Abigail Owen - Love, Shifters and Alpha Males
Abigail Owen calls herself a Jill-of-all-trades. When she isn't writing wonderful paranormal romance novels about shifters and other creatures, you may find her doing web design, graphic design, technical writing or business analysis. As our author of the day, we chat with Owen about shifters, how she watches Youtube videos to write certain scenes and how she juggles multiple writing projects at a time.
Please give us a short introduction to Andromeda's Fall
Andromeda’s Fall is the first book in my award-winning Shadowcat Nation series which features mountain lion shifters. Andie is being hunted by her own people. To survive, she needs to mate the alpha of another group of mountain lion shifters. But, as always happens, secrets and complications get in her way.
How much different is it to write novels compared to technical writing?
Oh, wow. Night and day different. Writing novels I get to let my mind go anywhere I wish, I am the master of my characters’ fates. The fun part is getting to be as creative as I wish. The difficult part is when your brain doesn’t have any ideas. :-) Technical writing is more about explaining and organizing information already available in other formats, or pulling that information out of another person’s head. The fun part is knowing that my documents will be used to help people learn or do their jobs correctly. The difficult part is often writing about a subject I’m not familiar with. Both are detail-driven, but in different ways. World building vs. technical accuracy.
What inspired you to write about shifters?
I love all this paranormal, starting with sci fi and fantasy way back (I was a Star Wars geek way before it was cool to be one). I love the idea of being able to channel a powerful animal like a mountain lion or a wolf. If you had that ability, what would you do with it? The possibilities, given all the animals on this planet, were a lovely playground for an author!
Tell us a bit more about Andromeda Reynolds. She sounds like someone who knows what she wants and would fight to get it, but deep down she is also very girly and feminine. Why did you create her character this way?
Andie is strong and snarky, but yes, she can be girly. I think the girly part is in direct rebellion to being forced to succeed in a male-driven society. I needed Andie to be strong, in order to balance out the Alpha male she ultimately ends up with. Andie says all the things that I think of two days later, only she says it in the moment. That was fun to write. :-)
When writing Andromeda's Fall, did you know right from the start that you were going to make it into a series?
Absolutely! I am a bit of a series junkie. In addition, I tend to fall in love with my secondary characters when writing a book. I also love building that world, and there’s only so much I can explore in one book. I assume every new book will be the beginning of a series (if it isn’t already part of an ongoing one).
Your fight scenes in your book are very descriptive. How do you pull that off?
I do love writing those parts! I pull from a combination of things. First, I see most of the book in my mind, like watching a movie. So I try to describe what I’m seeing. In addition, I do a ton of research on the fighting styles I try to incorporate, or, in the case of shifters, how those particular animals fight. You’d be amazed at the videos you can find on YouTube. I get much of my descriptions from watching those, and pulling out bits and pieces that work for the scene I’m writing.
What, would you say, is it about alpha males that make them so sexy?
Ooohhh, good question. For me it’s not that he’s a jerk (which many can be). For me it’s watching a man who is intelligent, powerful, and a leader go soft and gooey for the right woman or become a better man for the right woman. Plus, my women are strong and independent. They need someone who can keep up. ;)
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m a bit of a Jill-of-all-trades. Web design, graphic design, business analysis, technical writing. My career has been varied (though primarily with two companies over 15 years). I love learning new things. In my free time (ha), in addition to writing, I enjoy reading (of course), running, swimming, and am a huge movie buff. And I used to be a competitive skydiver. I still miss that!
How important do you think is it to find a mate who challenges you?
I think it depends on the challenge. Someone who won’t put up with your BS and calls you on it is important. Otherwise you’ll walk all over them. At the same time, someone who constantly criticizes is not a good match. So there’s a fine balance there. But someone who makes you think, makes you want to be the best person you can be, who holds you up when you need it, but who also challenges you when you need it. That’s a great mate match up!
How did you go about working out the culture and politics of the cougar shifters? Did you create rules for your world first, before you started writing the book?
I am a full on pantser. Consequently, much of my world gets built as I write the first book in a series. While I do so, I take a ton of notes on the impacts of the rules I’m laying down. I try to make the culture and politics match the situation. For example, in the Shadowcat Nation series, my characters are mountain lion shifters. I based most of my world building on how real mountain lions in the wild act. (I am lucky that a friend of mine helps tag them for study in CA. He gave me lots of feedback and info.) So I used that. Mountain lions are very male driven. They are loners as animals, and will even attack other mountain lions if it’s not mating season. I could go on and on. A wealth of info that fed into creating my world.
Tell us a bit more about your writing habits. Do you write during the day/evening? Pen or computer? Do you have a favorite spot where you like to write?
My computer goes everywhere I go, and I write whenever I get the chance. I have ADD, so it’s hit and miss. My first two books, I wrote in between taking notes for MBA classes, while I was in the middle of earning my degree. When I was working full time, I primarily wrote at night. Now that I work virtually and part-time, I write more during the day. And from where ever I land—couch, kitchen table, my bed, my office, in the car during my kiddo’s baseball practice. I’d get bored writing the same place and way and time every day.
How does the next book in the series tie in with this one?
The following 3 books continue the overarching issues the Shadowcat Nation faces – infighting, battling with other shifters, and an Iroquois demigod or two might show up (yes, a spinoff series is in the works.) Each book in the 4-book series focuses on a different couple. And we do meet a few more types of shifters, like a polar bear.
What are you working on right now?
Phew! I have several projects in the works. Currently I’m getting ready to release Seneca’s Faith (the fourth/final Shadowcat Nation book) on October 26th. I also have a holiday novella (Don’t’ Open Until Christmas) coming out in an anthology (Home for the Holidays) on November 14th with several other fabulous authors.
Writing-wise, I’m writing three other books concurrently. Bait N’ Witch is the third novella in my Legendary Consultants series. I’m working on a co-writing project with Nicole Flockton that will be an eight-book series involving knights and fairytales, but in a modern setting. And I’m working on a second-chance contemporary romance. As soon as I finish those, I’ll get started on To Ride the North Wind – the first book in my spinoff series. I guess I’m a bit busy. J
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love to meet and chat with readers, and have lots of different ways you can contact me. If you want to get in on important announcements and special giveaways, join my newsletter (the form is on the home page of my website: www.abigailowen.com). You can also connect with me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Abigail.Owen.Books/) and Twitter (@AOwenBooks). I hope you’ll swing by and say hi!