This week’s featured author Shana Abé is thrilled to be a part of the HA team and, for episode 95, will be sharing an excerpt from her latest release, THE DEEPEST NIGHT. Shana said, “I picked a really cool scene involving living smoke and agony and guardian stars who watch at night. Oh, and the heroine ends up making a pretty huge sacrifice.”
THE DEEPEST NIGHT features the last living members of an ancient, enchanted species called the drákon: shapeshifters who have the ability to turn from human to smoke to dragon. “The entire series began with this incredibly vivid image I had of a single scene: a young dragon, golden and glittering, battling an airship by herself beneath a purple starry sky. (I don’t think it gives anything away to say that it becomes a crucial scene in the first book of the series, THE SWEETEST DARK.)
Now Shana, isn’t new to weaving the tales of dragons, “I’ve been writing about dragons for quite a while. My first series that featured them, the Drákon Series, was hugely popular, but I felt the need to shift time periods and main characters. Instantly I came up with Lora Jones: an impoverished, cunning orphan from the ghettos of London who has no idea she’s actually drákon. Both THE SWEETEST DARK and THE DEEPEST NIGHT highlight how she comes into her powers–which are actually quite dangerous–and slowly learns to master them. “
“I set the series in Europe at the very beginning of WWI, because that was the only war in which the combatants used airships to drop bombs. And I really wanted Lora to go after that zeppelin! In THE DEEPEST NIGHT: It’s 1915, and Lora and Armand have set out to cross enemy lines to rescue one of their own. It’s definitely a story about magic and sacrifice and unbounded destiny.”
Shana went on to say what had inspired the series in the first place. “Hawks and bunnies. Seriously. I have pet house rabbits, and I used to live in LA, where there are tons of hawks. Whenever I’d let my bunnies outside to play, I’d have to stand guard over them. I watched hawks a lot. Eventually I could identify entire families. They’re graceful and deadly, and one afternoon I was watching them slice through the air when I thought, “Dragons! Aha!” Because although hawks are cool, dragons are even cooler. You can say whatever you want about dragons, create any mythology you want for them. They are purely products of our deepest, darkest imagination.
In fact, there’s a scene in THE DEEPEST NIGHT in which Lora and Armand are discussing why they–their species–are so feared by humans. Armand says:
“Because dragons are the most formidable creatures of all. Because we exist at the fringes of their imaginations, nefarious and bloodcurdling and never quite fully defined. We can be shaped however they wish, assigned any horrific trait they dare to invoke. We’re the accumulation of all that they fear, most of all themselves.””
For more information on Shana’s Drákon tales, be sure to check out her website: shanaabe.com. The site has been newly re-vamped or shall we say…re-fired for her latest book series the Sweetest Dark. According to Shana, “THE DEEPEST NIGHT is, in fact, the second book in the Sweetest Dark Series, and I wanted to freshen up the site. New photos, new content, new links, and a couple of insanely awesome book trailers produced by Random House. I love it.”
Unlike many Horror Addicts out there, Shana was not drawn to the dark side by blood and gore. No in fact it is the idea of a “safe scare” that caught her attention. “Let’s face it; everyone loves the thrill of a safe scare. What I mean is, I don’t want to be frightened in my real life. That sucks. But movies, books, plays–venues that allow us to indulge in fear or shock or whatever that adrenaline-producing thing is without real-life consequences–that’s awesome.”
That being said, there was one time in Shana’s life that she wasn’t so excited about safe scares. “To this day, the monster/creature who scares me the most is Lon Chaney from the 1925 production of Phantom of the Opera. I’m not talking any cheesy, romantic version of the story; I’m talking about the grainy, black-and-white, fully disfigured, creepy version. I saw it as a little girl very late one night, loooong after I was supposed to be asleep. I was being babysat by some chick who I guess thought it would be hysterical to deal with a terrified child for the rest of the night, because she let me watch it in my empty, unlit house, all by myself. I cowered under a blanket and I swear didn’t sleep for days.”
Now-a-days, she spends her time baking and writing. “I like to bake, but I hardly ever do. I make incredible cinnamon-sugar cookies. But I live in Colorado, where nearly everyone I know is ridiculously fit and healthy. If I bake a batch of cookies, I always end up eating too many of them myself because all my friends are like, “Oh, I love them, but you used real sugar?? I’ll have just one.” And then I’ll have, like, eleven. [Then with writing, the hardest part is the isolation]. Isolation is a very necessary part of creating fiction, because the cacophony and rituals of everyday life can really steal time. Writers tend to write alone, which means we have to carve out that intention, that space, very deliberately. And then nourish it. Some people are able to write in noisy, crowded places, like coffee shops. I can’t do that. I need calm and quiet to let my dreams loose.”
Currently, Shana is finishing up the third book in the Sweetest Dark Series. After that, [she has] an idea for a brand-new trilogy that’s probably going to be a bit more dire than anything [she has] done before. It’s still in the early stages in [her] mind, but very compelling!
So be sure to keep an eye out for any updates from Shana. You can stay up to date but following her at: