I am welcoming back Shah Wharton on the Red Carpet, today she has come over to answer a few questions abut the creating of Finding Esta. This week, until the 25th Dec, copies of Finding Esta are to be given away. For your chance to win, click the rafflecopter button below.
RED CARPET DAY
Me: So exciting the launch of a new book, how do you feel at the thought?
Shah: Terrified, but glad to have finally arrived at this point. It’s been a long and winding road.
Me: Over the months I have got to know you and your writing journey better but for the benefit of those who might not have followed you, could you elaborate on the writing of Finding Esta. For instance
1) Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
Shah: I started a short story about a journalist investigating a haunted house, which just carried on and on. Then after around a week and 30k words I thought, “This is a novel.” After a year of writing, re-writing, I thought, “This is a series.” And so it began.
2) How long from that first inspiration to the completion did it take you?
Shah: Around 3 years.
Me: Funny things about short stories – sometimes they just take over, my first did:)
Luna and Esta are lovely names. How do you choose names for your characters? Is it a matter of long thought or does it come to you easily?
Shah: Esta from Great Expectations – Estella. And Luna has special significance within the story, although I’ve always loved the name.
Me: One hears a great deal in cyberspace about playlists for authors, I had a look at your musical likes, very varied and eclectic, for Finding Esta which artists did you find most conducive to your writing? And why?
Shah: Wow – well I need music to be emotive, but not distracting, while I write. So I have a special playlist I developed over the last three years of around 120 songs. A wonderful mix of classical, soul, blues, jazz, rock, and pop. Some artists are, Ane Brun, Kate Bush, Adele, Nina Simone, Van Morrison, Kings of Leon, Bob Dylan….
Me: Um, I must say, Bob Dylan is one of my favourites:)
There is a great deal depending on Luna’s mental state in Finding Esta. You have a degree in psychology I see, did this suggest that strand, or did some other knowledge/information/ experience suggest it? Maybe just inspiration?
Shah: You did your homework! Yes, I loved studying psychology and went on to work in mental health with men, women, and children. But it’s probably my personal experience of mental illness which seeped out in Finding Esta. Bipolar disorder runs in my family. Two of the characters in this book are Shadows who committed suicide. One of them is called Stephan and is actually my attempt to immortalise my brother who did so after years of suffering awfully. I have been stable now for years, with the odd blip. But the fact I understand it, that I have exceptional support, and that feel I have control over it, all helps enormously.
Me: You are obviously well qualified to write about mental health and to do so with great understanding.
I am always intrigued as to the why of a genre? Is this a favourite genre of yours, for reading as well as writing? If yes what appeals?
Shah: I just love how urban fantasy brings fantasy into our lives, into our streets, into our environments. High fantasy is all well and good, but I’d prefer to see that on TV or the big screen. Urban Fantasy is thoroughly readable because of its rawer, urban qualities. And also more believable. I like to think these things really happen in the darker reaches of our society. I’d love to find a coven of vampires or weres or whatever, wouldn’t you? Well, as long as they were up for a chat and not lunch! :) The New Adult genre is also exciting. I love the transition stage (19-25) between young adult (up to 18) and adult, where someone is living and learning, making mistakes, trying to think like an adult, but feeling like a child. I remember those struggles and they still enthral me. You know – first flat, first job, first proper relationships. Taking responsibility, or not. Challenging times indeed. I’d hate to be going through it all about, but I still enjoy reading about that time.
Me: Will you write more in this vein, or are you an author who wishes to experiment with their writing?
Shah: Yes – Finding Esta is the first of the Supes Series :D But I may try my hand at other genres. I have written horror – flash fiction and short stories. One of which (The Dead Party) is also a political satire – but the horror element comes from zombies. :)
Me: You are rightly pleased with the cover, the face has been in your mind I know for a long time now, how did the rest of it all come together?
Shah: Derek Murphy sent me a link to a photo site and I picked the picture. I added a few I’d found. I wanted Luna looking dreamily at the moon, her aura to look magical, and Cornwall to be the background. I told him the colours and we later agreed on typography. Essentially I told him what I wanted and he worked his magic for me. It took many attempts, but I love the finished product. He’ll be doing the rest of the series with the same model, as well as the print version of each cover.
Me: I know I have fun creating trailers I do hope you did too. How hard did you find the trailer creating?
Shah: I decided to have a go, with no technical knowledge at all, and no budget, but I got so sucked into it, and utterly sidetracked for a few days. I made around four or five in a week! Because I learned a lot I thought might be of use to others, I wrote a post about it :D
Thank you so much for dropping by Shah and for answering some quite personal questions for us. I wish all sucess for Finding Esta. Now you can relax just a little before the next publication! Hope you enjoy the festive season.
An unusual young woman and fledgling journalist, Luna has various restrictive oddities, all of which prevent any kind of physical intimacy. Abusive parents take pleasure in Luna’s misery and isolation, yet Luna strives to make them proud, to finally earn their elusive love – something she craves almost as much as the painless touch of a lover.
When she learns of a tragic story involving the kidnap of baby Esta, she jumps at the chance to investigate, dragging her Shadows along for the ride within the murky depths of her mind.
Meanwhile, a dark stranger visits Luna’s dreams and stalks her reality. In lieu of the real thing, their intimate moments excite rather than terrify. Nestled within his presence, she begins to sense an urgent message of danger – a message she struggles to interpret, until they finally meet….
Her investigations lead Luna to a vibrant seaside town, hiding copycat aliens and an underworld of Supernaturals. Here, she comes face-to-face with her own, terrifying identity. Confronted with life-changing decisions and the harshest of truths, Luna questions her sanity, searching for logic, feeling deceived by both.
Is Luna trapped in a newfound supernatural world, or within her own delusions? And will anyone care enough to save her?
Shah began meeting authors and bookworms galore when she began blogging back in 2010. She’s learned a lot about blogging and writing on her adventure, mostly from the awesome advice of her online peer-group.
She uses her imagination to write short stories as well as the poetry, but stumbled into her first novel, by falling in love with the character Luna in a short story she wrote 2010. It grew into Finding Esta, the beginning of Luna’s journey to self-discovery. Finding Esta is her début novel and the first of The Supes Series.
Her passions include blogging, writing, reading, movies, photography and picture enhancement, music, theatre, travel, and fine dining. Her qualifications include BSc(Hons) psychology, counselling, mentoring.
She also has one short story published ‘The Dead Party’ & two poems published in anthologies.
Her favourite genres include anything dark with fangs and/or that will make her squirm or jump or scream out an expletive. She is an avid Kindle abuser and adores the indie writing community and being part of the e-publishing revolution.
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Shah would also like to add…
Huge thanks to all the beta readers, patient and enduring online friendships, and to the mass of wonderful writer resources, all of which took me from thinking, “Could I do that?” to “Hell yeah, I can do this!”
* * * For more on Shah’s other writing, inc. poetry and short stories,