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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
To submit articles of interest to our readers Email Barbara.

September 2002

Making Our Fanatasies a Magical Reality!


Shannah Biondine

A native of Los Angeles, California, Shannah Biondine is an active member of several writer organizations, including Romance Writers of America and EPPRO. She resides in Ventura County with her husband and two children. Her background includes a stint in magazine publishing, operating a resume service for several years, serving as Past President of the Los Angeles chapter of RWA, and as a regular contributor to author-network.com.

"People fascinate me," she says. "I've always been an avid fiction reader. I love quirky characters, people so real I'd like to run across them in everyday life." She's somewhat apologetic about humor in her books. "Even when I thought I was writing a dark or sober tale, some character would toss out a great quip. I've given up trying to deny the funny part of my inner muse and instead let it take the reins."

Shannah has a number of historical and paranormal romances in release by several independent publishers.


An Interview with Shannah Biondine

PNR: What inspired you to write romance novels?

Shannah B.: For a long time I'd thought about writing a book--more specifically, a novel. I read all kinds of fiction, but romance became the main addiction. One day I read a historical romance by one of my favorite authors and was sadly disappointed. I thought, boy, that wasn't a very good story. I could do better than that! And a wicked little inner voice whispered, "Prove it." I'm still trying.

PNR: You’ve written several historical romances prior to releasing SHADOW IN STARLIGHT, what made you decide to try your hand at fantasy romance?

Shannah B.:
It wasn't a conscious decision. My muse led me there. I'd been tryingto write a standard medieval romance for almost four years and something about the book just wasn't working. One day I took a long hard objective look at what and why, and I realized that the feudal period had been captured very well in the dozens of medievals I'd read by the great romance authors. I didn't want another castle siege or ransom story, but historical accuracy seemed to limit the plot choices. Then I realized I didn't have to be accurate. The book didn't have to be set in feudal England. It could be a world of my making, with a social structure and rules of my choosing...in other words, a fantasy.

Once I accepted that, why stop with just the social order or mores? I could bring in other elements, strange customs and creatures, magic...the fun began.

PNR: SHADOW IN STARLIGHT takes place in a medieval setting. The heroine, Moreya Fa Yune of the tale is the daughter of the Glacian king’s late ambassador. Can you give the readers some background on Glacia, and the death of the ambassador.

Shannah B.:
Glacia is a realm of perpetual cold and high altitude, surrounded by a ring of mountains. Because its main citadel and royal castle is located within this ring, it's reasonably defensible--yet various rulers have occupied its throne, sometimes taking places there through bloodshed and political upheaval. This is why Moreya's father, Anthaal Fa Yune, was so important. He had the amazing chameleon ability to blend in, accept the strange or alien, and was extremely likeable as a person. He traveled to other lands establishing trade pacts and alliances so hopefully his king would not face attacks by outside factions.

PNR: Moreya’s mother had been a Yune woman, making her half Glacian, half Yune. What characteristics do the Yune possess?

Shannah B.:
Yune people have fleshtones like fruit: peach, apricot, plum, apples. Their eyes are often the colors of jewels and their hair is naturally a similar shade. Its strands are translucent. So one might easily find a Yune woman with peachy skin and eyes and hair like garnets, clear and shiny. The women's striking looks are said to enchant men of other races (Yune males being rather immune, since they also have these jeweltone complexions) and many of other races believe that Yune females bind men with physical allure alone.

PNR: In an audience with the king, Moreya receives a shock. Her late father had been negotiating a marriage for her. Why is the news so shocking? What does she learn that makes it plainly distasteful as well?

Shannah B.:
Moreya was very close to her father emotionally, her mother having died years before, and though he did travel often they also talked whenever he returned home. She felt he would have forewarned her of a plan to seek a match for her. She cannot believe he was able to sign a marriage contract with someone of royal blood since she is not from a royal line herself. And she later comes to suspect the Prince Regent wants her only for a pretty bauble, to produce a similarly pretty heir. Then he will never have relations with her again after she serves her purpose as brood mare.

PNR: Kaelan Preece, a warrior known as the King’s Blade or the Warmonger, is assigned to escort her to her bridegroom. In spite of his skills and service to the king he is shunned by the masses. He is Waniand, the last of a dying breed. Public opinion forces him to shroud himself, to avoid ridicule. Tell us about
Kaelen. Why is he the perfect man to be Moreya’s bodyguard on this journey?

Shannah B.:
In the various realms of my tale, skin prejudice is reversed. Obvious pigment is viewed as desirable, and people who lack this are scorned, discriminated against, and in the case of the Waniand race, even refiled. Preece hides his face and head because anyone can tell in an instant that he is the lowest race.

Part of the reason Waniands are so feared an universally distrusted is their males are not like other races of human males when it comes to procreation. Waniand males do not have congress with females on a whim. They go into "rutting season," when they are driven by biological imperatives to find females and mate almost incessantly. However, when not in rut, a Waniand male has almost no interest in sex. Thus, the king decides a Waniand knight is the ideal escort, a man who won't be tempted by Moreya's Yune beauty.

PNR: The rumors swirling around Preece only serve to whet Moreya’s curiosity? She is not one to sit in judgment of another. She has a secret affliction of her own? How has this affected her life?

Shannah B.:
The rumors Moreya overhears at court about Preece are stories so wild as to be inconceivable. Her father has raised her to be openminded and not prejudge, but she doubts such incredible tales of a misshapen beast can be true. Yet she does know that some truth may be at the bottom of any rumor. She has been raised in virtual isolation from others for a good reason. Her lack of experience makes her naive in terms of social skills. She doesn't openly shun Waniand because she hasn't been raised in the formal world of courtly balls and gatherings. She really doesn't know any better. And she knows how it feels to be different, misunderstood.

PNR: Proximity eventually reveals Preece’s true nature. What is Moreya’s reaction to the reality? How does Preece handle her reaction?

Shannah B.:
Moreya, of course, cannot understand the social prejudice that causes Preece to expect the worst. She doesn't understand why he tries to disguise his appearance and bloodline. She has never thought of herself as anywhere near as well favored as her pure Yune mother was. Outward appearance is almost insignificant to Moreya, so she continues to accept Preece even after his truth is revealed--which is all the more inconceivable to him. He has never known someone of noble birth to react this way to his Waniand heritage. She both intrigues and infuriates him.

PNR: Though they both know her forth coming marriage is nothing more than a farce, her pleas to be release falls on deaf ears. What causes him to change his mind?

Shannah B.:
He knows that to defy the king's direct edict is treason. He realized Moreya is unhappy with the match, but he continues to view her as a spoiled ambassador's daughter who doesn't understand she can't choose her husband or her fate. His opinion is swayed by additional information and his own unbidden attraction to her.

PNR: This event clues Preece in on the real reason the Glacian king had chosen Moreya for this particular union. How does he react to the revelation?

Shannah B.:
Preece comes to view Moreya as a secret weapon of the corrupt Glacian king. He knows she's completely unaware of what lies ahead, but the pieces of the puzzle make sense to him. He's been drawn to her more than he wanted to admit and now he has the perfect excuse to revise their travel plan.

PNR: There seem to be any number of people meddling in their fate, a foreign queen who desires an heir from a son with unnatural proclivities, the greedy Glacian king, who wishes only to extend his powers, and the sorcerer who raised an orphaned Wanian boy and has guided his destiny ever since. Tell us about the
sorcerer? How does Preece react to his meddling?

Shannah B.:
Bourke, the sorcerer, is an interesting character. At times seeming benign and loving, at times making the reader question his motives, as Preece does. Preece becomes convinced that Bourke has created Moreya out of some kind of spell, a beautiful woman who seems to want him and cling to him, as Bourke's way of drawing Preece into a battle he doesn't wish to fight. What I have found most interesting as the story's author is the reaction of some readers to Bourke's role in the story. I saw him as a pivotal secondary character but fairly unimportant. He does not affect everyone that way. Several readers had very strong and lasting reactions to meeting the wizard.

PNR: The ending should convince anyone that the heart has eyes of its own. Do you foresee writing more romances containing paranormal elements in the future? What is next for Shannah Biondine?

Shannah B.:
I realized after the release of "Shadow in Starlight" that many of my works have had paranormal influences. This was one book where I gave that part of my muse free reign, and perhaps that's where Shannah was meant to go. I've since completed a ghost romance set in 1880's San Francisco and am currently working on a novel of suspense that deals with reincarnation.

Double Dragon Publishing has just acquired "Twilight Crossings," an anthology of speculative fiction. It features novellas by Jeanne Allen, Jeanine Berry, and
Sheri McGathy, as well as my contribution, "Eidolon." It's an Old West story with a devilish twist, as this time the town's newest drifter is female. She just happens to be Lucifer's youngest sister, and she's come to win a bet.

I'd never collaborated with other authors before, and thoroughly enjoyed working with Jeanne, Sheri, and Jeanine. The theme is one of strange worlds/mystical places, and each story contains a pivotal scene which takes place at twilight. Other than that common thread, they couldn't be more different--in terms of settings, time periods, flavor. Everything from fairytale light to darkly wicked humor. It was quite an interesting project!

"Twilight Crossings" is slated for E release in January with the paperback version to follow in Feb/March 2003.

Website

 Books


NEW!


Buy it now!

LTDBooks
April 2001
E-book
ISBN Disk: 1553160371
ISBN Rocket: 1553169670
Paperback
February 8, 2002
ISBN: 1553165284

SHADOW IN STARLIGHT - The shadow. A Waniand mercenary, cowled in black, dark and forbidding. Preece the Warmonger, also called the Royal Blade. Rumors about him suggest the creature beneath the black cowl is not entirely human.

Starlight. A woman of bright gentian tresses and rare beauty, promised in marriage to the prince regent of another realm. Given in wedlock not as a cherished prize but as a secret weapon meant to topple the reigning monarchy...Unless the Warmonger can find a way to prevent the marriage, even if it means risking both their lives in an act of outright treason. Even if it means losing Moreya herself, his memory, his very reason for living.

Yet Destiny has waited for just this turn in the wheel of time and human events. A prophecy must be fulfilled, the future of ancient bloodlines secured. Preece must return to reclaim all he once lost - including Moreya, the Yune beauty with the trusting innocence of a child and the courageous heart of a dragon.

Historical Romance

CACHET
Bookmice

October 1, 2000

Currently Available
Free PFD Download
Email Shannah

IMPASSIONED VAGABOND
New Concepts Pub.

E-Book
May 2000
ISBN: 1586080679

Print Version
Decenber 2001
ISBN: 1586084674

IMPASSIONED STRANGER
New Concepts Pub.

August 2001
E-book
ISBN: 1586082744

Print Version
August 2002
ISBN: 1586086170

HELL'S BELLE
Puff Adder Books

November 2001
ISBN 1904030211

Note: Shannah's titles are now available from Mystique Books

 

 

Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with :
Jennifer Archer
Shannah Biondine
Kathleen Nance
Jan Zimlich

 

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.


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