Featured Book: Kait Nolan’s Forsaken By Shadow
This month’s IBC featured book is the paranormal romance adventure novella, Forsaken By Shadow. In this interview, author Kait Nolan tells us about the book, her writing and current projects, and a bit about her life as a Mississippi-bred steel magnolia.
Q: First of all, Kait, tell us a bit about Forsaken by Shadow. What is the story about?
A: Cade Shepherd is on top of the world as this year’s Ultimate Fighting Champion. He doesn’t even remember his life as Gage Dempsey, a Shadow Walker with the ability to magically transport himself from shadow to shadow. In fact, he can’t remember anything before waking up in a cheap motel room ten years ago with mysterious burns on his hands–not even the woman he almost died for.
Embry Hollister has picked up the pieces of her life, learned to control her ability to generate flame, and now works an enforcer for the Council of Races. But when her father is captured by the human military and the Council refuses mount a rescue mission, Embry has no choice but to go rogue. All she has to is find the man with the new name and new life who was completely wronged by her people, give him back the memories they stole, convince him to join her on what’s probably a suicide mission, and hope that after ten years of living as a regular guy he still remembers what her father taught him.
And after that, she just has to leave him. Again.
Q: I’ve heard a rumor that you hate the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” but let’s have it anyway. What can you tell us about the inspiration behind this story?
A: I’ve created a world in which humans who find out the secret (i.e. that the paranormal world exists) are summarily executed to protect the paranormal world at large. I started wondering about how someone in this world would go about rescuing a human from the thick of things without killing them—and then I came up with the Lethe potion as a means to wipe a lifetime of memory with just one sip. That’s where Cade/Gage came from. From there it was a matter of extrapolating how he’d gotten involved in the Mirus world to begin with, who he left behind, and what circumstances could draw him back in. Of course there had to be a girl…
Q: People have been talking about your fight scenes, Kait! What can you tell us about Cade, the UFC, and how you developed the fights scenes in this story?
A: Cade was trained as a warrior, so it seemed natural that without memory of who he was, he was bound to fall into life as a fighter. I’m a big MMA (mixed martial arts) fan, so it seemed like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was just calling his name. I’ve got a background in martial arts and my husband is an 8th degree black belt, so I did a lot of “Honey how would somebody do x, y, z?” Which he was happy to demonstrate. Add to that hours of watching Fight Science and Youtube videos of MMA and UFC fights, and I had a pretty good handle on what it ought to look like. I really took the view that writing fight scenes is like filming a movie. You can’t describe every single thing that’s going on without confusing the reader, so you zoom in on one thing, one detail and follow that. If you do it right, you give enough detail that the reader can fill in the rest.
Q: Forsaken by Shadow was written as an introduction to your Mirus world. “Mirus”? What kind of a word is that? Where did that come from?
A: Mirus is actually Latin for extraordinary. I wanted to use a word for the paranormal that not everybody had heard before. And they’re certainly extraordinary, so Mirus seemed to fit the bill.
Q: It really is an intriguing world you’re creating. I recently read that you suffer from a bit of vampire ennui. I understand that you wanted to create something otherworldly, dark, and dangerous, that would appeal to fans of the paranormal and of vampires, but offer them something different. You certainly seem to be succeeding with that. But really, are we never to have any vamps in the Mirus world?
A: I’m not sure. I’ve certainly got vamps in my world, and I’ve taken the time to work out their mythology and how they’re different from the norm. But right now I don’t have any plans for vamps as more than secondary characters. If one pops up and takes me by the throat—forgive the pun—then we’ll see.
Q: Some of your characters come from legend and mythology, and some come from your own imagination. For anyone who hasn’t read Forsaken by Shadow yet, can you tell us what a “Shadow Walker” is?
A: A Shadow Walker is more of an ability than a race of paranormal beings. It is the skill of being able to manipulate and travel by shadow. The Shadow Walkers in my world are, for the most part, members of the elite special ops group controlled by the Council of Races (imagine a paranormal United Nations, except more powerful). They are used for the gathering of intel, military operations, and, from time to time, assassinations.
Q: How did you get involved in indie publishing, and what can you tell us about your experience?
A: It began as an intention of building a platform. I was going to release Forsaken By Shadow as a freebie to begin building a readership for a full length novel in the same universe that I planned to query. Then the novel concept changed. And I couldn’t list FBS for free on Amazon, so I figured I might make enough money to at least pay for the cost of copyright and my cover art. Which I did. In spades. With the changes currently happening in traditional publishing, and the fact that I had greater success than I expected, it seemed like the indie route was becoming more of a natural fit. And given everything that I juggle in my day to day life, it is definitely more forgiving a route than one that includes New York deadlines.
Q: For the last few years, your blog has been an excellent source of information on topics of interest to writers: publishing news and trends, writing workshops, indie author information and tutorials. You also often talk about your writing life, and the challenges and discipline involved in continuing to write while maintaining a home, husband, and multiple jobs. How many jobs do you have right now, and what are they?
A: Two that I get paid for. I work full time in social science research and teach half-time at the local university. And of course there’s the full time job of keeping house and home and husband straight. 😀
Q: You sometimes identify yourself as a “Mississippi writer,” and I understand that you’ve lived in that region pretty much all your life. How do you think affects your writing?
A: Well, it’s pretty boring here, so it’s given me plenty of leave to imagine myself somewhere else! Seriously, though, it’s made me appreciate smaller towns and given me a desire to portray more of them in fiction (not that you’ll have seen that yet) in an accurate way. It also makes me want to show authentic southerners and Mississippians to prove that we’re not a bunch of idiot, racist, barefoot rednecks. But that’s for another series…
Q: Are you currently working on a follow-up to Forsaken by Shadow? What’s next from the world of the Mirus?
A: At the moment I am winding up another short novella in the Mirus ‘verse. Devil’s Eye follows Mick Guidry, the Wylk (wolf-shifter) bartender you met in Forsaken By Shadow. He gets tangled up with demi-goddess Sophie Hayden in an adventure that’s part Indiana Jones, part zombie flick, and part Romancing the Stone—with a demon thrown in for fun. I plan to release it sometime in December as a freebie (well, everywhere but Amazon which won’t let you go lower than $0.99) for readers to tide them over until the next release sometime next year.
Forsaken by Shadow really is a great read. I hope you’ll check it out and follow the future work of this talented, Southern author.
Kait Nolan is a writer of action-packed paranormal romance that features a fresh and inventive mythology. No sparklay vamps here! She can be found at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, MySpace, and Pots and Plots (her cooking blog). Forsaken By Shadow is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Smashwords, Sony, Scribd, Amazon UK, Kobo, BooksOnBoard, Diesel, and SpringBrook Digital. It is available in audio from Crossroad Press, and SpringBrook Digital.