Jen: This week we are happy to have Serena Yates visiting Romancing the Book. Serena, will you please share a short bio with us?
Serena: My fiction is exclusively gay, ranges from the romantic to erotic, and is always centered on the characters featured in the story, be they human, alien or otherworldly in origin. Their trials and tribulations, struggles and hopes are what, ideally, will keep you coming back for more. The one thing I will guarantee is a happy ending.
Jen: Tell us about Eye of Scota: Cinaed and where it’s available.
Serena: It’s a paranormal sci-fi novel set in the year 2,500, published by Dreamspinner Press and is available in both e-book and print (http://bit.ly/a1wp97). The story is that of Cináed MacAlpin, a healer priest on the planet Dálriata who goes on a quest for magical Slànach Stones, the Council of Priests’ quickly dwindling source of power. Cináed hopes that a successful mission will relieve the pressure on him to heal only the “worthy”. He has to travel to the mystical Eye of Scota, a passageway through space that leads back to Earth, and the supposed source of the Stones. There he meets Tadeo Banderas, a spaceship captain marooned at the Eye. They discover that the spark of energy between them may hold the key to Dálriata’s future. Does Cináed have the courage to bring home the truth that the power to save his planet is found in forgotten laws and his bond with another man?
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Serena: I discovered the idea of writing when I started reading. I wanted to be a writer, until practicalities took over and I figured out it was unlikely I’d be able to earn a living from it. So I went into business instead. I started writing in the summer of 2006 when I took a 3-month sabbatical to find out what it was I was going to write. To my surprise it as all romance, with a YA sci-fi story mixed in for variety. I took some online classes, went through a lot of rejections, and my first published story was a novella (To Find and to Keep), accepted by Dreamspinner Press in March 2009 and published in June that same year.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Serena: Not to my knowledge.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Serena: Romantic, diverse, HEA/HFN
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Serena: I tend to immerse myself into whatever story or book I’m working on actually writing until it’s done. On those days I write anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 plus words. I’ll think about other stories while I do this, but I can’t seem to work on writing more than one book at the same time. There are days when I focus on planning the next book, or on brainstorming, and I write little or nothing during those times. I usually start writing in the late afternoon and continue late into the night.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Serena: For me, the most challenging aspect is keeping a story short. While I’m able to wrote novellas (15,000 to 25,000 words), it’s difficult. I have a much easier time with short to medium length novels. The easiest part for me is to come up with new ideas.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Serena: Getting a comment from a reader who was touched by what I wrote is absolutely amazing. Closely followed by holding a print copy of one of my books in my hands.
Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
Serena: Yes, I become very attached to my characters. I think that is the reason I keep coming back to them, and that I have, so far, done a lot of series rather than stand-alone books.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
Serena: Writers like Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and J.R.R. Tolkien. I used to “inhale” their books as a teenager. Now, most of my inspiration, including my characters, comes from dreams.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Serena: I did a little victory dance, breathed a huge sigh of relief – and quit my day job. I figured if I could do it once, I could do it again. Luckily, so far, this as worked out pretty well.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Serena: Being able to write full time is such a thrill, it really is a dream come true already. More dreams? I guess making the NYT bestseller list is one, writing some of the YA books that are in my head would be another (I’d have to do that under a different pseudonym, though).
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Serena: I read, spend time with my nieces, listen to classical music. I like keeping up with scientific developments and love learning new languages.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Serena: There are three series planned with Total-E-Bound, the first of which is called “New Horizons” and has kicked off with the release of “Rescuing the Librarian” on August 30th. The second series, called Men of Riverside, is a series of seven volumes set in the fictional town of Riverside, Texas; it’s first volume “Finding Elliot” will be published on November 22nd. Both of those are contemporary. The third series is called “Scrolls of Vengeance”, the first volume of which is “The Magic Thieves”, to be published on December 27th. That one was originally a novella in the “Stealing My Heart” anthology, but I have expanded it into novel-length, and am planning several sequels for 2011.
There will also be several more books with Dreamspinner Press, and I’m starting a new series with Silver Publishing, called “Workplace Encounters”. The first volume, “The Elevator Mechanic”, will be released on October 9th.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Serena: Who amongst my characters is your personal favorite?
Jen: Readers, Serena is giving away a free e-copy of Eye of Scota: Cinaed. To enter the contest, you must leave a comment or question for Serena. And you have to leave your email address in your comment so you can be contacted if you’re chosen as the winner. Due to the content of Serena’s stories, you have to be 18+ to enter the contest. If you’ve already bought this book, you can choose another of her e-books from her backlist at Dreamspinner Press (http://bit.ly/9gnMi8). Serena will chose the winner on Sunday, September 12.