Please welcome Sandy Williams to Short & Sweet Reviews. Sandy Williams is the author of The Shadow Reader, and her second novel The Shattered Dark just recently released everywhere books are sold.
Hi Sandy! Welcome to Short & Sweet Review, thank you for being here today! :D
Thanks so much for having me, Van!
Can you give a short description of the McKenzie Lewis series for those who haven’t read it yet?
Sure! The Shadow Reader books are about McKenzie Lewis, a human who not only has the ability to see the fae, but she can track them when they fissure (teleport) from place to place by reading the shadows their fissures leave behind. The fae found her when she was sixteen years old, and she’s been working for the fae king for the past ten years. She’s tried to balance her life as shadow reader with her life as a college student, but that’s failing miserably. Then, in THE SHADOW READER, McKenzie is abducted by rebels who are determined to overthrow the king. THE SHATTERED DARK deals with the ramifications from the ending of the first book, and things get tougher for McKenzie when she learns that Paige - her best friend who can't see the fae and doesn't know of their existence - has been pulled into the war.
Was it harder to write the second book, or easier since foundation for the world and characters were already laid down?
Oh, so much harder! It wasn’t the book’s fault. When I wrote The Shadow Reader, I had no distractions at all. I wrote the majority of it in a tiny apartment outside of London because my husband was working over there at the time. Fast forward a couple of years later, though, and not only were we back home in Texas (with laundry and home maintenance and a part time job and all sorts of other responsibilities), but I was pregnant for the first time and with twins! For the first three months of the pregnancy, I was too sick to do anything but lay on the couch. The last three months, due to a condition called PUPPs and another condition called cholestasis, I didn’t sleep more than a couple of scattered hours a night. That’s all right for a week or two, but three months of no sleep is not good. I couldn’t function. So, most of THE SHATTERED DARK was written after I delivered. Writing a book with new born twins wasn’t easy either, but I did it! Hurray!
McKenzie didn’t do a lot of physical fighting in the previous book; will we see her busting-a-move in the Shattered Dark? ;)
McKenzie knows her limitations. She knows that she doesn’t really stand a chance in a fight against a fae, who have spent their whole lives sparring with each other. But she doesn’t back down from a fight if there’s no other way out, or if the people she loves are threatened. She does what needs to be done. That said, she does find herself in more and more situations where she and others are in danger, and while she’ll never be an ace swordswoman, her skills do improve.
Without revealing anything from book 2, what was your favorite scene to write?
Gah. This question is so hard to answer! The second book is pretty action packed, and I love so many of those scenes. I’m also quite fond of the ending, though the ending certainly… complicates things. I guess, at this moment, my favorite scene is in Rhigh. McKenzie is pissed at a certain fae, but she has to have his help to escape the city. There’s some banter, a ridiculous plan, and then there’s the point when that plan goes to hell. It was so much fun to write!
If your series were made into a television show or a movie, who can you see playing McKenzie, Kyol, and Aren?
Okay. Maybe this is the hardest question to answer. LOL. It’s easy to find people who look like McKenzie, Kyol, and Aren, but it’s much more difficult to find people who look and act like them. So, I guess I’ll just answer based on looks.
For McKenzie, Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries.
For Kyol, Bradley Cooper when he’s super serious and sexy. It’s kind of a bad match, though, because he’s not usually serious, and he has a gorgeous smile. And since Kyol isn’t full of smiles, I don’t think Bradley Cooper could actually do a good job playing him. Does that make sense?
For Aren, a slightly older Taylor Kitsch is almost a perfect match.
What is your writing routine like?
When I’m not behind on my deadline (which is, like, never), I write three days a week. I have a part-time nanny watch the boys, then I leave the house around 9:30 and head to my local Target, sit in the Starbucks there, and write until about 3:00pm on a good day. At 3, I force myself to go to the gym so I can be home by 4, take a shower, then watch the boys and cook dinner. Since I’m already behind on book three’s deadline, the nanny comes out four days a week, I oftentimes skip the gym (bad Sandy!), and I work Saturday mornings. This is much better than what I had to do last year when I was so, so far behind on THE SHATTERED DARK. I wrote every day, and at all hours of the day to try to get that book shiny. My husband took off work to watch the boys and my mom and mother in law stayed with me to give us extra help, too. It was craaaaazy!
Tell us three interesting things about yourself that can’t be found in your biography section.
1. I was a Star Wars junkie in junior high and early high school. I even skipped school to watch The Phantom Menace when it came out. Sadly, the prequels kind of ruined the movies for me. I still love the story and many of the books that came out afterward (the Heir to the Empire trilogy was great!), but I can’t get that damn Jar Jar Binks out of my head.
2. I used to show horses when I was in junior high. I did showmanship, English pleasure, western pleasure, and had just started a tiny bit of jumping when I sort of grew out of that phase.
3. Rolos are my favorite candy. :-)
What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?
I’m dying to finish the science fiction romance I have halfway written. I love that story so much! Think of it as an urban fantasy set in space with lots of flirtation and kissing and things blowing up. It’s going to be great!
Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
Read. Reading my favorite authors taught me everything I know about writing.
Finish this statement: You’ll enjoy The Shattered Dark if you like…
You’ll enjoy The Shattered Dark if you like stories that are packed with action, deceit, and an excruciating romance.
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All time favorite movie?
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Coke or Pepsi?
Favorite Paranormal Creature?
E-reader or physical book?
Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising newborn twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.
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