Sunday, 24 July 2011

Author Interview/Giveaway: Shawn Kirsten Marvel

Hey all! We have a very special guest this evening. You guys have probably seen her on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.......she's the author of Volition and Severance AND she's one of the nicest author's around. Please help us welcome Shawn Kirsten Maravel.

Q: Hi Shawn!  Thank you for joining us today. How about we start off today by you telling us a little bit about yourself?  

A: I am twenty-three-years old, so, relatively new to this “author” thing. Though I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’m currently living in Germany with my husband. He’s in the Army and we’re stationed over here until (roughly) November. We’ve been here for two and a half years now. We have a rottweiler, Nahla and a small black cat, Sookie (yes, she’s named after Sookie Stakehouse!). And as you might imagine I enjoy reading and writing as well as snowboarding, taking long walks, classic rock music, and watching movies!

Q: When and why did you begin writing?

A: I have always been writing, for as long as I can remember. But as for writing seriously, I started about three years ago when my husband, then boyfriend, enlisted in the Army. It was a way for me to focus my energy and stay busy while he was away at basic training. Once he deployed I took it a step further when writing Volition and decided that it would be my goal to publish it, if for nothing else then to have accomplished something in his absence. That of course grew too much greater things then I could have ever imagined!
Q: What inspired you to start your first book? 

A: As far as writing it goes I started writing Volition as a bit of a proxy relationship, if you will. So that I could focus those feelings on a story while my husband was away. As for the idea that “started it all” I wanted to create a character (Joel) who was both mysterious and completely devoted. It ended up being a matter of what he had to be in order to accomplish both. The story just unfolded from there!
Q: When I read your first book Volition I found it pretty mysterious, are you a mysterious person? 

A: I’m the furthest thing from mysterious. I’m probably one of the most open people you’ll ever know…sometimes to a fault. And predictable. I just love mysterious men! That hidden fleck just beyond his eyes…knowing there’s something more, but he has to open up to you in order to unveil it. Man. It gives me chills just thinking about it!
Q: How did you come up with the names for the main characters?  

A: I have always loved the name Charlotte. Okay, not always, but recently. My husband and I often talk about baby names, it’s something we’ve done since we were young, when we started dating. He had rejected the name so I just used it for a different kind of baby! Joel was originally spelled Jehoel…which I still love, but people kept pronouncing it Je-hole…which was a no go. I picked Joel because it was angelic. Also a name that I would looooove to name my son. My husband doesn’t agree. So, therefore, it’s the name of my “literary son”….if you will. Basically that’s how I chose names for my characters, if I like the name for future kids and my husband doesn’t, it goes into the “book character vault”. Landon, from my upcoming book “The Wanderer” is a BIG favorite of mine. But, alas, my husband doesn’t agree. Either way, I get to use it so I’m happy!
Q: How did you come up with the title? 

A: Volition and Severance were originally named “The Perfect Stranger” and “Joel’s Descent”. I still like these names but…my husband felt they needed to stand out more. He felt that a one word title was better and I agreed, so we went on and started typing in words that related to the books. Volition, which to those who don’t know, means free will. Once you’ve read the books you’ll get to know why that is relevant to the story.  Severance of course is also more clear once you’ve read the book, and I felt that is was perfect. I was considering calling it Descent but I don’t know…Severance stood out more to me and it stuck!
Q: Who designed the covers for your books? 

A: As for the original covers, they are stock images that go along with certain scenes from each book. For the new covers, the green and blue ones, I took the photos and modified them with photo shop. They go back to my original design ideas. The harmonica on Volition is the instrument in which Joel plays. When I looked up Joel on Google for an “angelic name” it had said that Joel was the angel of music, so to loosely tie into that, I had him play the harmonica, which I happen to love. Small. Simple. And something I can see him playing to relax himself and Charlotte when need be. The bracelet on the cover of Severance is a bracelet that was something that, when I started to write the books, my twin sister suggested that I give Joel in the story. You learn in Severance where it came from and why he wears it. A small detail of sentimental value. My sister had the bracelet made for me this past Christmas and I LOVE it!! So I took a photo of the bracelet she gave me and put it as the cover. I like the simple symbolism of the one word titles and the single image covers. It kind of makes you think and it’s not too busy. So many covers these days have a girl or guy on the cover, maybe both. But it’s so hard to tell one series from another. I love all the covers…I mean, my TBR list is ridiculously long and I’m a big fan of covers, but I wanted the books to kind of stand out and be different. I also didn’t want to give too much away through the cover images.
Q: Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it? 

A: I learned a lot about myself. That I was strong enough to handle being away from my husband and my family for a year while he was deployed. I also learned a lot about how to write and publish a book. I’m still learning of course but I really enjoy teaching myself and improving my abilities with all of it. Self-publishing allows the author to write their book on an intimate level on EVERY level. I’ve also learned that book readers and reviewers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! As for what I learned through my books, I learned that suspense and mystery are really fun to write!
Q:  What books have most influenced your life? 

A: Firstly, I didn’t read…like at all, until about three years ago when I picked up Twilight. It is so reader friendly and the story is basically giving you everything you want! I read those books so fast it’s ridiculous. And that’s around when I started to write. I don’t know that I would have started to write had I not gained such an interest in reading, thanks to Twilight. I like a lot of literary fiction as well as YA. I switch between the two. As long as there’s a good love story I’m sure to be satisfied. I like a few of Nicholas Sparks’ books and Sunday at Tiffany’s by James Patterson…LOVED that book! But the most influential would definitely have to be Twilight!
Q: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 

A: I have not read the Harry Potter books (I have an issue with being able to read books after seeing the movie) but I really idolize J.K. Rolling. She started from the bottom and defied the odds. She’s a woman after my own heart and even after hitting rock bottom she kept at it. As a young self-published author…rock bottom becomes pretty familiar. The bottom of the barrel, the bottom of the food chain…you name it, I’m trudging through it. But if you know that you’ve got something good and you keep on treckin’…you can go anywhere, and that’s what she did.
Q: Tell us what you’re reading right now?
A: Oh my gosh! I am reading this book called “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” by a fellow Createspace self-published author, Bella Street. I can’t shut up about it. I’m extremely impressed with her writing and the story. It is so authentic, original, and mind-blowing! I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s a story about a girl who time travels from the 1800’s to the year 2011. Wow…it’s crazy awesome. Seriously. It’s funny, spellbinding, and entertaining beyond words! I’m also getting ready to start one of Lisa Marie Rice’s books…her books are my guilty little pleasure. I read her book “Dangerous Lover” during the deployment and….Woah. Keep an ice pack nearby when reading it, that’s all I’ve gotta say!
Q: Where can readers purchase your books?

A: My books are available at Amazon (us) (uk) and (de). They are also available at Barnes & Nobels and Smashwords. They are of course available at Createspace as well but I know that not many people shop there and the other places are easier for readers to purchase through.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
A: Do your research, learn a bit of programming and formatting, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and READ! I’ve learned the most about writing through reading other books. I take mental notes about how books are written, the plot and character details as well as the grammatical details. I’ve always been horrible with grammar, but I’ve gotten a lot better through writing. Just don’t give up and don’t rely on anyone but yourself to become well-known. It takes a lot of hard work, so don’t think that you can just write a book and everyone will want to buy it. It’s not easy per se but it’s worth every minute!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions Shawn. Its been fantastic getting to know you and good luck with the series.
Want to win these books? 

Volition by Shawn Kirsten Marvel 

Charlotte Rush would be the first to admit that her life is no rollercoaster ride. Her days are laced with ordinary and at times boring monotony. But with a heart that finds itself frequently broken she's happy to say that she's content.

When her friends convince her to spend the night out at a club to let loose and maybe even find a guy, she finally admits that her life might be missing something.

No sooner does she let go of her inhibitions does she find herself waking up in a dark hotel room in the presence of Joel, a man who carries mystery in his eyes and familiarity in his smile. Against reason Charlotte decides to trust him based solely on one thing. Somehow, she is sure that she knows him.

In a race against time to find answers and to solve the crime committed against her Charlotte finds herself falling for him. However, with nothing but mystery surrounding him she can't even be sure that he's the hero at all. While knowing all of the right things to say he still manages to tell her nothing. As a battle is waged over the innocence of her cryptic stranger, Charlotte discovers that much greater danger awaits her. And the mysteries behind who and what Joel is will lead Charlotte to discover that heaven and earth are not so far apart.

Severance (Volition #2) by Shawn Kirstin Marvel

Severance is the bone-chilling, adrenaline-filled sequel to Volition. Charlotte finds herself hoping against reason that her life couldn't really have taken the devastating turn that it has. With Joel still dangerously out of the picture, and no signs that he may ever come back, she finds herself up against an even more dangerous threat. A sexy and cunning threat that is bound to tear what she has always known to be her reality down for good.

When things finally start to look up, another curve-ball is thrown her way, promising to give her what she'd hoped for since meeting Joel, an answer it seems that came a little too late. What Charlotte thought she'd once known to be the truth filters through her fingers, leaving her to believe that her world and the afterworld are much more tangled than she'd originally expected. She comes to find that love and lust are no longer the sole deciders of her fate, but revenge. A lifetime of secrets unfold and Charlotte discovers that Joel hasn't been the only one watching over her all of these years.

So who wants to win a copy of Volition AND Severance
Two lucky winners will win e-copies of both books. Yes guys, you heard that right...the whole series. 

All you need to do is fill out the this CLOSED and yes its INTERNATIONAL!!! 
 Extra entries are optional and the giveaway will close on August 9th. Winners will be announced on August 10th.

P.S Don't forget to check out Haley's giveaway for paperback copies of Shawn's book. Ending on July if you haven't's your chance......Ya-aholic Blog :) :) 

Good Luck everyone! 


Bella Street said...

Don't enter me in the contest as I've already purchased both books (WOOT!) but I just wanted to hop over and give a shout out to Shawn. *waving*

Can't wait to read Volition and Severance!! DOUBLE WOOT!

Shawn Kirsten Maravel said...

Haha, Bella, you're adorable! *waving back*

Denise Z said...

What a lovely interview. I thank you for sharing with us today and for the wonderful giveaway opportunity. These books sounds very intriguing and my fingers are just itching to get them :)