Joining Curiosity Quills for another edition of our Author Spotlight: Question & Answer Coloumn, is Melissa McShane, author of newly released Regency-Era fantasy novel, WONDERING SIGHT which hit Amazon on January 19, 2017!
In the comments, please join us in asking Melissa anything you’d like to know about writing, her new book, and life in Riverton, Utah. Or you know, just throw something completely random at her to keep her on her toes!
Who are you and where do you call home right now?
I’m Melissa McShane and I write fantasy and historical fantasy. I live in Utah with my husband, four children, and three very needy cats.
Tell us about your latest book: one of your inspirations for it, how you got through your most difficult challenge in writing it, and what you love about it?
Wondering Sight was inspired partly by the book The First English Detectives, by J.M. Beattie, about the Bow Street Runners. They ended up playing less of a role than I’d originally envisioned, but developing them as they would operate in the alternate history world of Wondering Sight shaped the story. My biggest challenge was when I’d written about four or five chapters and realized the story was all wrong—the setting, the plot, everything but the main character. I had to go back to the beginning and do some more writing about Sophia, who she was and what motivated her, and that steered me in the right direction. So what I love about it is Sophia and her determination to get revenge on the man who tried to destroy her. She’s maybe difficult to love, but I hope readers will sympathize with her.
What are a few of your hobbies?
I’m an avid gamer and play in two role-playing groups each week, one with friends and one with my family. I love crafts, particularly cross-stitch and painting fantasy miniatures. I’m especially fond of crafts that let me listen to an audiobook while I’m working.
If you had your own food truck, what would it serve?
Fish tacos. I can never get enough of fish tacos.
What do you want to get better at doing, writing-wise?
I want to be better at setting description. One of my best-kept secrets is that I have virtually no sense of smell, so I forget to put in the smell details unless I’m reminded. I would like setting to come as effortlessly as some of the other aspects of my writing.
What TV series are you into right now and why?
I really love superhero shows. My favorite is The Flash—I love what they’ve done with the characters and with examining the possibilities of his powers.
What movie do you quote the most?
Probably The Princess Bride. Though in my family, we’re always quoting that line from Galaxy Quest: “Is there AIR? You don’t know!” I don’t know why that’s so often relevant.
What do you collect, even a little bit? Tell us about your favorite one.
I collect bells and have done since I was a teen. My friends and family give them to me from all over the world. My favorite one is a metal bell inscribed with Chinese characters that my brother brought back from Taiwan. It was hanging in a taxi cab, and when my brother told the driver how I would think it was cool, the driver gave it to him. So it has the most colorful history.
What’s your preferred genre of book when you just want to escape?
I read more fantasy than I do anything else. My favorite fantasy author when I need to escape is Terry Pratchett. I’ve read some of the Discworld novels a dozen times.
What do you like to do on vacation?
I like to rent a nice suite or apartment and go out and explore the city, then come back and write about it. Or work on a novel. I’m never not writing.
Is there another genre you’ve been itching to write in?
I’ve been thinking about writing a mystery, maybe one set in Regency times.
What unusual object do you like to bring with you if you leave the house?
I don’t know how unusual it is, but I always take an umbrella even if it doesn’t look like rain. Since I live in the desert, I guess that makes it more unusual.
If you had a champion racing pigeon, what would you name it and what would its tagline be?
The Flying Rat—Scavenging Is Just a Sideline
Finally, give us one recommendation for something - movie, TV, game, fod - that you enjoyed recently.
I loved the movie Arrival. It’s got a very slow pace, but I found it intense and compelling, with plenty of suspense. And it has a wonderful twist to it.
About Wondering Sight
Sophia Westlake is an Extraordinary Seer, gifted with the ability to see past, present and future in Dreams and Visions. Her talent led to the destruction of the Caribbean pirates plaguing England’s shipping and gained her renown and the accolades of her peers. But when she accuses a prominent politician, Lord Endicott, of embezzling from the Army, her Dream is “proved” false and she is disgraced, her reputation ruined and her career in the Army’s War Office over. Humiliated, Sophia returns to London, but Lord Endicott follows her, intent on making her life increasingly miserable. Furious and desperate, Sophia takes the only course left to her: she sets out to discover Lord Endicott’s criminal enterprises, to expose him as the fraud he is and bring him to justice.
Sophia’s allies are few, but loyal. Cecy, her best friend, supports Sophia in her quest, while her cousin Lady Daphne, an irrepressible Extraordinary Bounder, is always ready for a challenge that will strike at Lord Endicott’s heart. And always watching her is the mysterious Mr. Rutledge, who claims to be interested in Sophia’s friendship—and possibly more than that—but who has an agenda of his own.
But as Sophia delves deeper into prophetic Dreams, Cecy and Daphne begin to fear for Sophia’s health and sanity. Driven to collapse by her frequent Dreaming, Sophia is forced to reevaluate her motives: does she want Lord Endicott brought to justice, or is it revenge she seeks? As Sophia draws closer to the secret of Lord Endicott’s criminal enterprise, a counterfeiting ring, his torment of Sophia increases, until the two are bound together by their respective obsessions. Though Sophia insists she is in control, her friends fear she is turning into the man she most hates.
Sophia’s Dreams and Visions are leading her to just one place: the destruction of Lord Endicott. But the cost of her vengeance may be too high—and may demand the sacrifice of her own life.
The next installment awaits...Author Spotlight Question and Answer: Bob Defendi