Sunday, January 15, 2012

Author Shayne Leighton - Of Light and Darkness

Interview with Author Shayne Leighton
Of Light and Darkness: Book One - The Vampires Daughter
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, paranormal
By Decadent Publishing

Book Blurb: When one human stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of overcoming them in this coming-of-age modern fairytale may result in war between light and darkness.

Abandoned as an infant in Prague, naive and strong-willed Charlotte Ruzikova was raised by one of the last Vampires left alive. As a human, she knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches drew spells of enchantment, Phasers threw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. Charlotte has lived her life in the dark with her Guardian, content to having him to herself and reveling in his attention, until she's realizes she wants more...

Resident medical doctor and Vampire, Valek Ruzik fears the day his ward would come of age and blossom into a fine woman, and he is forced to confront his own motives as time is of the essence once his past catches up to him, and their lives become endangered...

As genocide and war threatens their secret society, the dictator in power is ready to wipe out Valek's race, but Charlotte will not allow that to happen. Fighting for the only one she's ever loved and truly believed in, she will do whatever it takes to save their love...before the sun comes up and light takes over.


Interview: Shayne, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s an honor. I’m a huge fan of YA vampire novels to begin with. When I read OLaD (Of Light and Darkness) I fell in love with the story, and the world you’ve created. For this reason I’m excited to be interviewing you! 

Awesome, Natalie! Thank you so much for having me! It’s a pleasure to be interviewing with a fellow Decadent author!

Questions about the book: Where did you get the idea for OLaD? And how long did it take you to write it?
For all of the fantasies that I write, I’m always inspired by my own reality – oddly enough. Certain people and events in my life inspire various characters, moments, and sometimes the overall plot of my stories. Of Light and Darkness was just like that. It’s obvious Valek’s character was heavily inspired by my (now) husband, Frantisek Mach, who was once an unrequited romance during the filming my last project, The Incubus (Maverick Entertainment 2011). To me, he appeared mysterious, aloof, and at certain moments dangerous, which made him exciting. So, I added a pair of fangs and a fantastical world filled with dangerous situations, and I had my hero – Valek.
From conception to the book’s release, it took me about five years to complete. Writing it was a wonderful journey, and this story is by far my favorite work so far in my career.


Your human character was abandoned as a baby in the city of Prague. I know you’ve been there to visit, was this before or after you wrote the book? And why Prague?
I chose Prague, because it is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world, but audiences and readers don’t hear much about it. Often, cities like New York, Paris, and Rome resurface time and time again in books and movies, but Prague and the Czech Republic seem overlooked. When writing a theme as over-saturated as vampires are right now, I wanted to choose a setting for my story that was new and refreshing in order to set my story apart from anything else. Prague lent itself perfectly to Of Light and Darkness because of its mysterious history and gothic architecture. Also, my husband is from the Czech Republic, and as I stated, he was a HUGE inspiration!
To answer your other question, I had never been to Europe, let alone Prague, before the book was published. Mostly, I went on stories Frantisek told me of “The Golden City” as well as tons of research. The first time I ever set foot in Prague was coincidentally and symbolically the day Of Light and Darkness was released from Decadent Publishing. That was a really great day!
Prague is just as beautiful (if not more) than I could have ever imagined!


What was your inspiration during the writing of OLaD?
During the writing process, I was inspired a lot by music. I always have music playing in the background when I write. Most of the time it was Clint Mansell’s score for the movies, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain.
Another inspiration was the mood of my all time favorite film, Pan’s Labyrinth.
Also, I collected various paintings, drawings, and digital art from sties like DeviantArt.com to further fill in the gaps of certain characters I had in mind whenever I got stumped.


How many books are you planning for this series?
Of Light and Darkness is a planned series of seven books. Why seven? I have no idea. I just like the number. We’ll see how long my stamina holds up. ;)


Is there any trivia about OLaD you’d like to share with readers?
One piece of trivia is that one of the most beloved characters of the book, Mr. Trinozka, is based completely off of my grandfather – which is why he’s so adorable, innocent, warm, and likeable.
Another interesting piece of trivia is that another well-loved character, Francis, was based off of Prince Poppycock (from the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent). Prince Poppycock is also attached to portray the role of Francis in the feature film adaptation of the novel which is now in development.


Where can one purchase your book?
You can either order a paperback copy from your local Barnes and Noble or purchase online via Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com.
For a signed copy, you can email me personally at shayneleighton@aol.com
If you have an eReader, Of Light and Darkness is available on all e Formats. (Kindle, Kobo, iPad, etc.)

Purchase here at Amazon.com


Questions about you - the author: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Always. Since I was in the fourth grade. I just love storytelling, whether it be through music, performance, or the written word. I’m so happy that I have readers and viewers who appreciate what I do and read what I write.


Are you planning any other books in the future (other than more OLaD books)?
Absolutely. I have another idea for a young adult series and currently I am collaborating with the awesome Barbara Sheridan on a young adult, vampire anthology being published later this year! Very excited about that. I get to explore a cast of brand new characters!


Do you have favorite authors or genres you like to read, and were you influenced by them when you began writing?
My all time favorite author is Anne Rice. She writes novels as though they were poetry. I think she has a real talent for painting a beautifully dark and decadent picture for her readers and that’s what I strive to do as well.
I love the dark fantasy genre and I loved vampires before it was cool to love vampires! Ha! I think I’ll be writing about them long after the fad has died and gone away. They are just too interesting and too sexy.


How did you come across Decadent Publishing?
I came across Decadent Publishing just through doing A LOT of research online of indie publishers. I knew I wanted to go independent with this project because it allows for more freedom. Also, my story is a tad controversial to be a commercial young adult book. I actually think it falls somewhere between young adult and adult and Decadent allowed me that freedom. They are a wonderful company and have some very talented clients on their roster! I love working with them.


Having been through the editing process myself, I know it can cause a wide range of emotions. It’s such an important evolution of writing a book. What was your editing experience like?
I am so lucky that I got paired with a phenomenal editor. Because I’m such a noob at the publishing world and even just the world of being a good writer, it was imperative that I had a good editor. She taught me so much. Sure, I was beaten up a little, but I loved every minute of the process. She would give me a note, and I’d sit there like, “oooh yeah! I love that! Why didn’t I think of that!”


Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
My best advice is sort of cliché, but as Francis says in the book, “I like cliché.” It’s just as simple as not giving up. As in any artistic field, there are a lot of people vying for your spot on the shelf, and there are a LOT of people who are better or more seasoned than you. That provides for a LOT of rejection. So no matter what, just be persistent in what you want. Eventually, your book will get picked up by the right family of creative people. You will achieve your goal. So don’t ever stop.


Can you share with us, five unknown facts about Shayne Leighton?
Hmmm…five unknown facts about me are….
  1. I am AWFUL at every sport known to mankind, but in spite of my unavoidable clumsiness, I love to ski.
  2. I used to be a Broadway musical nerd and my biggest aspiration was to play Elphaba in the Broadway musical, Wicked. Now, I HATE Broadway musicals enough that just hearing one of the songs will send shivers up my spine.
  3. I can speak Czech…sort of…
  4. I get my best rehearsal time in on my pop songs when no one is home and I stand in the middle of my office and sing to my heart’s content.
  5. I was the equivalent to Glee’s Rachel Berry in high school…so you can imagine how many friends I had! Ha!
That’s it, thank you again, Shayne. It’s been fun learning more about OLaD and getting to know you better!
Here are a few links for info on OLaD and Shayne:

***Shayne has graciously offered an international giveaway. Winner will receive a digital copy (eBook) of her First in the series: Of Light and Darkness: Book One: The Vampire's Daughter. Giveaway to end Sunday, January 22, 2012.
Thank you, Shayne! :)




a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 comments:

  1. The cover is very evocative, + sounds like a good read.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, Shayne! Great interview and giveaway! FAB cover too...those eyes (shiver)! This sounds like a REALLY good read! Can't wait to get my hands on it! ;)

    Liked Shaynes FB pg
    New GFC follower of Shaynes Blog

    barbbattaglia@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joella is our lucky winner! Her winning entry was by "liking" the Of Light and Darkness facebook page! I think it's fun to know exactly how you won ;) lol

    Joella, I sent you an email! Enjoy!

    And Shayne I thank you for a great interview. We had several hundred hits on the page! :)

    ReplyDelete