Interview & Contest: Shayla Black

Jen: We are excited to have Shayla Black as our guest today. Shayla, will you please share a short bio with us?

Shayla: Since I have a hard time talking about myself, here is what I have on my website: Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the New York Times bestselling author of over 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print and electronic publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Shayla has won or placed in over a dozen writing contests, including Passionate Ink’s Passionate Plume, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader’s Choice Awards. Romantic Times has awarded her Top Picks, a KISS Hero Award and a nomination for Best Erotic Romance.

A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.

Jen: Tell us about BELONG TO ME and where it can be purchased.

Shayla: Belong To Me should be available in all Barnes & Noble stores, along with all the online book retailers. Here’s the official blurb for the book:

She’s undercover and in over her head…

When FBI analyst Tara Jacobs’ fellow agent and best friend goes missing while investigating a sex ring, Tara goes undercover as a submissive in a Dallas BDSM club called Dominion. But no man can top a woman with Tara’s moxie convincingly enough—until an edgy, dangerous Dom takes control of the scene and sets her heart racing with a single, commanding glance. Too bad he’s also the man who stole her innocence years ago—and the one to whom she will never submit.

He’s got everything under control…until he falls for her again.

Navy SEAL Logan Edgington once left the woman he loved to save her life. He knows Tara will never forgive him, but he has no doubt that he possesses the knowledge to master her fears and the strength to guide her through an unfamiliar world of pleasure and pain. He alone can protect her on a dangerous mission that reveals both wicked depravities and terrible secrets. Logan relishes the exquisite torture of holding her again, feeling her uninhibited response. No matter how much Tara insists their fling will end after this mission, he’s determined that she will be his again—and this time, he’ll never let her go.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing? When where you first published? Tell us your call story.

Shayla: I didn’t even start reading for pleasure until I was 18 or so. Within a year, I was dabbling with a story that I eventually rewrote many times and published years later as Sweet Enemy. But I didn’t really start writing in earnest until my mid-20’s. I sold a few years after that. My first “call” came from my husband, who got home before I did and picked up a message on the answering machine on a Friday afternoon. He called to say, “Hey, this woman at Kensington wants to buy your book.” I had to wait all weekend for the details, but we had a great weekend celebrating.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Shayla: Dark, emotional, intense.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Shayla: I’m definitely a plotter. I never start a book unless I have at least 90% of the plot hammered down in my head. Not to say that things don’t change. Characters are full of surprises, but I find that starting with no plot always means a lot of rewriting and a lot of staring at a blank screen for me.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Shayla: Yes, I’m always behind on deadlines. Life has been crazy lately. I deal with the pressure by reminding myself that it’s not brain surgery or national security. I’m writing a book, and if I while I try to get it done on time, if I don’t or don’t like the product I have when deadline time rolls around, then the publisher can likely slot someone else into my spot and give me an extra few weeks. Every writer has had to give a publisher a book before she thought it was ready. I won’t do that anymore.

Jen: Have you noticed your writer’s voice has changed over the years due to experience? If so, how?

Shayla: I don’t if it’s changed so much as I’ve grown comfortable in my own skin. I’m not looking around anymore wondering if I’m doing it “right”. I’m just sitting down and telling the story that I want to tell.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?

Shayla: Not so much my dreams, but they do walk into my head and start talking to me, telling me their problems. We’ll have this odd dialogue where I tell them how I’m going to solve their problems. Sometimes they balk, sometimes they rub their hands together in glee. Doesn’t matter. They might know what they want, but I know what that character needs and I find a way to give it to them.

Jen: If Belong To Me was made into a movie, which actors would you cast as the main characters?

Shayla: I’d love to have Tom Welling of Smallville fame as Logan. That’s who I pictured the entire time I wrote this book. I can see someone like Emma Stone in the role of Tara, a sassy, determined redhead.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Shayla: I don’t necessarily have favorite authors, but certain books speak to me. The latest addition to my Keeper shelf is BREAKING POINT by Pamela Clare and BOUND by Sophie Oak. Some old favorites are LUCKY’S LADY by Tami Hoag and the Matrix of Destiny books by Dara Joy. At this very moment, I’m reading RAW DESIRE by Leah Brooke and SEVEN YEARS TO SIN by Sylvia Day.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?

Shayla: Over the last decade, I’ve received quite a few. The funniest story came from a woman who said she was reading one of the Wicked Lover books in public and started moaning in the café, before she realized that most of the people around her were watching. She set the book on the table face down and went to put her coffee cup on the counter. By the time she came back the book was face up, and lots of folks had their Google going.

Jen: What’s next for you?

Shayla: I’ve got a lot of projects in the works. In August, I released THEIR VIRGIN CAPTIVE with Lexi Blake. On November 1, I’ll release a Wicked Lovers short eBook called “Wicked To Love”. In that timeframe, I’ll also be putting out my next historical re-release, STRICTLY SEDUCTION. In February, I’ll release the 5th book in the Doomsday Brethren series, EMBRACE ME AT DAWN. I’m hoping to get another Virgin book out in the spring with Lexi. Wicked Lovers 6, MINE TO HOLD, will release in June 2012, followed by an erotic novella in the Sexy Sirens series that July in the HOT IN HANDCUFFS anthology. I’m definitely keeping busy!

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Shayla: My website is www.shaylablack.com. I’m active on Facebook www.facebook.com/ShaylaBlackAuthor and Twitter @shayla_black.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Shayla: Oh there are so many things I would love to know, such as what is your favorite type of hero and heroine? Do you like them to be very black & white, or are you more interested in people that are shades of gray with difficult situations and decisions to make? That then makes me want to ask, who is your favorite literature couple of all time and why?

Contest details:

  • The prize is a print copy of one of Shayla’s backlist titles.
  • The contest is open to US and Canadian residents over the age of 18.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • A valid email address needs to be included in your comment.  If you’re worried about spam, please modify your address, such as admin.bookblog AT gmail.com.  You can also send a message to this email after your comment has been posted.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, October 9.

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