Thursday, January 17, 2013

Raven McAllan - A Shimmer of Silk (Interview and Contest!)

Today I'd like to welcome Raven McAllan. She's here to talk about her new Erotic Regency, A Shimmer of Silk, book two in The House on Silk Street (Evernight Publishing). There is even a contest to win some of Raven's books!

About the Author
Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.
She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.
A lover of reading, she appreciates the history inside a book, and the chance to peek into the lives of those from years ago. Raven admits that she enjoys the research for her books almost as much as the writing; so much so, that sometimes she realizes she's strayed way past the information she needs to know, and not a paragraph has been added to her WIP.
Luckily her long suffering DH, is used to the dust bunnies that go forth and multiply under the bed, makes a mean curry, and pours a perfect glass of wine.

So Raven, what do you do when you're not writing?
Think about writing? Ha, I do all the boring mundane things that have to be done, like washing and ironing. Apart from that I like to read, and I go for long walks with a friend and her dogs. We live on the edge of a forest, so there's plenty of places to walk. 
 When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I can't remember ever not writing. I finished my first 'book' in primary school. About a budgie if I remember correctly.My first 'proper' book was when my DH got me a computer and told me I had no excuse. As that was when you put discs in and out for what seemed like a thousand times before you could do anything, it took me ages to finish. And it was terrible, but I did 55k. Then nothing for years until about eighteen months ago. That one was accepted.
 How did you choose the genre you write in?
It chose me. We were chatting in my crit group (UCW hi ladies), trying to decide what to write, and I suddenly said I thought I'd write regency, and it would be about two girls and a man. I have no idea where that came from. They dared me and I did.
Where do you get your ideas?
They hit me…a word, an overheard conversation (I'm the one behind you with ears flapping) my murky mind…
Haha, love it. So what sparked the idea for your novel?
A Shimmer of Silk is the second book in the series The House On Silk Street. The first was Silver Silk Ties.I love the Regency era, where so much wasn't spoken about openly but it all happened. This is my interpretation of some of those happenings. The research is so much fun. It was a scene in a book I'd read that got my brain cells thinking how would this have worked in 1818? Then my heroine started shouting and I started to write. Being a pantster, I had no idea what was going to happen.
What is your favorite part of the book? 
That is so hard to pick. I think the struggle by Deborah to come to terms with her needs.
What was the hardest part to write? 
The knife and wax play bits. Even though they are mild, I'm scared I don't get them right. I have to keep reminding myself I have researched it, I have asked questions, and it is 1818.
Is there anything you wish was different in the book? 
I think after every book I've written I re-read it and think I should have said this, or done that… I'll leave it up to my readers (if there is any) to tell me…
What was your life like before becoming an author? 
I've been very lucky and lived a great and full life so far.(I hope I've got a good few more years in me) For many years I worked in the public sector, and latterly as a marketing manger for a tourist site. I've been a tour guide around a stately home, which really increased my interest in all things historical, and a classroom assistant in a primary school. Now, I write. 
What is your writing routine? 
It all depends where I am. If I'm at home, I'm often up well before DH. In the winter, I sit as near to the Aga as I can without burning my bum, and write before 'the day begins'. Once I have the house to myself It's a quick housewifely half our, a cup or three of coffee and write. Then off for a walk, chat about the world and his wife to my mate, and back home to write. Then usually I get a mad oh-my-god-is-that-the-time panic, and rush to do all the other things I should have done. Um in 'write' include messing on Facebook, Skype, in-box stalking where necessary, phone calls etc etc.If I'm on holiday, I usually write for an hour in the morning, on a balcony or something… Amazing how much gets done like that.
Which comes first: The character's story or the idea for the novel? 
Argh….I have no idea. It sort of hits me, usually in the middle of the night, so I have to get up and start.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Golda Meir. I read her autobiography and it threw up so many questions about her life and the world she lived in. Whether you love her or hate her she was a remarkable woman.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published author?
Don't give up. Write as you can, not as you think you should. Enjoy it.
Do you ever experience writer's block?
Not really. If something isn't working, usually the character is playing silly devils, and I'll go to another WIP, until I'm shouted at. If the words won't flow, generally it's because what I've written isn't right.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I don't plot, I just have a rough idea where I hope to end up.
Can you tell me about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Believing it was an okay piece of writing. I was lucky, my crit group all supported me, we all researched publishers and decided where to send it. My best mate Doris who is a superb writer, 'redited' it and off it went. When Breathless Press accepted it, my editor guided me through all the things I was clueless about. (I'm not at all techno –savvy, I had no idea how to track changes, auto correct, do attachments) Luckily our crit group does I have a techno geek without whom I'd be stymied. (Thanks Cherie)

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Ask more questions, stick up for myself more when I knew I was correct. Being a newbie you are scared stiff to rock the boat.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? 
Not yet…
What are you working on now?

A contemporary erotic romance, set in Glasgow and the home counties.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
A Shimmer of Silk, is as I said an erotic Regency romance, with a hint of mystery thrown in, set in 1818 London. All the books in the series can be read as stand alones, although the 'big question' won't be answered until the end of the last book.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
That would be telling wink

Haha. :)  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The flame-throwing scene. When I was a child we used to live in a house that backed on to where the fair came every year. One of the sideshows was the man who flame threw and also stretched out on a bed of nails. He was the dad of some of the kids I used to play with. I remember watching him practice. I was fascinated. And I still remember him showing us where the nails had pierced the skin and telling us not to try it ourselves. (No chance of that, I'm a wuss about pain.)
How did you come up with the title?
I went to Vietnam on holiday a couple of years ago, and I was fascinated by the street names in Hanoi. Silk Street was where all the silk merchants used to be. Then I was in London and saw an old building in a tiny street with a shop with silver silk ribbons in the window. I had a light bulb moment, and my brain whirred into action. For book two, I remembered how the silk had changed color and depth wherever you stood.
When does A Shimmer of Silk come out? And do you have any other upcoming releases? 
A Shimmer of Silk is out today, Jan 17th!
A Rose Between The Thornes, another Regency, and a sequel to To Please a Lady is well into edits, so that will be out in next couple of months. (Breathless Press)I've a few stories in different anthologies, and a short story in pre edit stage for Evernight Publishing. It's a contemporary BDSM called 'Will You Dance Miss Laurence?'.
Congrats on today's release! I can't wait to check it out.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? 
I seem to be taking some of my secondary characters and telling their stories. I'm really enjoying that, because I know how often I read a book, and a minor player grabs my interest.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? 
That English was obviously my second language (it isn't) The book was Regency, and Regency English isn't always the same as 21st century. I accepted it wasn't what the reader liked.
What has been the best compliment?
When someone says the enjoyed what I've written, and any facts in it are correct.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? 
Write in the way that suits you, don't try to fit in. Never give up. Get a good crit group (mine are the best, but no we don't take new members). Most of all, believe in yourself. If you don't why should anyone else? (And that is the hardest thing of all to do.)
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I still go all a quiver when I realize people read—and like—what I've written a very big thank you for making my dream come true.
Where do you find the most inspiration to write? 
Oh a long haul flight. I can get a lot written there, and it just flows…nothing to do with the champagne, honest!(I was writing a very hot part of A Rose Between The Thornes. Got up to go to the loo, when I got back some guy was reading from my laptop, his hand hovering over the scroll down bit. I said "excuse me" and he moved to let me passed. snigger So I explained it was my seat. He just smiled and went off. When I went to get a drink later, the cabin crew member asked me of I was the lady in seat ***. I said yes… "Well the two gentlemen in seats *** and *** want to know what happens after she gets on the bed and faces the wall.")
Hahaha, I love it. :) Now lets find out some random stuff.
Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?
I did go to work once with odd shoes on. And on one occasion I got a phone call from my daughter (at Uni) who I was due to meet in town. She'd got to the bus stop in her slippers. (A friend had driven her there.) So she'd pinched her boyfriend's trainers and sent him away in her three sizes too small 'baffies'. (Scottish slippers) I had to take her an old pair of her own trainers to wear.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
Yes I do make it. I may not be a domestic goddess, but I do like the bed to be all plumped up pillows and smoothed duvet.
Be honest, how often do you wash your hair?
Every other day, or it irritates me intensely.
Do you get road rage?
I may swear at tourists! But if it's traffic jam or road works I don't see the point.
What pisses you off the most about other drivers? 
What we call 'sun day drivers'. (Not only on a Sunday.) At the first hint of a fine day, they come out from the city and have no idea how to drive country roads. So they hog the middle and cringe when they see a tractor. (and drive at 20 miles an hour along a nice wide straight road.)
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs?
Only if a wasp is harassing me because I swell up like a melon if I'm stung. Otherwise if they ignore me, I'll ignore them.
Are there any that make you screech and hide? 
Not yet, though I'm not over fond of snakes and big spiders.
Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
Raig In A Price to Pay, because he likes an older woman. And his history is fascinating.Deborah in A Shimmer Of Silk to ask her how she copes.

And now, a question for Raven's readers:
If one of Raven's books were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each character's part?

The winner will get two of Raven's eBooks of their choice.One other person will get one eBook of their choice from Raven's back list.
Contest runs from 1/17/2013 through 1/24/2013.

You can find all about Raven and her books on:
her blog is (and she's always happy to see new followers there)
and she's on twitter as @RavenMcAllan

Thanks so much for meeting with me today, Raven, and congratulations on your new release!!


  1. Fab interview, Raven. I look forward to snuggling up with "A Shimmer of Silk"! <3

  2. Hi Raven. congratulations on the new release!

  3. You're interviews are always hilarious, Raven. I'd like to see Johnny Depp play Raig.

  4. Fabulous Interview and I second Johnny Depp for Raig!