Author Q&A: Shane Blackheart
Open Wound out now!
Today we’re doing an author interview with Shane Blackheart.
Shane is an indie author who writes LGBTQ+ dark speculative fiction. Open Wound was released in October and is the second book in The Requiem Series, following the events of Everything Is Wonderful Now. You can find out more about Shane and their books on their website, or check out our review of Everything Is Wonderful Now here.
Stick around to the end to find out how to win the ebooks!
Things got dark in Everything Is Wonderful Now, but they’re about to get darker in Open Wound
The Requiem Series has
☠ A disabled trans mc
☠ Mental illnesses rep
☠ Achillean polycule
☠ Loving demons, imperfect (& evil) angels
☠ Eldritch & cosmic horrors
☠ Plural rep
☠ Kinky aces
☠ Realistic portrayal of healing from trauma
☠ an Own Voices story
After the angel that threatened his life, Sean faced his frightening alter, Vexis, who haunted his dreams. With the help of Byleth, Zagan, and Darokin, he thinks his troubles are finally behind him. Little does he know that PTSD is a beast lying dormant in waiting to emerge. It ends up influencing everything, including the way he perceives reality.
Vexis was the reason Sean remained in a trauma loop for so long, but something changes within them as they decide to finally work with him; they want to help him heal from trauma after years of prolonging it. Being a sadist who is unable to feel love, it results in a twisted and sexual masochistic relationship that Sean becomes addicted to.
As Vexis takes Sean through various liminal space voids and dark memories — theirs included — they reveal that they are something much more frightening and ancient than an angel or a demon.
Can Vexis really be trusted? Or are they opening Sean's wounds to let something sinister slip inside...
Thank you to Shane for taking the time to do this interview with us, we’re very excited to hear about your new book.
When did you first come up with the idea for The Requiem Series? Did you always know it would be more than one book?
I started writing the first book early in 2020, and I hadn't intended it to be more than one book in the beginning. When I wrote the first draft of Everything Is Wonderful Now, it was a novella and I hadn't planned on doing anything with it, as it was just a part of my own healing journey. I wrote the second book shortly before I published the first one. Just like the first book, the second book was a part of my healing journey too, and it also was not written to be published at first. Initially, I wanted to call it The Arcana Series, as arcana is a word with a lot of meaning to me, but I found a famous series with it already and I was pretty disheartened. Requiem ended up being a good fit.
Have you always wanted to write in this genre, or did this book decide for you? Do you think about exploring other genres, or is this the one for you?
Honestly, I don't think about genre when I'm writing. I know that's something you're advised to do, to have in mind what genre you're intending to work with, but I don't write to publish, really, and I don't have a genre in mind. I write for myself, and if the story ends up being something I'm really happy with, I consider moving forward with publishing plans. Setting any specifics beforehand just makes me lose interest and then I don't write at all, and I feel like it puts my ideas into a particular box, leaving little room for total freedom of expression, which is something I can't enjoy doing. I love literary styles though, dark fantasy, and horror. I'm glad my series ended up falling somewhere on that spectrum.
Have you always wanted to be an author? What inspired you to start?
Pretty much since I was a kid and learned to read. I loved reading so much, and I knew I wanted to make books too, so it became my goal. I've always said it's just in my blood, so I've been on a constant journey toward it ever since.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing stories since I was about seven. I was an anxious and depressed kid, so being a writer that young also made me weird, I think. Writing was an escape from life, or I used it to 'rewrite' life in a way. I'd write about experiences I wanted to have sometimes, if I wasn't writing fiction.
How much does your own life influence your work?
Heavily, for The Requiem Series books one and two. I'm pretty open about being plural, so I can say too that Sean's spirit guides, and his alter, are my own. These are their stories too, so The Requiem Series is very much semi-autobiographical. For other things I've written that I intend to eventually publish, my life experiences have some influence on the characters, like if they have mental illnesses, are queer, or are going through trauma of some kind. Otherwise, I'm planning to release many stories that are entirely fictional and not based on my life in any way.
Who would you recommend your books to?
Other trauma survivors and those struggling with mental illnesses, for sure. My main goal with the series was to not only give a totally raw and honest view of mental health diagnoses — and trauma — that isn't often talked about, but mostly to reach out to others who may have been through similar experiences, or who may feel like outcasts or alone.
Who was your biggest influence as an author?
Anne Rice and V.C. Andrews. Both of them write in a more Gothic literary style, and their books just completely captivated me because I'd never read anything like them at the time (when I was a teen and younger adult). They made me think deeper, and I think I took a lot of inspiration from them, or Anne Rice specifically, when it comes to style.
If you could recommend one book aside from your own, what would it be?
Definitely My Lord by L.B. Shimaira. I devoured the book in record time, which is saying something since I often have trouble reading (thanks ADHD). It's an erotic Gothic horror, but it has themes of recovering from trauma and PTSD, which is something I really like to read about. It's also got a new, unique take on 'vampires' I've never read before, which I loved. Otherwise, it's got an f/f/m poly relationship, which isn't really romantic necessarily, it doesn't feel like romance, which I really like about it. Just characters who find a fondness for each other through the darkness around them, and a certain kind of trust. It's also set in a Gothic medieval castle, and it's very character-driven.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I went back and forth on it a lot, but mostly because I wanted full control over my books, especially The Requiem Series. I have a specific vision for each book I write, and I have a general vibe I want to convey with the design too, and I fear an agent or publisher would want to make too many adjustments to make it 'marketable,' which I'm not okay with. That's even if I could land an agent. Pitching an adult book with a trans, mentally ill, disabled character about religious trauma was already likely to get rejected, and it did every time. I got quite a few rejections before I said screw it, I'm not fighting with a system already stacked against marginalized characters and I'm doing it myself. I'm so glad I decided to self-publish.
Do you know what your next project will be?
I did start writing the third book in the series, but I'm not sure when it will be done. Otherwise, I have two stand-alone novels ready for editing. One is a campy, queer, erotic horror about traversing the underworld that involves fun monsters, the other is a B-movie-type gory horror with some devilish themes on the side. I wanted to write some really fun and not-too-serious stuff for a change.
What is some advice you would give to other writers? Is there anything you wish someone had told you?
Don't be afraid to take chances or be different. What kept me from progressing for so long was the fear that my stories were too weird, and that I'd never be taken seriously or be accepted. We're told all the time to be original, but not too original or we won't find readers, or it won't sell. It's so easy to get caught up in all the data and rules too, and comparing ourselves to other writers is also something that's enough to make you feel awful for a little while. There's just so much that can make your head spin if you spend too much time looking at writing advice books, or hanging out in the writing community in certain circles, and a lot of people worry more about conforming than not. Conforming does not equal success necessarily, and being weird or different doesn't mean you'll fail or not fit in. There are readers who want your stories. There is a place for you, no matter how different you are.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just a thank you for having me!
Thanks so much to Shane for joining us today, and for answering our questions! It’s been great to have you here and learn more about your books!
About the Author
Shane is a disabled nonbinary author of dark queer fiction. They have been writing since they were seven years old, and they haven’t stopped since.
Writing quickly became a way to escape from reality while dealing with early trauma, and it has helped them understand and cope with several mental illnesses they were diagnosed with throughout life. They’ve since used their writing to help raise awareness for misunderstood and stigmatized mental illnesses, but they also enjoy writing stories that make people think differently about societal norms we’re often raised with, such as gender, sexuality, and spirituality. They want to spread the message that it’s okay to be different.
Shane lives in Ohio with their two cat sons.
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Where to find the books
These books contain content that some readers may find uncomfortable or triggering. This may include mentions of suicidal thoughts, religious trauma, animal abuse, self-harm, mentions of eating disorders, alcoholism, bullying, domestic abuse, mentions of sexual abuse, child abuse, transphobia, and hinted sexual content.
Open Wound contains dubious consent, suicide, violence, derealisation/depersonalisation, trauma symbolism, and explicit sexual content involving sadomasochism and bondage.
If you’re interested in checking out Shane’s books, head over to our Instagram page and check out the post for details. We’ll be giving away a digital copy of both books.
So if this sounds like something you’d like to read:
- Follow Quiet Writers and Shane Blackheart on Instagram
- Like and comment on the giveaway post
- Bonus entry: follow and comment on this post
The winner will be announced on Sunday (November 12th) on Instagram.
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