mikalo’s flame

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 2): Interview with Syndra K. Shaw


1. Can you tell us something we don’t know about Syndra?

         I’m slightly allergic to lemons (or any citrus), but still have it in my tea. Go figure. 🙂 

2. When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer? 

         I had a nanny who read to me when I was very small and I keenly remember being impressed with all  the letters on those pages. There were so many! And I found them all so pretty and fascinating and thought it would be just so wonderful to be that person putting those letters, those words, in that book.

3. So let’s talk about Mikalo’s Grace and Flame. Why do you feel you had to tell this story? Is there something in these books that is based on real life experience? 

        It might sound odd, but the story is really telling itself through me. It’s as if I sit back and just write, allowing them to take me where they want to go. But finding my courage and getting me to the keyboard took a couple years. And it was really through the constant, consistent pestering of a dear friend of mine, an American writer, that it happened at all. He really helped me find the strength to do this and still, to this day, urges me to continue even when I doubt myself. And, no, the story isn’t based on a real life experience. But how wonderful would it be if it was! 

4. What was your inspiration in creating the characters? Was it hard to create the complicated love story of Mikalo and Ronan?

        I saw them so clearly and heard them so strongly in my head that it wasn’t difficult at all to create them. I mean, the process isn’t easy. Any writer will tell you it’s a road filled with frustration and doubt. But the creation of Ronan and Mikalo is one of trust for me, i.e., trusting them to tell me who they are and what they’re doing and why. The difficulty comes in deciding what’ll go into what I’m writing now and what can wait and go into the next book. Mikalo and Ronan have such a story to tell and there’s a lot there!

5. Do you write to music? Any songs that inspired the story of the two?

        I do write to music, but it’s stuff that relies more on a driving beat and less on lyrics that could hook me in. It all becomes white noise to silence my very vocal, very loud inner critic, anyway. 🙂

6. Among all the books that you have read, which of these have significantly contributed to your writing style?

        In all honesty — and I’ve decided this is the best way to answer this question –, I love the historical biography writings of Allison Weir. The way she brings people to life and places them in an exciting, fully embraceable historical context is simply fascinating to me. I don’t know if I could ever do what she does. But the fact that she does do it and does it so well constantly inspires me in my own work.

7. Name 3 authors you would love to collaborate with.

         I love the kindness and spirit of Kelli Maine and the emotional bravery of Abbi Glines. But writing a book with my friend Jonathan Winn would be simply amazing. I don’t know how he does what he does, but I suspect working with him would give me a front row seat into finding the answer. But he writes in a different genre, so I doubt it’ll happen. 🙂 

8. Excluding your own, name 3 books you would recommend to your friends. 

         Oh my goodness, there really are so many to choose from. Seriously. I personally enjoyed Katie Ashley’s newest book “Music of the Heart” and Kelli Maine’s “Taken” was a great read. Such a great read. I also liked a debut novel by a new author, “Connected” by Kim Karr. Very good stuff.
9. If you could date any fictional character, who would it be and why?

         I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on this question. Actually left the house, went to a cafe with a small notebook and, espresso in hand, made a list, wrote the Whys of each choice, and then narrowed it down. And, as infuriating as it is, I’m left with my own Mikalo. There’s just so much about him that I adore and there’s so much that still frustrates me. He’s perfectly imperfect. Or imperfectly perfect. Something like that. I love how he doesn’t come as a complete package who just loves you, no questions asked. And I know that’s rare in this genre. You have to earn his love, but he’s there every step of the way loving you and encouraging you and wanting you to succeed because he loves you even more! And that accent. Oh my goodness, if you could hear that deep baritone whispering in my head, well, you’d be as distracted as I am sometimes. 😉

Let’s do our fast talk:

1. Coffee or tea? Both!

2. Lights on / lights off? Off.

3. Boxers or briefs? (For your guy) Neither, thank you. 🙂

4. Favorite male body part? Neck.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight? Oh yes.

6. 3 things you never leave home without? (apart from keys, phone and money) Wedding ring, lip moisturizer, small umbrella (it’s Paris where the weather changes on a dime)

7. Sleep in or get up early? Up early. Habit from boarding school.

8. Ever slapped a guy? Yes.

9. 3 celebrity crushes? Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lelouche, Ryan Gosling (those eyes of his make me want to do very bad things to him)

10. Sex on the first date? Yes, and I always blame the wine.

Any advice to give to aspiring writers?

          Don’t be an aspiring writer. Sit down, write, and be a writer. Embrace that title. Earn it. Good, bad, great, horrible, just write. Only way to move forward is to do it.
Any message to us, your fans?

          What can I say that completely encapsulates what I feel for my readers? There simply aren’t words. When life is tough, I think of you guys and that’s what gets me out of bed and to the keyboard. When I doubt myself, I think of you guys waiting to see what happens next with Mikalo and Ronan and that drives me to my keyboard. And when I just want to stop and give up because I forget people care and have an interest in what I do and what I write, I remember there are those who DO care and that gets me to my keyboard. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to do better than I did before and the support of my readers feed me and give me strength. Truly and sincerely, I write for you. All of you.

And lastly, if I put my magic mirror in front of you, what would you tell yourself right at this very moment?

           You are better than you think.

Thank you Syndra for doing this with us. 
Watch out for the Part Three of our Special Author Spotlight tomorrow. For the mean time, if you haven’t picked her books yet, here are the links…



AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT (Part 1): Syndra K. Shaw Excerpt from Mikalo’s Flame

Burying her wounded heart in a successful career, Ronan Grace had all but given up on romance. Then, over coffee, she glances up to discover a Greek god in grey wool. Mikalo Delis. Young, handsome, charming, hot. And rich. Very rich. Over passionate kisses and blistering sex, they battle the past. Struggling to forget, learning to forgive, eager for the future. Together. But when Mikalo considers returning to Greece, his soul yearning for the sun and sand and blue skies of home, Ronan wonders if their new love will be strong enough to endure. And how much will she give up to be with the man who awakened her heart, taught her to trust, and showed her true love?

Ronan Grace and her Greek god in grey wool Mikalo Delis. Still happy, still in love, and now living together in New York. Despite it all. Despite the lingering secrets of Mikalo’s past and his complicated life. Despite Ronan’s own doubts and worries, the strength of her love for him both shocking and frightening. Despite the jealousy and spite threatening her once successful career. And despite the unexpected emergence of a drunk, drug-addled viciously vindictive blast from Mikalo’s past. Will Ronan and Mikalo stumble under the weight of all these challenges and doubts and confusion as they move toward creating a life together? Or will they fight, giving their love what it needs to survive. Despite it all.

He was not insideme.
Pressing himselfagainst me, his hardness gripped in his fist, he teased me, refusing to enter,to plunge deep, aware that his thickness pressing against my heat, my wetness,my thump-thump-thumping desire, would drive me crazy.
He was right.
“Ohgod,” I said again as I lifted my hips, desperate for him.
Another smallsmile as he watched me.
“This isgood, no?” he asked, completely aware that it was good, very, very good,but that it wasn’t enough.
He could be acruel bastard sometimes.
“Yes,” Igasped, his hardness repeatedly rubbing, grinding against me, the fleshbecoming slick with my wetness. “Yes, it’s good.  So good.
“But –“I continued.
“Yes?”he asked.
“I wantyou.”
“But you haveme.”
“No,” Isaid, my hips rising, hungry for him. “I want you inside me.”
“But this,this is not a bad thing,” he said.
And then heslapped his hardness against my heat.
Oh fuck.
I gasped andsnapped my head back, my fingers immediately clutching my breast, the nipplespinched, my teeth nearly biting through my lip as I whimpered.
“It’s notbad,” I finally managed to say. “No, no, it’s not bad.  Don’tstop.”
The hips roseagain as he rubbed against me.
“Don’tstop,” I said again.
He stopped.
I almost cried.
His fingers dippedlow, tracing me, slipping in the warmth, the wetness, but not sliding deep, thetips just lightly, almost barely, moving over the surface, over that insanelysensitive nub of delicate flesh.  Almosta whisper of a touch.
I’m going to die,I thought.  Here in my library on the floor,a cold night outside, a fireplace glowing, the Perfect Man edging me towardorgasmic oblivion.
I’m going to die.
He’s going to killme.
His lips were onmy stomach, moving low and slow as he drifted, licking and tasting, biting andsucking.
I opened my legs,eager for him, desperate for him. Excited over what was to come. The feeling of his lips on me, his tongue worming its way deep.  His licks echoing the thump-thump-thump nowracking my legs, my stomach, my heart.
I was ready.
So ready.