Today I’m excited to welcome Shannon Butcher, who will be releasing her next Sentinel Wars novel, Falling Blind, on Tuesday.
A beautiful, independent Theronai, Rory Rainey knows that her attempts to be a warrior are futile—unless she can stop the demonic visions that torment her. Determined to be free, Rory sets out to find the mysterious guardian who can cure her, before she loses her sight—or her life. But Rory’s journey brings its own dangers when she is attacked by a pack of Synestryn sent by the demon lord Raygh.
Cornered and desperate, Rory narrowly escapes with the help of a sword-wielding stranger. Cain knows that Rory needs his protection to survive, just as he knows that her power is compatible with his own. And when Rory binds herself to Cain, the warrior knows he will do anything to keep her safe from the threat of the demon lord that pursues her…
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a signed copy of Dying Wish plus a personally handmade piece of jewelry to one lucky winner!
Literary Escapism: For those of my readers unfamiliar with Falling Blind, can you give us a brief look at your Sentinel Wars world and what readers can look forward to? Something we haven’t seen yet?
Shannon Butcher: The Sentinel War series is a big, dark paranormal world with a large cast of characters. Three ancient, powerful races are locked in a war with evil forces that are trying to break through the gateway to another world the Sentinels are sworn to protect. After years of fighting a losing battle, hope arrives in the form of a woman who is able to tap into the power that Theronai males possess, but that they are unable to access or control.
Falling Blind is the seventh book in the series. It revisits a woman introduced in Blood Hunt, Rory Rainey, who has been seeing through the eyes of others since she was a child. Those visions have been getting worse and if she doesn’t find a cure soon, she fears she’ll become blind.
Cain has lost nearly everything important to him. His best friends have died, his ward has grown up and left him feeling lost, and the one chance he thought he had for salvation slipped through his fingers. When Rory comes into his life in need of help, he has no choice but to act on that sense of purpose and do whatever he can to aid her cause, whether or not she wants his help.
LE: Why Rory Rainey and Cain? What was it about them that drew you to tell their story? How does their story compare to those of previous couples from the series?
SKB: Rory and Cain are great together and were so much fun to write! He’s all uptight and serious, and was in desperate need of having his world rocked a little. Rory was just the girl to do the job. From the moment she stepped onto the page in book five, I knew she was going to be more than enough woman to keep him on his toes.
LE: Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that we’ll be meeting or who will play an important role to/for Rory and/or Cain? Was there any character that didn’t make as big of an impact on the story that you thought they would? Was there a character who stayed on the page longer than you thought they would?
SKB: One of the Sanguinar, Ronan, played a vital role in this story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but his involvement gave me a chance to introduce a character whose spunk and attitude surprised me. I knew she was going to be one of those characters who was larger than life, but I hadn’t expected her to be quite so colorful.
LE: What was your inspiration when you created your characters and the worlds they live in? How did you determine how they were going to interact with each other? Are any of your characters modeled off anyone you know?
SKB: I think the majority of my inspiration comes from being a nerd. I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy novels, which are filled with elaborate worlds and vivid characters. In addition to that, I’m a gamer, so I often spend hours with friends each week playing various tabletop role-playing games. The world building and character development that kind of thing involves is a great exercise in creativity.
As far as how I figure out how the characters interact with each other, that’s the easy part. I create the characters first, complete with histories, goals, quirks and plenty of baggage. You put a couple of people like that together and the interaction takes care of itself.
I don’t model whole characters off of real people, but I do tend to borrow details I see when people-watching and mash them together in interesting ways.
LE: Was there any particular legend or mythology that you came across that was the root of inspiration for the Sentinel Wars that was used more than others or was there a wide source?
SKB: A lot of the Sentinels mythology is just stuff I pulled out of my brain soup, which is a sloppy mix of ideas that have been shoved in my head since I was a kid. My intent was to loosely (very loosely) base it on druidic magic, but I was more interested in creating a world that would be a rich environment for paranormal romances than I was with sticking to any one set of beliefs.
LE: Since creating your world in Burning Alive, has there been anything you’ve regret starting or wish you had started sooner? Was there something that worked out great in Burning Alive, but now you wish you had done differently?
SKB: Mostly, I just wish that I’d waited to finish writing the whole series before letting it see the light of day. I feel like my writing has improved since that first book, and I’d love another chance to go back and revise it one more time. Sadly, it’s the nature of the beast to never truly feel like any story is ever perfect. That’s just one of those things that writers have to accept, but it definitely chafes against the engineer part of me that wants everything to be perfect.
LE: Was there any part of the Sentinel Wars world that you would like to expand on in the future? Is there anything that could have been more expanded, for instance storyline wise?
SKB: There’s always room for expansion in a world like the Sentinels. The challenge is keeping it contained enough that the series can end without leaving any threads dangling. That’s why I planned the whole thing from the beginning—I’d read too many fantasy series that seemed to keep growing and growing without any end in sight, and I didn’t want that for my own work.
LE: Does your mood ever affect the direction that your stories take? Has any of your characters gone through more/less grief than you had planned? How do you separate your imaginary world from real life and vice versa?
SKB: Since I planned the direction of the series from the beginning, my mood doesn’t really play a role in that part. I suppose it could affect minor details, but for the most part, I find that I fall into the story as planned and the emotions the characters are feeling kind of take over. On the days that I have to write a heavily emotional or bleak scene, it can cling after I’ve walked away from the keyboard if I’m not consciously making an effort to leave work behind.
LE: When you’re not writing, what are you reading? Have you found an author that’s new to you or one that the rest of the world really needs to find? Is there a certain niche in the fantasy genre that you prefer to escape to? If so, why that one or if not, why not?
SKB: I tend to read both paranormal and suspense, leaning toward the romance side of the aisle. I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like, so I often pick up books that are recommended by friends. I’m so far behind on my TBR pile, things that are new to me are probably old news to most people. But if you hear of any good reads, I’m always open to suggestions. ?
LE: And my favorite question to ask…Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
SKB: I wish I’d been the first person to think of vampires as the sexy romance hero type. It was such a great twist on a gruesome villain, and one that I think helped make the paranormal romance genre what it is today.
Meet Shannon Butcher!
A lot of authors knew they wanted to write books from the time they were little. Their heads were full of fanciful stories that they yearned to commit to paper with a passion that only grew as they did. They spent hours reading fiction, voraciously absorbing every kind of story they could get their hands on.
Shannon was not one of them.
When she was little, she wanted to be a daddy. When she learned the anatomical improbability of that happening, she decided instead to become what her dad was: an Industrial Engineer. So that’s what she did. She never once changed majors or veered from her path. After she graduated, she went to work for a big telecom company earning a steady paycheck while her husband, Jim Butcher, pursued his dream to become a published author.
Thank you Shannon for taking the time to stop by Literary Escapism!
Shannon is giving away a signed copy of Dying Wish plus a personally handmade piece of jewelry. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: What do you think happened to Cricket’s memory? How do you think she lost it? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
The contest will stay open until April 8th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from this snazzy plug-in that I have.