Australian author Yolanda Sfetsos can be described as a wife, mother, writer, bibliophile, dreamer, animal lover, and lover of supernatural and all thing horror related. She was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about her current science fiction romance series Recast, NaNoWriMo, how far e-publishing has come, and her other series. You can learn more about Yolanda by visiting her website, or following her on twitter as @YolandaSfetsos or Goodreads.
Let’s get to the interview!
AJ: You’re currently working on your Recast series, the first two of which (Wither and Clash) are being reprinted from Samhain publishing. Tell us a little about this series, and what types of plot lines readers can expect. From reading the synopses of the novels, I know my first question is “What’s a ‘recast'”?
YS: Yes, I’m very excited about Samhain Publishing releasing these two books in print. The first book is called Wither and features a space cowboy and a feisty sheriff. The second book, Clash, is about a shape-shifter and a deadly female assassin.
The Recast are a race of shape-shifters from a forest moon called Sullen. They shift into shaggy wolves, but live most of their lives in their human form. However, if they allow their feral side to take over, they go nuts and lose all of their humanity. Their name is also used to advertise brutal arena fights, where abducted warriors from all over the galaxy are forced to fight to the death for the sake of entertainment for the wealthy.
The Recast world is set in a fictional galaxy where space travel is possible, and every story is somehow connected via the arena fights. There are a bunch of planets, space stations, and moons that are inhabited by different races. Each book tells a different couple’s story. The third book, Shiver, deals with a newly-turned vampire and a psychic, while the fourth (it’s called Dash and will be released next year) is about a robot and a kick-butt arena fighter. I want to write two more stories and a spin-off in this world, which will feature space pirates, pit fighters, royalty, and a gritty space station.
I love SciFi stories with heart. So telling my own, with a dash of the supernatural, is a lot of fun.
AJ: This series falls under the category of Science Fiction Romance. While you were writing it, did you find it was pretty easy to meld Science Fiction and Romance together, or did you find it was a challenge to mash up these two genres that readers might rarely find together in the bookstore?
YS: I actually found it very easy to meld both genres. Once I knew the world and started to create the characters, I realized that although each individual story focuses on the struggles of people trying to live their own lives—or sometimes barely survive—at the core of each instalment was a passionate love story.
This is my chance to write adventurous, fun stories with high stakes featuring unlikely couples with a lot of obstacles in their way. While also adding a little spice to their relationships.
YS: I’d love to tell you about my urban fantasy stories.
Sierra Fox is about a spook catcher from Sydney, Australia. She lives in an alternate version of my city, where ghosts exist and have rights but can’t be seen by everyone. It’s her job to locate and catch troublesome spooks and bring them in for sentencing. But her simple world changes the first time she confronts a demon and defeats it.
This is the 5-part series of how Sierra finds out her world contains a lot of other, darker creatures. She also learns a lot about family secrets, friendship, love, trust, and a destiny she had no idea about. Sierra’s last book will actually be available this October.
Alyce Kerr is a novella series about a faith healer who bound herself to a demon in order to gain the ability to heal people. The trilogy is about her being unhappy even after becoming rich and popular. All she wants is to overcome the endless torment, while trying to find a way to separate the demon from herself.
Both were a lot of fun to write, and inspired several spin-off ideas.
I love writing and reading this genre because it combines myth, legends, the supernatural, mystery, and horror all into one.
AJ: I’ve been enjoying your My Road to Publication series of blog posts. If you were to write a sequel to that series of posts, what additional information and adventures would you add?
YS: Thanks for reading the posts!
Well, when I wrote those posts several years ago, my writing path seemed to be headed in a different direction. If I was going to add anything now, I would talk about my great experience with Samhain Publishing. I love having books published by this well-respected publisher. Also, thanks to them, I’ve met a wonderful editor who I love working with. Also, because Samhain publish print books too, I’ve had the pleasure of holding my books. Seeing the Sierra Fox series in print has been an amazing thing.
YS: I was involved with e-book publishing before it became cool. Before the Kindle and other e-book readers were available, back when you could only read the books on your computer. LOL.
I’ve seen a huge change in the way people look at e-publishing. Once upon a time, it felt like there was no respect for e-book authors and publishers. Nowadays, it’s an expected way to publish, and it’s done by ALL publishers. This has also opened up some very interesting opportunities for authors, since the stigma behind self-publishing seems to also be changing.
Personally, I think it’s a great thing for both authors and readers. I’m a huge reader and I’m not fussy about where I read my books. I buy paperbacks, hardbacks, Kindle, Kobo, and even Play books. I’ve got a Paperwhite and a Galaxy Note3, so there are plenty of options. And I love them all!
AJ: You’ve been doing NaNoWriMo since 2006. For those of us who run screaming from the idea of writing an entire novel in a month, what’s the trick to actually doing this? to “winning” NaNoWriMo?
YS: LOL. I love NaNoWriMo and try to take part every year. I love writing a book at the same time as so many other people all over the world. It’s a fun and interesting concept.
There’s no magical formula for completing the task. I give myself daily word count goals to keep me on track. I can write anywhere between 2-4k words a day, depending on how much of the story is trying to pour out that day. I also take a lot of notes along the way. Oh, and I take weekends off because it helps boost my creativity, and makes me look forward to getting stuck into it the next week.
I think it’s a great challenge.
AJ: What are you working on next?
YS: Well, I’m in that between-projects place right now.
I’ve got several stories percolating, but they all want to be written at once. So I need to unclutter my brain and take as many notes as possible before everything slips away. That helps get me back on track and focused on the next story, which will be another urban fantasy. A Sierra Fox spin-off, actually.
I just finished a short novel and submitted it to my editor, so I’ve been doing a lot of sorting afterwards—my stationery, my bookshelves, my notes… I’m also trying to get back into my usual reading schedule because I’ve fallen behind on my 2014 Reading Challenge.
There are so many stories I want to tell. It’s always a case of too many ideas, not enough time.
AJ: I hear you’re a big fan of Horror films. What makes a great horror movie so much fun to watch, and What are some of your favorites?
YS: Oh yeah, I’ve been a horror fan from way back. I’m a child of the 80s, so I spent a lot of time watching VHS horror flicks. I remember watching The Exorcist and The Evil Dead when I was very young, so I got stuck into the genre pretty early. By the time I was in my teens, I would watch any horror movie I could get my hands on.
I enjoyed a lot of them, but my faves will always be Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Pinhead.
There’s just something about horror that has always fascinated me.
AJ: Thanks Yolanda!