Originally posted on Renee's Author Spotlight:
Fascinated by human behaviour and the determined will of broken souls S.J. is a natural social media junkie who feeds off rum, the flicker of candlelight, and creative inspiration from every likely source from music to art to photography.
As a romantic at heart, S.J. shares her outlandish ideas with her sometimes patient high school sweetheart and husband of 16 years and their two perpetually snoring pugs. All of which who do their duty to inject humour and laughter when in desperate need.
On any given Monday, you can find S.J. in her Ontario, Canadian home in the finest of PJ’s sporting horrendous posture writing or editing the rest of the Soul Seer Chronicles or taping and re-taping a Youtube vlog. Visit The Fictionista’s YouTube channel, website, or Facebook Page to find S.J. and five other authors as they chair dance, interview rapscallion pets, giggle, showcase their inner geek, and cheers with bottoms way up through reading, writing, and publishing advice.
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About the Book
Witches. Magic. A terrifying glimpse into the future.
Sophie Saterlee has made it her mission to get her life together. Leaving behind an abusive relationship, she's bartending her way through a psychology degree.
When a terrifying recurring nightmare begins to poison Sophie's waking hours and threaten all her progress, once again she's close to losing everything.
An invitation to a tea leaf reading party sounds like exactly the kind of distraction Sophie needs.
But an innocent girls' night out turns into a journey through a complex and treacherous world of magic.
To survive it, Sophie must forge uncomfortable alliances with arrogant Donovan and mysterious Caine. One of them is tied to her past, and the other fills her present. Both men might hold the key to her uncertain future.
There's more going on in her little corner of the world than Sophie realizes, and the truth will change everything.
Download the urban paranormal fantasy fans are comparing to Ilona Andrews and Karen Marie Moning.
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Keep reading for an interview with the author:
Why did you decide to be a writer?
My mother was a flash cards mom, so reading began before my memories. With her love of books, I had ample reading material to steal at a young age. Writing as a passion came much later. I dabbled with short stories over the years and began my recent series on a whim in 2009 when needing an outlet from my day job in social work. Word addict ever since.
Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?
I'm a Women's Advocate at the local women's shelter running a house with 20+ women and their children who find themselves in crisis, whether this be homelessness, battling addiction, trauma survivors, abuse survivors, mental health concerns, and pretty well anything else you could think of.
Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?
Thrillers or mysteries without supernatural elements since i mostly write urban paranormal fantasy. It's easy to explain away some things with magic on their side. For characters to trudge through their quest with nothing but tangible clues brings about a more difficult writing challenge I haven't delved into as of yet.
What inspires you to write?
In my day job I witness all acts of violence as well as kindness and empowerment. Human behaviour and the stories which make up our decision making drives a host of stories with endings of my choice.
What authors have most influenced you?
Anne Rice, J.R. Ward, and Kelley Armstrong are my favourite authors to read and my greatest influences to my own works. I tend to gravitate towards dark, paranormal, and urban fantasy stories with threads of romance.
What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?
Doubt. Doubt I can weave a story anyone will bother to read. Doubt I can stand up to other authors in my genre with equal measure. Doubt I can motivate myself on days where I'm exhausted and short on creative drive. While doubt may be an obstacle, it's also a kick in the behind to get me moving and I do my best not to let it win.
What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
Make things action-packed without being convoluted. Sometimes the simplest way reads far more interesting if developed with skill.
What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
Reading and snuggling with my pugs. Bosco and his son Mortimer are experts.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?
My compilation book of Anne's Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, Kelley Armstrong's Bitten, J.R. Ward's Lover Awakened, Belong to Me by Shayla Black, and a journal.
How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?
Far too many. A few on my person shelves are Betrayals by Kelley Armstrong and a barrage of classics, David Copperfield, Crime and Punishment, The Lovecraft Compendium.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I self-published after my publisher Booktrope Publishing closed up shop to keep my book on the shelves. It was a great experience and I've since signed with a small press Captive Quill.
What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author? How do you cope with your fears?
Will my works gain enough exposure? Will I be looked at as being on a lower bracket because I'm not published by one of the big publishing brands? I remind myself that a big name behind you doesn't guarantee more exposure or more dollars in my pocket, but it does (sometimes) equal less say in my works.
Are you a pantser or outliner?
Pantser! If I find that I get stuck, I stop, get out a pad of paper and pen and start asking myself questions and answer them in as many ways possible to see which direction I may want to take, and then I continue to pants it.
Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?
My writing has a mix of real life in the fantasy. I may use people I know or places I've been, but they always have a spin to them.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on Soul Deception, the second in the Soul Seer Chronicles, as well as a piece for an anthology of a retelling for The Three Little Pigs story mafia style. Out of my element and completely fun to write.