Allow me to introduce Lydia Staggs–author of the fantasy novel Shamar.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Like so many women these days, I wear many hats. I’m a wife, a mom, an aquatic animal veterinarian, and now, an author. I’ve always tried to do things not to be rich or successful, but to enrich/enhance my life as well as those around me.
I am a Southerner. College sports, pickup trucks, fried food, and southern accents are a stable in my life. My profession dictates where I live, which is currently Florida.
2. When did you start writing?
Since I was in veterinary school, I’ve been writing peer review papers for scientific magazines. It wasn’t until 2014, that I started writing my first work of fiction.
3. Why did you start writing?
A few years ago, I was still in my “resist the e-books” phase (I’ve now seen the error of my ways, because there are lots of great Indie writers who only publish e-books). I wanted that physical book in my hands; so, I went to a book store looking for a new book to read.
When I asked one of the store employees about a great book series, they told me since I was a woman I would probably like Fifty Shades of Grey. I know many people love those books, but that genre is not for me. I’ve always loved fantasy, science fiction, or historical fiction. I left this particular book store, walked across the street to the next bookstore and asked the same question; only to receive the same answer from two different employees. It seemed to me, these workers thought women only wanted to read erotica. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story, but I want something more than detailed acts of sex. This led me to whining about this situation to some friends of mine at work, and we joked around that maybe I should write something. I started writing a few days later, and it took off.
4. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
Shamar is Hebrew for protector, which is explained in the book. For the Shamar series, all the titles will be Hebrew words with special meaning. Coming up with the title was probably the hardest part of writing for me. It is the last thing I do in the writing process.
5. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I write every night after I tucked my child into bed. I normally write between thirty minutes to an hour. Before starting a book, I create all the characters and write little biographies for each one. Then, I just started writing the tentative story I have in my head. There is no written outline, and I don’t set goals on when to finish sections. Some nights I can write an entire chapter, but other nights I might just write a paragraph. The more emotionally charged chapters take me weeks to finish.
6. What are you currently reading?
I’m slowly making my way through the Outlander series. These are beautifully written books, but they are very intense.
7. Any project in the works?
The second and third books to the Shamar series, and another separate fantasy book.
Book two of the Shamar series, which is tentatively titled Rea, is in final revisions. Hopefully, it should be released within the year.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Dogs or cats?
3. Cake or ice-cream?
4. Ebook or physical book?
I still love the physical book in my hands.
5. Living in the city or living in the country?
6. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
7. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Travel to the past.
8. To find true love or to win the lottery?
9. Reading or writing?
10. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Totally being able to talk to animals. It would make my job so much easier.
11. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without watching any movies/TV for a week
12. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
Never watch another film
13. Finding yourself caught in the middle of a hurricane or finding yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm? (Note: in both scenarios, you’d be outdoors and have no access to shelter.)
Hurricane. I live in Florida and are used to them.
14. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
I find coffee disgusting so I will happily give this up.