Getting to interview Clovia Shaw is extra specially cool for me. Clovia is the friend who wrote the beginning of my author bio. The one that I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on and I’ve always said I couldn’t take the credit because it came from two other authors. Well, Clovia wrote the first part of it and I finally get to give her the credit she deserves. So thanks, Clovia! You rock, which of course, I already knew. Now I get to share some things about this clever friend and her intriguing debut novel, Nogitsune.
About Clovia Shaw
Clovia Shaw is an ordained Dudeist Priest (who can resist an Ordain Me! button?), a collector of Urban Vinyl art toys, and once designed a line of elongated pennies for belly dancers. She has degrees in both Journalism and Interior Design, and is probably thinking really hard about putting actual pants on right now.
A big fan of Kissing Books in which things blow up, Clovia lives in Annapolis, with her very patient husband and the ghost of a very good dog.
Read on for more about Clovia and Nogitsune!
Lincoln Black is nogitsune–a “field fox” cast aside by his family, an outsider among the hidden community of American kitsune descended from the shapeshifting fox-wives of Japanese folklore. When a curse pushes his harmless taste for his lovers’ vital energy toward monstrous, uncontrollable hunger, Linc is forced back to the one place he’d—almost—rather die than go for help: home.
The first night back in town, a cousin he doesn’t know defies clan politics to enter his dreams. Wouldn’t you know, he wants to strike a bargain: Find a stolen piece of a stranger’s soul, and he’ll help Linc break the curse.
That help comes in the form of Delia, a geomancer who knows every inch of the city, and whose energy Linc finds dangerously tempting. It would be too easy to lose his head, and drain her life away with no more than a kiss. Armed with a key to the magical pathways hidden behind the mundane world, Linc’s own sly magic, and a will o’ wisp with an attitude problem, they search for the broken piece of soul.
Too bad they’re not the only ones looking for it.
With his self-control slipping, Linc finds himself indebted to a cousin he can’t trust, running afoul of more than one god, and putting Delia in danger just by wanting her. He’s looking at a jacked-up choice: Die to keep the only person who cares for him safe, or risk becoming a monster straight out of Japanese fairytales?
Now let’s shine the spotlight on Clovia!
Maer: Clovia, thanks so much for joining us to tell us about your new book. Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
Clovia: Two things. The inspiration for the story itself came from a brief mention of some old Japanese folk magic–how to make a fox guardian spirit, rather than just capture or convince a fox to serve you. Much like the European practice of burying a live black dog in the churchyard to create a church grim that would protect it against evil spirits, a similar ritual was employed in Japan to create guardian spirits out of dogs, and more rarely, foxes. The other inspiration was more of an annoyance. America has such a rich and varied cultural history, I got tired of reading Urban Fantasies rooted in the same old European folk stories, with endless variations on the same creatures. I felt like a story–and a main character–rooted in East Asian lore could feel just as familiar and believable, if handled well. I hope I did that.
Maer: I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure you did. 🙂 Could you give us a one line synopsis for your book?
Clovia: An outcast kitsune must find the person who cursed him before he becomes a monster straight out of Japanese fairytales.
Maer: Is this a stand-alone or part of a series?
Clovia: It can be read as a standalone, but I intend to write at least two more books for these characters. Maybe three. I could live in this world for years, to be honest, but unless readers feel the same way, it’ll be time to move on to another one.
Maer: Which character other than your MC is one of your favorites to write and why?
Clovia: I liked all the characters, but I do get a kick out of the old demon, Mr. Hinton Lee. He does enjoy his life so. It’s easy to write a character that’s just bad and unlikable, but if you write one that’s only amoral by human standards instead, it’s a lot more interesting.
Maer: If you had to pick a color to describe your MC what would that be and why?
Clovia: Black, of course. Linc’s life has been defined by the surname his grandmother gave him–Black–because it set him apart, made him an outsider within his own family long before he was cast out. It’s the color of his foxfire, the color of the “fur” on his spirit tails. He owns the name he was given, lives in it, redefines it even as it defined him, and I think that’s an essential portion of his nature.
Maer: Who are your favorite authors to read?
Clovia; Oh, I hate this question! Authors are like band names to me–I like certain songs, but blank out when asked what my favorite bands are, or why I like them. It’s got a beat, and I can dance to it? In general, I love writers who have a sense of humor, an appreciation of the absurd even with heavy scenes, and who have rich worldbuilding and characters who belong there. I’m always on the lookout for someone wonderful, who can make me laugh when I ought not to be.
Maer: Fair enough. So, what’s next for you? Can you share a bit about your current project?
Clovia: I’ve started on the next fox book, and am also working on a portal fantasy very loosely inspired by a Danish folk creature called a valravn.
Maer: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Clovia: Mostly feel guilty about not writing. It’s sort of sad how much time I waste hating myself for it, instead of just putting my butt in the damn chair and writing. Don’t do that, kids.
Maer: What influenced you to write in your genre? Do you write in others?
Clovia: I have been trying to write a Romance for years, but it always turns into something else, with romance in it. This is actually the first time I’ve attempted a contemporary set on this earth, and you know what? That shit is terrifying. So much easier when you can just knit a whole universe out of your brain, instead of having to check how things actually work in this one. I’ve always loved fantasy–Urban, Paranormal, Science Fantasy, whatever it is that Pratchett and Moore write, respectively–but a lot of it has gotten too heavy for me, too grim, and there’s always something enjoyable and well-written shelved in Romance.
Maer: What music, if any, do you like to listen to while writing?
Clovia: I can’t listen to anything while I’m actually writing, especially if there are words. I have trouble with concentration and focus as it is, and it’s just too distracting. However, I love to listen to it for inspiration. For Nogitsune, I listened to everything from Beirut and Takenobu, to Shirley Manson, to Skillet and Unkle. Honestly, Linc would probably delete my whole library and start over, but he’s a lot cooler than I am.
Maer: Thanks so much for giving us a peek into your world, Clovia. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Clovia: Thank you very much for having me. 🙂
Maer: It was my pleasure!
You can get your own copy of Nogitsune at Amazon.
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