Today I’m really happy to welcome another of my Crooked Cat colleagues to the Bingergread Cottage. It’s Shani Struthers and she assures me she is fine with dogs, although, Titch, I don’t think she actually wants you to wrestle with her just this minute. Sorry about that. Make yourself comfy, Shani and let’s get you something to refresh yourself after your time/space travel.
So, first you! Tell us all about yourself, where you live, what you do, what makes you happy, what drives you mad, your household…told you I was a nosy cow!
Well, hello, Ailsa, how wonderful it is to be a guest within these hallowed portals! Right, I’m Shani, I live in Brighton and I… erm… write. Yes, I write. Not only novels but I’m a copywriter too and have been for centuries (around twenty-four years actually). I mainly write for the travel industry and get to visit some wonderful places on planet Earth, but yep, in my mind mainly! Gone are the days when travel writers are sent to places to investigate – we can find out all we need to know via the Internet. As for what makes me happy, writing of course. I lose myself when I write in another realm entirely, a realm entirely of my own devising. I like to think it’s me making all the decisions in that realm but it’s not, characters seem to take on a life of their own and steer me in some wild and wonderful ways. I’m also very sociable and love spending time with family and friends. I’ve got three kids and life and living with them is like living with madness – honestly, the things they say and do, no adult could get away with – makes me laugh though!
Your kids are gorgeous! I’ve seen the pictures and they could get away with murder with Auntie Ailsa too! You have just spoiled my day, though. With the amount of travelling I used to do I dreamed of being a travel writer and now you say it is all inter-net fuelled. Sheesh! So how long have you been writing and how did you come to be with Crooked Cat? Tell us about your recently published book.
My recently published book is Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. It’s a paranormal mystery set in and around Lewes in East Sussex and, as the title suggests, is the first in a series. When I say paranormal, I don’t mean horror – in many ways, PS1 is the antithesis of horror but it does deal with the spirit world (which frightens some people). Ruby Davis is the latest in a long line of female psychics and she has been taught by her grandmother that love is the most powerful force in the universe, that we all come from love (source) and therefore must return to it one day. No soul, no matter how blackened, is beyond redemption and what there is on the other side is rehabilitation not punishment. This is all very fine and dandy of course and a lovely way to view this world and the world beyond – HOWEVER – Ruby’s mother, Jessica, also ‘gifted’, has an entirely different viewpoint. In her somewhat reckless youth she dabbled with more occult practices and her experiences have led to a breakdown. It is this battle between good and evil that is at the crux of the Psychic Surveys books as Ruby and her freelance team work on a series of cases, including the main case, the haunting of Highdown Hall by 1950s movie star, Cynthia Hart.
Just up my street. As you know, we share a fascination with the paranormal, gemstones, hauntings etc. Was that your first book?
No, in June 2013, my contemporary romance, The Runaway Year, set between Brighton and Cornwall was published by Omnific Publishing. The sequel – The Runaway Ex – has just been signed and will also come out this year.
Well fantastic! That’s great news. Two in one year, wish I could do that! Do you write in just one genre or are you a genre-slut like me (I do it for a dare!)
I’m a genre-slut and lovin’ it. Psychic Surveys is a series that will only get darker – the research for book two is startling enough and involves a certain Mr Crowley. I believe it’s not good to spend too much time in the dark, you gotta get out into the light sometimes and so I’ll swing between the two genres for now. However, I have to say, I do love the darkness!
Yes, I have to swing between the two in my books and writing too much “demonic” I need to go and wash my hands psychically after. What’s your current WIP?
My current WIP is Psychic Surveys Book Two – I’ve just written the prologue and am very happy with it. It’s great to get back to a strong set of characters who I’ve definitely bonded with! I also have a paranormal mystery/romance on submission – Jessamin(e). It’s set in the highlands of Scotland and is a story of loss, love and learning to live again. Yes, it does involve ghosts – the ghosts of the past that haunt us as well as those you can see.
High five! I’m on a sequel too. Isn’t lovely getting back to work with characters you arlready know? What do you read when you aren’t writing? Which authors influenced you first? What book do you wish you had written?
I wish I’d written The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley – it is, in my opinion, the best retelling of the Arthurian saga I know (followed by Bernard Cornwall’s The Winter King triology).(Falls on the floor in a faint – Mists is one of my favourite ever books and I used to use it when teaching the path!) Basically I read loads. My preferred genres are romance and paranormal (surprise, surprise!). I love the classics – Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities – and I love modern classics too, Richard Mathieson’s What Dreams May Come springs to mind. Catherine Cookson is another hero, she was such a natural storyteller, along with Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The genres I tend to avoid include crime, westerns and sci-fi but I’m always willing to be persuaded!
Now tell us five things about you. Anything you like – go!
I’m a Taurus with the moon in Scorpio and Virgo rising – a born romantic!
I’ve got the Midas touch when it comes to raffles, I win so often it’s embarrassing.
I used to be obsessed with the sinking of the Titanic – I’m sure I was tuning into a past life!
My spiritual homes are Glastonbury and Tintagel – I visit both regularly.
My favourite band of all time are The Cure – Robert Smith still does it for me!
You and I will continue to chat my email, sweetie – we have far too much in common to keep it to one blog!
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