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• How are things on your part of the world?
Deceptively cold. It’s in the middle of winter at the moment, and even though the sun can be shining and hardly any clouds are in the sky it is still freezing outside. I suppose that’s the perfect excuse to stay rugged up in front of a nice, hot heater with a cup of coffee and the computer on to get some writing done.
• You're Australian, but I know very well that you have a HUGE addiction to Japan! What makes it so special to you?
I have always liked watching Japanese anime when I was younger from Sailor Moon to Robotech and Gundam. That still hasn’t changed much, even though now I also like the anime with darker themes and more complex storylines such as Death Note. My interests have also moved from just watching anime to loving live action movies, especially Japanese horrors. The stories that are told in the movies and television shows are so complex, as well as original and that’s what I love about them. Also all of the shows love to show off their food which makes my mouth water and I just had to try all the varieties shown on the screen, that’s where my love of Japanese cooking comes from.
• Your debut novel, "Shadow Embraced" doesn't have anything Japanese. Would you like to tell the readers a bit of its background?
I have always loved everything about vampires, from Dracula to Buffy and the Lost Boys and I knew I had to create my own story involving them. At this time I already had an idea for Haven and if I didn’t have the vampires, the place would probably be filled with ghosts and be some sort of haunting training facility (another idea I was toying with), but thankfully Scar came along and the world of Haven grew from there.
• When did you know for sure you had to put everything on paper?
At school I always loved creative writing and making up stories, especially for my younger siblings. It wasn’t until after I left high school and my sister asked me to write down the story for her that I knew I had to get all of my stories down on to paper from that point onwards. I’ve still got that first story stashed away somewhere, buried deep at the bottom of my cupboard and it will never see the light of day again.
• Did the characters ever give you any problems? Or they actually gave you the best of times and always remained on your side talking with you all the time?
I wish I could say that the characters always did exactly as I wanted them to do, but there were times when some of the characters became very difficult to keep track of. One of them, Jynx, in particular went missing for a large part of one of the previous drafts and I was really considering whether it would be better to just kill her off to get her to work with the story. I’m glad it didn’t get to that because she is one of my favourite characters to work with and I’m seeing a lot more development for her in the next story.
• What about Scarlet? Is she someone you relate to?
I would like to think of Scar as my opposite. She is tough and never turns away from a fight. Not exactly someone I can relate to, but she is someone I would definitely like to have in my corner in a fight.
• Action plays a big role in your book. Did you find any kind of liberating outburst writing all the fighting scenes?
Yes, it’s definitely a stress reliever when it comes to writing the fighting scenes. It helps to get all of the frustrations out and research usually involves watching the various fighting movies, as well as taking lessons in martial arts, and yes I have trained in several different fighting styles which helped to write the different fight sequences.
• Is there something of "Shadow Embraced" you're particularly proud of?
This will sound silly, but I’m actually proud of how all of the characters and missing pieces of story just fell into place. As I mentioned, I had a hard time with one character, especially with keeping track of her and she did go missing for a large chunk of time, but when I finished writing the story and I read through it and instead of needing to re-write large chunks to get the characters to reappear, the story actually made sense and her absence was explained.
• What's your greatest wish?
My greatest wish was just to get my writing out so people could read it, which was achieved earlier this year. I suppose if I could have another it would be to always have the chance to keep writing and hopefully I’ll keep getting more story ideas to have ideas for years to come.
• You're actually working on the second instalment of this exciting series, Haven, but I know something else is in the works as well... Anything you can share a bit with the group?
I am working on a couple of other projects. The first is a YA horror titled The Making of Amber Wright about girl with no memories and only backpack of trinkets wanders into town and is taken in by the town doctor. As her memories begin to return she starts to question what is real and whether these memories are even hers. This is made worse by the appearance of faceless ghosts and creatures’ intent on getting to her. When people start disappearing and only she can remember them, she starts to question "who exactly is Amber Wright?"
The second project I’m working on, and doing a lot of research for, is a YA paranormal mystery that takes place in Japan titled Shinigami Eyes about a half-Japanese girl, Rin, who is forced to move to Japan to live with her grandparents after she is expelled from school. After witnessing a ‘supposed’ train suicide Rin is pulled into a murder mystery involving a manga that shows the future, evil spirits and a faceless victim. One thing she knows for sure is she needs to figure out who it is and why does the manga show her as the murderer?
Cheree Smith lives in a country town in Australia as a high school English teacher where she writes paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults. She enjoys listening to and learning about legends and myths, watching scary movies and dreaming up new worlds where monsters can come alive. When she is not in her writing cave she can be found listening to music, even dabbling in the occasional writing of music or reading.
- a gorgeous silver locket
- rack card
- a delightful solid perfume
*Be sure to come back on August 15th to read my review and also an excerpt from the book!