It’s been a while, but I’ve got a great interview for you guys. Today’s guest is all the way from the land down under. And no, it’s not Mad Max. This one’s way more interesting. No, she’s a fantasy writer originally from New Jersey who’s been writing since college, and making up stories well before then. Her current series is the critically acclaimed Shadow Stalker series, with three books out currently. She’s also a friend to other writers, helping them showcase and advertise their work on her websites. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Renee Scattergood!
RU: Welcome Renee. First question: tell us how you got into writing, and what draws you to your current genre.
RS: That’s an interesting story. I’ve always loved making up and telling stories for as long as I can remember, but it never occurred to me to write them down. Probably because I was terrible in English and thought you had to be good in English to be a writer. It wasn’t until I was in college, and my English instructor told me I should consider getting some of my work published that I started considering writing as a viable career. Still, it took me several years to build up the courage to do it.
As far as my draw to fantasy: well, as a kid I loved fantasy because it was an escape from the real world. What kid isn’t drawn in by magic and the possibility of the existence of fantastical creatures and worlds? As a writer, I love being able to create those worlds and allow my characters to explore in them. It’s a great outlet for my very overactive imagination.
RU: The Shadow Stalker series is about a girl who is destined to enslave the people of her world. How did you come up with that story idea?
RS: I wanted to do something different and write a story about someone who was a “good guy”, but had the potential to become the bad guy. This was long before I came up with the idea for Shadow Stalker. When I started developing the story for Shadow Stalker, the idea just popped into my head. Most prophecies are about a hero that will save the world. What if there was one about someone who was meant to destroy it? How would that person try to prevent that from happening…and is it possible?
RU: You have this main character named Auren. Tell us a bit about her?
RS: Hmmm… what can I say about her without giving too much away? She is very stubborn and determined. She is a free-spirit and doesn’t like to be contained. But she is in a position where these traits could lead her to do something she doesn’t want to do. Her determination makes her strong, though.
RU: Where do you see the Shadow Stalker series going? How long do you think it’ll be in the end?
RS: Well, I don’t want to give away the ending. That would just ruin it for everyone. I can tell you the entire serial is a total of 24 episodes that are about the length of a short story. It’s further broken down into four parts of six episodes. I’m currently writing Part 4, which is episodes 19 through 24.
RU: If you’re lucky enough to be read hundreds of years from now, what would you like people to take away from the Shadow Stalker series?
RS: That no matter what, each one of us carves our own paths in life and choose our own fates. Even if we’re meant to do something, even if it’s something we don’t really want to do, we can choose how we do it and how we will affect the world around us.
RU: Tell us how you approach writing. Do you have a routine or any ritual you follow to write?
RS: I have a daughter with ASD and ADHD, so routines as far as writing are non-existent. I essentially write when I have time to do it. I try to write every day, even if it’s just a paragraph.
RU: Who would you say your influences are?
RS: This is always a hard question for me to answer because I’m influenced in some way by every author I read. As far as my biggest influence, I guess you can say George Lucas is the one who sparked my imagination and love for storytelling when I was eight. After seeing Star Wars for the first time, I was hooked on the idea of creating my own worlds and characters.
RU: What do you enjoy reading when you’re not writing?
RS: I read mainly fantasy, and in the last couple of years I’ve read mostly self-published books. I’ve found that I have an easier time finding a good book written by an indie author than something that is traditionally published.
RU: What is some advice you would give to other writers, regardless of experience or background?
RS: No matter what happens, don’t give up. The only way you can fail as a writer (or at anything in life) is if you stop trying. If you have a bad experience, learn from it and move on. You can only get better, and eventually you will succeed.
RU: Finally, if you were stuck on a desert island for a while and could only bring three books with you, which would you take?
RS: Wow, that would be hard. I love so many books. Maybe the first three books in the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. I can read those again and again and never get sick of them.
RU: Well, thanks for stopping by, Renee. Great to have you here.
If you would like to check out Renee’s stuff, you can head over to her website at www.reneescattergood.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. And if you would like to be interviewed, head to my Interviews page and leave a comment. I’m normally very happy to interview any author with a book or two out there.