Interview with paranormal mystery author Ally Shields

Novelist Ally Shields is in the hot seat today and we’re
talking about her new romantic paranormal mystery, Ghost Witching (Maggie York Paranormal Mystery Book Two).



During her
virtual book tour, Ally will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble
(winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for
a chance to win, use the form below.
To increase your chances, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!
Bio:
Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi
River, still considers herself “a river rat,” and currently resides
near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to
full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire
(Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has twelve
published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates
many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields welcomes reader contact
through her website and can frequently be found on Twitter.

Welcome, Ally. Please share a little bit
about your current release.
Ghost Witching is book two in the Maggie York Paranormal Mystery series set in New
Orleans. Up until a year ago, Maggie was a homicide cop at the top of her game.
When she was struck by a sniper’s bullet, she coded twice but was brought back
in the ER. Only everything had changed. Now she sees ghosts of murder victims
who expect her to solve their untimely deaths. Her new gift is especially hard to accept when she doesn’t believe in
ghosts or magic.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love
mysteries with a touch of romance…and paranormals…and New Orleans. It
seemed like a no-brainer to put them together! As for the actual plot, my
characters come first, and they tell me their story, the kinds of things people
with their skills and personalities would get into. That was very true of
Maggie, a hard-nosed cop who’d suddenly had her life turned upside down.

Excerpt from Ghost Witching:

Maggie sat
cross-legged in the witches’ circle, listening to the night sounds of the
Louisiana swamp giving way to a hazy dawn. The sluggish air failed to stir the
moss-hung cypress trees, and humidity clung to her skin. It would be another
scorcher.


Her candle flickered, and
she turned it to allow more of the wax to trickle down the side. How had her
life evolved to include this? A year ago the hard-nosed cop in her would have
scoffed at the idea covens actually existed. Now she was part of one. Not that
she’d bought the whole occult package, but her denials rang hollow in the face
of collaborating with a ghost to track down a killer. Nor could she explain
away the knowledge her distant relatives, Dalia and Selena, gleaned from the
Beyond.


Dalia’s hard stare brought
Maggie’s attention back to the circle of thirteen. Spooky how the quiet,
unpretentious woman knew things…like Maggie’s wandering thoughts. She raised
her candle in unison with the others as Selena spoke the words approaching the
end of the blessing ceremony.


In contrast to Dalia’s
petite form, Selena was larger than life, literally and figuratively. The
priestess raised her arms, her long, ashen hair braid falling over her
shoulder, the white muumuu fluttering in the morning air like a giant bird
about to ascend. Her voice matched her size, echoing around the clearing,
bringing Maggie and the other participants to their feet.


Although Maggie wasn’t
positive the white witch rite actually did
anything, attendance at coven ceremonies had been one of Selena’s requirements
for teaching her how to assert greater control over the ghostly apparitions who
were bound to make more appearances in Maggie’s future. The old woman had been
particularly insistent tonight, piquing Maggie’s curiosity. And a little
apprehension. Had Selena had another of her visions, possibly foretelling
trouble in the near future? When asked, her cousin had given a typically
cryptic answer. “Good and evil are always in motion.”


Which told her nothing new.
Maggie sighed, darting a glance at the focused women around her. No matter. The
future wouldn’t be changed by worrying. Besides, she had no real objection to
being here and supporting the coven’s hopes of healing one member’s gravely ill
four-year-old niece, for a laid-off worker to find a new job, and a universal
plea for greater wisdom. They could all use a dose of that.


While calling upon the
Goddess to bless and protect them, Selena made a three-sixty turn, her gown
billowing as she included every participant. Maggie suddenly stiffened and
peered behind her cousin. Had something dark and wispy swooped past? No, of
course not. The lifting dawn mist had fired her overactive imagination.


Yet her heart beat a bit
faster, and she joined in the final lines of the closing chant with more
gravity than usual.


“In calm or stormy days to come, light our
pathways safely home.
Gracious Goddess, grant our plea. So mote it be.”

Maggie was tempted to add
an “Amen” for good measure.


As they blew out their
candles, her cell phone buzzed. She checked the screen. Police dispatch. Her
real world snapped back into place. While they’d been surrounded by the hope
inherent in these pre-dawn gatherings, someone else had committed the most
grievous assault upon society…the murder of one of its citizens.

What exciting story are you working on
next?

The
seven-book Guardian Witch urban fantasy series was completed in March 2015. My
publisher has requested a series sequel (it may actually be 3-4 books). The
first draft was mostly completed during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing
Month) in November. I’m currently rewriting and smoothing out the rough edges.
If I meet my deadlines, Embers of Fire
(Guardian Witch Legacy #1) should be released by Etopia Press in the first part
of 2017.

When did you first consider yourself a
writer?

When Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1)
was published as an ebook in September 2012. By December I held a paperback
copy in my hands. It’s still hard to believe, and I pinch myself at times.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

I’m a
full-time writer, although I’d be biting my fingernails from month to month if
I had to live on my royalties.

I write
every day, but my schedule is flexible. I’m not a morning person, so writing
often doesn’t start until nine or ten o’clock and may continue until one or two
the next morning. I often come and go during the day, always returning to the
computer until I have completed the day’s goal: 2k new words on a first draft;
30 pages on rewrite; 70 pages of editing/proofing. These goals will vary if I’m
ahead of or behind schedule. I always have a schedule.

My writer’s
cave—office—is where I do ninety-nine percent of my writing surrounded by an
extra computer and numerous books for research. I outline as I go and jot
hundreds of notes!

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

I have an
incurable tendency to show expressions and emotions by use of the word
“brow”—”quirked his brow,” “lifted, raised or arched
her brow,” “lowered his brows.” Well, you get it. I do a special
search to cut down the numbers before submitting every manuscript.
What did you want to
be when you grew up?

A
musketeer, a rock star, and a foreign journalist—all before age ten. I actually
became an English teacher, an attorney, and finally a writer.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Only how
grateful I am to those who read my series. Without their support, I couldn’t
keep doing what I love to do—or at least it wouldn’t be published. Thank you.
As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.



Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!


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8 thoughts on “Interview with paranormal mystery author Ally Shields

  1. Unknown says:

    Thanks, Lisa Haselton, for hosting my book!
    Good luck to Mai T and Lisa Brown in the drawing. I appreciate you both for stopping. And what makes my stories unique? Maggie is a human cop who has lived 28 years without believing in ghosts or magic and has no intention of accepting it now.

  2. Bernie Wallace says:

    What books are you looking to read in 2017? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  3. Unknown says:

    Cali, Bernie, and Victoria, thanks for joining the tour. Good luck to you all. Bernie, the next book on my TBR list is David Baldacci's No Man's Land.

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