October 5, 2013

Paranormal: Make Me Howl @shaywriter #RLFblog #werewolf

Make Me Howl 
Susan Shay welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Tell us about your book, Make Me Howl.
I have a long time real life friend who asked me this question on Facebook:
Seriously Susan Spess Shay, how on earth did you write such an intricate piece, we all know how Castle does his research for his um, books, but how did you come up with all the details, and do research on Make Me Howl?
Okay, I'm no Castle (although I love that show!) but I think she's talking about Jazzy's World. The research I did was to watch all the old Wolf Man and Werewolf movies as I was growing up. (I still watch them.)
That way, I knew what the norm was for a werewolf and how I could change it.
Anytime we write a book, we have to set up the world the book is set in. Whether it's a straight romance, a mystery, a paranormal or an inspirational.
Of course, setting up a world for a straight romance is a little less complicated than a paranormal or sci-fi. For my book, To School a Cowboy, I had to make up a town for my heroine to live in, and a ranch for her to live on. (She rents a mother-in-law house from the hero.)
To make it easy, I used my hometown, but changed it. I changed the name (of course) and a farm became a ranch and across the road changed from non-usable land to a small farm. The road is still there, and there's even a school on that road, like in the book. Distances are different, though.
For Blind Sight, my "world" was a little harder. The heroine in this book is a touch psychid. She lived in an old mansion that had been turned into a boarding house. I made that town and the house up totally. But I can still see it in my head, so it kind of exists. Right?
There were other rules, too. As a touch psychic (I've never met one, have you?) when she touched someone or something that had been recently touched, she channeled that person's feelings and saw what was weighing on their minds. (Which is how she realized before the police they had a serial murderer in their town.)
But I had to find a way for her to be able to touch the hero—a debunker who decides to show the world that she's a fake. (If you can't kiss the guy, the romance is going to fizzle out fast.) That was a fun challenge to get past!
In case you're wondering, both of those books are still available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.
Make Me Howl was the most challenging of all my stories to date. I had to change all of werewolf lore. (My son did that when he wrote a werewolf story in fourth grade, so I figured werewolves were fair game.)
I set up a world where being a werewolf is an inherited gene. People are born werewolves. But I had to come up with a reason some werewolves can't control themselves and some (like Jazzy) can.
The-full-moon-made-me-do-it werewolves, I decided, were the ones who got a virus when an out-of-control-angry-genetic-werewolf bit them. And hey, who's to say it's not?
I learned from my good friend, Marilyn Pappano, that the secret to a really good "world" is setting it up and then not changing it toward the end. Often, a writer will write herself into a corner. In order to get out of it, the heroine suddenly discovers she has a new "talent".
For instance, let's say I'd written the entire book with Jazzy as she is, then had the viral werewolf chasing her to the edge of a three hundred foot cliff. If I had Jazzy suddenly realized she could fly, I'd be cheating.
And for some people, the book would become a wallbanger. (That's when the reader gets mad and throws it at the wall rather than finishing it.)
So once I gave Jazzy her attributes, I left them alone. After all, she's a fashionista with a biting sense of humor and a killer sense of style who knows how to shake her tail. What more could you want in a werewolf/heroine?
Make Me Howl, which is available now on Kindle, and will be out in print on November 15th!


I'm giving away a book today and a gift basket at the end of my tour. Please make a comment or ask a question to be entered in the contest.

Make Me Howl

When Chase Holliday's gaze first met mine, something tingled on my end. He was hot. Dark blue eyes, a square jaw, hair that was just a little too long, and this way of focusing that made me wonder if I should attack or run.
And I never run.
Together we'd make a pair anyone would sit up and notice--at least that's what I thought. Then I learned that he planned to wipe werewolves from the face of the planet. And since I was born with an active werewolf gene, well, let's just say our twain could never meet.
Until a Blood Moon occurred while I was in heat and all my hard earned control went slamming out the window with me right behind it. That's when I learned that, like wolves in nature, werewolves mate for life.
I'm in deep trouble.

About the Author

I'm one of six kids, four sisters and a brother, and we all agree we had the best parents in the world. A real Leave-It-To-Beaver upbringing. We all like our hometown so much five of the six of us still live there.
I'm a reader first–I've been reading ever since I can remember. And when I couldn't read, I've always made up stories to entertain myself.
I had a blind date on December 7 a few years ago, and married a that guy five months later. We have three sons. When I had the third one, I took a Louis Lamour book with me on the delivery table. The nurse finally wrestled it away from me when the baby was ready to make his appearance.
Almost as soon as the youngest was walking, we bought a pharmacy and I went to work full time. At first it was only supposed to be for a couple of weeks. Those two weeks lasted a looooong time. :-)
As soon as I had the time between playing with the husband and kids, cooking, laundry and work, I started writing my stories down. Much more fun! I sold my first short story to a children's Sunday School paper. I made $35.00, and the publisher issued it twice!
I'm not only a reader and writer, I'm a knitter, a gardner and a darn good cook if I do say so myself. And I have an alter-ego I call Terminally Curious, because I am, truly, terminally curious.

Find Me Here


  1. I love your interviews, Susan because I always find out something new about you. Interesting the way you do your world building. Loved Make Me Howl, by the way. :-)

    1. Thanks for commenting today. :)

    2. LInda,
      By this time you know everything about me. Well, almost! Thanks for coming by! (Spread the word!)

    3. Thanks Linda! By now, I thought you'd know EVERYTHING about me. Well, nearly. :) Thanks for coming by!

  2. I like your idea for the wolves & the world building is really smart. Jazzy sounds like a handful - I bet you two had differences of opinoin regarding her actions at times!!!

    1. Jazzy does indeed sound like a character to watch. ;)

    2. Nice to meet you, Heather!
      Jazzy spend a lot of time trying to take over the entire book! She's a handful, for sure. I'm not sure what happens when your inner snark takes over totally.
      Maybe the answer is settle back and enjoy the ride. Anyway, I survived! :)

    3. Thanks for having me, Kayelle! Love your site, btw. Beautiful!


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