I had the pleasure of meeting Renee Scattergood when I wrote a character interview for her blog. Curious about her, I took at look at her books and immediately became interested in her Shadow Stalker series. I liked that she had a female lead with a dark destiny since I have a similar theme in my series. I didn't know what to expect when I started reading, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an intriguing story that drew me in. After finishing Part 1 and 2 of her serial, I decided to get to know Renee a little better and ask the questions that were burning in my mind while reading her serial.
Book Genre: Dark Fantasy
Suggested Reading Audience: Young Adult 15+ and Adult
Content Warning: Adult themes and moderately graphic content
Book blubs:Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): 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. Click here for my review of Shadow Stalker Part 1 and 2
Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12): Auren is captured by the Galvadi trying to rescue her friend, Jade, and tortured by the man who is supposed to love and protect her. When Makari finally realizes she's not the delohi-saqu as his father claims, he helps her escape, but their plans don't go as expected. Click here for my review of Shadow Stalker Part 1 and 2
What made you decide to become an Author and write a Dark Fantasy series?
I decided to become an author after being told in college I should seriously consider publishing my work by my English instructor. Of course, it took a while to build up my courage enough to show my work to others.
Why did you choose to write Dark Fantasy and what are some of the difficulties associated with the genre?
When I started writing my serial, I wasn't planning on writing dark fantasy. It just turned out that it's what I have in me to write. Mostly because I have this innate need to torture my characters. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. ;)
The difficulty for me is keeping the stories from being too gory or scary. I like them to be dark, but I don't want to limit my readership either. I like to make it dark enough to be dark, but not so dark it freaks out the majority of readers.
Wow, this is a good question. My favorite episode would have to be Episode 8: Broken. I loved writing about the change in Makari. It was challenging, but fun at the same time.
The hardest part to write was Cali's death in Part 3. She is one of my favorite characters in the series and killing her was difficult. Unfortunately, her death drove the plot so I had no choice. :(
Who is your favorite character to write for and why?
Cali was definitely one. I'm considering writing a novella about her sometime in the future just so I can write about her again. I also love writing for Makari and I'm planning a novella series about him as well.
What is your writing process? Do you have the story planned out or does it surprise you as you write it? Do you write at night, or in the morning? Do you listen to a play list?
I have a pretty meticulous process. I start with planning out the story, beginning with an overall plot outline and working in steps towards a detailed outline of each scene/chapter. Then I write the rough draft and do my edits before sending it to my editor.
I write any time of the day really. It depends on when I have time. My daughter has ASD and ADHD, and she's homeschooled because of sleep issues and her inability to cope with being in a classroom, so I mostly work around her schedule.
Sometimes I listen to music. It depends on my mood. When I'm not feeling very creative, it helps get me in the writing mood. It also helps filter out distracting noises. But then other times it becomes a distraction. The type of music depends on my mood as well. It varies from orchestral music to symphonic rock.
Having read your Shadow Stalkers series Part 1 & Part 2, I wanted to know how you came up with Auren. Is she anything like you, or is she based on someone you know?
Believe it or not, Auren was originally a boy (though his name wasn't Auren). He was also older with kids of his own. The story changed a great deal from the original version. Auren came after a friend (who is a published author) read my first draft and suggested I change the main character to a girl since there are not enough female heroes. I liked her suggestion, so I scrapped the whole thing and started from scratch. There is some of me in Auren, but mostly she is a completely fictional creation. My characters develop and grow with the story. I think they seem more real that way.
What was it like creating this extremely vivid and detailed world of the Dark Isle and the Shadow Stalker culture in Part 1?
This is another thing that developed as I wrote the story. When I create the setting and culture, I let the story play out in my mind like a movie and I write what I see and feel (or at least I try to). I wanted the Dark Isle to be a beautiful but harsh environment to reflect the shadow stalkers' rigid way of life.
In Part 2, Auren decides to search for her father, which is very dangerous because of the dark prophesy. What was it like writing the scenes when she finally meets her father?
My parents divorced when I was about 11 years old, and when we moved to Florida I didn't see my father for many years. I was definitely a daddy's girl, so I missed my father a lot. When I saw him again, it was very emotional for me. I drew on that when I wrote about Auren meeting her father for the first time.
In Part 2, Auren is forced to endure reconditioning treatments while being held in the reconciliation centers. How hard was it for you to write the scenes between Auren and Makari? I personally cried when I read those parts of the book. What was going through your mind when you wrote these dark, emotional scenes?
I cried too. Don't feel bad. My husband actually stopped what he was doing to check on me, and when he realized why I was crying he had a chuckle over it. Those scenes were very difficult to write. I had to start with just telling the action and slowly add the "showing" in over many rewrites to get through it.
At the end of Part 2, I found it interesting that you summarized some of the final events of the book. It was a very different writing style since Auren’s journey was captured in “real time” and we experienced her life moment-to-moment. What was the reason behind the change in writing style from 1st person to 3rd person?
I decided to write the prologues and epilogues in 3rd person to take it out of Auren's point of view and give a hint of what's going on in the rest of the world during that time. Eventually I'd like to write novellas or other serials from other characters' points of view. A lot of people really love Makari, so I'm focusing on him next.
The biggest question of all...when is Part 3 coming out! What should we expect to see from Auren?
Well I have been publishing individual episodes for Part 3 already. Episodes 13 through 15 are available for purchase direct from me, and the other episodes are released about every 6 weeks. The 6 episode bundle for Part 3 will be released in November of this year.
I don't want to ruin anything, so to find out what's going on with Auren, you'll have to read the newest episodes.
What would you like your readers to know about you or your books?
I decided to write the serials because I wanted to publish shorter pieces of fiction as a way of getting a feel for the self-publishing industry. At first I wanted to write novels based on the Shadow Stalker world, but I've since decided to stick to writing serials and novellas.
Looking ahead, what can we expect to see from you in the future? What are you working on?
I've begun work on a new novel series called, A God's Deception. The first book is Defender of the Chosen. I haven't shared any details about this series yet, but if you're interested, you can check out my website and blog.
Author bio: Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy. She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception. Aside from writing, she loves reading (Fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): http://reneescattergood.com
Interested in Renee's Shadow Stalker serial, here's how to get them:
Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): (free to download)
Renee's Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/ - a blog where I feature indie and small press authors.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2
Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts
Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts
Renee's Shadow Stalkers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rTPYCAwDq5cpyxHfphx0-x6ka9C7DWoJsdgYa2CyAw/viewform