Friday, June 06, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Sherrel Lee

What inspired you to become an author?

Somewhere in the dark and misty past, I decided that instead of writing in my diary I wanted to write about something outside my reality.  I like creating stories and at first, and those that will never be published, it was about getting even with those I felt had “done me wrong” then it became something different.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am combine two styles of writing, narrative with the descriptive.  I have the third party narrator to fill in some of the details but I also strive to provide the reader with the sights, sounds, and feelings of the characters.

Do you write in different genres?

I focus most of my energy on the science fiction, fantasy and paranormal with light to heavier touches of romance.  However, I currently have a book I wrote before I started the Valens series, that is a historical novel around the Jack the Ripper slayings.  It is currently with my editor and will be rereleased sometime this year or early next year. 

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I was surprised to find how much I like the sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal with romance in the mix.  I never dreamed of writing anything like the Valens stories, but since I just released my fifth Valens of Legacy book, Valens Rebel, I guess this is my favorite though I may add a book or two, to the historical novel in the future.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

Since I was creating a world of characters I wanted a species close to Homo sapiens which very loosely translated is intelligent beings that walk on two legs.  Homo sapiens Valens, as I named by shapeshifters, adds “powerful” to the original species name.  My latest book, Valens Rebel is about one of the characters to betrayed or rebelled against the Valens of Legacy.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

In the case of Valens Rebel, it actually changed the name of it while I was in the middle of writing it.  Originally it was Valens Ruse – which wasn’t as descriptive of the content as I wanted it to be.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In a general way there is the message that one has to be her or herself, be unafraid to venture into the unknown. and find ways to overcome fear.  It wasn’t something I set out to say, but each of the books seem to support these ideas and they are things I personally believe in.  These are not the fears or unknown that are specifically shown in the book, but more the internal things that keep us from doing what we love, or want to do.

Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

Only some of the places in the book are based on actually living or traveling to them, except Valens Rebel which is set in Colombia – a place I only visited on the Internet.  As much as I would thrill to be able to shape shift or save the day for someone in dire trouble, I have only experienced those through movies, television and the wonder of amazing books.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

In a way every book I have read has had some influence, even some of the most ridiculous.  I find it amazing that non-fiction and fiction have something to teach us, it may be a few words about a place we discover we would like to visit, a person we would like to meet or the things that we may one day see in our lives.  I’ll never forget wanting a Dick Tracey radio/phone watch and today I can actually buy one!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Having never met the man, I would say that Jim Butcher has been the writer I strive to emulate.  He is one of my favorite writers and the way his writes is what I love most about the stories.  His characters are so real, he drops you into worlds that don’t exist but you would swear they are real.  When I read his books, both Dresden and his Codex Alera series, I live each moment as though I was there and part of the action.

What book are you reading now?

At the moment I am reading the James Patterson book Unlucky 13 which is a “women’s murder club” mystery.  I like reading in my genre but also outside it to help me visualize the way I want to construct the scene my characters live in – and just for the pure joy of reading.

What books are in your to read pile?

I have a pile that may last me a year, but some of the books include the latest book by Iris Johansen in her Eve Duncan series, The Book of Poisons which is just for research—really that’s all it is, Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance, Jana Deleon’s Louisiana Longshot, Touched by Darkness, by Catherine Spangler and a couple of six book box sets – supernatural and paranormal genres, plus a dozen or so more.

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I am currently working on Book Six, Valens Reclaimed for the Valens of Legacy series, a short-short Halloween tale that is part of a series I am doing with five other writers (we all write in different genres and will cross promote on our webpages beginning the first of October), and I am drafting notes on Book Seven and beyond none of which have been named yet.  And of course I will be doing edits soon on my historical novel, The Secrets of Whitechapel.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

I traveled to Brazil and recently returned from a trip to the Florida Everglades which will be the backdrop for a future Valens story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The best I can say is don’t quit.  Don’t get discouraged, keep writing and the process will lead you to become better every time you write a story –but don’t forget to learn all you can along the way and be willing to accept legitimate criticism it really will help you become a better writer.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

I need music when I write but I can’t say anything is really representative.  Here is my favorites list:


Rock of Ages
Moulin Rouge
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (original foreign film version)


Katy Perry (Dark Horse is my current #1)
Phil Collins
Michael Buble
Lady Antebellum
Kenny Chesney

Valens Remembered, The Story Begins
Valens of Legacy,  Book 1
Sherrel Lee

Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy Romance

ISBN: 9780985249687

Number of pages: 92
Word Count: 26,324

Book Description:  

Do you love reading about ShapeShifters? Psychics? Genetically Engineered Monsters?

Get your free copy of Book One of the Valens of Legacy series now.

As Larinda Nix Thomas buries her adoptive parents, who died in a deadly echo of the accident that took her birth parents, hidden documents reveal that she is being threatened by a sinister force and that she shouldn't trust even her closest allies. Fate demands she accept her place among the Valens as a shapeshifter, a unicorn, which brings more changes to her life than she could have imagined and puts her on a collision course with her ultimate destiny. In this first book of the Valens of Legacy series myth is rewritten, fantasy and science fiction blend to create a chilling story of death, loss, and discovery.

Struggling to make a life for herself on the streets of Seattle, Washington--Jemma a, runaway is battling to stay safe and unmolested, find legitimate work, and secure an education. Concerned social workers search for her and other runaways to return them to the lives they escaped from. True friends are few and life has made it hard to trust anyone. The memory of loving family no longer exists.

Meet the women who can't remember their past. Discover their stories. Begin the journey into the world of the Valens of Legacy.

Available at Amazon and BN

Excerpt – Valens Rebel, Book 5


Miranda crept through the dark palazzo toward the bedroom where Giovanni Belledini slept as though he were already dead.  He wasn’t her primary target, but he would have to suffice tonight.  His death would start the endgame and with any luck, the bitch scientist he was supervising would get the blame.  When they saw Belledini dissected like a specimen, she’d be the obvious suspect.  But before Belledini died, Miranda had a few questions for him.  Where was the Blood Map?  How had it been created?  How many people were aware of how powerful it still was?  If she could locate the Blood Map and bring it to her grandfather, his creations—the Humani—would become the most powerful weapons in an arsenal of monstrous killers.  

Miranda reached Belledini’s bedroom and slipped inside, silent as a shadow.  Her unsuspecting target was snoring loud enough to have shaken walls in most other residences, but the walls of the palazzo were a foot thick and had withstood war, natural disasters, and bloodbaths without revealing the screams and secrets they had witnessed through the centuries.  

Miranda sat on the edge of the oversized bed, running her hand across the expensive duvet and sliding it under the downy pillows.  She had always loved Italy, with its secret societies that had existed since memory began.  The country had been part of her life for over a hundred years.  The feuds between the powerful families and the inventive methods they used to torture and kill their enemies were endlessly fascinating.  She had learned so much from these masters, but Belledini wasn’t a master of anything.  He was a low-level, dull-witted dupe who would change loyalties at the drop of two lire.  It insulted her that he had been entrusted with the secret to the Blood Map she sought.  He wasn’t worth wasting funds to try to bribe him.  However, it pleased her greatly to plan all the ways he would suffer while she encouraged him to tell her everything he knew.

The mattress shifted and Giovanni woke with a start, shocked to see Miranda so close.  “Who are you?  How did you get in?”  He shouted.

Miranda bared her teeth in a threatening smile.  “Mr. Belledini, I’m surprised you are so shocked to find a woman on your bed.  Your reputation had me expecting a much more enthusiastic welcome.”

Belledini sat up, shifting away from her, his eyes narrowed to angry slits.  “Again, who are you?  What do you want?” he demanded, his hand slipping under the pillow beside him.

Miranda laughed at the sight of his shocked face when he came up empty-handed.  “Do you think I would be foolish enough to leave your pathetic little toy where you can reach it so easily?  I am so disappointed.  I had hoped the stories of your half-wit antics had been exaggerated.”  Miranda gave a heavy sigh.  “I see we are not going to be friends, so I guess it’s time to go to work.  Tell me, Giovanni, where is the Blood Map?”
Belledini glowered at her.  Then, without warning, he threw the covers off his naked body and tossed them at Miranda.  While she fought her way out from under them, he leaped off the bed and ran toward the bathroom. 

Miranda fired through the duvet, the bullet striking the floor in front of Belledini’s foot.  He came to an abrupt stop.  She tossed the torn duvet to the floor.  “Not a weapon of my choosing,” she said, nodding at the gun in her hand.  “I much prefer a knife for close work, but the gun is effective when people think they can run away.  Now, turn around and come here.  I think we have things to discuss.”  She shook her head as she watched him stumble toward her on hairy feet, his stomach juddering with each step.  Miranda directed Belledini to pull one of the straight-backed chairs from beside the fireplace into the middle of the room.  “Now.  Sit down.  I am going to give you one more opportunity to tell me where the Blood Map is before I bind you to the chair.  I love helping people tell me what I want to know, but I try to be a fair and compassionate person.”

Belledini dropped heavily into the chair, staring through her.  “I do not know what this Blood Map is.  You have been misinformed.  I can tell you nothing.”

Miranda pulled a roll of duct tape from the small pack she carried at her waist and tossed it to him.  “Bind your legs to the chair,” she said.  “Tightly.”  He hesitated, but she gestured impatiently with the gun, and he began to bind his thick legs to those of the antique chair.  It was a pity—such a beautiful piece of furniture, and it would be blood-soaked when she had finished her task.  Perhaps his heirs would find a way to restore it.  Otherwise they would have to replace the pair.   

When he finished, she instructed him to roll the tape back to her.  She moved behind him and began to wrap his chest and arms with the remainder of the tape.  She couldn’t wait for the sweet music of his screams.

About the Author:

Wrangler of a fearsome Yorkiepoo named Rogue (Half Yorkie half Poodle weighing in at a hefty five pounds). Obsession controlled writer with a passion for making up names and twisting myths. 

 Sherrel, as the daughter of an Emmy winning cameraman, learned early in life the dark secrets of creating all those incredible fantasy characters for the large and small screen.

 Refusing to be crushed at the discovery the monsters, aliens, and Robby the Robot weren't real, Sherrel's imagination soared. She became a SELF-proclaimed voyeur of special-effects and expert at fictional character creation.

Twitter:  @gryphoenix

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Unknown said...

IT is so wonderful to have people like you to take the time to help authors, and I include myself, to get the word out about the stories so close to their hearts. Thank you for have health and happiness.