Interview with Shana O'Quinn

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the southwestern section of Virginia, deep in the Appalachias. Where I grew up, and also where I'm back living at now, is nestled in a forested mountain.

When I was little we had turkeys and chickens and my grandparents who lived next door raised beef cattle--black Angus and red Herefords. We planted and harvested green beans, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, cabbage, strawberries, black raspberries, green bell peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes, and sometimes more. We processed, dried, and canned the produce like my ancestors had been doing for many generations. The road to my house was a pothole-ridden, bumpy, dusty mess when dry, and a muddy chokehole when it rained; it wasn't paved (and I loosely call it pavement--some tar and gravel mixture) until I was about ten or eleven years old. I played with my cats and dogs and the chickens and turkeys and went fishing in my Grandpa's pond that was down below my house.

It's a wonderful, safe, clean place to grow up in. I had a great childhood, and grew up in a healthy, loving environment in the mid-South.

Consequently, I grew up the complete opposite of what you would expect of a white middle class girl in the Bible Belt. I love horror movies, stuff with explosions and huge epic scenes, dinosaurs, science, fantasy, science fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, classic rock, heavy metal, going to concerts, music, musicians, playing music, learning to death growl, violent cartoons like Superjail! and Metalocalypse, werewolves, vampires, monsters, the dark, bats, dragons, and the supernatural. I hated wearing dresses (still do) and I hate the color pink. I've never dedicated my life to some dudebro/redneck and raising a houseful of younguns. I watch very, very little television, and most of the movies I do watch has to include one or more of the following: hobbits, elves, pirates, explosions, blood, swordfights, gunfights, scary stuff, zombies, dragons, serial killers, badass women, or something fantasy or vaguely historical.

How has this influenced my art and writing?

Well, I have noticed that the vast majority of anything creative where I'm from, is traditional crafts like making lye soap or bonnets, or whittling something, or something like that. Making wool dresses, blankets, and writing about the 'good ole days' is another given around here. Painting and other visual art, along with writing, must deal with coal, coal mining, moonshining, and other assorted redneckery. And that's all well and good, except there's a lot more to me, as person and an artist, than that. I love being from the Appalachias, and I'm not ashamed of being Southern, in fact I love it. But somehow, that always pigeonholes what anyone, an artist especially, can do or be.

My writing reflects what I am into. It incorporates myths and world religions, history both real and implied, legends, hard science and off-the-wall fantasy. However, it has a warmth that may be derived from my backwoods origins. A lot of the characters have a strong moral compass they follow, even if it isn't a part of the law or society's standards. Some are closer to the Earth, to Nature, than a lot of others. The individualistic, rebellious Southern spirit shows itself from time to time in my art and writings. It manifests in the continuous positive outlook and hope for better times, the yearning for the simple things that makes life good.

In essence, I'm hillbilly and an author, but I don't HAVE to write about what's expected of me to write about. I don't have to write about hot rods and good ol' boys, or coal mining or housewifing. You can still smell the Southern charm and attitude, I'm sure.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pick some maters from the garden.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love all six fans I have, I really adore them!

Seriously though, fans are what makes anyone in the creative arts successful. I love today's social media, since you can interact with fans and supporters in ways undreamed of just a few years ago. I'm also an egotist so people fangirling and fanboying over my stuff is an awesome boost.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on the next installment in my Ages of Telamon series, Secret Ones Volume 2. I've created some accompanying songs using GarageBand on my Mac, since this volume is laced with all kinds of classic rock, and also do art and designs based on my world of Telamon. I do the covers to my own books, as well, and any and all illustrations.
Who are your favorite authors?
Well, the obvious first answer would be J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis as well. They influenced me greatly, especially in the construction of huge epic worlds and histories. H.G. Wells is also right up there, along with Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Alice Borchardt.

Sorry guys, but I won't touch Twilight or Harry Potter with a ten foot pole.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work for the Virginia Employment Commission, so I get yelled at by the unemployed a lot. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I get to help people. In fact, I went from being unemployed and having lost everything to working for the state, so I have a lot to be thankful for.

Music is my life, so it revolves around listening to it, thinking about it, writing about it, making art of my favorite artists (I have the ambitious Rock and Roll Project) and I sing and have been in bands myself.

I also am taking classes through Devry University and am in the process of getting my Bachelor's in Graphic Design and Multimedia.

Occasionally I get to do things like eat and sleep.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read these big square things called books. You open them and they have words and sometimes pictures in them.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It follows the adventures of different groups all trying in their own way to face the growing menace of the Dark Elves, with their vampire minions and werewolf allies. The Mother of all these werewolves is Lilith, creature of the night.
Published 2013-09-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Chronicles of Lilith Book 2
Price: Free! Words: 9,320. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
(4.00 from 1 review)
The first werewolf and antagonist in Shana O'Quinn's Secret Ones series is back in a series of tales from her early years. This time the original bad girl meets the people of the Oasis of Eden, and after an initial friendship, things go sour. After being cursed, she becomes the First Werewolf and creates the race of Lycanthropes.
Ghastley's Book of Fairy Tales
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 30,910. Language: American English. Published: June 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Fantasy author Shana O'Quinn returns with this collection of fairy tales for young adults and anyone else who wants updated versions of some classic fairy tales. These stories offer twists, turns, strong heroines and clever heroes in a land where not everyone lives happily ever after, but there's never a dull moment.
Night Ride of the Sidhe
Price: Free! Words: 3,430. Language: English. Published: May 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
The riding forth of the Sidhe, who meets a lone old man walking home one night. The Irish Celts knew them as the Sidhe--the Shining Ones. Padraic O'Connell experiences a night of joy, wonder, and paralyzing fear after meeting strangers in the dark forest. There are creatures more wild and less friendly than elves on the road at night. Was it all a dream?
The Chronicles of Lilith Book 1
Price: Free! Words: 11,550. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.00 from 1 review)
The first werewolf and antagonist in Shana O'Quinn's Secret Ones series is back in a series of tales from her early years. When unexpected enemies destroy her home and those she loves, she makes a devil's bargain with spirits she doesn't fully understand to exact revenge. A part of the Ages of Telamon series, and compliments the Secret Ones books.
Secret Ones Volume 2
Series: Ages of Telamon, Second book of the Secret Ones. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,620. Language: American English. Published: January 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
A book in the Ages of Telamon series, legends and myths collide in an alternate 1970's. Super megaband White Death is now on hiatus due to fighting the forces of evil in the form of Lycaeans, led by their creator Lilith; and the monstrous Drow, cousins to the Sidhe who inhabit Telamon under everyone's nose. Elves, dragons, faery dogs, hellhounds, and a cursed magical sword abound.
Secret Ones Volume 1
Series: Ages of Telamon. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,780. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Adventure » Action
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
It's the 1970's, White Death is the most popular rock band, and it's frontman is an elf. So is the guitarist. There's also vampire Dark Elves, werewolves, ancient demonesses, dragons, and more. And that's just the beginning, because soon there will be a showdown between ancient foes and forgotten legends in a modern world totally unprepared for it. Part of the Ages of Telamon series.
Lady of The Sidhe
Series: Ages of Telamon. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,130. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
A lone Elven woman, Imerra Silverhair, searches for her son, picking up unexpected allies along the way in the ancient might-have-been world of Telamon. Along the way she discovers an ancient menace that had been fought before long ago and seemingly defeated. A part of the Ages of Telamon series.