#Spotlight and Interview with Courtney Sloan
A New Orleans native, Courtney Sloan relocated to the hills of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. There she lives with her husband and fellow author, J.P. Sloan, their son and their crazy German Shepherd pup. Adding to her writing life, Courtney is also a professor at the local college and enjoys learning a world of new ideas from her students as she teaches them about writing and communicating.
Courtney’s New Orleans upbringing has left her with a love for the macabre and a flare for the next to normal. She writes speculative fiction with a variety of horror and sass mixed in for flavor.
She loves taking the world of politics that haunts us now, and adding the supernatural to create a gumbo of thrills to keep you up at night.
A self-proclaimed lover of way too many fandoms, Courtney also loves crafting. From blankets to jams to stories, it’s always better homemade.
Of Scions and Men (American Scions #1)
Geopolitical babysitting while arresting preternatural killers, it’s just the daily grind for Scion Rowan Brady. Brash and sarcastic, Rowan has sold her life, her career and her very blood to the controlling paranormal ruling class of America, all to make sure her kid brother can eat. Now she uses her powers as a scion to kick the ass of any preternatural creature idiotic enough to break the rules and prey upon humanity without a license. All it costs her is her freedom and a pint or two per week to her new Master.
But juggling her job and duties becomes even tougher when she is tasked with keeping a contingency of diplomats from Canada from getting gnawed on. However, negotiations for an International Blood Exchange are interrupted when bodies start showing up.
Now Rowan must rely on her talent and wit to defend the society she despises to save the lives she’s sworn to protect. But as she stumbles into the truth, she chances becoming a target of not only these killers, but of her own government. With shifters, ghosts, vampires and psychics all watching her, can she stop the killings before she is silenced?
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a New Orleans native, but I relocated to the hills of Central Maryland after Hurricane Katrina. I live there with my husband and fellow author, J.P. Sloan, my son and our crazy German Shepherd pup. I’m a lover of way too many fandoms, and of gaming. In my “spare time”, I also love crafting. I feel from blankets to jams to stories, it’s always better homemade.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Gaming (table top, video, board, I’m down for it all), martial arts (just made my red belt), hanging with friends and family (would be lost without my pack).
Do you have a day job as well?
I’m the Tutoring & Writing Center Coordinator for a local college. I love working with students on their writing and learning from them. Even have some who come to me specifically for creative writing/publishing help. Love it!
What was your favourite book as a child? Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Jack Prelutsky’s Nightmares. Coupling that with my New Orleans upbringing has left me with a deep love for the macabre and a flare for the next-to-normal.
What book do you wish you had written?
The Martian or the Harry Potter series.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I guess this goes back to New Orleans and loving everything a little twisted, a little dark and a whole lot sexy.
Where do you get your ideas?
Um…everywhere. I walk around looking at everything from news articles to my students to science to history and say “What if?” Those what-ifs lead me to whole new ideas and sometimes whole new worlds.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Sometimes I will be blocked in a scene. I know where it needs to go and what needs to happen, but the characters just aren’t feeling it yet. Generally, I do one of two things: I’ll free-write and see what the characters are feeling/thinking, or I’ll actually skip the scene (leaving a place marker) and catch it back around on revisions. The worst thing I find is to just wait. That stops the momentum of everything.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
Actually, I call myself a plotser. I plan a writing W for the general outline so I know I have what I need for the book, but then I just write. Sometimes the outline stays the same, sometimes the characters find a better way. What that original outline gives me, though, is I never have just a blank page staring at me. I always have something to plug in and play with in the manuscript.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Yes, I wrote a sci-fi horror based in a deep space station where vampires were the ones who funded the space program (no sun in deep space). I was told over and over that it was good but that it should have been in 1st person and that it is too hard to sell a female sci-fi author. I was sad to hear that reasoning so much, and still hope to pull Black Sun out of moth balls and show women can do sci-fi.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
For the first book, Of Scions and Men, I really took a stab at female empowerment. I used vampires, who have been a very male centred mythology ever since old Bram wrote Dracula. I had them stand for the patriarchal nature of our society. They are literally running the government, with or without qualifications. Rowan and the scions are turning the mythology on its ear.
How did you come up with the title?
All of my titles for this series are plays on classic literature. Of Scions and Men. The Scions of Wrath. The Once and Future Scion. It brings something alien to something familiar, rather like the books.
What has been the best compliment?
Hmm, one gentleman said I really handled politics and vampires well together, like chocolate and peanut butter. He said it was like a James Patterson novel got lost in 30 Days of Night. Loved that.
What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?
Marketing, hands down.
In what situation is your self-esteem most at risk?
Crap, without a doubt having to explain to my kid brother why a vampire bites me every few days and then gives us stuff.
What are you keeping a secret?
Devon’s a dick, but for a blood-sucking vampire, he actually takes pretty good care of us. Don’t you dare tell him I said so. In fact, can we just strike that one from the record, please?
Is there anyone in your life that you are attracted to?
No, I don’t have time for that. I mean, I only get to interact with the scum I arrest or Devon when I have to. He’s pretty cute, if you get past the fangs, in those tailored suits that show off his, what, never mind. No, the answer is no.
What scares you about this person?
I’m not scared of him. Who the hell told you I was scared of him? He’s just the guy who keeps us from starving like the rest of humanity. End of story. I’d kick his ass just as fast as any of the other bloodsuckers if he stepped out of line. Next question. I’m not scared. He’s just unnerving when he’s so nice to us.
When you walk into a room what do you notice first? Second?
The exits. Potential weapons.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
My ex showed up on my ceremony day when I was bonded to Devon. He demanded I stop whoring myself to vamps. But there was no other option. I think.
How would you change the world? The things around you? The people around you?
Make the vamps give up the government like they promised to do 50 years ago. And make sure my brother never had to give blood rations again.
What do you think other people think of you?
Most think I’m too hard, but they have no idea how terrified I am that if I give a little, they are going to take everything back. Will can’t go back to the tenements.
What are you especially proud of in your life?
Even though I’ve sold myself to the government, every day I get to make the world that much safer than it was the day before. That and I’ve finally trained Devon that boundaries are there for a reason.
What’s your greatest source of joy?
A hug from my kid brother at the end of the day.