It’s new release day!! But it’s not my new release, it’s the release of a book I’ve been anticipating for well over a year. Today, Blackbird Falling, hits the streets, which is the long awaited sequel to Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell.
First, let me tell you a little story about how I got started on Em Shotwell books in the first place. I’ve run in publishing circles since long before my first book came out and I followed her on Twitter. One day I had caught up with my reading and needed something new, so I put out a tweet (with Em in mind) bemoaning the fact I needed a new ARC to read. Em came through for me and offered an ARC of Blackbird Summer, but she was scared to send it to me. I promised her I wouldn’t bite… hard… and she sent it over.
I loved it. I even posted this most epic review, which, unfortunately has been lost to the WordPress gods over the years (I’ve changed up sites a couple times since, and as we learned in yesterday’s post, I don’t do well at saving my blogs before I start over). Lost words aside, I became an Em Shotwell fan then and there, and dear Lord, I couldn’t wait for this new one. She’s been crazy busy so I had to wait. I poked her, I tapped my foot impatiently, and then I poked her again, but she made me wait like the rest of the world. (True irony of ironies, I’m in writing mode right now and I don’t read when I write to keep my head straight, so it may be on my Kindle but it’s going to have to wait until I finish this novella. Damn my professional habits.)
Busy as we both are, I managed to pin Em down for a few minutes for an interview.
Tell me about Blackbird Falling. I want to know all the things. Will I be cursing your characters in this one like I did the first one?
Lol. I don’t think you will be cursing my characters in this one. Delia finds her strength and it is fun to watch her take the lead role in this story. I hope that you will be cheering for them this time around.
Oh, I was cheering for them last time, you just had to throw a monkey wrench in my happily ever after. Don’t do that to a romance writer, man. How many more books will we get in this world. I swear, if you tell me none, I might cry.
Right now, either two full novels or a full novel and a novella. I hope to do an anthology of Blackbird short stories and novellas if I can find the time.
All the time. Find it.
Your release is today, the day before Halloween, should we read anything into that date? Are you trying to tell us something?
I didn’t pick it—but this book does go dark (of course…most of my stuff does). It starts out light and fluffy and then…things go south.
Things go south in your books? Why I never would expect that. That’s like saying you expect to read one of my books without swearing in it. We all know it ain’t gonna happen. But, back to Halloween, what are you dressing up as this year? Do the kids still go out trick-or-treating?
Lol. This will be the first year that my oldest bows out of trick or treating, but my baby boy (who is ten) still goes, which means I still get to go! The oldest is doing a haunted house with some friends—so he is still very much into the holiday, too. I am not dressing up this year (SO SAD!). Last year I was Tina Belcher and my hubs was Louise and it was epic!
You and I both suffer from a serious bout of burnout from time to time. It’s a topic we don’t talk about enough in this community, and we should. After all, new writers need to be aware it can happen and there’s nothing wrong with you if it does. What would you tell a newbie writer about it?
I would tell a newbie, you cannot do all the things for YOURSELF much less do all the things for all the people. It is just too hard. Be realistic with the amount of content you can put out, and create a schedule you work with. Take breaks. Dream. Remember how fun writing was with that very first book? When you moved slow and let it flow organically? Try to capture that.
Great advice. I took a break for about a year and I’m just now putting my toe back in and writing some new stuff, but I decided to drop it in a lower gear and take it slower. Heed this from those of us who have been there, done that. In a perfect scenario, with no burdens on your time or mental health, what do you most want to write and why?
I wrote a book that went through PitchWars that is just sitting on my computer at the moment. I may would go through it again. Right now, I am working on a campy serial killer book (think Dexter…but with Elle Woods as the killer). If I had all the time in the world, I would probably just keep expanding Brooklyn Mississippi, giving everyone their own book, lol.
Ohhhh, I’d read the eff outta that. That’s a departure from the paranormal you usually write, though. I, too, write paranormal (though most of my stuff lately has been contemporary, but I feel the itch to go back to PNR). I love it because I get to make the rules. Why do you like writing paranormal.
I really enjoy the lack of boundaries. World building is my favorite thing ever.
You are so damn good at world-building too. Matter of fact, I’m quoted in your media kit (which surprised the heck out of me), and it’s a quote I made about your world-building. ““It’s unbelievable when you get dropped into an Em Shotwell world. As a writer myself, I must tell you that this is one of the biggest compliments I can give.”
What’s next for you? New worlds to build? Or further expanding this one?
I am taking a little break, actually.
I am going slow with the current project, trying to let it just flow out. I think there will be another Blackbird book soon (Tully moves in with Logan, squee!)
We’ve been talking to author Em for a while. Let’s get to know the real Em. Rapid fire:
I don’t know! Ah! From childhood, it would be A Wrinkle Time. Adult book? Probably Wuthering Heights.
Of all time- probably Judy Blume because she was so influential on my childhood and then as a young adult (freaking Summer Sisters is still one of the best girlfriend books ever). For paranormal, I love V.E. Schwab—especially the book Vicious.
Tom Hanks. I don’t have the hots for him or anything like that—I just think he is so talented and will watch anything that he is a part of. I also love Steve Martin—but that is more of a nostalgia thing, I think.
I’m not a Tom Hanks fan, so let’s just say it’s a good thing I loved you before that question, or else we’d have to end this right here and right now. Moving on…
Elizabeth Taylor. If you want one who is still alive—probably Kathy Bates. She is killer.
She will forever be the mom in The Waterboy to me. Kathy Bates, obviously, not Liz.
“If It’s the Beaches” by the Avett Brothers. I freaking LOVE this song with my entire heart. I also love to write to the song “The End of Days” by Brownbird. Also, “Severed Soul” by The Huntress and “The Holder of Hands.” (Yeah—I like sad songs.)
SO MANY. I love Fleetwood Mac. I love The Avett Brothers. The Devil Makes Three. I listen to a lot of older rock, too, because it is what I grew up on. I like any song—and any musician—that makes me FEEL something.
Favorite place to travel?
ANYWHERE. I am happiest on the road. The idea of spending the rest of my life in one place is suffocating. I grew up moving around (I went to eleven different schools). Home is a moving van and a new adventure.
I would love to see the world. To get out in it and experience it. Where isn’t as important—though I’d love to travel through Europe one day.
Europe is fabulous. It’s my favorite. I highly recommend it. Of course, one of the ones on my list is to (finally!) make it down to NOLA to see you.
Let’s go back to the reason you’re here, Blackbird Falling. You are the master of the elevator pitch. Since not all of my readers are as familiar with your blackbird series as I am (although I think we can both agree that they should be), you have 50 words, pitch your series.
Spanish moss and slow southern speak. Creepy towns and snake handling preachers. The reclusive Caibre family may be Gifted with Magic, but they aren’t the strangest thing about Brooklyn, Mississippi. And all the power and Magic in the world can’t ensure their own safety…or happiness.
Meet Delia. Gifted. Magical. Broken.
Hell hath no fury like Delia Caibre—Gifted single mom with the power to make people love her, and a chip on her shoulder the size of the Mississippi.
When last summer left her broken by a monster, and abandoned by the man she trusted, Delia pulled herself up and vowed to never let anyone hurt her, or those she loves, again. So when Thomas Richard shows up, begging forgiveness and flashing his hundred-watt-smile, Delia lets him know that it will take more than dimples and promises to win her back.
Besides, raising her daughter, Genevieve—whose Gift is rare and stronger than anyone in the magical Caibre family—leaves little room for things like dating. But Thomas is persistent. And cute…and it would be nice to feel carefree and nineteen.
Until a masked-man from her past wields a Curse that leaves Delia’s beloved sister on her deathbed, and makes off with Genevieve. It will take the most powerful in the Caibre family to put things right. But bringing her broken family together may prove impossible, even if not doing so means their destruction.
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