Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd--from Star Wars (prequels don't count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin. She also has a severe fascination with the supernatural, which is evident in her latest book about werewolves, Shattered Pack. As our Author of the Day, Erin talks about her obsession with vampires and werewolves, gives us some insights into what Shattered Pack is about, and reveals why every book she writes has a theme song.
Why werewolves? What drew you to write about them?
I grew up a fan of urban fantasy/paranormal. I think my obsession started with Interview with a Vampire and then the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. I loooved both, and when there was a TV show, I became obsessed! I read or watched anything that had vampires or werewolves in them. But as my fandom grew, I found myself more intrigued by werewolves. The duality of their nature was fascinating, and I felt like there was more room to grow and make them unique. So, when I eventually started writing, werewolves felt like the more natural fit.
Pack politics play an important role in this book - why did you take this approach?
With the books in Tessa’s or the one in Claudia’s point of view, you never get to fully understand the inner workings of a pack. Tessa is so new to being a werewolf and Claudia’s a witch. They don’t have that knowledge to pull from, even if it’s there behind the scenes. But Meredith has always been a werewolf. And not only that, she’s from a special kind of a pack that travels around, helping out other packs in need. So, she’s seen all kinds of packs and knows how they work. I really wanted to showcase that as one of Meredith’s strengths, and for the first time, give readers a closer look at how a pack works. Even if it is a broken pack. Because that was a place and story that I hadn’t written about before in any of the Alpha Girl books.
Can Shattered Pack be read as a standalone? How does it tie in with the other books in the series?
I did my very best to write it so that anyone could jump into the Alpha Girl world with Meredith’s story. But I think any reader would get better insight into Meredith and the journey she’s been on by reading the rest of the series. My hope is that if someone does jump into the series and read Shattered Pack, that they might want to go back and read the rest of the series.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Besides writing, I’m a pretty solid cook. I make a killer cheesecake. It’s legit. ;)
What makes Donovan such a great match for Meredith?
I really loved writing Meredith and Donovan because Meredith always felt like there was such an imbalance of power between them. Tessa + Dastien and Claudia + Lucas relationships are pretty evenly balanced. But Donovan’s one of the strongest werewolves, and Meredith’s not. I loved his easy-going manner. Meredith seems relaxed but sometimes takes life a little too seriously. She also doesn’t value herself a lot. She doesn’t see her strengths. But Donovan does. He sees her vast knowledge of pack politics and her ability to make everyone feel at ease. He sees her ability to unite her friends. She’s the glue for a lot of them. And he knows if she needs more power, that he has plenty to share with her. His confidence in her gives her the strength to realized her own worth.
When working on a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
When I’m working on a new book, I always start with the backstory. What were the characters doing before the story started? What made them who they are at the start of the story? And where do I want them to be at the end of it? What kind of growth are they going to have?
So many stories have the same structure, and that’s fine, but it’s the characters that will draw a reader back again and again. It’s the characters that you want to fall in love with. So, making sure they have a rich backstory before you even start is key.
I first like to know where I’m starting, so I can plan for where I want to end the story. And then I can start to dream up all the twists and turns that will happen in between.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what's your average writing day like?
Every book has a theme song for me. I have to have the right music or else I get stuck. And—like most authors—I need a decent amount of caffeine and snacks. When I’m on a deadline, I’m all about Diet Dr. Pepper and Cheetos or Lindt Dark Chocolate with a hint of Salt.
What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up edits on my next Alpha Girl book—Being Alpha—which releases July 17, 2018. Tessa and Dastien are back in this book. It’s been fun going back to writing in Tessa’s point of view. It feels a little bit like coming home. After that, I’ll be working on finishing edits to the first in a new series—Off Planet—which releases March 19, 2019