This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?
Think on THAT a while…
Welcome, Author S.J. McMillan! You’ve just released City of the Gods: The Betrayal. Tell us a little bit about your story.
The Betrayal is the second book in the City of the Gods trilogy. It starts just a few months after the first book, City of the Gods: The Descendant, left off.
Vivian’s brother Tristan is battling a unique case of possession and she is the only one that can save him. She goes out to gather the tools to help Tristan and everything goes downhill from there. She is attacked by a warlock, accused of murder, kidnapped, and almost drowns in a river. When she finally makes it back home, Tristan is no longer the only one in trouble. Her world seems to be spinning out of control.
Vivian must trust a stranger in order to save the people she cares for most in the world.
Do you consider your book(s) urban fantasy or paranormal romance? What attracted you to the genre?
I consider my books urban fantasy. There is a hint of romance in them, but they revolve more around a group of characters than just focusing on one or two. When reading I love learning about all the characters and sometimes the secondary characters deserve a story of their own. I wanted all my characters to be an important part of the story, and they are.
I love reading both paranormal romance and urban fantasy. That’s what attracted me to both genres. It’s so much fun to get wrapped up in a different world, where the characters can pretty much do anything the imagination can dream up.
Let’s talk beasties. Do any monsters make appearances in your novels. If so, tell us about a few of them. Do you have a favorite? Don’t lie. Every parent…erm…author…does. Spill it. If not, what makes your book paranormal, urban fantasy or science fiction?
There are a couple of monsters in my books, but they are not the stuff of movies, TV shows, or nightmares. Yes, they have supernatural capabilities (awesome ones) but they look and act (for the most part), like everyone else.
Damian has the ability to turn anyone into a servant in a very unpleasant, bloody way. Ranier can make shadows do his bidding. Both have killed and tortured innocent people for their souls for thousands, yes thousands, of years. The monsters in City of the Gods are definitely not the kind you want to run into in a dark alley.
Is this a series? Stand-alone book? If it is a series, what does the future look like for this series? How many more books to come? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!
Yes, this is a series, a trilogy actually. The Descendant (book 1) & The Betrayal (book 2) are already out. I’m writing the 3rd and final book for the series now. I’m about halfway through it.
At this particular stage, in book 3, everything is up in the air. I don’t want to give much away, but I will tell you this. If you’ve read either book 1 or 2, you know I don’t shy away from fight scenes. As a matter of fact, I love writing them. There are some pretty sweet fight scenes in the 3rd installment and there will be a few deaths…sorry, not everyone can live through what I have planned.
What else are you working on?
Besides writing book 3 for City of the Gods, I have a children’s book written. It’s with the illustrator now. It’s very close to be being done. I’m hoping to release it this year. I also have two more children’s book plotted out. They just need to be written. I’ve also started researching for my next book after City of the Gods is finally wrapped up. The next book will be a stand-alone urban fantasy. I’m really excited to get started on it. I’ll probably throw a couple of short romances in the mix for good measure too.
Of all the characters in your fictional word, which one or couple would you most like to hang out with over a long weekend? What would you do together? What actor or actress would play him/her in a movie?
Vivian and Damian would be the ones I would want to hang out with. Vivian is a free spirit and doesn’t hold anything back. I love that about her. Damian is a bad boy.
Of course, Vivian and Damian hate each other, so we would probably in up in jail no matter what we did, but it would be an epically fantastic weekend!
The actress I have always envisioned playing Vivian is Naya Rivera from Glee. She would pull off Vivian well. The actor I would like to see play Damian is Dustin Clare from Spartacus: Gods of War (on Starz). He has Damian’s smirk down perfectly.
Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?
I’m a little bit of both plotter and pantser. I plot out where I want a chapter to go, one or two lines about what’s supposed to happen, and then I just write. Hopefully that leads me to where I need to be for the next chapter. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
For my next full length novel, I’ll have to do quite a bit of research before I start writing it, though I do already have the basic plot written out.
How long does it typically take for you to write a novel. Best case scenario? How about editing? How long will you pick at it before setting it free to the world?
The first City of the Gods book took me forever to write. I was never serious about doing anything with it, until I finished it. It was awful! It took me a year to rewrite it. The second book took me about a year to write. I’m hoping to have the third book written by the end of August and to my editor by September.
I self-edit as I write. I can’t leave a mistake to just sit there. It drives me crazy. My editor loves me for it. It makes her job just a smidge easier. I love the editing part. I know I’m weird, but editing makes my book better and I’m all for making my book the best it can possibly be.
Even after all the editing is done and I’ve released it to the world, I still nitpick it to death. Maybe I should have do this differently, or that differently…maybe I should reword or rewrite that scene…maybe I should just rewrite the whole darn thing! It’s a hard and scary thing to do, letting the whole world get a look inside your head.
Do you have any advice to new authors or anyone considering writing fiction?
Don’t give up. Keep pushing forward. Keep writing! This is probably one of the hardest industries to get into, and even when you do get into it, you still have to work your tushie to bone to get the results you want to achieve.
There are a talented few who are lucky and get success right out of the gate, but for the rest of us talented folk we work hard to have our voices and stories heard so even one person will read and love our stories as much as we do.
Can you give us a taste of what to expect?
Here is the blurb for The Betrayal (book 2):
Centuries ago, Damian was betrayed by his best friend, his fiancé, and the Gods of his civilization. He mastered the dark arts and vowed vengeance against them all. Patience was all he needed after that.
Damian’s ex, Vivian, now feels like her world is crashing down around her. His curse is threatening her brother Tristan’s life. The only way to save him is to trust a stranger who saved her from a fate worse than death.
Marcus had no idea saving Vivian’s life would put him in the middle of an ancient battle between good and evil. All he has to do is figure out which side he’s fighting for.
Vivian sat on a large rock positioned slightly above the river and dangled her legs over the water. She began to meditate, staring into the clear river water. The meditation felt good for her mind and body after the past twenty-four hours’ stresses. Her eyelids grew heavy and she allowed herself a moment to drift to sleep. Her mind wandered from her present danger to Tristan and her hopes of saving him. She was dreaming of Sabine when she heard her voice from far away. Vivian searched for her in her dreams until it occurred to her that Sabine wasn’t speaking to her in her mind, but in reality. She opened her reluctant eyes to see Sabine standing over her. Vivian smiled, stood, and embraced her. Tears welled up as Sabine returned the hug. Vivian felt happier, as if a burden had been lifted from her. She wiped away a stray tear and stepped back to regard Sabine.
“I’m so happy you’re here. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened to me in the last twenty-four hours.” For the first time, Vivian took in Sabine’s expression. It was one of surprise and sadness. She gave Sabine a questioning look. “What’s the matter?”
“Vivian…this is not a good visit,” Sabine said. Vivian felt her heart drop into her stomach. Vivian naturally assumed she had failed and Tristan was dead. She took a moment to get a grip on her emotions before she responded to Sabine’s statement.
“What happened? I thought Tristan had enough time for me to gather more herbs to help him. This is my fault. I should have been back last night, but we were attacked by a renegade warlock, and then we had to find our way out of a cave. I almost drowned in this stupid river and now I’m freezing to death while Marcus tries to find the way back to my car. I’m so sorry…” Vivian trailed off. She couldn’t stop the tears from spilling down her face. Sabine stepped forward and placed a hand on Vivian’s shoulder.
“Tristan’s fine for now. I’m not here because of him. I’m here because of you. What happened? Who’s Marcus? What’s going on?” Sabine asked. Vivian rushed through the events that had taken place. Sabine shook her head.
“Wait, you’re here for me? Why?” Vivian asked, thoroughly confused. Sabine glanced behind her then back into Vivian’s eyes. Vivian suddenly understood why Sabine was with her and hesitantly looked behind her. Laying on the large rock above the river was Vivian’s body. Her face was pale and there was blood staining the rock under her head. Vivian’s knees gave out and she dropped to the ground next to her body.
“No…,”she whispered and shook her head in defiance. “This can’t be happening. I’m not dead.”
Where can we find you and your books online? (Social media and Buy links here)
I’m all over the internet!
You can find my books here:
Links for City of the Gods: The Descendant (Book 1)
Links for City of the Gods: The Betrayal (Book 2)
Other Stories Available by S.J. McMillan:
I live in southwest Missouri with my husband of 15 years and our three children. I work as an administrative assistant during the week. Now I get to add published author to my list of roles I play in life.
Being an author was not my first career choice. In my younger years I wanted to be a dancer, but dance lessons are expensive. I also wanted to be Dolly Parton from The Best Little Whore House in Texas. I could really belt out Itty Bitty Piss Ant Country Place, just ask my parents former neighbors.
After a slew of other interesting job choices, I just couldn’t shake the writing bug I picked up in high school. I started writing poetry and still write a poem whenever inspiration hits me. I also love to read, especially paranormal romances and urban fantasies. The love of reading is what spawned the desire to try my hand as writing a novel of my very own.
I love creating the characters and giving them their own personalities and voices. I have also come to enjoy writing fight scenes. The hubster (the wonderful man that he is) will act them out with me so I know exactly how I need to show it to the audience. Call us crazy if you like, but it’s really fun to act out a scene using a broom handle as a spear and a foam baseball bat as an axe.
Anything you’d like to add?
All authors appreciate it when you read their work. We all appreciate reviews as well, good or bad. So if you pick up a copy of any of my books or any authors book for that matter, please leave a review. You would be doing us all a tremendous favor. Thank you!
Huge thank you to Lisa for inviting me today! You rock Lisa!