Seana Kelly - Action-Packed Urban Fantasy
Seana Kelly lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, and one fish. When she's not dodging her family, hiding in the garage and trying to write, she's working as a high school teacher-librarian. She's an avid reader and re-reader who misses her favorite characters when it's been too long between visits. She's represented by the delightful and effervescent Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. As our Author of the Day, Kelly tells us all about her book, The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore and Bar is about.
The Slaughtered Lamb Bookstore & Bar is the first book is a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance series. We follow Sam Quinn, the book nerd werewolf in charge. While tending to the supernatural community that frequents her establishment, Sam becomes the target of a mysterious and deadly foe. Caught in a fight to survive, she finds an ally in sexy vampire master Clive
What inspired you to write about a bookstore and bar that serves the supernatural community?
I’ve always wanted to open a bookstore & bar, one with a menu board that highlights book/cocktail pairings. I decided on a bookstore/bar for the setting of this book because I wanted Sam to connect with a variety of supernatural beings. When we first meet Sam, she is still suffering the aftereffects of a brutal attack and rape that took place years before the story opens. She’s gaining strength and confidence, but she’s not there yet. I needed to put her in a setting that forced her to interact with others.
On a side note, in case readers don’t recognize it, The Slaughtered Lamb is from the film An American Werewolf in London. It’s the name of the pub on the moors that David and Jack visit right before they’re attacked by a werewolf. Using the name for Sam’s bookstore & bar is Clive’s idea, a cheeky reference to the American werewolf in San Francisco tending bar.
Tell us more about Sam. What makes her so special?
When the story opens, neither Sam nor the reader knows exactly what makes Sam unique. Granted, there are very few female werewolves, but it’s not her rarity that makes her special. Sam’s life hasn’t been an easy one, but she hasn’t lost her kind heart or her humor. I don’t want to give away any major plot points, but there’s much more to Sam than meets the eye.
Why did you make Sam a werewolf?
Sam is a werewolf because of her inherent duality: human/wolf, survivor/predator, young/ageless, fearful/fearsome. A werewolf’s preternatural speed and strength appealed to me, as I was telling the story of a young woman fighting her way back from trauma. Razor-sharp claws mean she’s no one’s victim.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
That’s a tough one. Is an encyclopedic knowledge of Harry Potter considered a skill? My life has always revolved around books. Although dyslexic, I’m an avid, albeit slow, reader. I taught high school English before becoming a teacher-librarian. See? All books, all the time.
Why did you pick San Francisco as the backdrop for your story?
I lived in San Francisco for years and love the city. It has its own magic. I wanted to write about a place I knew well, a city that was as unique as Sam. I also wanted a setting that was as diverse as the characters inhabiting the books.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Ha! Many of them, Clive being first and foremost. In my original plan for the book, Clive was a secondary character, a powerful player in the background. Then he started showing up in scenes far more frequently than intended, becoming exactly what Sam needed. I had to go back and rewrite the book to put Clive in his rightful spot, at Sam’s side.
What makes Clive such a great love interest?
Beyond being a sexy beast, Clive accepts Sam for who she is, scars and all. While he’d be happy to act as her shield, he understands she needs to stand on her own and harness her own inherent power. He’s terrifying to the rest of the world, but for Sam, he’s an open hand, offering whatever she needs, including love.
Your bar is so realistic that some readers say that they wish they could visit it for real. How did you pull this off?
Probably because I’d love to visit, as well. Many things were altered over the years I wrote and rewrote this story. A few have never changed, Sam and The Slaughtered Lamb being chief among them. When thinking of Sam and the story I wanted to tell, the bookstore & bar appeared fully formed in my mind. I think the inspiration for the bar is the Open Ocean Room at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If I could, I’d live in the darkened room in front of the massive, 90’ glass wall, watching the ocean swim by.
For the Slaughtered Lamb, I wanted something similar. Sam’s bookstore & bar is for supernaturals only, so I didn’t need to follow the rules of the human world. It’s built into a cliff face at ocean level with an aquarium-grade glass wall that is often submerged underwater. Imagine a table by a window like the one below, cocktail waiting, book in hand. Welcome to The Slaughtered Lamb.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human (or not so human) nature through your characters?
I suppose the book is an ode to survivors, those who find the strength to battle back, no matter what. A lot of really horrible things can happen in this life. Do we let the trauma define us or do we rise like phoenixes from the ash? For Sam, it’s the latter.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
I have two. One I’ve been carrying around since I was a child and saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the first time. ‘So shines a good deed in a weary world.’ I know now that it’s actually a rephrasing of a line from The Merchant of Venice, but for years I gave the credit to Dahl/Wonka. If I ever get a tattoo, that’ll be it. Small, unheralded kindnesses make me teary-eyed. The second motivational phrase I cling to is from the musical Hamilton. Hercules Mulligan sings, ‘When you knock me down, I get the f*ck back up again!’ I feel that one right in the gut. No one gets to keep me down.
Do you have any interesting writing habits?
What is an average writing day like for you? I’m an early morning writer. I’m usually up and writing by 3:30 or 4:00. I have a full-time job, so I can only write for a couple of hours in the morning before my workday begins.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing the third Sam Quinn book. The Wicche Glass Tavern will be out in October of 2021. The second book The Dead Don’t Drink at Lafitte’s is done and ready to be published April 13, 2021.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I can most often be found on Twitter, but there are lots of ways to reach out to me.