Hey lovelies! So I have a new author for y’all to check out. She’s a relatively new find-like I only found her like 2 weeks ago. 4Padfoot actually posted about her fic To Protect My Kin on Facebook and I pulled it up. I skimmed a bit and was intrigued but I didn’t get a chance to start it until last weekend….and then I devoured it and was completely pissed when I ran out of chapters. :)
So, I’ll shut up cause she’s sweet as can be and y’all need to hear from her.
Let’s start with an introduction. I’m Kelly, or as more people know me, Kelpie.
And you are?
Beautiful. Oh wait, you mean my name? It’s Shayna, but I’ve been told it means beautiful in Hebrew, so there you go. I’m known as TB Viking Addict online.
So, tell me a little about yourself.
I’m 26 years old and studied journalism at the Walter Cronkite School at ASU. I know, what? Journalism? Yep. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist but magazines also appealed to me, so I chose to go into print journalism. And now I’m shifting back into writing creatively again. Go figure.
What do you do with yourself when you’re not writing?
Hmmm. When I’m not writing, I’m sketching. I also love photography and I’ve won awards for some of my black and white photographs. If I’m not entertaining myself with those, I like creating DVD slideshows for graduations, weddings, etc.
What are some things you never leave home without?
My purse, phone, wallet, and a camera. I never know when one of my friends or family members are gonna do something hilarious and embarrassing, so I make it a policy to always have my camera just in case. You’d be surprised how often it comes in handy…
What are some of your favorite books?
Anything by Sarah Dessen. The way she writes is amazing! She’s really great at taking serious and tragic issues and making you laugh as you read about them. I’m also a fan of Dean Koontz and the Samaria series by Sharon Shinn. Lately, I’ve also been into Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series and her books on the Hunter’s Guild. Her main character in the latter has absolutely influenced my Vampire Sookie. I definitely recommend her.
Favorite TV shows and movies?
Outlander, Penny Dreadful, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Almost Human, Supernatural, and I’ve just started getting into Dominion.
Some of my favorite movies are Snow White and the Huntsman, 50 First Dates, and World War Z.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and had 3 famous people with you, who would you choose and why?
Obviously, Alexander Skarsgard. He’s just too yummy not to be my first choice. Jason Statham since I’m convinced that man can do anything (plus I find his voice incredibly sexy) and he’d get us off that island if he had to build a boat and captain it himself. And Ryan Reynolds. I mean, someone’s gotta entertain me while Statham builds the boat.
What is 1 place you’d love to visit?
Nashville. Or Venice. Okay, I’d like to visit Venice and move to Nashville. Win-win.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Finding typos after I’ve posted, crumbs in my butter, and running late. I couldn’t give a crap if anyone else is late, but it drives me crazy when I am.
What are some of your favorite foods? How ‘bout comfort foods?
Macaroni (only the really good stuff, screw Kraft), baked potatoes, and Olive Garden’s Chicken Alfredo. I know… Tons of carbs… But one of them is a veggie, right?
What’s your favorite scent-one that says “home” to you?
Warm Vanilla. I used to wear it all the time growing up and now it takes me back home any time I smell it.
What kind of music do you like? Any you absolutely can’t stand?
I’m probably crazier about Country than I am about True Blood. *Ducks flying stakes and silver darts* From my cowboy boots to my down home roots, I’m country (thank you, Jason Aldean). And I can’t stand heavy metal.
Tell me one random thing about yourself.
Horror movies make me laugh instead of scream. Everyone turns and stares at me if I go see one in the movie theater, which just makes me laugh even harder.
Just for some insight into you pick one. Feel free to tell why or not.
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. I used to be all about vanilla. I don’t know what happened.
Silver or gold? White gold. It’s the best of both worlds.
Apple or PC? I freaking hate my iPhone and I’m pretty sure the feeling’s mutual.
White wine or red wine? White. Less chance I’ll stain my shirt.
Liquor or beer? Liquor if we’re getting drunk and beer if we’re playing flip cup. Why? You having a party?
Coffee or tea? Coffee, hands down.
Sleep in or get up early? Sleep in. I am a night owl. Sometimes I don’t go to sleep until the sun rises. But it’s not like I’m a vampire or anything… *nudges bottles of True Blood beneath bed with foot and smiles crazily*
Okay, now for the good stuff.
What are your preferred fandoms for writing/reading?
True Blood, though I do read SVM fics too. Every once in a while I’ll read a crossover, but it’s gotta have TB or SVM in it. I write True Blood fics.
What kind of environment do you write in?
I like to be comfy when I write, so I usually write in bed. Sometimes I write outside so I can enjoy the sunshine. It’s a good thing I can day-walk. Crap! Did I just say that out loud? My maker’s gonna be so mad at me!
Ever write in your PJs?
More like when don’t I?
How bout naked?
What? People really do that? *breaks into hysterical fit of giggles*
Where do you find inspiration for your stories? Do you pull your real life experiences into your writing?
Ideas just kind of come to me, so I’m honestly not really sure. Sometimes my mind wanders and I daydream about “what if?” I write the good ones down and go from there. And absolutely. For example, Sookie’s spine breaks in the very first chapter of To Protect My Kin and she cracks a joke about how her Gran used to claim she had a spine of steel. I took that from my mom who likes to joke the same thing about me. The funny thing is that I have a titanium rod fused to my spine, which is actually stronger than steel… So, yes, I most definitely do. A lot of what I write is actually based on something that happened in real life.
Do you write on a schedule?
I try to. I was posting daily for a while (would not have been possible before studying at the Cronkite School) but I wasn’t getting much sleep that way, so now I try my best to get out new chapters within four to five days. Two days for writing and two for reading and editing.
Do you plan out your stories or just write whatever comes to you?
Both. I definitely start out writing whatever comes to me, but once I have an idea of where I’m going with it, I plan out how to get there. I only outline the chapter I’m writing at that moment though, which helps me make sure I include everything I want to. I also keep a couple pages of notes about the overall story, but it’s less of a plot outline and more like scenes I want to write and include somewhere in my story. Then again, right now I’m following the season 3 plot of TB, so one could argue it’s already outlined for me in a way.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
I come up with the scenes at the beginning and the end at the same time.
Is one genre easier for you to write than another? Is there anything that you just aren’t that great at writing?
Actually, I think it’s easier for me to write young adult stories. Realistic fiction. Those are my original works though, not my fanfiction. Lemons are always tough, but I think they’re difficult for most writers. This is also my first attempt at using first person for a multi-chapter story. Every other story I’ve written was always done in third. I love it now, though. It’s so much easier to add humor in first. I was also really nervous about my action sequences, but it turns out the chapter where Sookie takes on Lorena is my most popular so far (according to my stats).
What is the hardest part for you about writing fanfics?
Deciding when to follow the original plot and when to spin off in a new direction.
Is there a method for coming up with titles for your stories and/or chapters?
When it comes to story titles, I try to pick something that hints at the biggest theme. For example, the theme of To Protect My Kin is family, so I wanted a title that alluded to that. Then I asked myself why Sookie would ever be okay with being turned. She would do it for her family, to keep being part of their lives and the biggest silver lining to her turning would be that she would have the strength and ability to protect them. Picking chapter titles is a similar process. I think about what stands out most to me about that chapter and come up with something creative or witty alluding to it.
Which character do you identify with the most?
Oddly enough, Jessica. She was turned at 17 and corrupted by the vampire lifestyle. My corruption happened at 18 when I went to college. Hahaha. Just kidding. Kind of. She experienced something traumatic at a relatively young age that blindsided her, and it completely changed and derailed her life. A few years ago, I was told my leg needs to be amputated at some point and though it hasn’t happened yet, it changed everything about my life and nothing’s been the same since. I can definitely empathize with her.
Which of your stories is your favorite to write and why? Which of your stories is your favorite concept wise?
To Protect My Kin. It’s my first fanfic. I do have an idea for another, a sequel actually, and I’m also brainstorming for a book I hope to start writing soon. I freaking love writing my fanfic though. It actually entertains me as much as watching an episode of True Blood would.
Do you talk to your family about your writing?
Definitely. I bounce ideas off of them and read them the really entertaining reviews I get after I post each chapter. My little sister (not that little, she’s 23) even voted for me in the New Blood Awards. Sometimes it’s a little frustrating telling them about it because they’re constantly asking me when I’m going to finish the fanfic and start writing a novel. I just growl at them when they do and say, “One story at a time, people!” Lol. My mom’s always dangling ideas in front of my muse. Unfortunately for her, my muse has gotten really good at rolling her eyes, plugging her ears, and doing whatever she wants anyway.
What is your favorite book/episode in your preferred series?
I think it’s a toss-up between episode 3 and 4 of the fourth season, “If you love me, why am I dyin’?” and “I’m alive and on fire.” Eric just cracks me up as his amnesiac self, especially when he shoves Pam and gets drunk on fairy blood. It’s also obvious in those episodes that he doesn’t want Sookie for her telepathy and he has no idea what she tastes like. He doesn’t remember she’s unique at all, but he still wants her. I have no idea what my favorite book is though, I liked TB better than SVM.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received on your stories?
I’ve had more than one person tell me they wish I’d written True Blood, which was a truly incredible compliment. And seeing some of the writers I enjoy are following my story, like Kittyinaz and Queen of Area Five. It’s such an amazing compliment to find out the authors of the stories you read are reading yours.
How do you deal with the inevitable criticism?
You can’t please everyone, so I don’t even try. I absolutely love reading my reviews, but I don’t write for my readers. I write to entertain myself and as long as I enjoy reading what I write, I’ll keep writing.
What is your favorite/least favorite part about your preferred fandoms?
I love all the ideas in our fandom, which is both my favorite and least favorite part. It’s amazing how many ideas are out there and you can literally find a little bit of everything, but it makes coming up with a completely, 100% original idea pretty difficult. With so many fanfics out there, you’re bound to find out someone else has a similar idea. It’s so frustrating to be 100k words into a story and get a review that says, “Hey, did you know so and so is writing a story like this?” But we’re all taking the same original story and using it as our base, so odds are it’s gonna happen no matter what you do.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
You don’t have to write everything in order. If you find yourself struggling in a section or have writer’s block, come back to it later and write a scene you’re excited about instead. My favorite chapters are actually ones I skipped ahead and wrote. By the time I came back to the part I was struggling with, all of my creative juices were flowing and I powered right on through it.
Have any recommendations?
Of course! Pretty much any of the work of the following: Kittyinaz, Queen of Area Five, Gyllene, California Kat, and Makesmyheadspin. I also really liked The Choice and Heaven In This Choice by Wiles, The Arrangement by Texanlady (it’s dark though), and Answer to the Master by Sunsetqueens. Finally,Ethereal Redemption by Midnight Opheliac, which is one of my all-time favorites.
And lastly, where can all your rabid readers stalk you?
…I swear, only in fanfic is it a good thing to have rabid stalkers…
I can be stalked at tbvikingaddict.wordpress.com (thanks to the amazing 4padfoot) and
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions!
No, thank you! I’m usually the one doing the interviewing. It’s fun to shake things up. Weird, but fun.
So there it is. She’s a sweetie and an incredibly talented writer. I love her exploration of vamp blood (as I said in the story spotlight) and it’s such a creative take…*le sigh* So yeah, go check her out and leave her love. Thanks lovelies and enjoy!!!