Who am I? What am I doing here, writing this paranormal romance novel? Why this story? How did I think of this story, these characters, and these twists and turns?
Good questions; they totally make sense. Let’s have a chat about them.
First, my name is Shanna Robillard. On the book cover and for the website, it’s Shanna C Robillard. The C stands for Cathleen, but that would have been entirely too long for a cover! Fun fact: my mother named me after the book, Shanna, by Kathleen Woodwiss. If you enjoy a traditional period piece romance novel, pick it up! The main characters are definitely brazen, spicy, and bearing clever attitudes.
I’ve had 42 trips around the sun. My husband and I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with our four-legged beastie, Kili. She’s a mutt of the highest order, and we love her to bits.
Together, we hike, cook, watch movies, listen to music, and occasionally make videos while grilling delicious chicken outdoors. They’re nothing serious, mind you, just silly videos to share with our family as if they were with us. Many of our family live in the Tri-State and New England areas.
Interests change regularly for me. Right now, they are tarot cards, adult coloring books, knitting, and jewelry crafting. I actually have a side business, https://www.greengryphonstore.com, where I sell pendants I have wire-wrapped, as well as earrings, rings, bracelets, and even hair jewelry! I love crafting things.
Why this book, you asked? Why NOT this book?!
I jest. My book isn’t for everyone, what with NSFW naughty bits and car chases, but I tried to include things that I love and hope you love, too. I especially love vampires and romantic stylings with them. I don’t seem to find much of that in fiction lately unless you count a certain popular movies series that rhymes with ‘eyesight’.
Since I was a teenager, I have had fantasies about vampires and love from afar. I dabbled in writing a romantic science fiction/fantasy story, but that definitely fell through the cracks. So why not indulge my vampire dreams and put them on paper?
In 2008, I decided to start writing this story, one that I would want to read as much as write. I wrote roughly seven chapters of it, and then life happened. I was sacked from my job, we welcomed a four-legged beastie into our home named Murphy (who would become momma’s boy), my husband went to Africa for his own work, I began attending college, worked two jobs, and endured two rounds of powerful flu viruses. Then my husband came home and began attending college, we bought our first home, got our second pup, Kili, I was promoted at work, and so on it went. Life knows just how to interrupt us when things are at a creative peak.
In 2020, COVID-19 struck the United States officially, and the ensuing pandemic left many of us isolated, alone, and struggling for some sort of normalcy. In my case, it reignited my love for writing! I found myself at the keyboard more and more, ‘putting thoughts to paper’, and completing my story. Afterall, what is a perfect past-time when you have lots of time on your hands? Reading!
The story came easily to me. I based some aspects of the main protagonist on myself (quirky, similar interests), and some of them on who I wanted to be (brave, bold). The male protagonist or love interest is based on my own dreams and visions. He is an amalgam of all the romantic leads I had seen or read throughout time, but he is my own and no one else’s. I purposely left certain details out of his description so the reader can impose their own dreams and imaginings on him, making him their own as I did.
The antagonist is one of my imagination, based on an amalgam of many movie bad guys and what my idea of a villain should be – narcissistic, devious, not unattractive but certainly chill-inducing. I wanted him to be unrelatable, simply an evil force. While I gave him a backstory, I didn’t want anyone to say “oh, that sounds like…” or “oh, I agree with him…”. My goal was to make a villain you would want to punch in the throat, but who you might have a hard time getting that close to.
The story itself is based on dreams I’ve had. Each chapter led me to a new revelation in the story as it unfolded, and as I said, sometimes the writing simply flowed out of me. Other times, I struggled to determine the next steps my characters would take. Why would she talk back like that? Why would he not want to tell his best friend he is a vampire?
I was heavily influenced by action and drama, the pace of it, and the ups and downs of it like a rollercoaster. Yet, I was also determined to include comedic touches so the work wasn’t weighed down. Laughter is referred to as “the best medicine”. Afterall, moments of levity are what we sometimes live for.
Thank you for visiting and reading about me and the book. Please feel free to share this blog on social media and with anyone you might know that’s read “Beyond the Shadows”. If you have yet to read it, you can find the novel immediately available for download on Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble.