Monday, 17 September 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Shaunna Gonzales

STEPH: I don't know much about "The Dark Days of Promise." What's it about?

SHAUNNA: Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.

While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

SHAUNNA: Sad to say it took me five years, but it isn't the project I started out to write, it's better. And that five years includes research I didn't know I needed to do until I was knee deep and midstream.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

SHAUNNA: A lot. But it was fun. I truly enjoyed getting to know these veterans on their terms, not mine. The story didn't take the course I intended it to because of the personal stories these guys shared with me and gave me permission to share a small amount of.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

SHAUNNA: I actually saw the cover in my mind's eye before the book was completed. The cover is dark as in the title. And just like when you are driving a country road on a dark and stormy day you occasionally will see what I call "God's rays" in the distance. So the rays of bright light over this fledgling tree are a Promise of good in the darkness. This tree is stout even if it is young and so beautiful, much like the heroine. The grass is green hinting at the nourishment available for the tree in the vast and otherwise empty field.

In Dark Days of Promise the heroine feels she is facing a life of darkness but a wise friend promises her that, "…even the darkest of days hold a promise of good things"
5. Vicki is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness? Vicki is tougher than she thinks. There are things about her that she sees as major weaknesses that are strengths in another persons view; Her children come first, even before her own desires. She sees her shortcomings and takes action to remedy them, even at the risk of her own life.

STEPH: What does Sergeant Chase find appealing about her?

SHAUNNA: Her unwillingness to back down. She stands up to him. She's a hard head and he sees past that to her concern for others, including himself.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

SHAUNNA: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) In an effort to treat this subject fairly, I altered my writing course from "romance with a twist" to helping our society, sufferers and innocents alike to becoming aware. It is more than those who experience the violence, more than the victims who experience this debilitating disease that are affected. And it is more than just veterans that face this. It is their families, the bystander of violent crime and all of us who dare to care for and love them.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

SHAUNNA: The best ones come as I write (which means I guess they are hiding in my character's minds), but others zip in from personal experiences or reading or watching someone elses art and thinking "What if this happened in this way or this setting? How would I make it my own?"

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

SHAUNNA: Yes, my family gave me a Kindle for my birthday a few years ago.

STEPH: Fun question: Do you burn scented candles? What are some of your favorites? N

SHAUNNA: No one has asked me that before. Yes, on occasion I do. My favorite is watermelon, but I also enjoy honeydew and blueberry and one by a particular candle maker called "sunflower."

Find Shaunna at:

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  1. Five years to write... Mercy. Okay I have some I've been working on for while too. I love the cover and can very well see the reason it works so well with the title.

  2. 5 years! That probably bodes well for the book. Time and percolation can only help! I think this book sounds great. And a really important topic.

  3. Remember that 5 years includes research. I'm, working a two stories today, one that I'm actively writing and one that I'm doing research for.