Today I am so pleased to welcome Shea Balik to Joyfully Jay. Shea has come to talk to us about her latest release, Breaking Barriers. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Shea has brought some questions and answers to share with us!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a kid (well, even now), I absolutely loved to read but hated when a book would end. At night, as I lie in bed, I’d often imagine what would happen if the story continued. At the time, I had always dreamed of one day writing my own book, but, for some reason, I’d never thought it a real possibility.
It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I had the guts to submit a story to a publisher. I’d been shocked when it had been accepted. There are still times, even after nearly six years that I have trouble believing I’m able to do what I love for a living.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
That depends on the book, the series, and what’s happening in my life. Working from home is great, but it does have its challenges. There are times when I’m able to set a schedule and stick to it, but that’s not always the case. Life can often interrupt my ability to work.
But it isn’t always life that gets in the way. Sometimes it’s the story itself. Either I’m having trouble finding a path for the two characters, or (after a considerable amount already written) the characters don’t fit what I had originally planned. I will explain more in question four, but whenever I try to force a character to be a certain way, it tends to stop me in my tracks. I have to let the story flow naturally or I’ll be staring at the screen without writing a word for hours.
But, if all the stars align, a book takes about two weeks which includes creating all the characters for the book as well as writing it and rewriting it once before I send it to my editor.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
These are very tricky questions. Again, this depends on my life at the time. I tend to get more writing done in the mornings, with some writing in the afternoon and evenings. Other times, it is whenever the time allows.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My most interesting quirk is that I let the story write itself. It’s one of the reasons why morning is my best time to write, I’m still half asleep and not really thinking about anything. When I’m writing during the day or night, I often use writing sprints (usually 1 hour). The time crunch forces me to just let go and write. But I’ve found if I try to force a story line it doesn’t work and I end up not getting anything on the page.
The same is true for characters. There have been many times I start writing about a character, struggling to finish a chapter to only later realize I was having trouble because that just wasn’t the right character. Even now, I have a story that is half-written for the series Syn’s Playground. It has been sitting in my to do pile for six months, but there is something wrong with one of the characters that isn’t allowing me to move forward with the story. Until I figure out who the character really is, instead of who I think he should be, that story isn’t going to get finished.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
My life. I’m a people watcher by nature and I can’t tell you the conversations that people are willing to have in public. Some have shocked me to the point that I was shaken from the experience. Others have had me doing everything in my power not to laugh because the last thing I want is have them stop talking!
But so many of my characters and scenes come straight out of my life in some way. Full-Bodied, from my Uncorked series, is the story of me (minus the romance). All those feelings Nolan had were mine. Writing has been great therapy for working out my issues.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read, watch Food Network and HGTV as well as spend time with family and friends.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Who I am as a person and more importantly, who I want to be. Its all there in the character’s stories if you read closely enough.
Which are your favorite/s books you’ve written?
I wish I could name just one. I think my favorite series so far is Cedar Falls, but that’s because it has me laughing every time I write a book. The series that has more of me in the books has been Uncorked, and not just because they involve alcohol.
Do you have any suggestions to help anyone become a writer? If so, what are they?
Be true to yourself when you write. Don’t try to write what you think readers want to read, it doesn’t work.
What do you think makes a good story?
Keep the characters realistic. Even when writing sci fi, paranormal, or anything else that wouldn’t be considered ‘real’ life, it is the characters that make the story line believable. So they can be from other worlds, shifters, vampires, ghosts, etc, but they still need to connect with the reader on a personal level.
Detective Jamal Tuma was used to life not going his way. As an omega in an alpha dominated world, he’d experienced more than his fair share of bigotry when he’d decided to enter the police force. His life had been put in danger more times than he could count for no other reason than alphas above him thought it wouldn’t matter if he’d died on the job. Yet, in the six years he’d been a cop, he’d never come quite so close to death as he did when an alpha doctor didn’t feel it necessary to treat his gunshot wound.
Brace Jacobs had never given much thought to the omegas in their world. As a doctor, he’d taken an oath to heal, no matter their color, creed, sex, or even their omega status. But not everyone felt the way he did. It didn’t sit well with Brace, but he didn’t go out of his way to fix the problem, either. That was until Detective Jamal Tuma came through those doors and nearly died with Brace’s hands deep in his body as he fought to save the omega.
Warning: Hijinx and mayhem will ensue as these two fight the world around them, as well as their own ridiculous preconceived notions, as they hope to build a future together. But that might be easier said than done when there are stalkers, assholes, idiots, and one very determined Patient Care Coordinator, who will kick everyone’s ass while planning a circus, if that’s what it takes for them to begin Breaking Barriers.
Bestselling author of the Cedar Falls Series, Miracle Series, and Paranormal Wars Series, Shea Balik has always had a vivid imagination with stories running around in her head. Often her stories are taken from observations of other people with her own spin. Traveling is one of her favorite ways of fulfilling her passion of people watching. You never know, one day you may spark her imagination for her next book.
Whether at home or traveling she is usually in front of her computer writing or curled up with a good book. Find Shea at any of the links below!
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