Fang Friday is at it again with author Ally Shields, writer of the Guardian Witch series. Book 3 of the series Burning Both Ends, has just been released and I have to admit I’m drooling over the beautiful book cover! Thank you for taking the time to be with us today Ally.
How long have you been writing?
Like most authors, I’ve been writing stories in my head for most of my life. I put my first efforts on paper at the age of nine, when I wrote a horse story about Golden King, a palomino stallion. I’ve dabbled in other manuscripts throughout the years, but I didn’t start writing full time until 2009. I have written 5-7 days per week since then.
Do you have a blueprint you follow when beginning a book?
It depends on what you mean by blueprint. I don’t start with an outline. The main character comes first, then the setting. The other characters and plot fill in around those two. I try to envision what types of things my MC would do and what obstacles he or she would find.
Has your family ever read your books?
My family has been very supportive. My grown sons (and their wives) not only read my books, but my son David often brainstorms with me when I run into plot snags. My brother and sister-in-law read their first urban fantasy when my debut book was published, and my cousin bought a kindle just so he could read it!
Is there a message in your books for readers?
Strange that you should ask that. I didn’t intend to do anything except entertain, but readers say they find themes, i.e. loyalty, fairness, equality, overcoming obstacles. Those are the traits of my main character, Ari, who has a very strong sense of right and wrong.
Tell us a book that made an impact in your life.
Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Prior to reading his books, I read mostly mysteries and biographies, although I enjoyed many of the classic adventure novels, like The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood. Tolkien opened up a whole world of fantasy, where not everyone was human, and I loved it!
How much input do you have in your cover design?
Quite a bit. My publisher has each author complete a very detailed cover art form detailing what you would or wouldn’t like to see on your cover, what you would like to have emphasized, and asking you to list existing covers you like. Once a cover is worked up by the artist, it is sent to me for comments. My first cover was changed completely; the second had a minor change. I’ve been very thankful of the input that Etopia has allowed, but I try not to interfere with the artist’s concept as long as I think it fairly portrays the book.
Please tell us about your latest book release or the book you are currently working on.
I’m still excited that Burning Both Ends, the third book in my urban fantasy Guardian Witch series, was just released on July 19! The main character is Arianna Calin, a supernatural cop, who is also a fire witch. In this book she is caught between her loyalty to the vampire who has a piece of her heart and loyalty to her sworn duty and a missing werewolf friend. Whatever action she chooses could not only decide the fate of two men but also of the vampire and werewolf clans.
Book four in the series is already in edit and due out this fall. I am in the process of writing book five. I still find these characters as fascinating as I did with book one!
Ally Shields was born and raised in the Midwest, along the Mississippi River, the setting for her urban fantasy series. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time writing in 2009, and Awakening the Fire, the debut novel in her Guardian Witch series, was released in September 2012. Ally still lives within driving distance of the Mighty Mississippi with her Miniature Pinscher, Ranger. When not writing, reading, or visiting with family and friends, she loves to travel in the US and abroad (and would love to go back to Egypt). Way too often she can be found on Twitter.
Burning Both Ends Book Blurb:
Friend or lover. Life or death…
Supernatural cop Ari Calin arrives at the hostile Toronto vampire court with an ultimatum from the Riverdale vampires: Sebastian, Toronto’s vampire prince, must stop his unprovoked attacks—or else. Ari wasn’t expecting a fight, but even with vampire Andreas by her side, things get ugly fast. Toronto’s vampire world is in crisis, and Ari and Andreas find themselves surrounded by enemies.
Then Ari gets a call from the Magic Council ordering her home. Steffan, a good friend and leader of Riverdale’s werewolves, has gone missing during top secret wolf clan negotiations, and is believed to have been kidnapped—or killed.
Andreas can’t abandon the Toronto vampires, and Ari can’t leave him to face impossible odds alone. But neither can she disobey her orders from the Council, or leave her friend Steffan to be tortured and killed. Ari’s loyalties pull her in two directions—the closest thing to love she’s ever known on one side, and friendship and duty on the other. If she can stay alive long enough for the choice to matter…