Question: So tell us about your new ebook.
Shawn C. Sproatt: It takes place in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s about a College of Charleston student named Lorelei who is a witch, but she was raised by her non-magical aunt who she looks to as a mother figure. Lorelei’s cousin/sister, Julie, who also goes to CofC starts dating a type of warlock known as a sorcerer, and they have a reputation for being dangerous. Julie knows that her boyfriend, Adam, is a sorcerer, and she insists that he’s not like the rest. Lorelei, on the other hand, doesn’t trust Adam, and she refuses to stand by if Julie’s life is in danger. The only problem is, sorcerers (a term used for both men and women) are more powerful than regular witches and warlocks, so a dangerous situation involving Adam presents itself she won’t be able to properly protect her sister. Through a trusted friend she meets Ethan who is a good sorcerer, and he makes sure the rest of the sorcerers in town stay out of trouble. So Ethan agrees to help Lorelei keep an eye on Julie, and during the process Julie ends up falling for Ethan.
Question: If it takes place in South Carolina, then how does the “Holy City” aspect of the title fit in?
SCS: That’s Charleston’s nickname, because of the prominence of the church steeples in the city’s skyline.
Question: Neat! What made you decide to set your story in Charleston?
SCS: I went to college there, and I always thought it would be a great setting for a book. It’s a sort of small town, but it still has an urban feel. Plus with all of the old churches, houses, and mansions it has a lot of interesting, and scandalous history.
Question: You’ve been promising this book for about two months now, why did it take you so long to release it?
SCS: It has been a hectic summer! Things were going well with the book, but then right at the end of June I decided to take the GRE in case I decide to go to grad school. In addition to spending a lot of (wasted) time studying for it, certain aspects of the plot kept changing. So if I spent a day writing a solid ten pages to the newer version of the story, then about seven more would have to get cut, because they were no longer relevant.
Question: Sounds frustrating.
SCS: It sure was! It literally felt like I was making no progress, even though I was.
Question: I’ve been told that this is an updated version of a novel you wrote back in early 2010. How different is this from the original version?
SCS: It’s incredibly different. In fact, in the original version Ethan wasn’t even a character! This book has evolved numerous times, because when I first started writing it, it was actually about vampires! I’m not really a vampire fan (never have been), but I was desperate to get noticed by a literary agent, and since vampire novels were so huge at the time I figured if I “gave the public what it wanted” then I’d get noticed. But I realized two major flaws with this. One: the publishing world is slow, and if I was lucky enough to catch the eye of an agent who wasn’t sick of getting submissions dealing with vampires, and the book was published, it wouldn’t hit shelves for at least a year when vampires might not be as popular (newsflash literary agents/publishers: vampire stories have been popular ever since the 1800’s, and their popularity isn’t going to run out any time soon). The second thing I realized was that I hated writing about vampires, and when I told people about what I was working on I would internally cringe, because I could see in their eyes that they were assuming I was trying to write a book exactly like the popular vamp books that were already out there. So I decided if I couldn’t stand by what I was writing then I needed to change it to something I could be proud of.
Question: But even after you took out the vampire aspect, wasn’t it still like those other books out there?
SCS: I’m ashamed to say that in a way, yes. It had too many scenes that were meant to build the romance between Lorelei and Ethan, so there wasn’t a whole lot of plot or action happening. Plus, Ethan’s character was more of a bad-boy with a heart of gold type, and I really wasn’t happy with him. I didn’t want to write a character who’d committed all these heinous acts, but since it happened way in the past and he was sorry for it, Lorelei could forgive him for it. No, that didn’t work for me.
Question: But Shawn, isn’t that what makes a character complex?
SCS: Sure, but I didn’t want to give readers the wrong impression. I’m really sick of seeing supernatural characters with shady pasts get away with what they did only because they were supernatural. Would people feel the same way about a regular, human serial killer?
Question: I guess you’ll just have to let the readers decide that. So this book is the first in a series of how many?
SCS: Three. Right now all of my “series” are actually trilogies, because I think if I write any more than three books for each series, then I would end up stretching the plot out just for the sake of writing another Holy City or Supernatural High book.
Question: Speaking of Supernatural High, when can we expect the next installment in that trilogy?
SCS: Just like with Holy City, I’ve been promising the second Supernatural High book for a while now. In fact, I think it’s supposed to be out by now! Jeez, I’ve been breaking so many promises lately I might as well be a politician! But it’s probably going to be October at the earliest for the next Supernatural High book.
Question: So other than Holy City and Supernatural High, what else are you working on?
SCS: I’m working on another young adult fantasy book that I’ve actually been developing for ten years now.
Question: Holy Moley, that’s a long time to work on a manuscript!
SCS: Well, it’s actually only been a manuscript for about six years now, and it has gone through serious revisions. I’m about halfway through with the latest version, and I’m really happy with it so far.
Question: I look forward to it! Shawn, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions. You’ve been a real sport.
SCS: It was my pleasure! I look forward to the next interview. You can also learn more about my books and me at my website http://www.shawncsproatt.com/.