Let's jump right into our FINAL Monday of the month with the first of three interviews!
We have KATE SEGER up now - she's a talented author and editor, and I'm thrilled to have her here!
Kate writes character-driven dark fantasy and paranormal romance. A dog mom, freelance editor, and introvert when she's not searching for fairy circles in hopes of being transported to an enchanted kingdom, Kate is cooking amateur gourmet meals, playing the Sims, or immersed in the chaos of her writing process.
She lives with her husband, her German shepherd mix, Gracie, and her half-demon feline, Pancho the Prince of Darkness on the banks of the Hudson in Westchester NY, where there are disappointingly few portals to other realms.
Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity? Depends on the reboot. I’m not opposed to the idea of reboots. But some of them are just sad disappointments.
Coffee, tea, or cacao? Tea for life! I am a tea junkie!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? When I was around eight, I wrote my first story about a talking parrot that saved a brother and sister during a flood. Pretty sure my parents knew it was my destiny too, because what normal eight-year-old comes up with that?
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I write and freelance edit full-time, so I set my own schedule. Typically I do my editing work during the day and my writing in the time after the witching hour because I find I’m more inspired at night.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t outline or prewrite at all (except characters, which I heavily develop in advance), but I religiously reverse-outline my rough drafts, so I know what revision I have planned going into edits.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Cook amateur gourmet meals, read (of course), play the Sims (when I have time. My Sims often miss me)
Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid? My tendency to write characters with Stockholm Syndrome who fall in love with their captors has become a long-running joke with my readers. Probably because I write a LOT of enemies-to-lovers tropes.
What does your family think of your writing? Growing up, when I told my parents I wanted to be a writer, they were very supportive but insisted I would need a day job to support my writing. My mom sadly passed away 2 years ago when I was just breaking out as a writer before I was able to make it a full-time career as I have since. My dad is very proud of me, and I know wherever my mom is, she must be too.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I have 11 long-form books and 23 Vellas (some Vellas are completed). My favorite currently published is Tales of the Gloaming. The Shadow’s Sister, which is currently complete on Vella and will be released in long form on 3/1, is my favorite novel I’ve written to date.
What do you think makes a good story? I think the characters are the crux of any story. If you have strong characters who are engaging, relatable, and consistent, they can compensate for a slower or less tightly-woven plot.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Be an author. Or a marine biologist. I was always terrible at science, so I think I picked the right career path of the two.
What is the first book that made you cry? Gone with the Wind, which I “borrowed” from my mother’s bookshelf when I was twelve.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Energize! The more time I can spend writing, the more well-balanced I feel as a whole.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I have two pen names for my off-genre writing: Lola Dresden for Suspense and Kat Summers for Rom Com.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? Way too many to count! Kristy Perkins, Shauna Jared, Lara G. Elmore, and Lauren Hanson are the writing friends who have been with me the longest. Our circle began when we all published our first novels in the same year. They are a constant source of support and love, and an ever-present springboard to bounce ideas off.
What do you have coming next? I have a TON of releases coming up. The Shadow’s Sister – Tales of the Fae Book 1 releases on 3/1, followed by Surviving Pleasantville - Out of NYC book 2 on 3/15, Still Waters Sharp Teeth on 3-15… I’ll just leave it at that. My current release schedule is 1 novel/novella per month.
And a special treat! Excerpt from the Shadow’s Sister
Shadow Empress Alize writhed on the cold marble, parted thighs slick with viscera, onyx skin gone ashen with the strain. Her screams were sharp as knives, full of dark magic as they severed the silent night. Her cries ensorcelled Castle Bleak in a web of shadows that blotted out the twin moons and the stars above until there was only darkness.
The elven slave, with chains tattoed across her brow, hovered over the dying Shadow fae, wringing her hands. Her gaze shifted from Bleakhart, the sorcerer, to the empress’s engorged stomach.
“The babes will not be born alive. I have done everything I can.” The elf spoke in a whisper that would not have been heard had the room not grown so silent and somber. The sconces on the walls guttered with each belabored moan of the empress.
Bleakhart leaned in close to the slave and hissed, “I know you have ways. I will unbind you if you use your magic to save them.”
The elf’s eyes widened, her expression shifting from hope to terror as she realized what the sorcerer was asking of her. No elemental magic, not even elven, would pry the children from her womb, and Bleakhart knew it. Only old magic, forbidden for centuries by her people.
Before the elf could respond, Empress Alize bolted upright. The blood vessels burst in her eyes as her gaze connected with the slave’s, the sclera gone red, pupils dilated, swallowing the violet irises.
“Get them out of me. Please, I beg of you!” The once proud ruler known for never bowing sounded broken, her voice hoarse from long hours of screaming.
“My lady, I cannot–” the slave started, but the Alize reached out and wrapped her hands around the elf’s slender throat, causing her to choke on her words.
“Make sure one of the children lives. There must be an heir. Call them Ereda and Lorna." The two names fell from the mother’s lips, forced out moments before consciousness left her. She fell back, her body spent, her head hitting the stone with a dull thud before the slave could regain her strangled breath.
The elf turned wild, terrified eyes to Bleakhart as she massaged the bruises forming on her throat. Her mouth worked, but no words came out.
The sorcerer leaned in so close that his spittle flew in the elf’s face as he shouted, “I do not care what your people forbid! You belong to us now. Your people are on the wrong side of history—soon to be dead and gone. So you’ll do as I say. Get them out of her. Now. Or, so help me, I’ll kill you and every other elf held in the dungeons.”
The slave pressed her lips into a grim line.“It will kill her to bring them into the world. You know elven magic cannot do such things. It requires blood magic. Old magic. Terrifying. The cost will be the mother’s life. Possibly more. Blood magic can alter destinies for generations.”
Bleakhart snorted and waved his hand at the empress lying motionless on the slab. Her skin faded to the gray of stone, mouth agape, wings hanging limp, shedding pale feathers that were once black to the floor. Her chest barely rose and fell as she wheezed.
“Do not speak to me of destiny,” Bleakhart spat, “if you could read the stars as you claim, if your people truly knew what was to be, you would not be where you are today. And look”—he gestured at the stone tablet that had birthed three generations of empresses—” she is already as good as gone. It is too late for her.”
The slave studied Alize. The empress’s life force ebbed. There was barely enough magic left to sustain her. She nodded. “It is so.”
“So do it.”
Bleakhart grasped the elf’s wrist and, with a spell, removed the shackles around them. They fell to the floor with a clatter. “Don’t try anything, elf.” The sorcerer glanced at the shadow guards standing by the door. They moved forward, menacing, to ring the stone table.
Bleakhart thrust a dagger at the elf. The slave’s hands shook as she raised the athame above her head, then brought it down violently. She slashed the blade across the empress’s wrist and continued across her own before pressing the wounds together. Her eyelids fluttered, eyes rolling back in her head, revealing only the milky whites. She whispered words in an ancient, sibilant tongue. Her red blood and the empress’s black mingled, spilling down her arms. It pooled in her hands as, with a shriek and a final heroic feat of dark magic, the twins were brought into the world.
A deluge of blood and a thick cloud of shadows poured from the spasming body of the empress as the last of her magic abandoned her—a single sigh, a final breath, separated the girls who sprang from the dying shadow fae’s loins. First, a pale gray creature with snakes of black hair forming a crown around a face the color of the moons: Ereda - the one who would rule.
Then, almost as an afterthought, the traitor was born. Lavender-eyed and silent, dark like her mother, but with no violence in her gaze, only quiet contemplation.