a bit less enthused.
"Auren, this is Sephir. He is my daughter's guardian, and up until this moment my most trusted friend."
Sephir raised an eyebrow at Kado, and then shook my hand. "It's good to meet you, Auren."
"Nice to meet you too."
I looked around for Kado’s daughter, expecting she would be there to greet him. Kado didn't seems surprised she wasn't there, though. I thought about what he said about Sephir being his most trusted friend until now, and wondered if something had happened to her.
"We will talk soon, Kado. I will fill you in on everything," Sephir said.
Kado gave him a curt nod, and waved for me to follow him. We left the two men there as Kado led me to a small hut, a very small hut. It was nothing more than a round room with a small place for a fire, a little table in the center and a cot toward the back. A young woman, with dark hair and green eyes like Kado’s, sat at the table. She looked like she could have been Kado’s daughter, but Kado didn’t seem as happy to see her as I would have expected if it had been her. She jumped up and wrapped her arms around him as soon as he entered the hut.
"Kado! It's so good to see you. We sensed you coming late yesterday, so I’ve been freshening up your home for you. There was dust and spider webs everywhere, and I thought you'd appreciate having it cleaned. I've missed you so much." She looked at me, and before I knew what was happening, she flung her arms around me. "You must be Auren! I've been waiting so long to meet you even though I didn't know who you were until yesterday. I mean I knew who you were but not 'who' you were. It's so great to finally meet you and have you back where you belong."
I glanced at Kado, and he shrugged.
"Oh where are my manners. I'm Calista. You can call me Cali. I'm Kado's niece. I haven't seen him since I was five, except in the shadow world, but he's my favorite uncle, and I have been so excited about seeing him again, you know...here."
"Hi Calista," I said, taking a step back toward Kado before she got it in her head to hug me again.
"Cali! Call me Cali. Everyone does."
Kado put his arm around his niece and guided her toward the door. "Thank you, Cali. It's nice seeing you again, but Auren and I have something to do. We can spend time together tomorrow."
"Okay, see you both later then. Oooo, this is so exciting!"
Kado shook his head as he closed the door behind her. "I thought she would grow out of that."
"I don't know. She's given me hope."
Kado raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Well at least it’s obvious now not all shadow stalkers are overly serious people who don't know how to enjoy themselves."
"I enjoy myself plenty," Kado said rolling his eyes, then he became solemn again. "The next phase of your training begins now. I have to warn you the next few weeks or so are going to be very difficult for you. We have a lot to catch up on and you are not used to the intensity of this kind of training. For what's coming, I want you to keep in mind even when you can't see me, I am there."
"Kado, you're not making sense."
"You'll understand soon."
"You know I hate it when you say that, right?" I slumped into the chair that Cali had been occupying moment ago.
Kado gave my shoulder a squeeze. "Come with me. You can leave your things here."
I followed him across the village. Some people waved, but no one came to greet us. It appeared as though they avoided us on purpose. Kado didn't have his usual scowl on his face, so I didn't understand why they stayed away. On the outskirts of the village, sitting at the bottom of the volcano, there was a huge lake with black water. In fact, the water was so dark it looked like a mirror made from onyx. The lone mountain occupying most of the central part of the island reflected on its surface.
We stopped in front of a well not far from the lake.
"Are you ready?" Kado asked me.
"Ready for what?"
He removed a wooden lid covering the well and took a rope from a hook inside the opening. "You will need to climb down into the hole."
"And then what?"
"Well, that will be up to you."
"You're not making sense again."
He tilted his head toward the well. "Go on."
I sighed. This seemed like a silly lesson. I had rappelled down many cliffs and into many caverns with Kado over the years. It was nothing new to me. Maybe he was going to start with the easy stuff. I grabbed the rope and sat on the wall of the well. Then I swung my legs over the side and started my descent.
It looked a lot deeper than it was. It was so dark I couldn’t see the bottom, and the opening became snugger as I lowered myself into the hole. By the time I reached the bottom, the walls touched me on all sides, but not enough to slow my progress. Then it opened up, and I found myself in a cavern of some sort. A little further, and my feet were on the ground.
I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and then looked around the open space. The walls were obscured from view, but I heard the burbling of an underwater spring nearby. I looked up and was almost blinded by the light shining through the shaft I had just descended. I thought Kado might be coming down after me, but I didn’t see him.
"Okay I'm down here. Now what?"
"Let go of the rope."
I dropped the rope, and watched it disappear through the top of the hole.
"Kado, what are you doing?"
Without a word, he put the lid over the hole and left me in complete darkness.
Do you have a newsletter or blog?
My blog on Renee Writes (this is my personal blog).
Renee's Author Spotlight (where I feature indie and small press authors).
The Weekly Fantasy Fix blog (the newsletter is a collaboration between me and two other authors and this is the blog we set up to help promote the newsletter).
Subscribers to our newsletter get 3 free ebooks:
- Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12) by Renee Scattergood
- Ancient Voices: Into the Depths by Allison D. Reid
- The Midwinter Sellsword by Joshua Robertson
What kinds of things do you write or showcase on them?
On my Renee Writes blog, I generally write weekly posts about what's going on with me and my writing, updates on my works in progress and occasionally I also share a sneak peek. Every Friday I do an author spotlight for another fantasy/science fiction author. I also participate blog tours and I'll host guest posts from other authors as well.
On Renee's Author Spotlight I do features for indie and small press authors.'
On our Weekly Fantasy Fix newsletter we try to cater to both writers and readers. For our readers we share personal stories about our writing experiences, updates on our work, new releases, giveaways, and occasional subscriber only sneak peeks and short stories/flash fiction. We also share spotlights on other fantasy authors. For the authors we offer writing, editing and marketing tips and share marketing opportunities that we find.
What other places can we find you?
Amazon Author Page
Smashwords Author Page
BookBub Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Renee's Shadow Stalkers
Smashwords Author Page
BookBub Author Page
Goodreads Author Page
Renee's Shadow Stalkers
Where can I purchase a copy of your book?
Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6) is a free download!
Do you have a website?