Author Override: Shawntelle Madison

Author Override is the place where authors take the reins and take you on a journey into their world. Some may allow you into their private writing dens. Others may take you along with them on research trips or interviews. Whatever the case may be, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because here you’ll get an in-depth look into an author’s musings.

A Director’s Cut of the First Scene for Kept

To celebrate the release of my second book in the Coveted series, Kept, I thought I’d give a behind the scenes, blow by blow about how the first scene of Kept came about. Ready? How about a quick blurb for some background:

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.

After I’d finished the first book, Coveted, I was presented with a challenge. How do I jump into the second book? I knew Natalya was in South Toms River, New Jersey still, and she had the trials to face. She could be anywhere, but I wanted for a new reader to the series to understand Nat’s condition, yet have some fun in the process. This first scene actually took me a few days to develop. For me, it’s all about capturing a moment. Some scenes come fast, other ones slow. This one took a while before I had it. Amazingly, this first scene is the original one I sent my editor in the first draft. Naturally, it has gone through line-edits, etc, but the scene is essentially the same one.

Of all the things I had to face that day, the prospect of sticking my hand down someone else’s pants as part of my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, just didn’t seem right. Mind you, no one was wearing those filthy pants, but even a gal in therapy should have limits. Today anyway.

According to my therapist, I’d somehow give in to my obsessive-compulsive behaviors less often if I occasionally went out of my comfort zone. Still, in my opinion, my current assignment wouldn’t help me that much.

When I’d first visualized this scene, I saw Natalya looking exasperated and Aggie, the ever present sidekick, front and center to offer a hand.  Nat’s Nissan is getting an oil change behind them and Aggie is talking to a hot mechanic.

Five minutes earlier, standing inside the lobby of the local Jiffy Lube, my best friend, Aggie, had given the hot new mechanic a harrowing speech that left me wondering just how far she’d go to help me out. “My good friend Natalya here is one of those clean freaks. It’d be awesome if you’d help her out by letting her put her hand down your pants.

“Pants pocket, that is.” Her eyebrows danced while she grinned devilishly.

So, there I was, ready to do the deed with the mechanic’s grimy uniform.

I had so much fun writing the first part of this scene. I could hear and see everything in my head. It was all like a movie and I was just along for the ride to write it down as it happened.

“Oh, just stick your paw in there so we can go home,” Aggie begged. “Your mom said she’s making her special pot roast.”

How would soiling my germ-free hands with a journey into the grimy pocket of the admittedly attractive mechanic help me with my obsessive-compulsive disorder? I suspected that, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t really about my well-being. Agatha McClure just wanted the mechanic to take his coveralls off.

“Let the healing begin,” she purred as he bent over. The lean, yet hard lines of his body were quite evident under his jeans and white T-shirt.

One of my most favorite lines in the book is Aggie saying the above, “Let the healing begin.” It was one of the lines in my head that was on repeat before the scene began. Here was Nat, trying to get her life together, and of course Aggie wanted to offer assistance. The kind of assistance I don’t think I’d want to accept either.

Healing, my ass. She was staring him down like she was a werewolf on a full-moon prowl and he was the next rabbit she planned to snag.

My head swiveled to catch her running her fingers through her red hair. It was a habit she always fell into when she saw a good-looking man. She had such a blissful expression on her face, I felt bad taking the moment away from her. Eh, let her leer over him for a few minutes more. I had an emergency pack of baby wipes for days like today.

So I shoved my hand into the pocket and tried to think happy thoughts. Find that Zen place that didn’t involve freaking out over how slimy and lint-laden the pocket was. By the time my hand came out, it resembled a chocolate ice-cream bar with nuts sprinkled on it. Those “nuts” were balls of fluff.

In my mind, I saw it just as Nat described it. I’ve worked around enough people who fixed cars to know what their hands looked like. If you stick a hand covered with grease and such in a lint-filled pocket you’re going to come back with a little something extra. Nat hates filth, but compared to the first book, she has grown a bit. Okay, only so much—but at least she did it.

“Well, look at that,” Aggie said with pride. “You stuck your paw in and you’re still alive.”

I handed the mechanic his coveralls with a straight face, and then scowled at Aggie. This exercise sucked. Ever since I’d joined my therapy group, Aggie was constantly searching for golden opportunities like this one to “help” me. A werewolf with an obsessive-compulsive disorder, I began therapy because I tended to stress out over the little things. I still do, mind you, but I’ve been learning lately to try to focus on the important stuff, like bonding with my family. Over the past few years, I’ve been estranged from them due to my disorder. I’ve made some progress, especially with my dad, but like any issue that dredges up painful memories, the healing had taken some patience.

However, that was a subject I didn’t want to fixate on right now. It was already hard enough to deal with this little exercise. While I cleaned off my “ice-cream bar” with baby wipes (many of them), I gazed through the window of Jiffy Lube out to the main street of South Toms River. Not many people may know it, but New Jersey in the winter is beautiful. Especially with a light dusting of snow. On the way here, I’d driven past South Toms River Park. There’s something about barren trees extending toward the sky. When they’re covered with just the right amount of fallen snow, they can be quite calming to the soul.

Even from inside the lobby, I could taste the winter on my tongue. With it came the promise of holiday decorations and Christmas cookies. The most perfect time of the year.

Once the oil change was done, we left. Aggie strolled to the passenger side of my Nissan Altima—a smug smile on her face—along with a coupon for a free oil change in her hand. I would bet good money the guy had snuck his number on there.

Aggie might have had a love interest from the first book, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a guy show interest in her. Another important part of this initially scene, based on what you read above, was to establish the time and place. It was fun to get back into Nat’s head and reintroduce her world. I hope you enjoyed this first scene director’s cut and you’ll take the time to check out an excerpt of the first two chapters.

KEPT
by Shawntelle Madison
Coveted # 2

Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she’s now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.

Nat’s father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss’s deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.

READ OUR REVIEW

Nov 15 – Ex Libris – Interview with Nick the White Wizard – Kept Giveaway International
Nov 16 – The Delighted Reader – Kept Giveaway International!
Nov 19 – Fangs for the Fantasy – Kept Giveaway
Nov 20 – All Things Urban Fantasy Kept Giveaway and Cool Top Ten List
Nov 21 – The Reading Diaries
Nov 22 – Gimme the Scoop Book Blog – Kept Giveaway
Nov 23 – Manga Maniac Cafe – Kept Giveaway
Nov 26 – SOS Aloha
Seeing Night Book Reviews
Nov 27 – Romance at Random
Under the Covers Book Blog
Literary Escapism – Black Friday Free Story
Nov 28 – Forget the Housework, I’m Reading
Romance Book Junkies
Nov 29 – Book Monster Reviews
Literal Addiction
Nov 30 – Paranormal Cravings
Dec 3 – Talking Supe
Reading Café
Dec 4 – Books for Company
Dec 5 – Reading a Little Bit of Everything
Dec 6 – Books Make Me Happy

About the Author

Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

We have a copy of KEPT up for grabs!

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Annette C.

I haven’t read any of Shawntelle’s books but they sound like something I will realy enjoy, will add them to my TBR list.

Marka

I leave here my comment in case is an international giveaway 🙂

Maria D.

I haven’t read any of the books in this series but I’m adding them to my list – love shapeshifter books and this sounds like a good series

Lizz D.

OMG. I LOVE that she’s OCD. I’m minorly OCD (not NEARLY to that point), and have a ton of fun making fun of myself about it. I also love the short description you gave about the park. I totally get that. I can’t wait to get into this series! 🙂

erinf1

Congrats to Shawntelle on the new release! Thanks for a great post and interview! They sound fantastic 🙂

Zita R

This is a new author to me but the description of Kept makes me want to read it. I love shifter stories! 🙂

Joanne B

I love shapeshifter stories and behinds the scenes info. Congrats on the new release. Kept sounds fantastic.

Megblod

I haven’t read any of Shawntelle’s books but they do sound like really good reads.

Olga

I haven’t read Shawntelle’s books but I would like to start reading them.
Thanks for the giveaway.

Emily

Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to see the process sometimes, gives you a better feel for the story and characters.

Barbara Elness

I haven’t had a chance to start this series yet, but I have Coveted sitting on my TBR shelf waiting for me. After reading the scene from Kept, I really need to get going, I know I’m going to love it.

Emily Bowes

This sounds like a great story. This is a new to me author and I cant wait to start to read some of her books.

Janie McGaugh

I like the idea of an obsessive-compulsive werewolf.

Lori Meehan

Congrats on the new book. This is a new author to me. Thanks.

Monica V.

Kept sounds like a fun, humorous read. I haven’t read anything by Shantelle yet, but Kept is a good place to start!

Timitra

I love the sound of this series!

Mary Preston

This was great thank you. I could totally visualize.

Jen B.

I am always amazed by how author’s come up with the start of the second book in a series. I can’t imagine how hard it is to bring a story to end and then go “now let’s start it up again, in the same world, with the same characters and make it all new and shiny!”. Eek! That’s so overwhelming!

Filia Oktarina

Looking forward to read this books. I love story about shapeshifter. Kept sounds like a fun read 🙂

NURMA

i already bought COVETED…and i hope i win KEPT…
i love shawntelle’s books 🙂
thx 4 the chance..

-nurma-