Name Shira Anthony
Age Still a big kid
Where are you from I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, back when people used to laugh at us and call us the “mistake on the Lake”! Now, Cleveland is the home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and people don’t laugh anymore. It’s always been a great town, and I still go back to visit family and friends pretty often. In fact, I love the city so much, I set my upcoming release, Finder’s Keeper, there! https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finders-keeper-by-shira-anthony-8812-b
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve got a new release coming out on September 15th from Dreamspinner Press! Finder’s Keeper is part of the brand new Dreamspun Beyond line of romance-forward, contemporary paranormal romances. Harlequin style love stories with a paranormal twist. The story features a half-human, half-fox spirit who guards the gateway between the human and spirit worlds—which just happens to be in the basement of a brownstone! It’s a lot of fun and very romantic.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing stories since I was really little, but about ten years ago I started posting some online. When people commented that they enjoyed them, I realized maybe I needed to try publishing my stories. I wasn’t sure anyone would pay me for them, but it was a huge step for me.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when my first book, The Dream of a Thousand Nights, was actually published. I sent it to Dreamspinner Press on a lark, never figuring they’d contract. You should have seen me jumping around like a fool when I got an email with a contract in it! I still pinch myself sometimes that I’m a published author, even after 20+ novels under my belt.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always loved fairy tales, and I thought it would be fun to write a story about a genie and prince. It’s a little kinky, but it’s a love story about being true to yourself and about the way love endures. I can’t recall whether I dreamed about it or just imagined the story, but I wanted to try writing a sexy gay romance, and that story was the end result.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I guess you might call it romantic but real. I like to write about real men with real emotions and problems. Even when I write fantasy, I want my characters to ring true. I want readers to see how characters can grow and change, especially when they find the love of a good man. I love how romance can change people.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my first book, The Dream of a Thousand Nights, the title comes from the prince, who has forgotten the genie who saved his life and who he spent a night of lovemaking with. Neriah doesn’t remember Tamir, but every night he dreams of a lover whose face he can’t remember when he awakes. The same dream every night for a thousand nights.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think the message for all my books is the same: love is a part of being human and something that can shape who you are and who you can become. We are better with love. We can become so much more with love in our lives.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Most of my books draw at least in part on my real-life experiences. Some more, some less, but all include real thoughts and feelings. For example, my Blue Notes Series draws on my experiences as a professional opera singer and the wonderful gay men I got to know as a classical musician. And yes, most of the men I met in my time singing were gay, so it wasn’t a stretch to write a series of gay romance novels that are about classical musicians. Some of their experiences are my own, including performing, practicing, and even fears. Even when I write fantasy, I try to connect with real situations.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The Darkover Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley most influenced my writing, in particular. I think they also shaped my view of the world. They’re sci fi fantasy, but they all have a romance element. I grew up reading them, and I’ve grown up to be a die-hard romantic.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
There are way too many to name! But when I started reading the gay romance genre, I read a lot of Amy Lane’s work, as well as Heidi Cullinan and Harper Fox. They’re all amazing writers, and they write wonderful characters who come to life and feel real to me.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My friend Venona Keyes, who also writes for Dreamspinner Press, has been there for me for as long as I’ve been publishing. She’s a great friend and a great cheerleader too!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It’s more than a career—it’s a job, and a really hard one at that!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are always things I want to mess with after a book is finished. I think that letting go is part of the creative process. At some point, you just have to do it, or you never move on!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
From my love of reading. Definitely!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s an excerpt from Finder’s Keeper:
The room was huge—at least ten times bigger than Zane had expected. Bigger than the footprint of the house. Near the doorway, a simple cot stood against a bare wall. Next to it an alarm clock and a book sat on a table. All normal, everyday things.
The rest of the room was something out of a dream.
A set of heavy wooden doors completely filled the space. Simple inlaid handles joined to create a square with a single character in silver paint—like a letter from a strange alphabet—in the center. The space between the bed and the doorway reminded Zane of a Japanese rock garden with matching benches on either side of a walkway. The stones that formed the garden substrate glowed blue and seemed to oscillate, first solid, then flowing like a liquid.
Someone stood between the two benches, his back to Zane, dressed in a hooded robe of deep blue with silver embroidery at the ends of the sleeves that hung well below where his hands would be. The same letter painted on the doors had been sewn in silver thread into the fabric at the back of the garment. The scent of something familiar and sweet danced around Zane’s senses, reminding him of the delicate perfume his mother had worn, with its hints of citrus and ginger. In the face of the impossible beauty of this place—was he still in his basement?—the fragrance felt familiar and warm.
“I didn’t want you to find out this way.” Kit’s shoulders rose and fell as he drew an audible breath. He turned around. In the dim light of the room, his eyes glowed green and his pupils looked much like a cat’s. His skin was so pale, it seemed nearly translucent. He pressed his lips together and held Zane’s gaze before he reached up and drew off his hood.
Kit’s hair tumbled over his shoulders and down his back in waves, the red silk of it like embers in the hottest of fires. Zane gasped. Atop Kit’s head were two large ears like those of an animal, pointed and furred. Like a wolf, or a dog, or a—
“Fox,” Kit said as if he’d heard Zane’s thoughts.
With that, a wave of something black flew toward him. It wrapped itself around him and squeezed. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t breathe. His head spun and the room shifted sideways. The last thing he remembered was two strong arms catching him as he fell.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Honestly, the hardest thing is finding time, since I have a full-time job!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I go to conferences at least a few times a year. They’re great for networking and often I can have a table and sell my books.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dreamspinner Press artists design all my covers, and they are amazing!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For my current book, Finder’s Keeper, the hardest thing was all the world-building you need for a paranormal book, but keeping the book within the 50-60K limit for the Dreamspun Beyond line of books.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That it’s possible to create a fantasy world in a relatively short book! But it means being careful with what you want to show and that you need to think about what you need to show the reader for the story to make sense.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Chris Pine. Period. He’s stunning, he can act, and what else do you need?
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing and ask for feedback, not just from people you know will like your work, but from people who may have criticism to share. You don’t get better if you don’t get good constructive critique. You also don’t get better unless you write a lot!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books so I can keep writing! You guys rock!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now, I’m in between books and writing. I’m honestly so busy with writing and editing, I don’t get to read much at all.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was probably something like The House at Pooh Corner. I loved those Pooh books!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A happy ending after a lot of struggle. Those are the best!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Isaac Asimov. He was an amazing man and writer.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Hah! How about, “Shira was a real geek!” Because I am.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Watching Japanese anime. That’s where the super geek comes in. I’m absolutely addicted!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love anything fantasy or romance. I stay away from sad endings. I love Marvel movies and, of course, any anime.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Sushi is probably my favorite food. Green’s my fave color. I love classical, pop, rock, and jazz music.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I honestly don’t know! I feel very blessed to do what I do.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Shira Anthony Bio and Links:
Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Shira writes what she loves, be it contemporary musicians, shifter mermen, or time-traveling vampires. Her Mermen of EaTrilogy book, Into the Wind, was named one of the best books of 2014 by both Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and Hearts on Fire Reviews, and was a finalist in the 2014 Goodreads M/M Romance Member’s Choice Awards. Her Blue Notes series of classical-music-themed gay romances was named one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word’s “Best Series of 2012,” and the most recent book in the series, Dissonance, was named one of the best books of 2014 by Hearts on Fire Reviews.
Shira can be found on:
Blood and Rain (Blood #1):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5805
Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6244
Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1):
Into the Wind (Mermen of Ea #2):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4975
Running with the Wind (Mermen of Ea #3):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6455
Blue Notes (A Blue Notes Novel):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4720
The Melody Thief (A Blue Notes Novel):
Aria (A Blue Notes Novel):
Prelude (A Blue Notes Novel):
Symphony in Blue (A Blue Notes Novella):
Encore (A Blue Notes Novel):
Dissonance (A Blue Notes Novel):
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3037
Lighting the Way Home:
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3688
The Dream of a Thousand Nights:
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2517
A Solitary Man:
Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7014
First Comes Marriage: