I was honored to take part in the eFestival of Words today as a special guest! I took part in the Diversity in Writing panel, and an Author Q&A Chat!
Thank you to the eFestival of Words for having me as a guest, and thank you to Robert Dahlen of Monkey Queen Books for showing up and helping keep me afloat! This was my first such event, so I really appreciated it!
Here’s a few highlights of the Q&A! You can find the rest on the eFestival of Words forum!
Moderator: Shei if you would like to start with a little introduction of yourself
SheiDarksbane: Hi! I’m Shei Darksbane. I’m a lesbian author of geeky urban fantasy series Auralight Codex: Dakota Shepherd. My Main character is a lesbian, but my series is meant to be accessible to anyone who likes Urban Fantasy, not just people who are into LGBT topics. I co-create with my wife, Annathesa Nikola Darksbane, and I write one series, she writes another. Her series is Starlight Saga, starting with Destiny Abounds, and it will be out September 1st-ish. Hers is Space Opera. So we generally write LGBT SciFi and Fantasy! :3
My first book, Awakened, is currently #1 in LGBT Fantasy, and the second book released yesterday! I’m super excited, and thank you all for coming to chat with me!
MonkeyQueenBooks: So where did the inspiration for Dakota come from? How much do you have in common with her?
SheiDarksbane: Funny story actually! I never wanted to write Dakota in the first place. (She’s my FAVORITE character now so this is funny.) My wife actually came up with the concept for the story. She wanted to try her hand at creating a solid Urban Fantasy story and she wanted me to just make up a character (ordinary person) and roll with her idea. So I did. I had no idea what Dakota was going to be other than a geeky, snarky, dyslexic lesbian until she hit me with the big BAM moment of “You’re a werewolf!”
As for common grounds, I’m also a lesbian, also a werewolf, and also geeky and snarky!
Er, I mean a lesbian and geeky. You saw nothing!
MonkeyQueenBooks: Wait, wait: You’re not snarky?
SheiDarksbane: I’ll let you decide that.
MonkeyQueenBooks: Did the story evolve from Dakota’s character, did you do the story first, or a bit of both?
SheiDarksbane: Actually, Anna had an idea for the story, and we talked it out like we always do. (Okay, we roleplay basically, but it’s not so much dice and such anymore. We used to do that a lot, but now we mostly just sit around talking out stories with a recorder on!) The story evolved *around* Dakota’s character as Anna adapted to her reactions and such. Interestingly, the first story we came up with actually encompassed Awakened and Hunted, but we ended up rearranging a few things because the story was better as two books. As a result, Awakened was totally re-written and adjusted to be a new story arc and the whole storyline ended up being new, so it totally evolved from Dakota’s character in the end!
Hunted, is more the original story idea Anna had, but we ended up moving it back a book so Dakota could have a better introductory phase. 🙂
Regina: That must be so fun to have someone you can bounce ideas off of like that for both of you!
SheiDarksbane: It is! We’ve been doing it a long time.
MonkeyQueenBooks: So you and your wife Anna collaborate on these books? How does that work?
SheiDarksbane: Oh yes, we do! It’s a lot like roleplaying games (ala pen & paper) just we kinda lost the dice for the most part a while back and now we just make a good story. But we get into character and chat out the scenes as if we were the characters. This is part of why I consider myself something like a “method actor” as writers go. 🙂
And for the most part, we decide on stories together (though sometimes, one of us really has the story part secretly controlled and the other is just playing out their characters), but it varies from series to series.
Sometimes we write sections in each other’s book, but it’s always edited over by the title author.
Then I write my series (I do the *writing* part, at least mostly!) and we edit each other. It especially helps when we need to know what the other’s character would say or do.
rjfuller5165: So you’re a “method writer”.
SheiDarksbane: I like to think so. 🙂
rjfuller5165: Apart from Dakota, cause that’s cheating, who is your favorite character [in your books]?
SheiDarksbane: That’s hard! I have such feels for these characters you know. 🙂 In Awakened, I think my favorite secondary character is Andrei. In Hunted, I think it’s Elisa. Though I had way too much fun writing Jack.
MonkeyQueenBooks: Yes! Andrei! I love that big lug!
SheiDarksbane: Glad you enjoyed him. Andrei is just fun all around.
rjfuller5165: I love the style of writing. It feels like I’m actually listening to someone telling me the story.
SheiDarksbane: Well, storytelling is really what I am trying to do. I want it to read like someone’s telling you a really interesting story. 🙂
MonkeyQueenBooks: But I have one piercing, penetrating question: If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
SheiDarksbane: I’ll go with a world tree. You know, mythical tree of life that makes up the core of the universe? Yup, that’s my reincarnation goal! Otherwise I would be a lunchbox tree, ala Return to Oz, I think. You know, in case “world tree” is taken.
MonkeyQueenBooks: Good answer!
Finally, I actually missed this in the chat (it didn’t print on my screen at all!) but I want to answer it here:
MonkeyQueenBooks: Are there any other authors, or creative people in general, you’d say inspired you and your work?
Absolutely! So many! But to name a few people who had a huge impact on the writing of this series, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Winter Pennington, Barbara Ann Wright, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, and so many more, including one especially awesome Robert Dahlen who has totally inspired me on a regular basis by cheering me on behind the scenes!
Well, that’s about it! I hope you enjoyed this little Q&A session. I’m all finished with the eFestival of Words, but it was fun to be involved and I look forward to participating in other events in the future! Keep an eye out for event announcements on our Facebook! You can also subscribe to the blog (separate from our mailing list) by clicking the feed button at the top of the page and adding us to your favorite feed reader!