Shiloh Walker has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember. She put pen to paper as early as third grade and has never looked back. The author of more than one-hundred books and short stories, she sold her first book in 2002 to Ellora’s Cave when electronic publishing was in its infancy. Romance and urban fantasy are her chosen genres, and she has written many popular series in both.
SWEETER THAN SIN is the riveting second book in the Secrets and Shadow series and takes place in the small town of Madison, Indiana. There is an ugly history in this fictionalized version of Madison: a group of prominent men have established a secret society to carry out their abuse of their young sons. The society has been disbanded and the men brought to justice, but when a series of murders are committed, suspicions arise that the heinous society has resurfaced. Adam, the town lothario, is forced to face his own demons when a woman from his past returns to town and they work together to solve the murders and the secrecy behind them.
Shiloh Walker recently talked to THE BIG THRILL about her newest book and her writing life.
What inspired the Secrets and Shadows Series?
A small town. Nothing particular about that small town except for the fact that I’m drawn to small towns…I love them. But then I’m always looking for weird things. People are going to start putting up roadblocks when they see me coming because I do bad things when I visit small towns.
What research did you need to do for SWEETER THAN SIN?
Does it count if I say I visited the town a few times and drank wine from the local winery? I also read some articles but I can’t go into detail about that without spoiling things.
If you had to pitch it as a movie, what would be your logline?
Nothing and nobody is what you think
Tell us three interesting facts about your book that are not covered in the synopsis.
The town is real. The winery mentioned is real. The characters and the hell I put everybody through is absolutely false.
Adam is a tortured character. Are there things in his past that only you know, or have you revealed them all to the reader?
Most of gets revealed, but really, nobody ever knows all the secrets.
Abuse and the tendency in society to cover it up, is a theme in your book. Can you talk a little about how that influences your writing?
It infuriates me. People turn a blind eye to it, especially when it involves the people you don’t want to see fall. It’s easy to see when the people touched by scandal are the people you think are the ones who would be behind it, but when they are the pillars of society or role models or heroes, people refuse to see them fall and it’s maddening. People are people…no matter who they are. Because of that simple fact, you will find heroes among people no matter where they come from, what their position is in life, their background…and you will find monsters the very same way.
Do you draw on your background as a nurse in your writing?
In some shape or form. I think the biggest thing that helped my writing, though, was all the people…you meet so many different people from all different walks of life and I’ve drawn on that probably the most.
But there are other ways it’s worked its way into my writing. When I write anything paranormal, I try to build my words in a ‘logical’ fashion. For example, we know logically that that vampires aren’t real and they don’t exist, but some people can create very convincing vampires, while others can’t. I try to build the worlds in a way that people could actually understand, from a biological perspective how it could work, even if I don’t go into the ‘science’ of it.
When it comes to romantic suspense, there are things that I know about the human body in general that come in handy and bodies get battered in romantic suspense. A lot. But realistically, there are only so many ways you can batter a body and still have that person functional.
It’s also handy in the sense that I know where to go for real research… Pro tip… real research for medical characters should never include buying the entire series of ER. Unless you’re just writing caricatures of medical characters.
You’ve written more than one-hundred books, how do you mange to be so prolific while also caring for three children, and all of life’s other chores?
The secret is this… I don’t always sleep as much as I should and my kids all went to a sitter up until they were really too old for it. My youngest still does go to her sitter and at times, the middle child is forced over there when I’m deadline—not because he needs a sitter, but because I need quiet and he can’t be that.
What is your least favorite aspect of your writing life?
The fact that stuff other than writing is necessary. Also, it’s becoming harder and harder to make it as a writer, unless you do so much of that other stuff. But that’s the job, right?
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Lynn Viehl, Linda Howard, Patricia Briggs…there are a few, just to start.
What are some books we might be surprised to find on your nightstand?
My Bible. I’ve also got my iPad and it’s got a few hundred books…who knows what is on there.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
I kept hearing everybody talk about rules and the rules made no sense to me. The rules made my stories not fit me. Then, finally…somewhere, on a blog or a website or something, one of those awesome people finally spoke the truth… ‘There aren’t any rules.’
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love to read. I love to take pictures. I love to travel with my family and I love to ride my bike. I hate to run but I do that anyway because there’s this awful rumor that exercise is good for you.
Tell us about your next book.
My next title is one of my Grimm fairy tales…bastardized fairy tales. It’s called FURIOUS FIRE.
How can readers connect with you?
Shiloh Walker is an award-winning writer…yes, really! She’s also a mom, a wife, a reader and she pretends to be an amateur photographer. She published her first book in 2003. She writes romantic suspense, contemporary and paranormal romance, and urban fantasy under the name J.C. Daniels.
To learn more about Shiloh, please visit her website.