"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Selena Blake is the Bestselling author of the Stormy Weather series. When she’s not writing sinfully hot erotica or spicy paranormal romance she can be found watching movies, listening to music (and dancing around like a crazy woman), or cooking in her kitchen. She loves fruity drinks, the smell of coconut suntan lotion and exploring the darker side of things, looking for the light. She firmly believes that at the center of every anti-hero there is a heart of gold and brunettes actually have more fun. Visit her online at http://www.selena-blake.com
An Interview with Selena Blake
PNR: Welcome Selena, I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about the Stormy Weather series, and your work.
Selena B.: Thanks Dee. I'm tickled to be here. You know how much I love talking about books.
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Selena B.: Writing is something I've always dabbled in. Always for myself. Usually short stories. Little blips that come to mind. I'm rather shy so that probably lends to the stories. I'm also one of those people who thinks of the perfect come-back a week too late. So it's fun to write about people who are bolder than I am. Each of my heroines has an element that I wish I had. For instance, Amanda, in The Cajun's Captive, is brave. To leave home and everything she knew, the man she loved...it takes a strong woman to recognize that what's best for her may mean leaving.
PNR: Being a new author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Selena B.: I'd say the biggest influence has been the authors I love to read. Authors like Lora Leigh who writes incredibly edgy stories and sizzling love scenes, Nora Roberts who's an ace at character description, Sherrilyn Kenyon who's a master at world building.
My biggest support has definitely been the team at Cobblestone Press and my fellow authors there. Leila Brown is my writing buddy and she pushes me every day to write and write better. I have a group of wonderful ladies that I Word-War with at least two or three times a week. Word Warring is when you all get together in a chatroom and write for a specified amount of time. Usually thirty minutes. And then when the timer buzzes you chime in with how many words you wrote during that time. Sometimes we'll swap a little excerpt or share a favorite sentence. It's great motivation and those ladies have made me feel like a real author.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Selena B.: I'm a voracious reader. I can't keep my TBR list updated fast enough on my website or myspace. I'm always adding something new or adding a Keeper to the top of the pile. Sometimes I'll go on a binge and knock the pile back a bit, but then there are times like now when I have so much going on that I don't get nearly enough time to read and the books just start stacking up again.
I'm waiting for Acheron's book and it probably won't even hit the TBR pile. I'll probably try to read it while I'm driving home from the store, so watch out fellow drivers. :) Currently in the pile (or in the TBR folder on the computer) are Sounwave's Surrender by Leila Brown, Night Keepers by Jessica Anderson, Beast of Desire by Lisa Renee Jones, a few oldies-but goodies from Jaci Burton...just to name a few.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Selena B.: A great story needs great characters. Characters you'd like to meet, know, be friends with. People who you can sympathize with and root for. I'm a fan of charmers, underdogs, and protectors. And anti-heroes of course. The reader should be able to fall in love with the characters, feel the emotion, the connection. You also need an interesting storyline or an intriguing goal that the characters are trying to achieve. I'm also in favor of learning about a new place, be it location or time. A good book is far cheaper than airfare. :)
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the July 2008 release of BITTEN IN THE BAYOU from Cobblestone Press; this is the second story in your Stormy Weather series. Could you tell us what inspired this hot shifter series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Selena B.: Thanks! This series is the product of my fascination with wolves, Louisiana, Cajun men and natural disasters. I love series and family, so it was a natural pairing. The series follows the Deveraux men, a small pack of werewolves in Louisiana during hurricane season. They're all single and that's becoming a problem. Each man has his own reason for staying single. And each has a troubled past. But this hurricane season, the stars are aligning just so, and their lives will never be the same.
Each story follows a different Deveraux. The series starts with The Cajun's Captive, Sebastian's story. That's followed by Jules story, Bitten in the Bayou. Next is Laurent's story, Bound and Determined. A very fitting title for this tormented soul. The fourth story is about Andre and his mate and it's currently titled Leader of the Pack. The last, as yet untitled book, is about Burke and his quest for true love. There's an element that ties all the Deveraux men and their women but it won't be revealed until later in the series.
PNR: Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Selena B.: For this series the main challenge was just deciding what sort of world the men live in. They're wealthy bachelor's with a dark secret. I had to decide if the human world knows about their furry side. I had to decide where to set the books, what happens when the heroes "change," and who would be their mates. As this series focuses on the men and their relationships more than the "world" they live in I didn't have to do too much world building. And the research is mostly to determine the characters quirks, style, where they live, the settings. Things of that nature.
PNR: Your Stormy Weather series takes place in Louisiana bayou country; what made you choose this setting, is there a personal connection with the area?
Selena B.: I like the rugged beauty of the bayou but it was Sebastian who picked that area to settle. The Deveraux's are originally from France and there are still plenty of French speakers down in Louisiana.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Selena B.: I think each story is different. Some are more character driven, some are more plot driven. That said, the Stormy Weather series is mostly character driven. Although there is one main plot device in each of the books, the incredible weather they face. Sebastian and Jules each face a hurricane while Laurent faces a massive thunderstorm in New Orleans. But the stories are overwhelmingly about the men. About their relationship with each other. Their history. About their search for a mate. And about the relationship once they find her.
I'm not sure if I do a good job of balancing both, but the best way I know how to balance is to concentrate on the characters and tell their story as best I can.
PNR: Your stories feature The Deveraux Brothers, sexy as sin alpha heroes and strong heroines that are their mates; could you tell us about your character development? What was your inspiration for these characters? Who has been your favorite to write?
Selena B.: Interestingly enough, I met Burke first. And his story will come out last. Then I met his brother and cousins and as I started writing their stories I learned more about them. They each have a different personality so I didn't have to do too much developing. I just had to get them to tell me their story. Tell me what they wanted. And find their other half.
Some writers have characters that just start talking to them, but I met Burke in a dream. After that my imagination took over and he just wouldn't get out of my head. And slowly, their story started to unfold.
As for my favorite...Jules is very charming so he was a lot of fun to write about, but Laurent from Bound and Determined is so dark, so tormented by the woman he lost. He's pretty much given up on living. I felt very connected with the pain and suffering that Laurent has gone through and I was cheering for him throughout his book.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Selena B.: The sensuality of my books is pretty hot. It's edgy, realistic, perhaps a little primal. But there's a mix. Often there will be a scene where the characters come together and it's fast and furious. But there are other scenes that are full of emotion and intimacy, scenes that are about making love slowly, connecting with their partner.
Are love scenes challenging to write? Some are really challenging and I'll often rewrite them during revisions. It can be difficult to make sure it's a sensual journey rather than a string of action sequences with no feeling. I don't want readers to feel like a voyeur...unless that's the point of the story/scene. Some scenes are less challenging and seem to write themselves. They just flow from the fingertips and when you reread them, you're like, wow that's good. And those are the ones I wish for each time. Most of the scenes in Bitten In The Bayou were like that.
PNR: Stories of shapeshifters have long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel that characters with the ability to morph are such a popular theme with readers? As a writer, what is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Selena B.: I really don't know why they're so popular but my guess is that Shapeshifters can do something that most of us wish we could. Become someone else even for a brief time. It'd almost be like becoming a fly on a wall. Or in the case of werewolves, they have incredible power and senses. It can be hard going through life wondering what others think of you, wondering if that special someone is attracted to you. Those added senses could really help out in those situations. Mind reading, increased scent, sight, and hearing.
Part of my attraction to Shapeshifters is my belief in the unbelievable. The impossible. Another part is I just love the heroes. I find ShapeShifter males are often Alphas. So strong, capable, protective. What woman wouldn't love that?
PNR: Just for fun; if you could shapeshift into any creature, what would it be?
Selena B.: A tiger. Beautiful, exotic and powerful creatures. Plus I think I'm naturally cat-like. :)
PNR: You have written in the paranormal genre and have upcoming romantic suspense releases; which has been your favorite? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Selena B.: I know it sounds so typical to say that I like them both, but I really do. If I had to pick I'd say the romantic suspense because it's such a departure from everything I normally write and read. It really makes my heart race, and I like that. Which is why you'll see more suspenseful elements in my paranormals.
I'm trying my hand at BDSM right now. I'm particularly interested in the mentality behind Domination and submission. What makes someone want to become one or the other? Would it be possible to change? The heroine in that book isn't just the type to sit around and be submissive all the time. She's challenging and intelligent. So it's a fun ride, no pun intended.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Selena B.: The Cajun's Captive and Bitten In the Bayou are currently available from Cobblestone Press. The third book in the series, Bound and Determined will be available soon. Sorry, I don't have an exact date yet. Then, in the winter, The Wine Tasting will be released. That's my first contribution to the Stolen series. I'm signed up to write 2 of the seven books, so I'll have one more to write. Then I have books 4 and 5 of the Stormy Weather series that will be out later this year.
PNR: Thank you, Selena, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Selena B.: Thank you so much for all your thought provoking questions! I have a website that I invite everyone to visit: http://www.selena-blake.com. I have a coming soon page on there and a newsletter that I send out about once a month. There's a contact form on my website, along with a guestbook and I'm also on myspace, bebo, facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc. So I try to make myself available.
August 29, 2008
Stormy Weather: Book 3
Violet is the only woman Laurent has ever loved. But she disappeared from his life over two hundred years ago. He has nothing left to live for until he wakes up chained to the bed of a woman who is Violet's twin in every way except the most important one.
She doesn't remember him. In fact, she's been hired to kill him. He's not afraid of death, but he is afraid of losing her again. Can he awaken long forgotten memories before its too late?~~
July 11, 2008
Stormy Weather: Book 2
Jules and Andre Deveraux have been hired to find wildlife photographer Angelica Humphrey. She's lost somewhere in the Louisiana bayou and there’s a hurricane brewing.
Angelica has never met anyone like Jules or Andre and she's instantly attracted. But she doesn't have time to act on her desire because she has to get away from the ex-boyfriend who stalks her.
They take her back to their cabin, offering her protection and shelter from the storm. But Angelica quickly finds herself falling under their spell and they happily show her that if one Deveraux is good, two are infinitely better.
June 13, 2008
Stormy Weather: Book 1
After centuries of solitude the stars are finally aligned just right. The handsome Deveraux brothers of Louisiana are going to meet their match this Hurricane Season.
Sebastian Deveraux is the Alpha of his pack and like all the Deveraux men, he's sexy as pure sin. He's waited for decades for just the right woman. For his mate. And ten years ago he'd been sure he'd found her in Amanda St. James. But she'd run from him.
Now she's back. He'll do anything to keep her. Even if it means chaining her to his bed.~~ Featured in this issue: ~Shapeshifter Romance ~Immortals Contest Interviews with: C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp Selena Blake Kendra Leigh Castle Virginia Kantra Noelle Mack Terry Spear Hot Spot Jacquelyn Frank
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