Interview with Author Shah Wharton

Today, I’m joined by Shah Wharton, author of a new adult fantasy novel, Finding Esta…

Shah, the “new adult” label is a relatively recent book category. How would you define the term? And what made you decide to write new adult, as opposed to young adult or adult?

Actually, Heather from Buried in Books told me my book was new adult, last year. I’d never really paid much attention to the genre before that, so hadn’t considered whether

Finding Esta, fit. As soon as she said that, however, I went off to investigate and found it to be the perfect category.

Luna is twenty-three and in her first home, working at her first job, and rekindles her first love, while longing for her first lover. There are a lot of first-time experiences in Luna’s story – adult experiences, which make the story a kind of coming-of-age story. It’s about finding ones true identity (however supernatural), of realising we are more than what other’s think of us, and when pushed, we can reach further than our perceived limitations. So I thought, hell yeah, Heather is right (she usually is, especially about anything new adult and YA), this book fits the genre perfectly.

But like most new adult, it would be just as interesting to younger and older adults. 😀

I’m a character girl. If I could change the way we categorise books, I’d have a section for character stories. Luna struck me as a potentially fascinating character. Can you tell us about her, and what she’s going through?
I adore character too, even more than plot. A supreme plot is lost on me if not pinned to interesting characters. Because if we don’t care for the characters, we are not invested in the plot, so tension and intrigue are non-existent.

Luna is an empath, a friend and host to Shadows (ghosts), and a psychometrist (psychic touch), all of which have debilitated her socially, throughout her lonely life. She is desperate to secure the pride (and possibly, love) of her parents, who she learnt to appease, or get sent to an expensive hospital for ‘treatment.’ A torturous regimen of anti-psychotic drugs and electro-convulsive-treatments were been used to treat Luna’s so-called ‘mental health issues,’ since she was a child.

She takes on the story of Esta – a baby stolen from her family twenty years ago, while they were murdered in front of her – in the hope of proving herself to her parent

s, finally. Still, no leads left the case of Esta’ kidnapping, icy cold, and all evidence of these crimes languished in the dereliction of Esta’s home – a dangerous place for someone of Luna’s talents to go.

Luna’s adventure leads her to find out that not just Shadows walk undetected amongst us, but a whole other culture of magical beings, too. And while trying to find Esta, she finds out about herself – about her own destiny, potential, and more.

How did you meet Luna?

We met while conceiving a flash fiction story about a haunted house, a few years ago. Needless to say, the flash fiction story didn’t work out. I fell for Luna, for her heart break, for how she clings to hope, no matter what. The flash became a novel, and then a series. Luna asks questions, which I need to answer.

Tell me a little bit about the cover art for you book. Does the pink moon mean anything?

Derek Murphy created this for me, interpreting my wishes perfectly. The background is Co

rnwall, where the fate of Esta is sought. The moon is integral to the plot, and the colour wash is more about the glow from Luna’s eyes than the moon itself. We tried the colour glaring from Luna’s eyes, but it looked more Sci-Fi than urban fantasy, then. So he washed the whole cover in mauve instead, and I love it.

I chose all the images used, and it took quite a few model choices till I found her. She is exactly Luna. And the model has many poses to choose from for the next books in the series. It was important to me to have the same model on each cover, to add consistency to the fantasy hidden within, but also as a marketing tactic, I suppose.

I see that the book is the first in a series. Do you know how many more there will be? Have you finished any of them?

In my mind, I have three in total, although I’m not restricting myself. The next one is Finding Luna, and the next is Finding William (subject to change). I wrote the second book for NaNoWriMo (2011), but due to major re-writes of Finding Esta last year, I’ve had to practically re-write Finding Luna too (most of which was done in NaNoWriMo (2012). It still needs work to secure an absolute first draft, but it’s pretty much ready for re-writes/edits to begin. I really need betas and critique partners if anyone’s interested J

Convince me to read your book. Don’t give me a blurb, just speak from the heart. What makes this book special?

As I’ve said, the book is all about Luna. She is a special character, but also achingly normal. She doesn’t want to be ‘special’, she doesn’t want any of it. She pines for a normal life, for normality in all forms. Alas, normal is something she will never be, so she must find peace within the chaos.

If you enjoy ghostly happenings, vampires who are both good and bad, but never saintly, alien copy-cats who are much more than they seem, hybrid were-vamps with psychotic tendencies, coming of age trials and tribulations, a little romance in it’s most delicate form, then read my book. There are lots of supernatural and paranormal characters to get to know, who you’ll learn more about throughout the series. Plus, it’s only $2.99, so if you hate it, it’s no great loss. J

Of course, I’ll be gutted, but I have to accept that not everyone will love it, like I do.

Tell me something interesting or unusual about yourself.

Not sure if this counts, but I’m terribly anti-social, insular and reach exhaustion quickly if placed in social situations too often. Especially if I’m not with my husband, who is the only person in the world with whom I can be myself.

Bipolar disorder runs in my family, so it quite possibly has something to do with that. Or perhaps I’m just shy?

I’d go with shy, but that’s because I feel the same way about social situations. It can make marketing stressful. I find the Internet helps because I can write all my answers down, with time to think about them., instead of having to come up with something quick and clever. How do you feel about promotion, on the internet and elsewhere?

It’s all part and parcel of being a writer, these days. I would rather write all the time and not be burdened by the marketing side, but I accept it as a fundamental part of the industry. And I agree, this is all so much easier online. If I had to do interviews live on TV or radio, I don’t think I’d be able to do it. Really… shivers are travelling up and own my spine even thinking of it. But there is a wonderful support network online, for writers. We are close, especially indies.

Does your family (especially your husband) support your writing career?

My husband is trying his hardest to read my book (bless), but he hates most fiction. He reads very little, the odd biography, or thriller. But he’s not a fan of reading anything other than car magazines or the newspaper. Crazy, right? Despite this, he supports me and tells his friends I’m going to be famous. He jokes about getting his screen-writer buddy from L.A to read it, and get it on TV or in cinemas Bless him, he’s proud but clueless about the realities of the industry. He doesn’t like it when I’m lost in my world and want to ignore everyone and everything else, though. He insists on quitting time at around 7pm (now actually, we are about to eat – whoops!). We eat dinner, then have circle time on the sofa and watch movies or a favourite series, with Bobby, our German Shepherd. 😀


Where are you from, originally? (I noticed the British spellings, and want to clarify for my mostly American audience that they are not typos. Realise is spelled with an s in the UK and Australia, colour has a u.)

Yes, I’m British, and originate from the West Midlands (Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield). My proofer is always sending me spelling errors, but they’re not wrong, really. 🙂

Who makes the best tea?

Twinnings J

Thanks! It’s been a pleasure having you here.

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