Shadow Guardian (Blood Shadows #1) by Jennie Lynn Roberts


@Archaeolibrary, @debbiereadsbook,

#Adult, #Paranormal, #Romance,

Not all shadows are what they seem…


Kay swore an oath to use her Shadows to guard the light—an oath she takes very seriously. So, when a dark Shadow arises to terrorize London, she steps up and fights back. The last thing she expects is to find herself being patched up by a sexy paramedic who has no idea what kind of power he could control… or for her Shadows to recognize him as their perfect match.


Ethan doesn’t trust easily—not in matters of love, and certainly not in… whatever supernatural secrets Kay’s mixed up in. But the more time they spend together, the more he realizes he needs her with an intensity he’s never known before. Accepting her crazy, Shadow-filled world will be difficult. Opening his heart to her… he’s afraid that might be a step too far.


But the dark Shadows are growing. Their enemy is powerful—and closer than anyone realizes. Can Kay and Ethan claim their happily ever after? Or will the darkness claim them first?


Shadow Guardian, the first book in the Blood Shadows trilogy, is an adult paranormal romance for readers who love fated mates, fast-paced adventure and plenty of spice. Each book in the trilogy follows a different couple and has its own guaranteed HEA. The story concludes in book three.

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Personal

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in South Africa but now I live in England with my husband and two children. I’ve been here a long time and we’re very happy in our little English village, but I still miss the sunshine!


What do you do when you’re not writing?

Publishing! And editing! (And taking care of my children…)


Do you have a day job as well?

I’ve recently given up my job as a therapist to concentrate on writing.


What was your favourite book as a child?

I loved the Narnia books, especially The Silver Chair, and then of course, the Lord of The Rings. When I got a bit older, I adored Terry Pratchett, Robin Hobb and Neil Gaiman.


When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?

I’ve wanted to be an author my whole life. Holding my books in my hands for the first time last year was literally a dream come true.


What book do you wish you had written?

Pretty much anything by Kristen Callihan or Neil Gaiman.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Writing!


Writing

When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I’ve been writing since I learned how to hold a pen. I’m one of those typical authors with a house filled with notebooks of ideas and half-written poems. I finished a couple of books that I wasn’t confident inand I quietly buried. Then I wrote Tristan, and I love that story so much and the editors and beta readers all liked it too. I was finally ready to try publishing.


How did you choose the genre you write in?

Fantasy and paranormal romance is my favourite genre to read. I read a lot of fantasy as a child and teenager, and I moved into more historical romance as an adult. When I discovered fantasy romance it was like I’d finally found my place in the world. It’s got all the action and adventure that I love, as well as the character arcs and Happy Ever Afters that romance demands.


Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. I’m a naturally curious person. I love learning new things and doing research and that sparks different ideas.My ideas about the Shadow magic in Shadow Guardian came from work that I’ve done as a therapist. Carl Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” That idea really intrigues me.


Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I think all writers have those horrible moments when you stare at the page and the page stares back and there’s just nothing. But, that said, I also think that if you give in and decide you’re blocked then you will be, it’s very self-fulfilling.

I see writing as my job, so when nothing wants to come out of my brain, I take a break, go for a walk, listen to music, make a cup of tea, and then go back to my desk and try again. I keep on writing even when it’s torture. If I get something down—even if it’s rubbish and I hate it—I can always go back and fix it (or delete it!) later. Once I’m writing, ideas start flowing again.


Are you a planner or a pantser?

I’ve recently decided that I’m a Pantser-lotter! I start the story with the characters. I know who they are, what they want, what they need and what kind of mistakes they’re going to make. I tend to have a clear idea of a few key moments in the book (usually on an array of Post-Its!) and how I want the story to end. From there I’m what I like to call a “discovery writer” (i.e. a pantser). I discover the story as I go. Once it’s done, though, that’s where the plotting comes in. I like to write a scene-by-scene outline and check that it follows a sensible structure. Then I revise my draft; adding/changing/moving scenes as necessary.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I wouldn’t say there’s just one. I read a huge amount and every book adds something to my thoughts and views.


Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I’m indie published, so getting my first book published meant starting my own business from scratch. There are a huge number of skills to learn (working with editors and cover designers, how to format a book, how to sell on Amazon, whether you should be in KDP or wide etc. etc.) And then, of course, once the book is out in the world, there’s a whole new learning curve about managing social media and reading/hearing other people’s opinions about your work (heart, soul, dreams)!


If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Not really, I’m happy with how it’s working out.


How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I’m still learning this. I have found book blitzes very useful and I’m starting to dip my toe into Amazon ads. This year I’ll also be releasing a reader magnet and really starting to work on optimising my newsletter. Once I’ve got that figured out, I’ll be applying for newsletters like BookBub or BargainBooksy.


Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Shadow Guardian is an adult paranormal romance with soul-mates, danger, adventure and lots of spice.


Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Both. I like to write character stories set in fantasy worlds. The worlds are fantasy or have magical elements straight out of my imagination, but the characters are hopefully realistic.


What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favourite part is in chapter Sixteen when Kay takes Ethan for a ride on her motorcycle and they both finally admit that they’re falling for each other.


How did you come up with the title?

I spent ages thinking about it. I always wanted it to be Shadow… something. In the end, I wanted the titles for the trilogy to focus on the three heroines: Shadow Guardian, Shadow Seer and Shadow Healer.


Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

All my books have a HEA, but I also like writing in a series with an overarching theme. Shadow Guardian is book one of the Blood Shadows and we’ll definitely spend time with Kay and Ethan in book two and three… although the POV will shift to the other couples. I love the idea of Shadows that you can manipulate and use like magic, and that reflect your personality and inner world.


Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write (almost) every day. Read every day. Follow authors you admire and read their advice. There are really helpful forums and loads of Youtube content that helps us all. Join writers groups. Take a deep breath and listen when you get feedback (it’s not easy, but it makes your stories better).


What does your protagonist think about you?

Kay would be very bemused, but I think she’d enjoy that I also like motorcycles and daggers!


Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author, his creator?

I think so! A friend of mine saw the cover and said that I was Kay which was an amazing compliment, I adore her!


What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?

Wow. Ok. I got a review for Tristan that really stung. The reviewer took exception to a certain part of the book and didn’t hold back in making her criticism about me as a person. It was especially hard because I wrote that scene because it’s an issue I feel very strongly about. I think there are some real problems in our society where people in power can commit awful crimes and get away with it because of their money and status.


What has been the best compliment?

Someone recently told me that they couldn’t sleep because they had been up half the night reading my book. That was wonderful!


Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?

I’m generally most in love with the character that I’m writing in that moment! That said, I really love Nim. She means a great deal to me. Also Tor. I just want to take him home. Kay from Shadow Guardian is another one. She’s strong but vulnerable, trying her best in a dangerous situation, and she never gives up.


What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee or some complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?

Coffee with a dash of milk. And a weapon.


What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?

I have my laptop set up with a screen so that its comfortable to write at for several hours. I would go insane writing a whole book on paper—I need to move and change things. I also like it to be very, very quiet!


Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?

I used to think love scenes were the hardest, now I think it’s fight scenes. It’s easy to sink into a script-writing kind of fight scene, he kicks, then she punches, then he blocks… etc. but it means more when there’s emotion woven in. He kicks and it hurts. Why did he do that to her? She punches, but she’s already off balance, it takes everything she has to drive that fist forward. Her skin splits as she connects with his jaw…


Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you. Thank you for reading my stories and for loving these characters and for coming along on this adventure with me.


Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

I really don’t like love triangles. And I would never write dub-con or non-con between the heroes and heroines, as far as I’m concerned that is assault.


Do you have any strange writing habits? Like writing in the shower?

Not really… but I do like to think about the next chapter just as I’m drifting off to sleep, it helps me think of the next scene when I wake up.


If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation – who would you choose for which character?

Kay would be Emma Watson or Jennifer Lawrence

Ethan would be Henry Cavill


How important are the names in your book?

Very!


Did you choose them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?

It’s complicated. I look for names that are relevant to the time or setting that I’m creating and then check their meanings and associations before choosing them. In The Hawks, Nim is named for Nimue from the Arthurian stories; in fact all the Mabin and Tarasque have Arthurian names, while the Apollyon (who first came to Brythoria as raiders) have Roman origin names. In Blood Shadows, the names are obviously contemporary. “Ethan” means strong, safe and solid, and those descriptions are true for his character.


Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?

Google! I always look up names on babynaming sites and lists of names associated with the world I’m creating. I also check if they have any negative connotations before I choose them.


Do you read your reviews?

I always read reviews that I’m tagged in or sent. Other than that, my husband reads the reviews for me and then he gives them to me if he thinks I’ll like reading them. If he thinks they’ll make me sad, he summarises anything that will help me improve the story/future stories.


Do you respond to them, good or bad?

If I’m tagged or sent the review, I’ll always respond. And I’m always very grateful when people take the time to review. or the rest, I try to remember that reviews are for readers, not for authors, and I keep out of it. I’m a reader too and I really value considered reviews when I’m choosing a book.


Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Dealing with bad reviews is hard. I don’t think there’s any way around that. These days I try to protect myself from getting involved. I know some authors who have the attitude that bad reviews are a sign that your work is reaching more people. And honestly sometimes a bad review can contribute to sales (especially if the complaints are about the heat levels). It can also help to remember that amazing authors get bad reviews. I really love Charlie N. Holmberg (I adored The Paper Magician) and she sets her bad reviews to music and sings them on Instagram.


What is your best marketing tip?

Everything I’ve read says that your most important marketing tool is your cover, that’s what people see first, and it should tell them everything they need to know about your book. So far, I’d completely agree.


What is your least favourite part of the writing or publishing process?

Sending the story out and waiting (anxiously) for the first reactions.

5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!


Imagine reading a book, and it changes the way you see things. Everyday things, like the Shadow the light makes behind the cuppa tea on your desk. Or the one that is in the corner, cos the light doesn't quite reach that far. Cos let me tell ya, this book has done that for me!

Enter the world of the Shadows, with Guardians, Healers and Seers. With power tripping heads of Council who want. . . well I'm not really entirely sure what his plan will lead to, but it won't be good for the norms of this world, and maybe not even for those who can manipulate the Shadows. With a betrayal at the highest level. And with love at its most profound.

I loved this book! So forgive me if I rant a bit too much!

I loved that i could process each bit of new information, before the next bit came. I loved the layers to the story. There's romance, and danger. There's the world building, and the idiot trying to destroy it. There are friendship bonds, and those bonds being decimated. And so much romance, and even that being tested.

I loved that we didn't get who was controlling the Shadows that were so slimy, I had an idea but that was wrong.

I loved that Ethan took everything thrown at him, and promptly threw it back, tenfold. I loved that Kay was as damaged as he was. And I loved that when it all goes down, he says JUST the right thing to her! He melded himself into this world beautifully. I think there might be a secret or three about his full heritage to come out, but maybe I'm just reading into the story and being greedy cos I'm like that!

While Kay and Ethan do get a HFN ending, there is, I think, much to come for them. Their relationship will again be tested, and I can't wait to read about it! And Elizabeth, Kay's gran. She needs to be happy and given what is revealed here, she might be!

There is also the matter of the idiot and the Blood Shadows and what he will do now. I can't see which way he might go!

Zach, one of the Triad of Shadow Guardians with Kay and James is next. And I'm not certain who brings the trilogy to a close! James would be good, as the third in the Triad but that would mean he comes out of this​ mess. And if he does, he will be deeply damaged in many ways. Oh, he's gonna break my heart, I know he is! (Assuming he gets a book! *looks pleadingly at Ms Roberts!


Ms Roberts has a skill, that enables you to just fall into whichever world she writes about and you can just absorb it all, as an everyday occurrence and nothing out of the ordinary that these people can manipulate the Shadows, hinted with blues, greens and red, and heal people with a single touch.

So thank you, Ms Roberts, for a new world to fall into, even if it's just for these three books! I look forward to reading them!

5 full and shiny stars.


** same worded review will appear elsewhere **

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Jennie Lynn Roberts believes that every strong, kickass heroine should have control of her own story, a swoony hero to support her at every turn, and a guaranteed happily ever after. Because that doesn’t always happen in real life, she began creating her own worlds that work just the way they should. And she hasn’t looked back since.


Jennie would rather be writing than doing anything else—except for spending time with her gorgeous family, of course. But when she isn’t building vibrant new worlds, she can be found nattering with friends, baking up a storm, or strolling in the woods around her home in England.


If you want to talk books, romance, movies, reluctant heroes, or just about anything else with Jennie, feel free to contact her on Facebook or Instagram But be prepared to settle in for a long chat if you bring up shifters, vampires, Star Wars, or The Princess Bride….



You can find out more and sign up for newsletter updates at:

https://jennielynnroberts.com/


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