Today I’m taking a break from NaNoWriMo to talk to Sera Trevor. I featured Sera’s fantasy M/M novel, A Shadow on the Sun, on this blog as one of my most anticipated LOR stories. It came out in July, and Sera followed it with a second novel in October, The Troll Whisperer, which, despite the name, is a contemporary novel.
You already know that I think Sera is an amazing storyteller. We have similar feelings about such important things as strong plots, well-rounded female characters and vampires. We’re also both new authors, and Sera, despite being extremely busy away from the keyboard, makes a point of sharing her experiences and support. I always look forward to her e-mails, and I come away from reading them with the feeling that I’ve gained something. And today, I’m sharing her with you! So, hello, Sera, welcome to my blog!
Sera: Hi, Gillian— thanks for having me!
You’ve had an amazing year. Not just one LOR story, but two! And you didn’t stop there, did you? What have you been up to since?
Sera: Most recently, I’ve been wrestling with formatting to get my books distributed on Amazon, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks. In fact, I just now finished getting the last one up. It was such a headache that I had to get an industrial-sized bottle of ibuprofen to get through it!
Congratulations on getting your stories up on both Amazon and Smashwords! I managed to get Deep Magic formatted and posted on Smashwords and it was exhausting. Is there anything you’ve learnt from the process, or from participating in DRitC a second time, that you’d like to share with other writers?
Sera: When it comes to formatting, if you read the Smashwords formatting guide thoroughly and follow all of the steps, you will still probably mess it up. But that’s a good thing! Getting it wrong is the absolute best way to learn how the right way works. Just stock up on your painkillers of choice before you start.
That is really good advice! I know I went through a lot of panadol, myself. What are you working on now? (I will be honest, I am hoping for vampires).
Sera: Sorry to say, but my vampire is waiting in the wings at the moment. Right now, I’m working on the long-overdue expansion of Consorting with Dragons (which was my DRitC from last year) and its sequel, Lances and Lovers. The sequel will give Larely, the broken hearted guard, a love story of his own. Risyda and Polina will be back as well; I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say that Larely isn’t the only one who has a thing or two to learn about love. Plus, there will be baby dragons!
Baby dragons! Okay, I think I can wait a little longer for vampires. One thing I really enjoy about your stories, Sera, is their uniqueness. Both in the ideas and in the flavour of your stories. You wrote The Troll Whisperer immediately after A Shadow on the Sun, and yet both stories have a completely different vibe to them. Where do you start when you write? An idea? A character? A belief? What element is present in all your writing, and why?
Sera: Generally, I start with the sort of story I’d like to write: for example, a vampire story. (One of the many great things about the Don’t Read in the Closet event is that the prompts give me an extra creative boost, because there’s a bit of character and plot already built in.) Then I decide on a tone—am I going for laughs, or for something more serious? From there, I develop the characters and the skeleton of the plot. As I write, the characters start to reveal themselves. Frustratingly, this often upends the plot I’ve carefully constructed; after a certain point, the characters get very opinionated about what they want to do!
I tend to be all over the place with my subjects and my styles—writing takes me to different places, and I don’t like to restrict where I take my mental vacations! The thing that unites all of my work, however, is a deep interest in the human condition. I think that’s what draws me to romance. We are at our most human when we fall in love. It can bring out both the best and the worst in people, which is fascinating to explore.
I love that! Such a fascinating take on romance. Thanks for sharing! What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is it different for every story?
Sera: One of my favorite things to hear from readers is that my writing has made them think about something differently. For example, I’ve had several readers say that their perspective of online trolling changed once they read The Troll Whisperer. That really excites me, because I often write to try to understand people very different from myself. That’s why my villains and other difficult characters have a special place in my heart—it’s harder to understand them, but the effort is very rewarding for me. Ha, this may be why my villains tend to promote themselves to anti-heroes; once you understand why someone is such an asshole, it’s hard to completely dismiss them.
I can see that. Lyar in A Shadow on the Sun is a really great example of a villain that I can’t hate.
What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it? If not, what is a book you would recommend?
Sera: I’ve actually just finished Cari Z.’s Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse and found it completely delightful. It’s a comedic take on the apocalyptic genre, which really appealed to my morbid sense of humor. Besides being funny, it was very heartfelt with two great leads. She even pulled off an HFN in a barren hellscape that felt real and earned. I was really impressed with how much world-building and character development she was able to pack into such a short amount of space. It’s a DRitC story, so you can pick it up for free. I would definitely recommend it!
Ten Simple Tips for Surviving the Apocalypse is already on my to-read list, but I’m going to move it up a bit!
What are your plans for the coming year?
Sera: I hope to get both the expansion with Consorting with Dragons and the sequel, Lances and Lovers, out by spring of 2016. After that, I’ll start on my vampire book, Curses, Foiled Again, and then I’ll start on my steampunk novel, Manners and Machines.
How can readers keep up to date with what you’re working on?
Sera: If you want to read a little more about my upcoming projects, you can check it out on my webpage here. And if you want to get notification of my new releases, as well as exclusive sneak peeks and chances at free books, you can sign up for my mailing list here!
And just for fun: If you could meet any fictional vampire, who would you choose and where would you take them?
Sera: Can I cheat and pick two? Because I’d like to set Lestat and Dracula up on a blind date, then watch what happens from a safe distance.
Yes! I will watch with you. You bring the binoculars, I’ll make the popcorn. Finale question: How awesome is beta-reader/editor/cover-designer Sam on a scale of one to stupendous?
Sera: She is super duper extra stupendous, times infinity plus one!
Agreed! Thank you so much for your time, Sera! I’ve enjoyed our chat and I’m excited for your upcoming projects. Manners and Machines? You have some great titles!
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