Shona’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read your genre to see what is currently selling, but also read widely. Be a magpie and learn from other genres.
Shona Husk is the author of more than 40 books that range from sensual to scorching, and cover the contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance genres. Her most recent series are Face the Music, Blood and Silver and Annwyn. As well as writing romance she also writes sci-fi for the Takamo Universe game and urban fantasy under anther pen name.
She lives in Western Australia and when she isn’t writing or reading she loves to cook, cross stitch and research places she’d one day like to travel.
You can find out more at www.shonahusk.com
Why do you write?
I’ve always made up stories. They used to be just to entertain myself, but while I was on maternity leave I started writing them down. It was about three years before I got serious about wanting to be published. Even now I write the stories I’m interested in and that I want to read—I have to because I spend so long working on them.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?
I’d probably still be a civil designer (designing roads, drainage and sewerage infill etc), and I’d probably have more free time for my other hobbies like cross stitch. However, I’d still be a reader and I’d still be making up stories to entertain myself.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?
When I started writing it was time (I had babies) and a lack of knowledge. It was taking me 12-18 months to write a novel and I couldn’t learn about story arc and character development when it was taking so long. I switched to writing novellas (I was already reading novellas because I didn’t have the time for novels) and it all came together. The next novel I wrote then sold (the other two live in a cupboard).
How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations?
I fill out a cover art form then the publishers take over. Edits are always a negotiation, but most of the time I agree, or I look to see what they are trying to achieve and find a way to do it if I don’t agree with their suggestion. Everyone is trying to make the best book they can. For my self-published books I generally get a premade cover. I have a few sites that I search and I find something suitable that conveys the mood and genre of the book.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life?
I love plotting and researching. Creating the characters and their world is so much fun.
The final page proofs. By the time I get them I’m sick of the book, yet at the same time it is the last chance to catch mistakes so there is pressure involved.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer?
I would pick a sub-genre and stick with it. While I write romance I write in several sub-genres (contemporary, paranormal, sci fi and fantasy). For branding I think sticking with one sub-genre would’ve been more effective.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author?
Getting published isn’t the hardest part nor is it the end. Staying published and marketing are hard work.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
Stories are all about conflict and the conflict has to keep escalating.
“Remember to be wild,” Orabella’s mother would say.
But her mother is dead and Orabella’s days are taken up with chores for the small estate that barely keeps her stepmother and stepsisters fed.
Then an invitation arrives. The King is throwing a three-day party for the Prince, a last attempt to find a cure for the curse that will claim him on his twentieth birthday. The witch who saves Gauthier will get his hand in marriage and will eventually become queen.
Orabella is forbidden from going to the party even though everyone is invited. She wants to see the castle and the Cursed Prince. This time she refuses to obey her stepmother.
As Orabella discovers the secrets of her past and the truth about her mother and the prince’s curse, she learns that no one is to be trusted and not everyone wants the prince to survive.