Today it's my pleasure to have fantasy author Sarah-Jane Lehoux to the blog. We first "met" on Twitter when she did a Twitter giveaway of her book, "My Sanctuary". We've chatted a few times since then and when she asked me about being part of her blog tour for her new book "Masquerade", out on the 26th, I said yes.
She currently resides in Southern Ontario with her husband and her horde of Machiavellian cats. In addition to her own writing, Sarah-Jane works as an editor and freelance cover artist.
Bea: Masquerade is the third book in your Sevy series. Is this the end or will there be more?
Sarah-Jane: Yes, there will be two more books in the Sevy Series. I knew halfway through Shades of War (the second in the series) that Sevy’s character arc and journey were far from over. I figured out the end of the series soon after, and realized that I needed five books in total. Definitely not what I was expecting when I first sat down to write Thief. Back then, I didn’t even think there would be enough material for one book! Shows how much I know.
Bea: The blurb mentions flesh-eating fairies; what was your inspiration for that?
Sarah-Jane: I’ve always wanted to create a balance between the magical and realistic sides of Sevy’s universe. So to create the fairies in Masquerade, I turned to the folklore and mythology I adored when I was a child. Fairies are not what Disney has made of them. Traditionally, they are tricksters. Willful, easily offended, with a completely different morality than humans have. Fairy tales often are very dark and violent, and some varieties of fairy are more like demons in the way they behave. The moral of most of these old stories is to avoid fairies at all costs, and if you do cross their paths, do not trust them for an instant!
Bea: How did you come up with Sevy’s name?
Sarah-Jane: I opened a blank word document, and typed in various syllables from real world names until I got a combination that I liked the sound of. Funny thing though, is that Sevy is actually a real name! According to baby name websites, Sevy is a Spanish boy’s name. I thought that was fitting, as Sevy is definitely a tom-boy.
Bea: You have a degree in anthropology and you have a day job as a veterinary technician. What promoted you to make the move to writing as a career and not just a hobby?
Sarah-Jane: It wasn’t until I finished the first draft of Thief that I gained confidence in my writing. Before then, it had been something very personal, something guarded. But once I reread and edited Thief, I sort of leaned back in my chair and thought, “You know what? This is good.” Once I recognized my own ability and how deep my passion for story telling ran, I knew that I had to pursue a career. Luckily, my degree ended up helping me world build because I had a strong grasp of kinship systems, different cultures, world history, etc. So it seems as if this was where my life was leading me all along.
Bea: Do you see yourself branching out into different genres or continuing with dark fantasy?
Sarah-Jane: I absolutely don’t want to be a one-trick pony, so I experiment with different genres all the time. In addition to fantasy, I have also published YA lit and erotica, and I am currently working on a YA paranormal. I read all sorts of different genres, so it just makes sense to write all sorts as well.
Bea: What is your ultimate dream as an author?
Sarah-Jane: I’d like to be able to earn enough from my writing to quit other day jobs for good. But the ultimate dream…I’d love to see Sevy up on the big screen. I think I’d faint and squee and faint some more. (That would be so exciting, I can hardly imagine! ~ Bea)
Bea: If you could be a character in any book (sidekick, lead, villain, comic relief, etc), who would it be and why?
Sarah-Jane: Oh goodness! Well, I wouldn’t be any character from my books! Too much drama and danger for my liking.
I’m gazing over my book shelf now and laughing, as the vast majority of the books I own are all quite gloomy and have not-so-happy endings. I suppose I’ll go with Cruikshanks in the Harry Potter series. A big ass half-magical cat whose owner dotes upon him, and can basically just do whatever he pleases. Plus, he gets to hang out with Sirius Black, and that would be sweet.
Bea: What would your perfect day look like?
Sarah-Jane: Sleeping in until noon, followed by a massage, and a long soak in a nice, hot bubble bath. Decadent food available all day long, but the food is such that it won’t make me feel sickly full or make me gain any weight. A comfy couch to snuggle up on with my husband, and then ooh! Looks what’s on tv! A Sevy Series marathon, all five movies one after another. Le sigh.
Bea: You’ve mentioned that your dreams are the basis for your books, they provide the inspiration. Have you ever written one that wasn’t inspired by a dream? If so, did you find it any more difficult to write?
Sarah-Jane: I can’t honestly say. My dreams are very intense, due to a sleep disorder, and they stay in my subconscious long after I’ve forgotten about them. Every story I write is full of bits and pieces of a multitude of different dreams.
Thinking hard about it, I’m pretty sure the only story I’ve written that wasn’t influenced by a dream was a flash fiction called “Socks and Brains.” That particular story (which can be found in my anthology To My Demons), was the result of a writing prompt at a writing forum I used to visit. The idea was to create a story that showed the downside of superpowers. I didn’t have any trouble writing the story because it was so short, but I can imagine that if I had tried to expand upon it into a novel or even a proper short story, I would have had to draw inspiration from a dream or five.
Bea: We’ve talked on twitter. How important do you feel it is to your career to be active on social media?
It seems that nowadays, social media is the only way to reach a wide audience. I’ve tried book signings and other in person events, but found them discouraging. To get my books into the hands of people who actually love the genre, online was the only way to go.
However, this does pose a bit of a problem for me. I have an anxiety disorder which makes it hard for me to be social. Even answering an email can send me into a panic attack. It’s challenging to be as vocal and engaging online as one needs to be in order to attract attention. But I see this as all part of the process, and force myself to carry onwards because I have such a strong belief in my writing.
Thank you Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions and best of luck with “Masquerade”.
Thank you so much for the interview. J Newbie authors like me rely on bloggers like you to help get the word out. Without book bloggers, we wouldn’t have a platform to jump off of. Thank you for everything you do.
Want to know more about Sarah-Jane's new book?
Never trust a liar, especially when they’re telling the truthStarting over isn’t easy, especially when the world isn’t ready for you to change. Sevy, thief turned assassin turned mercenary, isn’t having any fun adjusting to a normal, law-abiding life. Luckily for her, an old partner in crime arrives with an irresistible proposition: a getaway to a tropical island, an adventure of a lifetime, and an amazing friendship ready to blossom into an even more amazing romance.Things are looking up for Sevy. That is, until a pack of maniacal fairies with a taste for human flesh arrive on the scene.Now she must unravel a web of magical intrigue hidden behind the outwardly idyllic atmosphere of the islands of Belakarta. Nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted. Trapped under the spell of a handsome and mysterious stranger, Sevy must fight fairies and tricksters to regain her freedom.Or spend an eternity as a sorcerer’s plaything.
Format: ebook, print
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Buying Links: Mundania Press