I’m happy to welcome Savanna Kougar to the Writer’s Block this week. Savanna is a multi-published author who’s just a little tied up at the moment. (Hey, she was getting fiesty and it was the only way I could slow her down to answer some questions. Besides … she seems to like the bindings. Just saying …)
Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing.
Hey, I should write a novel about that ~ the ‘how you got into writing’ part. I think my writer’s journey might rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But today, we’ll go for the synopsis version. Of course, I was voracious reader growing up, and excelled in reading and writing. When I was thirteen I got a little taste of popularity because I wrote Beatle love stories *talk about a huge age clue here*. Anyway, the other girls would pass them all around in class, giggle and sigh. And when my sis introduced me to THE ROMANCE NOVEL, you know Barbara Cartland fare, well, my fate was sealed. From that point forward, being in love with love, I devoured all sorts of romance genres, mainly historicals, Jude Deveraux being a favorite, until I read my first paranormal. This was a natural fit, since I’ve studied the paranormal and the mystical for most of my life. Soon though, I couldn’t find the paranormal and otherworld romance stories I wanted to read. And well, you guessed it, I started writing them.
I believe writers are born. What we do, or how we develop our talent from that point, is self-determined. One early clue in my life ~ From the moment my parents read to me, I was entranced by the words themselves. I love how magical words are, not only the images evoked, but the sound or the music of words. Also, a word’s origin, and what it means currently, intrigues me, since the evolution of words is a reflection of our history. Plus, since my creative streak is a mile wide, I experience a thrill at either making up a new word, or finding one that someone else has made up. For example, gigundis and kick-assitude, two of my faves.
The stories I pen, or type, are a fantasy escape for me, and I hope that’s true for the readers. I remember as a kid thinking I’d like to write stories for other people, because reading for me was such a tremendous passion. It was a way to live the adventure and transport myself into another world, one I often preferred to live in, rather than my 50’s Midwest Suburbia life (really white-bread boring and stifling, overall).
No, give me far away OtherWorlds, with exotic unique cultures. Yes, give me the passion of adventure, think Indiana Jones and Star Wars, here. And, most of all, give me love in all its many varied splendors. I adore the fierce passions between a woman and a man, and that includes the battle of the sexes.
Another fascination is how women and men relate to each other in a long-term affair of the heart. During my admittedly long life, I used to corner anyone who would talk about their love lives as a couple. Okay, most people do like a good listener, and will just spill the love beans. And I mean, the love part, not the sex part ~ that’s just the fringe benefit, if we ended up having that discussion.
As an author, I want to write forever, not tons o’ tragedy. We already have that going on, as a society. Maybe, that’s why Romance Novels, whatever the subgenre, will always thrive.
Please tell us about your books.
Oh boy, let’s see…so far, all of them are considered erotic romance in the paranormal subgenres. My first release was RED LIONESS TAMED from Liquid Silver Books. The blurbage says it all.
What does a lioness shifter do when she’s suddenly trapped in an unknown space cruiser’s cargo hold? Then, despite her ability to savagely defend herself she’s trapped beneath the handsome human Captain.
And next, cat-scratching ridiculously, she finds herself carnal-trapped, and meow yowl! bound by leather straps in his bed?
Answer: She fights tooth and claw. Problem: The loner Captain is nova-hot at seducing her.
However, my first contract was from Siren Publishing for ALL SHADES OF BLUE PARADISE, my aristocratic fantasy of fiercest passion, set in another world dimension I created. I so love living in that world as a writer. But then, to be totally honest, I love living in all the worlds I’ve created. Book II in my blue paradise world, Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil, is about two thirds written, and contracted to Siren.
My third release, TANGERINE CARNAL DREAMS from Aspen Mountain Press, is a stallion shifter, kick-assitude heroine sci fi adventure on the tangerine aphrodisiac world of Yemisque.
And my fourth release, WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS from Siren-BookStrand, is Sedona and Volcano’s love story. It’s a near futuristic fantasy, about the much vaunted date of December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar. After all, the Earth must be saved for humanity.
Probably my next release will be a novella, BLACK CAT BEAUTY from Liquid Silver Books, a purring seductive story for Halloween and beyond. Ooooh, talk about catty fun to write. A black cat shifter girl with a Mae West attitude, who bites off more man that she can chew when her fangs show…or more man than she can screw…to be a bit crude here.
However, my American Title IV finalist manuscript, MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS, a 2051 futuristic, contracted to Siren Publishing, could give my black cat beauty a chase. I’ve received the first cover art version, which needs some tweaking, and just received the edits, due back at the end of November. I do have real barking concern, though. One of the villains in the story is a killer chihuahua shifter. Well darn, with the movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua…hey, everyone’s going to think I ripped off the chihuahuas. No, I wrote the first draft of my story two years ago, complete with several chihuahua shifter characters.
I also have a specially contracted book with Siren I’m currently writing for their newest imprint. I’ve been calling it THE SPECIAL SECRET PROJECT since it’s supposed to be hush-hush until the cover art and blurb are up. Let’s just say it’s set in a dark hero world and there is lots of ‘erotic stimulation’. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the story, which will be, at least, 60,000 plus words.
News flash: I just received a contract from Siren-BookStrand, for a story to be written, titled, Branded by the Texans, a contemporary western set in alternate timeline.
I know you write shifters, tell us a little bit about why you find them so fascinating.
Gosh, that’s, at least, a ten page explanation. Maybe, I should create a heroine who asks that question, hmmm…anyway, they’re wild…and they have feral dangerous powers and super-strength abilities I admire, and wish I had. For a simple example, cats see in the dark better than we do. Wouldn’t that be a neat heightened sense to have?
Truthfully, I’ve always had an affinity for animals ~ a primal understanding of who they are, how they feel, what they want…and how they love. Also, for the past several years I’ve learned a bit about shamanistic practices, where animals are acknowledged and experienced as spirit guides. For an example of basic shamanism, most everyone can relate to Wolves as protectors. If you, say, see a picture of a wolf, hear a story about a wolf (okay, that does not include fans of werewolf stories)…then, maybe, you see a statue of wolf…that’s three wolf signs…and would mean Wolf Spirit is sending you a message. Wolf Spirit could be saying: Ask me to protect you. Or those you love. Because there is someone or something dangerous to you now.
Also, as authors and readers know, people are often said to have certain animal-like characteristics. Like bull-headed or strong as a bull. So, the writer’s best friend…what if? What if that person actually had the ability to shift into what he resembled, that it was part of his genetic makeup, unexpressed….until…you write that, hopefully, best-selling book.
Okay, I’ll shut up about shifters now. Because I could go on forever. (Oh, but those of us who love those shifters … just don’t mind!)
If you came with a warning label what would it read?
Is it merely imagination, or is it a new and unique form of pure insanity? Which must contained for the good of the entire world. Uh, make that the universe.
Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter or pantzer? Do you have comfort drinks or snack foods. Any favorite music you play while writing?
Mostly pantzer! Although, if the outline of a story arrives in the front of my brain, I’ll write it down as a reference, or simply to remember how I want the story to progress. Some of my plots are quite complex, so this becomes important. But, mostly, I fly by the seat of my pants, and write myself in and out of impossible corners. Now, on my current wip, I’ve had to use a certain type of chapter structure simply to keep the story on track and logical, in terms of POV, and the catastrophe-struck world the novel is set in.
Comfort drink ~ an herbal cocoa brew, which is healthy and decadent. Snack foods? Chocolate chips, bunny-shaped organic cheese crackers…mashed potatoes…or, anything I can get myself to eat, since I don’t take the time to take care of myself like I should, sometimes.
Hmmm…music, I wish. But I listen to so much streaming internet radio, the only music I hear is the bumper tunes. Which are often a perfect synchronicity to what I’m writing. For example, when I was working on Black Cat Beauty, I would hear Year of the Cat, plus all the songs that are featured in the story.
What happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
When I was sixteen? It might be buried somewhere in my plastic containers o’ stuff. Yup, there for posterity…that’s it…the plan I’m sticking to…indeed, a great archeological find for the future…yeah, sure.
Hmmm…maybe, I would find it if I ever reincarnate.
Do you think these pants make my butt look big?
Never! Why, I must say, you have an absolutely exquisite posterior. Hey, I think I did heard rumors about you purchasing a flogger recently….true? And is it related to the pleasures of your posterior? (Now, Savanna … that’s just not fair. A woman doesn’t swipe her credit card and tell! Let’s just say … I’m happy standing right here!)
The editing process is an important aspect of writing. Do you have a routine you follow when going through it?
I don’t know about a routine, other than I’m intensely focused, to the point of excluding about everything else until I’m done. Or until life intrudes in such a way that I have quit working.
If you had super powers what would they be and what would you call yourself?
Oh! Do I ever wish I had super powers! I want them ALL. These days I’d like to have the power to become a cyber Robin Hood. Slip into the internet Sherwood forest, then rob from the rich and give back to the poor. You know, all those golden parachute criminals…just do a little transference of their ill-gotten wealth into everyone’s bank account. In a way I don’t ever get caught, though.
In fact, I wrote a short scene on my Kougar Kisses blogspot, about what my Halloween costume would have been this year, if I was still in movie starlet shape. My SuperHeroine name ~ Lady Robin Hood.
Describe your writing space. Do you move around or stay in the same room? Music or no music?
Artistically cluttered, and a chaos of things I love, that’s my writing room…which is so past due for a day of organizing.
The only time I would move around, these days, is if I can’t use my computer, or if I get an inspiration while in bed, and need to write it down.
If you were sick in bed which movie would be your comfort movie and why?
Actually, movies don’t do it for me when I’m sick. If anything, I would read a magazine like Romantic Times. Usually, if I’m that sick, I’d be taking supplements like mad and sleeping, or trying to sleep.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
I find that a tricky question because of my own odd and off-beat path to finally becoming an author and e-published. My one piece of advice, listen to and follow your intuition.
Oops, another word of advice. It seems Oprah is into Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, big time. Although, Kindle’s downfall is that it restricts ebooks to only Amazon’s titles, this is a huge step toward the promising future of e-publishing. Give a look, aspiring authors. New York will not remain the publishing capitol.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Only, that it is truly the hope of my heart, that you enjoy the passionate love stories of my heroines and heroes, and savor *living* in their OtherRealms.
Wow, Savanna thank you! What an awesome insight you’ve given us into your writing world. You can also find Savanna at her blog, and on MySpace.
Savanna will be hanging around for a couple of days. She’d love to hear from you. Ask her any questions or just show her some comment love!