Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Shannon McKenna

Hi friends! I’m very excited to welcome back Shannon McKenna. She’s written some of my favorite romantic suspense books (I know! It’s not even a genre I generally read but her McCloud books – man. Davy 😻. Anyway) Please give her a warm welcome! Shannon very generously offered to be participate, and chose to do a “Guest Author & A Giveaway” post, so here are her Blogiversary questions and answers! 

What was your favorite book as a child? And what is your favorite book now?
I was an Anne Of Green Gables freak. I just adored that book and all the rest of the Anne series as well. I related to her so completely. Not only how imaginative and lost in her head that she was, but how hungry she was for love and acceptance. But there is Jane Eyre, too, which I was introduced to as a Classics Illustrated comic way back in the long-ago time when I thought that the whole Mr. Rochester story was dumb and boring and the only interesting part was Jane’s time at the awful Lowell School with Helen Burns and the evil Mr. Brocklehurst. That book is the breeding ground of a million incredibly compelling romance tropes that still have me in their vise-grip today. The lure of the trash-talking bad boy, My Love Will Save Him, etc, etc. But the great thing about Jane Eyre is, she knows how to say ‘no.’ Even when it tears her to pieces, she maintains her own integrity as a person, over and over again. And then, thank God, the story rewards her for it with a happy ending. WHICH IS AS IT FREAKING SHOULD BE. ALWAYS. Oh dear now I’m getting worked up about random things that have nothing to do with anything. I will stop now.

Favorite book now…I am in a terrible state of not having enough time to read, and having not had it for such a long time that I have gotten out of the habit of reading. Awful, for a writer. The last book I read was the Jack Reacher thriller Blue Moon, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I have lots of thoughts and strong opinions about Jack Reacher and his issues, (I wish he would get therapy, how fun would that be? Don’t you want to read that chapter?) but enough about that. I would say, the last book I had time to read that absolutely blew my mind was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Incandescently beautiful writing. Just huge. And the latest romance I had time to read was Robin Covington’s latest, Taking On The Billionaire, a Harlequin Desire, which was heart-felt, red-hot, crackling fun that I would recommend to everyone.

If you could create any movie mash up – which films would you combine? (Why?)
Combine? Wow. To be honest, with all my geekitude, I have never longed for that. What I crave in my deep abiding love of certain movie worlds, is that they take me so deep into that particular world that I forget any other world exists. When I was in the Bladerunner world, I would never dream of Star Trek. When I was deep in the world of E.T., I would never long for Han Solo. Those fictional worlds are rooted so deep in my mind that by mashing them up, I think the dissonance would mar them. And I get such pleasure from going to those worlds in my head. That said…I seem to remember some sci-fi movie where someone found the skeleton of one of the creatures from Alien, and in that moment, I was totally delighted by the reference.

What inanimate object would you eat if it was safe to do? Why?
Wow! That is a totally freaky, outside the box question! Flowers, I think. But actually…my dad used to grow nasturtiums, and you actually can eat those, the only flower I have ever eaten, and they are amazing. When I see them on people’s lawns, I salivate. (and sometimes sneakily graze.) They are so bright, orange and yellow, and have petals as soft and delicate and velvety as roses, but they taste delicately peppery, like a radish. And I have seen blooming cactus flowers that appear for only an hour that look like a delicate dream, something from an alien world. Those would be fun to eat, but it would probably be like Chekov from the original Star Trek. He was always wandering around new planets picking gorgeous flowers and getting burned, as I recall. Or maybe it only happened once and I saw that episode eight times.

What is the first thing you learned how to cook? Do you have a go-to dish? And/or a signature dish? (What makes it so?)
I mentioned my dad’s flowers, but beyond those, he always had a huge organic garden when I was a young girl. So I remember the summers when I would get up, go to the garden, pick fresh onions, peppers and tomatoes and herbs, come back and chop them up and make a big cheese and veggie omelet. That was the first real, solid, actual meal I learned to cook. Right now, the thing I cook that my family gets happiest about is cannelloni. Fresh delicious tomato sauce, on the bottom, then stuff cannelloni with ricotta, shredded sauteed zucchini, pecorino cheese and mozzarella and lay them in the pan, then drench the whole thing with freshly made bechamel and the ultimate dose of tomato sauce, sprinkle on more cheese, a final generous drizzle of olive oil, then forty minutes in the oven, and…mmm. (kissing fingertips.)

What was your first job? What is/was the most interesting job you’ve had?
First job–sorting cherries at a conveyor belt. I would stand at the belt and toss away all cherries with the slightest imperfections so that the remaining cherries were of a high enough grade to ship to Japan.

Most interesting job. Hmmm. I was a wandering folk singer and madrigalist many years ago at the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park. Totally silly, goofy, fun, ridiculous job, dressed in a very cute Elizabethan gown with a boob-propping lace-up placket in the front. And I met my husband there. Wow, was THAT ever interesting. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? And the least?
I am a total fan of Beauty And The Beast. Because, I am a little embarrassed to say, that is a trope that totally gets me going, and always has. I kind of wish it didn’t, and would not want to examine too closely the reasons why it does, cough cough, but I’m a sucker for the bad boy and My Love Will Save Him, a la Jane Eyre, as mentioned before. I know it’s a crock, mind you, I’m not stupid. But in the world of romance, I do indulge in that fantasy. Every chance I get.

But I do NOT want to be in Bluebeard, which is the horrible, shadowy far end of the spectrum of that Beast and bad boy trope, the awful end, where it is no longer sexy but just toxic and terrifying. And sometimes, with some of the scarier romance tropes that are coming into vogue now, that end of the spectrum is where a lot of writers seem to be tending. It baffles me, but there’s room for everyone’s guilty pleasure, I suppose.

What is the most embarrassing thing to happen to you at a conference?
Can’t think of anything embarrassing. Other than the fact that, since I live abroad and don’t get to many conferences and don’t have a local chapter, when I DO get to go to conferences, I am a bit lost socially. I have no defined group to adhere to. I’m kind of shy, so I end up just wandering around like a rogue satellite trying to work up the nerve to approach people and say hi. Eventually I do connect with the fun, delightful people, and then I have a great time, but it is usually towards the end.

What is the coolest thing that has ever happened to you at a conference?
Meeting the fun, delightful people, of course! When I finally make it happen! It’s the best!

You’re an actor or participant in a TV show for a season. Which show are you picking and what is your role? (Why?)
Um…can I be in anything at all opposite that hot, hot guy who played Simon the Duke of Hastings in Bridgerton? OMIGOD HE IS SO HANDSOME. He’s going to be in my mind as my romance hero for the next several books, I am sure. I always pick someone hot to visualize. Lately, I’ve used a young Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hardy, Alexander Skarsgard…and now that dude will take center stage! (fanning self)

What is the most interesting or oddest “fun fact” you know? If you do research for your books, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve come across?
When I was creating weird genetic mods for my Obsidian Files heroes, I learned that the Mantis Shrimp, unlike us humans with only 3 color receptors, (red, yellow and blue) has twelve. TWELVE. Our spectrum is made up of colors from only three primaries–while they have twelve primaries. So maybe they can see colors that we can’t even imagine, In ways we can’t conceive. And they’re not even aliens! They swim right here, in Earth’s oceans! Incidentally, they are also incredibly aggressive and will kick your ass to hell and gone at the slightest provocation.

It’s just so cool, when a fact like that knocks a little chink out of the wall of your world view, and gives you a yawning sense of how fathomless the natural world really is. I really go for that.

You must become a mythological creature. What combination of 3 or more animals are you? How are you put together? And what would your new mythological creature name be?
Well, hell! To stay in the theme of your last question, I’ll be Nosredna, the all-seeing, all-hearing and all-smelling! I’ll have the eyes of a mantis shrimp, the body and nose of a tracking hound, and the ears of a bat. Talk about superpowers!

Thank you, Lime, for the opportunity to participate in your fabulous blog! Happy anniversary!

Shannon is offering two winners their choice of a digital copy of one of her Hellbound books. (HellionHeadlongHellbent, or Heedless. Havoc, book 5, will be published on July 5th). 

And I know you’re wondering “how do I enter to win?” Well, you answer Shannon’s question: How far can a hero go down the path to perdition before he is lost to all hope? How bad can he be, and still be forgiven? Is there a line that can’t be crossed, a deal-breaker?

N.B. for everyone who likes a good deal, book one in the Hellbound series Hellion is currently just $0.99 for kindle!

He’s a ticking bomb…

Eric Trask is counting the days before he blasts out of Shaw’s Crossing forever. He and his brothers were raised at GodsAcre, a mysterious doomsday cult deep in the mountains, and are the only survivors of the deadly fire that destroyed it. The townspeople see them as time bombs just waiting to blow, but Eric’s going to prove those bastards wrong. He’s an ex-Marine, fresh off a tour in Afghanistan, working three jobs and barely sleeping. Utterly unprepared for Demi Vaughan’s dazzling green eyes, lush pink lips and sexy curves. She’s the town princess…he’s a dangerous outcast. It was a sure recipe for disaster.

But the closer he gets to Demi, the more impossible it is to resist…

Forbidden fruit is the sweetest…

Demi Vaughan has big plans for life post- college, and Eric Trask, notorious bad boy with a complicated past, is not part of them. So when he saunters into the sandwich shop where she works she tells herself he’s just tall, ripped, smoldering eye candy, nothing more. Eric was damaged. Marked by violence and tragedy. He’d be the ultimate bad boyfriend, and right now she was too busy even to shop for a good one. But his hot eyes and hard body, his sensual smile and that rough, sexy voice of his shook her resolve. After all, she was leaving this place forever. A little taste of heaven…what could it hurt?

But Shaw’s Crossing has deeper, darker secrets than Eric or Demi could guess. The evil that destroyed GodsAcre is lying in wait…and it will stop at nothing to keep Eric and Demi apart…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hellion, Book One, ends on a cliffhanger, but it leads right into HEADLONG, Book Two, Demi and Eric’s continuing story, dated seven years later and available for preorder now! The other titles in The Hellbound Brotherhood are a connected series, but each book features its own couple and has its own HEA.

9 thoughts on “Blogiversary Version Guest Author & A Giveaway: Shannon McKenna

  1. Aliquis

    Hi Shannon, great interview!

    To answer your question, I think beyond what the hero does, it depends on his motivation, and then how he feels about what he did after. If he doesn’t care I’m not okay with it.
    Rape and abuse are definite deal breakers.

  2. flchen1

    Wow, fascinating interview, Shannon and Lime! Thank you! I have quite a few of Shannon’s older RS titles on my shelves, but admit I haven’t kept up–I’ll definitely be checking out the Hellbound series!

    As for what might take a person past the point of redemption? I think when they lose their conscience and don’t experience regret for causing pain or harm, when they don’t recognize that their actions impact someone else and are a cause for concern. Someone who can see that there is a price to pay is not on the same scale as someone who believes that no cost is too high for what they want.

  3. Limecello Post author

    Thank you so much for being a Blogiversary guest, Shannon! I loved your answers. 😀

    For the cactus flower – do you perhaps mean night blooming cereus/something in that family? [Which yes I know is already a family or whatever…] but! I’ve eaten them before! They … taste kinda like cucumbers, actually. And also are a bit slimy – which makes sense cuz I know nopales are …

    As for your question, what everyone’s said basically. No incest or rape – honestly no abusive behavior whether it’s violent or not. That’s not heroic behavior. I’m willing to go dark but … (again like what has been said) – there has to be good reason for it and introspection and reflection. Which I guess is a way to say for me, in fiction, if the hero kills someone … he has to have a reason for it. Even if it’s revenge – he’s got to at least seriously consider the implications or taking a human life and the impact – and how he feels about it.
    I’m basically willing to go along for the ride pretty darn far as long as the author convinces me there’s a good reason for it/the hero is earnest. And maybe even if they cross a line (other than the 3 hard “no” ones I said) – as long as they regret it/come back from that point.

  4. Anonymous

    Lime, I have never eaten a cactus flower! I have seen the night blooming cactuses, and they are beautiful. The keeper of the botanical garden who showed them to me told me they had a psychedelics, at least that particular kind of tree!

    Regarding my question about dark heroes, I was thinking about that as I was watching Sons Of Anarchy for the first time, and I’m in Season Four, and things are getting dark–and the gorgeous hero that I had a crush on just crossed that line. and I mean, he left that line way behind him in the dust. And now I am starting to wonder if I want to finish it. Because he disappointed me as a hero. Now that he’s done certain things, he’s just not sexy to me anymore. How sad that is. 🙁

    Maybe that makes me old fashioned, but so be it. Anyhow…thanks for letting me play! Once again congrats on 10 years of your fabulous blog!

  5. Sandra

    Great interview, Shannon! Thank you for the giveaway. I wouldn’t read an abusive hero. I don’t think I could read a hero who murdered someone either unless they were killing in self defense.


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