The Viking and the Courtesan by Shehanne Moore

An Interview with Author Shehanne Moore on Writing and the Vikings

Today seems like the perfect day for an interview about writing, publishing, and Vikings. Yes, Vikings. I just set the coffee table with two teacups and am about to pour tea for my guest, whom you might already know.

I’m speaking of author Shehanne Moore, whose blog I have followed for some time now and thoroughly enjoy reading (the hamsters that frequent her blog will be here soon). If you want to join us, I can add another teacup. Sit here with us and listen in for what promises to be a compelling chat that includes discussion of her book The Viking and the Courtesan. Did I mention Shehanne writes historical fiction? Ahem, she does, and her wonderful wit is overflowing on this sunny spring day.

Hi Shehanne! How about we start by learning more about you and your writing background?

Well, my bio will tell you I’m Scottish. I live on the banks of the beautiful River Tay. These days it’s with Mr. Shey, my two daughters have their own lives–close by though. I’d love to travel more but I get my fair share on my beloved Scottish mountains and right now I’m busy doing up the house we moved to eighteen months ago. I’ve probably wanted to be a writer since I was like… seven.. and flown that one a bit by the seat of my pants, I mean, here I am writing historical romance, when I once wrote comic strips for girls and edited a history journal…

I think it’s wonderful that you fulfilled your childhood dream of being a writer! Now you have published several books! How would you describe your latest book The Viking and the Courtesan for anyone who is not yet familiar with it?

A royal pain in the proverbial actually. Seriously to get the idea of the time travel across and convince my lovely ed this was the way to do it, I opened my blabby big mouth about the heroine being a member of a time travelling dynasty.  So now there’s a looming deadline for a prequel. Apart from that it’s a story about two people finding each other despite the vast time/culture chasm separating them. Oh and, as if that is not enough, the hero’s scary betrothed, Snotra.

How intriguing! Let’s pause to watch the trailer for The Viking and the Courtesan *we clink teacups as we bend over my tablet’s screen to watch the book’s YouTube trailer*:

Woohoo, bring on the romance! What inspired you to write the novel, Shey?

Basically? I was stuck. I had this idea for a Viking story but I was really struggling to get the heroine’s goal and conflict. Let’s face it, if you were captured by the Vikings, you would have very little hope of escape, of getting back to wherever you home was. So I had put the idea on the back burner while I teased out another idea set in Regency times about a woman running a marriage wrecking agency and being asked to ruin her own.

That one just started to write itself but then I felt that some of the themes in it were too similar to my first book, The Unravelling of Lady Fury–unrequited love, kidnap, the necessity of keeping one’s position in society at any cost. Then the little idea train struck. It went, ‘Bang. Hello Shey, why don’t you knock the two books together?’ Naturally I told it no. Don’t be silly. It can’t be done ( I think my lovely ed thought the same).

I like your reference to the “idea train.” You’ve been on this train and taken it to the publishing station more than once now. Do you have a process for creating the plot lines and, if so, would you kindly share some information about it for aspiring writers?

AHHH. I only wish. Despite being 70,000 words in with this prequel I have no process whatsoever and no idea where the story is going next, which is pretty terrifying at times, especially when I need to hand it in six weeks’ time. I just get this kind of flash of a scene. That’s it. With the two separate stories that I managed to knock together for The Viking and the Courtesan I saw the cold dawn for a woman who’s been captured in a Viking raid and she’s disguised as a man—that  was it. For the other I saw Lady Malice taking down all the details of this marriage she is being asked to wreck. I never have more than that to work with.

What I do is start teasing out the scene. I try to think then of what goals these characters have and why, then what kind of character they are. I suppose that when you don’t work with a plot and you have characters that then proceed to do what they like, so you have no idea at all where the story is going next, it is important to flesh out the goals and the type of person you are writing about. I’ve always found the plot takes care of itself. At all costs just try, and get something down on the page and the reason this is happening. Then, at least, you’ve something to work with.

To me, character is king. Whenever I hit a wall but I need to get something written, I always go back to my characters. Where are they, and what do they want at this point, what will they do to get it? But the bottom line is I am asking myself what kind of people are they, so what are they bringing to this situation they are in right now? I always find that next bit writes itself.

This advice is going to help writers. Of that, I have no doubt. I’m just wondering a bit more, though… How did you find your writing style, and has it changed over time?

I don’t know, did I find it?! Seriously I really had to find out how to write romance. I much prefer writing epics with tons of characters. This business of only ever being in the point of view of two, kills me. I’ve always kind of experimented. My heap of manuscripts includes things like a 1930’s gangster story about a gangster’s moll and it’s kind of hard-boiled, pared-down prose. I’ve written other things that are totally different.

Eventually, to get published I thought, ‘Romance.’ It was a genre I never ever thought I’d write in but when I decided to give it ago, I wanted to go with my way of writing so far as possible. I like to write deep POV, I like to be tongue in cheek and I do like flawed characters who are the victim of themselves rather than other people. I guess you might say I wanted to do romance my way.

Lovely Shehanne Moore

Author Shehanne Moore is here for an interview. In the photo, she was enjoying her beloved homeland of Scotland.

And “your way” is great because it is unique! Just like this spring day – there will never be another one exactly like it. Looking ahead to the future, tell me, is there an author that you want to meet one day?

Aw, just one? One of the best things about this business is the wonderful writers I’ve come to know. I would love to meet all my writing friends, Incy Black, Antonia Van Zandt, Jane Hunt, Noelle Clark, oh and a certain Mz Birmingham.

I’m hoping to meet Noelle next year. She’s talking about coming to Scotland. Also, way back I read The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall. She was my idol. I nearly fell down when she spoke to me on Twitter one night! She’s been so kind and encouraging in every way since. We talk about meeting, drinking wine and talking writing and grand-babies, and I hope that will happen.

Wonderful – and Mz Birmingham enjoys meeting you today too 😉 Back to you, though, my dear, this is your spotlight! Do you have advice on how to get a publishing contract, which you did when Soul Mate Publishing contracted you to write The Viking and the Courtesan?

Well, firstly get your steel teeth out of the jar. I already had a publisher but the time had come to try elsewhere. Just because you have books out that does not mean it gets any easier. In fact in some ways it’s harder. Be realistic. We all have dreams of being snapped up by some big house.

The industry may move at the rate of molasses but not in the business of eBooks and ePublishers. That has changed the entire ball game so if you are hanging onto the traditional model, of getting an agent and then into a big house, think again. I’ve seen a lot of good writers holding themselves back that way and getting ‘hurt,’ if you like. It’s really hard and you have like two seconds to get an acquiring editor’s attention, so make sure you polish your query and synopsis till it shines. Read how to write the best one. Study online examples. There’s a ton kicking about.

I often get asked to look at an aspiring author’s work and straight off the query and the synopsis are making every mistake going. Then start looking around. Don’t waste time querying a house that says they don’t take work over 75 thou words, if you have written 90 thou. You could have written War and Peace, the chances are they are not going to bend the rules for you. Choose the publisher that is the best fit for your work and one with a good reputation. Follow their submission guidelines closely. And don’t be too precious. If someone points out a mistake to you… i.e. you should have written the query this way, take that on board, because that advice has been honestly given and it’s so easy not to see your mistakes.

Thanks for the helpful words here for writers searching for publishers! Let’s go to another topic now… Do you have a favorite quote? If so, could you share it with us?

Tomorrow is always another day. Never give up on anything.

Yes, tomorrow is full of promise. What other advice can you give to writers as we end this interview?

I think what I’ve seen of this business and those in it, keep going, get past the black dog called doubt. That might be about your writing not coming together, looking at other writers and thinking you’re wasting your time, also about keeping going generally. It’s a hard business. The market is saturated. That doesn’t mean you should give up.

I like your enthusiasm for writing and your words about never giving up! You have shared a lot of valuable information with us today, Shehanne, and I thank you for that. Now let’s have another cup of tea. Thanks to the readers who came by to join us 🙂

✿✿✿✿✿

If you can’t get enough of author Shehanne Moore, you’re not alone! You can pick up The Viking and the Courtesan now.

Also, feel free to connect with her on social media and more:

Social media: Facebook for Shehanne Moore (personal page), Facebook Author page, Pinterest, and Twitter

Also: Shehanne Moore on Weebly and Furious Unravelings

✿✿✿✿✿

Advertisements

122 thoughts on “An Interview with Author Shehanne Moore on Writing and the Vikings

      1. Clanmother

        My son is a bagpiper and my family comes from the Border Reiver Clans. Heading over to Scotland this summer. Feel it’s my second home. Great discussion!!! Thank you.

        Like

        Reply
        1. shehannemoore

          May you have a braw time here then. I will ..er…speak to the weather gods for you, but then I guess you don’t come for that but cos you do feel you are coming homet. A bagpiper is certainly something. Brilliant.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Clanmother

          Thank you – the weather gods have always been with us when we travel Scotland. But they are certainly unpredictable – much like ours here in Vancouver! Glad we connected.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. shehannemoore

      Christy is one of the most amazing poets, bloggers, interviewers…..and, forget all that….young women, I know. She’s an inspiration in every way and I love her to bits. Thank you for taking the time to read. x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. skd

    Very interesting interview Christy. I have been following Shehs blog for quite a while but I got to know so much about her now. I am so proud of her. Thank you dear for this lovely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. Aquileana

    Wonderful interview… It is Great to read Shehanne’s answers to your questions, Christy…
    I like her favorite quote and advice concerning publishing…. Cheers to that. 🔝☀️ Sending Love and best wishes, Aquileana ⭐️

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Angel!!!! Comes down off the ceiling now but still says lovely to see you and thank you for coming by. Christy is a wonderful interviewer ( In addition to a ton of other things, too many to mention, except for two, poet and lovely woman ) xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Jane, so kind of you to come and support!! Christy is an extremely fine, extremely talented poet. I love her and her work so it’s been an honour and a pleasure to be here.

      Like

      Reply
  3. DG MARYOGA

    Much Kudos to the interviewer for her superb presentation and to the charismatic author,my beloved Scottish friend,Shey!I love everything about her apart from her writing style and her unlimited imagery.Lady Furry Shelton keeps me good company and soon more Viking characters will come into my life.Wishing every success to both of you,Ladies,you do merit it!
    PS : CU soon in your site,sweetheart Shey 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  4. Cynthia

    What a fun interview! I haven’t read much historical romance but I’m intrigued. 🙂 It’s also funny how we all arrive where we are in life: the stories, the meandering paths that put us right where we’re supposed to be. I love this inspiring interview – thank you for sharing it! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. Pingback: The Curse of Saggy Middle and how to avoid it | shehanne moore

    1. shehannemoore

      Now DG…as the dudes call you, they may– and will– get jealous and lippy and as you say yappy, should they see this. So we won’t tell them. OR that you saw that vid they weren’t even thought about in. However I will say, it is wonderful to see you. Icing on the cake thanks to Christy xx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Oh… what can I say except thank you. That is one lovely comment. One I am well treasuring while I dream of more Vikings…. (Ps I think the questions were so good and that is down to a really nice lady.).

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Carol Balawyder

    Thank you Christy for your insightful questions to Shey, about herself, her writing process and publishing. It was most interesting. I always enjoy learning more about the bloggers I follow on both a personal and professional level. Shey, I truly admire your hard work and was extremely impressed by your video trailer.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Carol, what canIi say except thank you? You have always been so kind to me. Don’t think I don’t know and see that. As with Christy, coming from a clever, talented, writer like yourself, it means everything, especially when I don’t have any process. ( Just a bunch of hamster dudes.) Thank you xxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  7. macjam47

    What a fabulous interview. It was so much fun getting to know a bit more about Shehanne. I love historical fiction, so I will have to add The Viking and the Courtesan to my ever tumbling TBR.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
        1. shehannemoore

          Aw Inese, that is more than kind, more than sweet, of you. I honestly didn’t think she’d be all that likeable. She just wouldn’t come off the page nicely, despite all my efforts. You’ve totally got me -going away to wipe a tear now … xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          Liked by 1 person

    1. shehannemoore

      Aw Cat how lovely to see you. Now the 20 quid is winging its way. Seriously I loved Christy’s questions and she’s gone to town on the bits inbetween, It was so nice of her 6to invite me here. You’re a darling. Getting there, getting there with the prequel, the winging has never been more extreme . xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Jeri, that’s cos she is a great person! And I see she knows you too. Thank you for taking the time to come by and to comment. How lovely to meet you, It’s been amazing to be here. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming x

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Jay..as she is with all that she does, Christy is something else when it comes to interviews. But yeah, inspiration certainly comes from places we don’t even dream of. The worst–lol–is that we follow even when that is the worst train wreck. . But hey. Thank you so much for reading and thank you for your kind comment x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. JL0073

    I enjoyed the interview very much. There’s some great advice about writing here no matter which genre you decide to hone your craft in. I always enjoy reading about the experience of authors, and I think Christy asked some excellent questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      She did indeed. She is quite an interviewer in addition to being quite a poet– and blogger too. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I am glad you felt that whatever you choose to write, certain things hold good across the craft itself. Have great weekend

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. Peter Day

    Hmmmm sounds like I’m gonna have to get the book now….great interview Christy…thank you Shehanne for an insight to an author’s mindset…

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. shehannemoore

      Oooooohhhh Peter, thank you. And especially thank Christy for being the person she is and inviting me here, especially when my mindset can be well….. Thank you so much for coming by and reading x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s