Monday, 3 September 2012

Author Spotlight

In the spotlight today is Sharon Van Orman. Sharon's debut novel, Lykaia is available now!

“We are the terrors that hunt the night. And we have never been human”

In Greek mythology there’s a story of King Lykaonas of Arcadia and his fifty sons who were cursed by the father of the gods, Zeus, to become wolves. The very first Lycanthropes. 

Forensic pathologist, Sophia Katsaros, receives a cryptic phone call from Greece telling her that her brothers are missing and leaves to search for them. With the help of Illyanna, her brother’s girlfriend, Sophia examines the evidence but cannot accept a bizarre possibility: Has one or both of her brothers been transformed during the Lykaia, the ceremony where Man is said to become Wolf?

Who is Marcus, a dark stranger that both repels and excites her? And what is the real story behind the 5000 year old curse of King Lykaonas?
Sharon Van Orman
  1. Your book, Lykaia was launched recently, a pretty big moment for any author. How did you feel when you opened your eyes on the morning and realised today was the big day?
It was surreal. I happened to have Amazon up when it went live. I may have squealed like a girl, but there wasn’t any one around, so you can’t prove that.
  1. Lykaia is a wonderful mix of werewolves and Greek Mythology, where did the idea come from?
I was researching another story set in Ancient Greece when I came upon the myth of King Lykaonas. I was fascinated by it, but at the time I had no way to use it. 
In October of 2011 I entered a flash fiction contest that was Halloween themed. I finally had the chance to use the story. The prologue of Lykaia is actually that flash fiction entry.
That following month I took that idea and entered Nanowrimo.  I knew I wanted to make it about more than werewolves and that I wanted a great female character. Sophia Katsaros showed up almost fully formed. So I just went with it.
  1. Writing a great story is not always just about just pouring words from your imagination onto a page. Very often hours of research are required to bring a story to life and make it authentic. Do you enjoy doing research or is it a chore to you?
Oh, I love the research. Let me rephrase that…I really love research.  When I first found the myth I was doing research. And when I wrote Lykaia I spent countless hours researching lycanthropy, and the sons of Lykaonas. And then Sophia is a forensic pathologist. Clearly, I am not. So that took a lot of time and effort to make her credible. In the book Sophia finds  Dimitri’s notebooks. Those are actually my notebooks and they read just as she described them.
  1. Lykaia is the first book in a series of three. Have you written other books before this or is Lykaia your first?
Lykaia is my third complete novel. The first, while I was happy with it at the time, is clearly a first effort and shall remain in the drawer. The second is Eve and is book one in the Eden’s Exiles Series. I am hoping to publish that. Oh, and I collaborated on a book called Season of the Dead which is about the zombie apocalypse. I had great fun with that and it was my first chance to write true horror.
  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or were you content to just scribble away for fun?
No, to be honest. I wrote when I was a child, and then for some reason put it away. It wasn’t until my children were a bit older that I came back to it. And then, yes, it was just for fun.
  1. You’ve signed with a new press. Does it worry you that they don’t have the same resources or reach as the bigger publishers?
I heard once that creativity and worry were different sides of the same coin. So to say that I don’t worry about things would be untrue. However, I had the good fortune of being able to talk to several publishers on the phone when I was querying Lykaia. I spoke with Keith Henning from Spore Press.  From that first conversation it was evident that he was every bit as passionate about the project as I was. A larger publisher my have a greater reach, but would they believe in me as strongly or put as much effort into my work? I can’t say for sure, but I felt incredibly comfortable with Spore from the beginning. They have been great throughout the entire process. From the cover artwork to the line edits I have a lot of say. I couldn’t be happier with my choice of publisher.
  1. Your book cover is stunning. Who designed it and did you have much input into it?
It’s great isn’t it?  Chris Paradis designed it. He took the idea of an ancient Greek urn that currently resides in the Louvre. On that urn there is a man wearing a wolf skin in the hopes of becoming a werewolf. In Lykaia, the werewolves are wolves that become men. So, Chris took that idea and created a wolf wearing human skin. The result is brilliant. I love it.
  1. Do you have writing routine or do you just snatch a few hours whenever you can?
I am terribly undisciplined. I write when I feel I have something to write. And the times and duration that I do that for, vary. I really should make more of an effort but that implies that I have more control over my characters than I do.
  1. Have you ever considered self-publishing? Do you think it is an option at some stage in the future?
I have. I think every writer does, once the rejections start rolling in. I want to get the Eden’s Exiles series out there. I may go the self-publishing route for them. But I want to make sure I have top notch editor and a stellar cover artist. I’m a bit compulsive, so if I’m going to do something I like to have it well planned out.
  1. Finally, days after your book is published, where would you like to be in five years time?
To be a full time writer that is able to support me and my children off of what I make.
Thanks so much, Sharon. It's been a real pleasure to have you on the blog today. Below is my reveiw of Lykaia on Amazon.


To expect this book to be a quaint werewolf tale - man gets bitten by mysterious creature, at the full moon man transforms into a werewolf and terrorises a small community in an isolated village of central Europe – is like expecting the Sistine Chapel to be a cute sketch on a church ceiling. Sure this book is about werewolves, but so much more. For a start, these werewolves are steeped in Greek mythology, there is a history directly linking an ancient Greek king, married to a mysterious forest girl, daughter of a dryad, to the modern story. These werewolves are not men transformed into beasts. But wolves made man by earth magic gone wrong.

 At the heart of the story is a mystery. An American pathologist, a pragmatic, logical scientist, receives a call from a Greek landlord to inform her that her brothers who had been renting an apartment from him had not been seen for nearly two months. Her two brothers had returned to the land of their forefathers for the summer and had not been heard from since.

 Sophie travels to Greece, to the town of Arcadia and slowly unravels a story completely at odds with her scientific background, she discovers the existence of an ancient ritual which takes place every nine years. She is confronted with the possibility that one or both of her brothers have been transformed into wolves during the ceremony. Without giving the story away, the author takes us through the enchanted forest of her imagination, down magical pathways that twist and turn through darkness and light. At times the descriptions are purely magical, ‘The moon horded her light like a miser with his gold.’

 I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to many more magical, mythical, magnificent tales from Sharon Van Orman.
You can download Sharon's wonderful book here.

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