Jen: Today we welcome Raven ShadowHawk to Romancing the Book. Raven, will you share a short bio with us?
Raven: After having spent seven years working in customer service and finance, Raven ShadowHawk made the decision to write for a living. This decision, helped by the birth of her twin sons, has led her to write several short stories, six of which form the Meeting Each Other series. These titles are available through Amazon and many other retailers via Smashwrods.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Raven: My newest release is Sugar Dust, first in the four part Slippers & Chains series. It follows D/s couple Daniel Scotney and Karen Owusu and they try to enjoy their BDSM relationship amidst interference from friends and family. It highlights the fact that a BDSM relationship can (and often does) experience the same highs and lows as any vanilla one, though the surrounding sexual interactions can obviously be somewhat more intense.
“I was trying to figure out what to do for you and last night I figured it out. I’ve booked us a holiday. Just you and me.”
The twist made Karen pause. She hesitated, wavering between pleasure and frustration as he missed the point completely. Again.
“What? When? What about work? I’ve got research to do.” She clutched the sides of the sofa. “Why didn’t you check first? I’m at uni next week, I can’t just run off.” Dan’s chuckling only fanned her temper. “Do you know how much this PhD is costing me? I can’t vanish for a week and screw it up.”
“Who said anything about a week?”
“I said ‘holiday’. You assumed how long.”
Shuffling in her seat, Karen twisted her fingers in her lap. “Fine. How long? And where are we going?”
She sat bolt upright. “What?”
“Say it again. I need to hear it again.”
“Sugar Dust, licensed fetish club and themed hotel for adults of an adventurous nature.” Dan’s smile widened. He puffed out his chest and flicked imaginary fluff off his shoulders. “I booked it this morning. Two nights, from tonight.”
Karen squealed. All thoughts of the conversation carefully planned on the drive over, disappeared. She leapt to her feet. Whirled in a tight circle. “Sugar Dust! We’re going to Sugar Dust!”
A leap took her across the room to land in Dan’s lap. Grabbing his face with both hands she rained kisses on him. “How? I thought they were booked for months. This is incredible.”
“I’m glad you’re happy, Kaz.”
She grinned, staring deep into the large brown pools of his eyes. She bit her lip. “Sugar Dust, I’ve always wanted to go, but I have to tell you something first.”
Dan leaned forward and nipped her bottom lip. “How grateful you are? How pleased? How horny?”
“Why don’t you show me?” He ran his hands down her shoulders, cupping her breasts briefly before running his hands over her ribs and down to her hips. Grip tight and just shy of painful, he held her in place while tilting his hips into hers. Still grinning, he nibbled her bottom lip again then slid his lips down the side of her throat.
The hot press of his mouth and the flick of his tongue made her groan. She wanted to wait, to push him away and keep talking, but already the details were hazy. He licked a wet path down the side of her throat, teasing the site of last night’s bite.
“I’ve already packed,” he whispered against her throat.
“Really?” A pleasurable jolt shivered over her skin, gathering in her stomach where a tingling sensation billowed out and sank downward. “What did you pack?” Though she made her voice as neutral as possible, she couldn’t quite keep the smile off her lips. A smile that grew wider when Dan next spoke.
“Sugar Dust is a special place. You need special clothes.“
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Raven: I am soooooo a plan-ster. Cheating? I think not. Once upon a time I hated the idea of outlines and refused point blank to use one. I found in doing so that my projects languished and generally remained unfinished because I lost my way and couldn’t get back to the original idea. These days I sketch myself a scene by scene outline, just a sentence or two which tells me what needs to happen. Then, as I draft, the detail arrives with all the freedom I used to enjoy when purely pantsing.
Not only do I actually finish stories now, but I also spend less time editing as there is much less chaf to separate from the wheaty goodness. ^_^
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Raven: I get up in the middle of the night (as that when it tends to be) and scramble to get my notebook which I keep beneath the bed with a pen stuck in the spirals. I creep out of bed, fail in not waking up my partner, then sneak into the bathroom where I can put on the light and scribble while the idea is still there.
If, by some weird chance, it’s not the middle of the night, I have a record function on my phone. So I record the thoughts as they fall from my head. This does lead to having loud, one-way conversations with myself on the high street (sometimes talking about making books from human skin or what colour blood would be if it fell down a loo which had a cistern block in it) but then I have the file ready to listen to and transcribe into my Ideas Folder when I get back to my laptop.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Raven: Completing my first series. I’ve published Meeting Each Other completely independently, forking out my own cash for editing, formatting and cover art. Everything from the ground up has been my own effort and that is an incredible feeling. Knowing and understanding that I can do this and being recognised not only as an author but a micro publisher in my own right. Very soon I’ll be finalising the .pdf for the collection and making the print version ready for sale through Amazon. That will be the next high point.
Though I’ll be honest, publishing through Breathless Press and experiencing their skill and enthusiasm for the story I’m telling is not to be sniffed at either! The next highlight? Well that would be a print volume with them, of course! 😉
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Raven: I’m not sure that I did anything actually. I might have leapt up and down and cried a lot, but there wasn’t a particular thing I did when ‘Vicki & Lara’ released. I guess I’ll have to make the effort this time. When I do make sales, I have this weird little happy dance I do (YouTube vid /and yes, it IS usually in my dressing gown as I only check my stats once a week, usually in the morning before I get dressed). I’m going to have to work on the new contract or new release ritual though, as I do believe these things should be celebrated. They’re important for an author; indicative of all the hard work they’ve put in.
Hmm. Maybe a cinema trip or a box of posh chocolate? Mmm. Chocolate. Yes, let’s go with chocolate. That means I owe myself at least seven boxes. *fist pump*
Jen: What’s next for you?
Raven: Next on the list is the rest of the Slippers & Chains series, followed by an urban trilogy tying Ancient Egypt (c. 36 BC) with contemporary Leicester. The trilogy, named Saar’s Legacy, follows Lenina Miller, a shallow, empty-headed woman who becomes a vampire two weeks before her wedding. She assists the police in their attempts to catch the man who attacked her while experiencing vivid, full-sensory flashbacks of a soldier named Saar in Cleopatra army during Alexandria’s war with Rome.