While in bed with pneumonia, Linda K. Hopkins had the idea to write Moondance, a contemporary shapeshifter romance. Hopkins has lived on three different continents, and loves to travel - with a slab of chocolate (or ten) stashed in her case and a cup of steaming hot coffee every morning. As our Author of the Day, Hopkins reveals why she enjoys writing paranormal romance, talks about her love for the Canadian Rockies and reveals her secret skills
Please give us a short introduction to what Moondance is about.
To put it simply, Moondance is a contemporary shapeshifter romance. But unlike most paranormal romances, the shapeshifter in this story is not completely comfortable with who he is. He is alone, without a clan, and there is only one thing he fears – himself. Of course, he cannot hide his true nature forever, and once Melissa discovers what he is, she has her own emotional journey to travel as she learns to step beyond her safe, normal world and truly embrace him for all that he is, and open herself to loving every part of him.
What inspired you to write a book about a black panther stalking a girl's dreams?
Black panthers are so mysterious and enigmatic, and when the idea for Moondance came to me (when I was sick with pneumonia!) I knew the shifter had to be a panther. Our dreams can, at times, reveal to us what our conscious mind has not yet grasped, which is the case with Melissa. Not only is the panther in her dreams, he is also very much in her real life, although she doesn’t immediately know it.
Why paranormal romance? What is it about the genre that draws you?
I love the idea of someone being more than he or she appears, and the journey of discovery for both the characters of the story and the reader as they learn more about the paranormal side of the hero or heroine. Along with that, the paranormal genre frees you from the boundaries of real-life – the only limit is your imagination.
Your book explores a lot of the complications and dangers a shifter would have to face in the modern world. Why did you take this approach?
When I set out to write this story, I wanted something deeper than the usual offering of paranormal romance. I like the idea of reality colliding with fantasy, and both these elements are very much in evidence in my shapeshifter. And since my hero is both alone in his uniqueness, and interacts very much in the real world, there would definitely be challenges along the way.
Why did you pick the Canadian Rockies as the backdrop for your book?
I am fortunate enough to live within an hour of the Canadian Rockies, which are breathtakingly beautiful. A shapeshifter would need a place where he could escape and be himself, so my own backyard seemed the perfect place!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Hmm – not too sure about secret skills! I like to dabble in a lot of things – photography, scrapbooking, quilting, to name a few. I also make a pretty good lasagne!
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
Most definitely. Just the act of writing – sitting with a pen or at a computer and allowing words to flow from my mind onto the page is therapeutic. Writing down thoughts and ideas helps put them into perspective – whether it be the action of a fictional character or a problem I’m facing.
Was there a particular character whose voice you found it easiest to write in?
I typically only write from one POV, so I tend to immerse myself into that character, imagining how they would think or react in any given situation. It is not unusual for me to stare blankly into space while my mind spins with possible situations my character might find him or herself in.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Absolutely! I will have one idea for a story, and suddenly the character is doing something else completely. It can be frustrating and exciting at the same time.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what's your average writing day like?
My average day looks rather boring! As soon as my children leave for school, I head to my work space and get started. I prefer to work in complete silence, and when I’m working on something new, I aim for 2,000 – 3,000 words a day. I’m not really worried at that point about the quality of my words – as long as I can get something down, then there is something to work with.
What are you working on right now?
A YA Time Travel Series, with the last book in The Dragon Archives brewing in the background.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love hearing from my readers! You can check out my website, www.lindakhopkins.com or find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Author-Linda-K-Hopkins-1425478964376327/).