Hey everyone! We would like to welcome Author Laura Diamond as our Spotlight Author!! We have an interview and cover with synopsis. The book sounds good. So let's get started.
Tell me about your book(s).
The Pride series starts off with a prequel novelette, NEW PRIDE. It’s the story of Richard Leone. He’s a prideless shifter in a new town, facing new foes…and new love. It doesn’t take long for him to befriend a rogue (who incidentally doesn’t like the human he’s falling for) and things begin to unravel from there.
SHIFTING PRIDE is my debut novel and follows Nickie Leone’s story. She’s Richard’s daughter, and as such, has inherited some pretty special abilities from him. Abilities she’s not aware of. Problem is, other people know about it and are after her. While she’s searching for Richard (who’s gone missing), she also had to figure out who is sending chilling messages, who is vying for her allegiance, and how the * heck * to be a cat in high school. Lucky for her, a quirkly hottie, Xavian, shows up to help. Or so he says…
How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’ll answer this question in two parts.
Part 1: I always start with a main character, and in this case, it was Nickie. Quite out of the blue, she emerged from my subconscious and extended her hand in greeting. I spent a lot of time with her, in her world, getting to know what she loved, hated, and what challenges she faced. Finding out what’s most important to her was key. Once I got that, then the novel began to write itself.
Part 2: Loving the paranormal genres—urban fantasy, scifi, fantasy, ghosts, werewolves, witches, vampires, etc—is in my blood. I’ve immersed myself in them since childhood. When I approached this novel, I wanted to make sure it had a unique spin. And I’m a total cat lover, so the idea of werecat shape-shifters was born.
The result: Nickie was thrilled to be a shifter. In fact, she couldn’t picture herself being anything else at this point. ;)
What kind of research did you do for this book(s)?
I did research on werecats, primarily where the folklore started and how it varied by culture. I’ve taken liberties with the information, but it certainly helped me form the structure of prides and how the various species interact with each other.
I’ve also spent a lot of time studying animal behavior, which lends a quality of realism to the character interactions when they are in animal form.
What's a typical working day like for you?
I’ve got to juggle a lot of stuff on nights and weekends. Sometimes, the day job takes over. When I have writing time, it’s usually divided between blogging, promoting, reading, and writing. If I have an entire day devoted to writing, I will literally write ALL DAY (taking brief breaks to eat or drink coffee) and will only stop when my eyes are so blurry that I can’t see the screen anymore. Those days are far and few between, but they are TOTALLY FABULOUS. Wish I had more of those…
When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I can write anywhere my laptop is. In the summer, I write on my screened-in porch. In the winter, I write on my couch.
I don’t have a daily writing goal. In order for me to stick with something, I’ve got to be flexible with it. Rigid rules don’t work for me. Plus, I tend to write in bursts. I can crank out 10,000 words in two days, or 500 words in a week. Depends on time, inclination, and inspiration. Um, and deadlines, LOL!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Finding time! My day job can get pretty intense, so my writing time fluctuates based on when I have a chance to do it. So I guess being away from writing is the hardest thing.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
It’s a BLAST creating new worlds and writing provides an escape like no other activity. Plus, it’s SO awesome to be a part of the writing community.
What makes your book different from others in this genre?
I think a lot of YA paranormal romance focuses on vamps, werewolves, ghosts, reapers, and witches, while Shifting Pride is about werecat shifters. Their world seamlessly blends in with ours. They have a hierarchical system of prides and are of various species, meaning, there are panthers, cheetahs, bobcats, and lions. Actually, they’d scoff at the idea of vampires and werewolves. Just saying. ;p
Shifting Pride, while the romance is definitely there, also has a LOT of action. In that sense, it takes on some thriller and adventure qualities.
Do any of your characters have anything in common with you?
I share Nickie’s stubborn, never-give-up attitude and Xavian’s quirky humor.
Who would play your characters if your book(s) were turned into a movie?
Good question!!! I picture Summer Vlau (if she had green eyes) as Nickie. Alex Pettyfer would be a perfect Xavian.
If you could be what kind of paranormal being would you be?
I’m partial to my werecats, and panthers are my fav. Although, I love vamps too, LOL!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
LOTS. And over a long time.
You see, Shifting Pride’s original draft took me two weeks to plunk down. That was in 2009. I revised it a bit, sent it to betas, even queried (waaaaay too early, LOL!), then moved on when I fell in love with my next WIP. It wasn’t until early summer 2012 that I dug it out of the “trunked novel pile” and re-read it. There was a lot of dead weight that I cut out and a lot of intrigue that I added before it got to where I was willing to let other people see it. I sent it to Rachel Firasek (editor extraordinaire for Etopia Press) and she LOVED it!
But it was still a far cry from what you see today. Working with an editor felt like boot camp. At the end, I had a polished, strong manuscript, far beyond my original imaginings of what it could be.
Bottom line: Writing a novel takes TIME and having and editor is ESSENTIAL. ;)
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Stephenie Meyer got me interested. I saw how quickly Twilight took off and recognized the merit in it. Then, I realized what a challenge it would be to write a full-length novel. After that, I was pretty much a goner. Once a challenge presents itself, I am powerless to resist it, LOL! So, in my senior year of residency, I began writing. Nights, weekends, any free moment, I’d be jotting down (I hand wrote at the time) paragraphs, snippets of ideas, dialogue, and synthesizing it into a fantasy monstrosity that will now forever remain in a trunk. * giggles *
Thank goodness I kept going, HA!
What was the first book you remember reading?
That’s hard to remember! I’d guess it’s either Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.
Who is your support system?
My momma has believed in me from day one…though, she may be biased, LOL! As far as writing goes, I have to say authors are the most supportive people I’ve come across, EVER. So, my crit partners, beta readers, blogging buddies, FB pals, Twitter friends, basically anyone I’ve encountered in the writing community—yep, I’d count them all as my support system.
Favorite holiday—Thanksgiving. Hands down. I totally LOVE stuffing and it’s the only time of year that I get the good stuff. LOL
Favorite song --That’s a TOUGH one. I love Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Classical (a la Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff), and movie soundtracks (LOTR, Harry Potter, The Dark Knight, Halo)
Favorite movie—LORD OF THE RINGS! FTW!
Favorite author(s)—Somerset Maugham, Charles de Lint, JK Rowling, Tolkein, Kendall Grey, and soooooo many more!
Favorite food—CHOCOLATE. I’ve become a hot cocoa junkie and have a cup every night while reading, cuddled up in a blanket next to the fire. And coffee. I must have coffee.
Sixteen-year-old Nickie Leone has proof that her missing (presumed dead) father is still alive. Receiving his watch in the mail is the first in a line of clues bringing her closer to discovering his whereabouts. But clues aren’t the only new thing in Nickie’s life. There’s the Memorial Banquet her mother insists she help prepare for, there’s the new kid/hottie, Xavian, and...well, the growth of whiskers and a tail!
Filled with secrets and a new love of tuna fish, Nickie must partner up with Xavian (don’t you know he’s a shapeshifter too?) to rescue her dad before she loses him forever. Oh, and she needs to figure out how to be a cat, too.
New town, new love, new terror…
Kicked out by his alpha father for nearly exposing their secret, seventeen-year-old Richard Leone is a shape-shifter without a pride. Alone, homeless, and hungry, he forms a tenuous friendship with Derek, a power-hungry shifter from an unstable rogue pride. It’s either that, or starve. Until they encounter a gorgeous brunette, Molly, partying with friends around a campfire. Richard immediately feels a connection with her, and something about her calls to him. Almost as if she was supposed to be his mate.
But when Molly is kidnapped, Richard must take on the entire rogue pride to save her and keep his human town safe from harm. Derek offers him a deal: he’ll help Richard take on the pride to rescue Molly, but only to secure his place as alpha. And once that happens, the humans could be in even more danger…
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, horror, and middle grade. Her short story, CITY OF LIGHTS AND STONE, is in the DAY OF DEMONS Anthology by Anachron Press (April 2012). Another short story, BEGGING DEATH, is coming soon in the CARNAGE: AFTER THE END Anthology by Sirens Call Publications. Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette NEW PRIDE was published November 2012 and her novel SHIFTING PRIDE is coming December 7, 2012 from Etopia Press. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer (http://lbdiamond.wordpress.com/), and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke corgi named Katie.
We would like to thank Laura Diamond for being our Spotlight Author today!