Q&A With Sky Croft

10 Jun

Under the UK LesFic Q&A spotlight today is Sky Croft, Regal Crest author of the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series, lover of wilderness and women, and 2014 Goldie nominee. With two novels set for release later this year (Amazonia: An Impossible Choice in August and Mountain Rescue: On The Edge in December), we’d like to thank Sky for finding the time to let us pick her brains…

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mountain rescueFirst things first, congratulations on the Goldie nomination for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent. How did you feel when you saw your name on the shortlist? And who would you thank most in an acceptance speech?

I was over the moon when I first saw my name on the shortlist – though I re-read it umpteen times, thinking I must’ve misunderstood somehow. I never imagined I’d be a finalist among such big-name authors!

In an acceptance speech (which is really getting ahead of myself!) I’d have to thank my parents the most. They always believed in me, and their support allowed me to realise my dream of becoming an author. Also, I’d like to thank the readers for their kind words regarding Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, as I never would’ve had the courage to enter the awards otherwise!

Tell us a little about yourself. How would your nearest and dearest describe you?

Hmm…let me think. Most people say I’m funny, though whether they’re laughing at me or with me I can never tell! I like to think with.

I love nothing more than a long walk in the countryside or down at my local beach, followed by an evening at the cinema. I’m an avid film buff and my DVD collection takes up half my home! When I’m not writing or working my way through another TV box set, I’m usually enjoying the rare few minutes of free-time with my fiancée and our pet budgie.

My family would say I’m caring, overly sensitive and talk way too much.

Personally, I think a comical, hypersensitive, non-stop talker is quite an apt description of me.

Your work is very varied: the supernatural Shadowstalkers, the adventure romance Mountain Rescue series and the fantasy Amazonia series. What, if anything, links them? Do you feel there are common themes?

ShadowStalkersBoth the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series are romances at heart, so the obvious theme there is love, and how it enriches our lives.

Family is a central theme throughout my books. In Shadowstalkers, the Valentines are an incredibly tight-knit family. Amazonia displays the bonds of sisterhood, with both the twins, and the ties of the tribe as a whole. Mountain Rescue shows how friends (the rescue team) can become family without needing the connection by blood.

Loss is also a recurring theme. Mountain Rescue and Amazonia both have the loss of the family home, while Shadowstalkers has the loss of a parent. Over the course of the stories, the characters have to come to terms with those losses and move forward with their lives. They have to find hope again after tragedy.

All three of my books explore heroism, without it being overly contrived. I’m a big believer in female empowerment, so my stories tend to have feisty, strong-minded women at the core.

The sequel to Amazonia is out in August. What can readers look forward to in book two?

amazonia_impossible_choiceThere’s a wedding in store for the main couple (which I really enjoyed writing), and an Indiana Jones style treasure hunt with lots of trials for the Amazons to overcome. The women also have to face extreme weather, predatory animals, and deadly foes. They’re certainly kept busy in this book! Oh, and the past resurfaces in an unexpected way.

I was always fascinated by the idea of putting Shale into a situation where she had to choose between her twin or her love. I know I’m morbid, but I like to challenge my characters, and I felt that dilemma would be the biggest of her life. So naturally I took the story there in book two. You’ll have to read it to see what happens!

You say on your bio that you’re an “avid film buff”. Which of your books would you most like to see up on the big screen, and who would you cast in the leading roles?

I would love to see Shadowstalkers as a TV series. I think there’s lots of scope within that world to make numerous stand-alone episodes, as well as a bigger story arc for a season. Cassie’s such a conflicted heroine, her story would be fascinating to watch on-screen.

For the matriarch of the family, Eve Valentine, I would pick Lena Olin. Not only is she beautiful, she portrays strong characters without losing her femininity. She’d be ideal for showing both sides of Eve – the protective mother, and the lethal qualities of a shadowstalker.

summer-glau

Summer Glau – lovely lady, but she does have an unfortunate habit of starring in doomed TV shows…

As the lead, Cassie Valentine, I see Summer Glau playing the role. Cassie is written as exceptionally attractive, which Summer certainly is, and I could easily picture her kicking ass (witnessed when she was the terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Despite Cassie’s physical prowess, she is vulnerable mentally, and I think Summer would be wonderful at portraying that aspect of the character (she did a fantastic job playing the damaged River in Firefly/Serenity).

I could easily envisage Evan Rachel Wood as Vicki Valentine. I loved Evan’s depiction of the spoilt Queen Sophie-Anne on True Blood. Vicki’s self-importance causes quite a few problems for the Valentine clan, and sometimes you love her, sometimes you hate her. I think Evan would be more than capable of taking on such a misunderstood character.

Where do you get your ideas and how do you start developing stories?

I love to daydream. I can sit for hours thinking over different characters and scenarios. When ideas emerge, I focus on those that have enough merit to hold my interest, and I begin to ask questions around that subject. An obvious example would be: What’s the main character’s background? What led them to be in the scenario they’re now in? Etc. These questions lead me deeper into the original idea, and from that a plot begins to take shape.

What has surprised you most about the feedback on your books?amazonia (1)

I’ve been surprised by how many people are committed to the series of Mountain Rescue, and their loyalty to the characters and the story. They really want to see what happens next in the lives of Sydney and Saber, where they’re going as a couple, and what adventures they have next on the mountainside. I certainly hoped there’d be a following for them (to allow me to write many follow-ons!) but it’s exhilarating to realise so many people relate to the characters, which, as I mentioned in an earlier question, is what pushed me to enter the book into the Golden Crown Literary Society awards.

A lot of people seem surprised that I vary my work genre-wise, and that in turn surprises me. I’ve never understood why an author needs to be boxed into one area of writing. Even from a young age I’ve always crossed the genre-lines. For me personally, I feel it helps to keep my work fresh – it stimulates my mind to create other worlds, and other scenarios for the characters to contend with.

What’s up next?

I’d like to revisit Shadowstalkers and write the sequel for that, as I’ve already got quite a bit of the story planned out. Another Mountain Rescue is definitely on the cards, and after those I have a sci-fi tale I’d like to tell. I’ve also got my own wedding to plan 🙂

~ ~ ~

Cheers, Sky!

For more information on Sky and her novels, her blog is here, and her official author page at Regal Crest is here.

 

 

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