1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
My name is Shantel Brunton, and I’m from Alberta, Canada. I was born and raised here and I just never left. I’m going to run the risk of quoting country songs but I’m Alberta bound.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
My book is called Tortured Innocence. I just published it again. I relaunched it August 1st of 2020 and I initially published it back in 2017.
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
My main character, my victim, my fictional voodoo doll puppet is named Nicole. I put Nicole through hell, but she keeps on fighting. She’s got this internal fire that keeps on burning, and despite her suffering she really keeps everything together. Then there’s my villain/ anti-hero Twenty. Twenty is intelligent, dark, sadistic, cruel, kind, and confusing. I think that’s his biggest weakness is that he’s just confusing, and sometimes I don’t know what to do with him. His character has so many opposing aspects of kindness and cruelty, and it leaves people questioning is he good or bad.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
A really hard scene for me to write involves Nicole and a nasty character Kyle. I don’t want to give away spoilers.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
I self-published the book.
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
The most difficult part of the journey has been receiving low reviews and doing my best to separate myself from my art, and not view a low review as a personal critique on my character. My piece of advice for authors is do your best to focus on the positive and know you can’t please everyone.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I want to do an entire body of work for Tortured Innocence and build the dark and dreary lands of the Shadowlands. I’m talking prequels, sequels, character backstories.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Some of my favourite authors… hmmm there are so many. I love the classics like Dracula, and pretty much everything Edgar Allan Poe wrote. I had some Young Adult books that really inspired me such as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, and Cut by Patricia McCormick. The book Cut was the one that really inspired me to get into writing, because I saw in the back of the book an ad for a novel writing contest, and I thought “I can write a novel”.
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
Instagram has been fantastic for marketing my book.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
In terms of writing styles I don’t like, I don’t like writing where I can’t picture things. I’m not a fan of minimalistic writing and I prefer long flowing prose.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
Yes, I’ve read all my reviews. The low ones do sting, but I try to tell myself it’s a critique of a piece of work and not of me.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
I’m obsessive about my plotting and I have to have an outline or else I get stressed and I can’t write. I listen to a lot of Aesthetic Perfection, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, and classical music such as Swan Lake when I’m writing.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
I think the best advice about writing is if you want to be a writer, then write. Try to write something everyday. Even if you’re extremely busy, jot down a couple of sentences. If you’re writing then you’re a writer. I would also advise new writers to be reading as much as they’re writing. There are so many good books out there and the more you read, the more you’ll improve your vocabulary and learn all kinds of techniques.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I’m working on the backstory for my villain Twenty and I’m so excited about it.
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Feel free to follow me on Instagram and the book is 99cents USD for the ebook version. I’m keeping it like this most likely for the month of August.
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