Siobhan Muir Interview & Review of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack

Alright, total treat today here on the blog. We’ve got an interview from author Siobhan Muir and my quick and dirty review of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack. But first a little more about Siobhan!

Siobhan Muir lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he’s never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good. Who knew they combined sci-fi with romance? J She’s been writing stories and entertaining friends and family with her writing since she was a kid. She completed her first fan fiction novel at the age of 13. No, it will never see the light of day and everyone should be grateful for that.

Siobhan believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.

Siobhan’s recent release, Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, is from Siren Publishing, and she published Her Devoted Vampire with Evernight Publishing in February 2012.

Siobhan’s Contact Info.:

Website: http://siobhanmuir.com

BUY LINKS

Alright, and now to learn a little more about Siobhan and her book, her awesome interview:

1. Where did Queen Bitch of the Callweowwood Park come from? Did it come to you fully formed or are you like me where you scrape together a handful of ideas that finally form a story at some point?

Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack came to me in a dream. I found myself on a desert southwest hillside, talking to Jeff Lightfoot about why we couldn’t tell the humans who we were and what we could do. Then I got the scene at the Salon in Leland and the story built from there. The main premise of the story was ready to go, I just had to fill in some of the events to make it coherent.

2. Why the title Queen Bitch? That’s got to get a lot of eyebrow raises. :)

My original working title was Queen Bitch of Callowwood and it came from the idea that every alpha female thought herself above the rest and acted like the ‘queen bitch of the universe’. When that phrase shot through my mind, I began to laugh. How appropriate for the top alpha female of a werewolf pack. She’s the definition of the queen bitch. Mostly, I’ve gotten a positive response from the title, grins and laughter, but there have been a few who attribute too much negativity to the word “bitch” and are a little put off by it. It still makes me grin to this day.

3. Why werewolves for this book? I know you write paranormal romance and you’ve written of vampires before, so what brought about the use of werewolves for this novel? I only ask because they’re my favorite paranormal creature.

Actually, I write all sorts of paranormal creatures, but the vampire introduced my world, and the werewolves were part of it to start with. I just branched out. Cynthia Wolfwright from Her Devoted Vampire has an older brother, Thio Wolffe, who is the sheriff in a little town called Hershel, Nevada, near Area 51. Thio gets to deal with the Men In Black because they’ve discovered something they shouldn’t. I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with Eloise and Nora Farkas from Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack. ;) All my stories are connected in some way, but they aren’t necessarily sequels, although I have two other stories about the Callowwood Pack brewing. :D

4. What was the most difficult part about writing Queen Bitch? What was the easiest? If you could re-do a part of when you were writing, would you do anything differently?

The most difficult thing about writing Queen Bitch was the party scene. Hands down it was the worst because I had to make sure I got the politics right and describe the major players, but not get too bogged down in description and dogma (lol). I had to take a 4 month break after writing it because it took so much creative energy. I was wiped out. The easiest part was writing that Salon scene because I knew what was supposed to happen and how Julianna would deal with the situation. I don’t think I’d re-do anything I experienced while writing this story because I learned so much along the way in terms of description and story construction. I’m sure when I read through it again I might find things I’d choose to change, but overall I really like this story. I can read it now (after reading it a thousand times before) and enjoy it. That says it’s a good story to me. :)

5. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I think Jeff Lightfoot was my favorite. He’s so cool and confident in who he is and what he wants. And he’s the perfect balance between gentleman and primal male (plus, he looked like Russell Crowe in my dream and there NOTHING wrong with that!), yet still funny and relatable.

6. How did you come up with the lore for the novel? Where did the Moon Singers and First Canid come from? That was a particularly interesting and neat part of the book to me.

Oh, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed that part! After living for several years in Arizona and Nevada, I got a better understanding of the ‘First Peoples’ of the desert southwest. I’d visited the ruins around Flagstaff and Cottonwood Arizona, and my husband worked out on the Navajo Reservation, so I became very aware of their oral tradition of storytelling. Every culture in the world has shapeshifter myths of one kind or another and I wanted my werewolves to be local. So I started to think about the Creation Myths surrounding the werewolves and where they might have come from. What would they call themselves? What gods would they worship? In my world, the Goddess is the main deity (for all my critters), and I knew She had to be a part of it, too. So I constructed a Creation story from those elements and hoped it carried the flavor of the First Peoples.

7. This being your second book published, have your learned anything about the publishing process that surprises you? Is there anything you can share with aspiring writers to watch out for on the long, winding road of publication?

Yes. I didn’t expect the onus to be on the author to catch the many typos and mistakes. I expected that from my editors, but some of them only do copy edits rather than catching logical issues within the story. I didn’t realize I’d have to be extra careful and edit as much as I do now. That’s why I can only write three novels a year. I have to take so much time to edit and rewrite. As for aspiring writers, there is so much I could say, but first is don’t use the world ‘aspiring’. That means you’re thinking about it or considering it, but not actually doing it. This business is as much a mind game as it is a physical effort. Focus on writing the story (and finishing it), getting it critiqued (because peer-review is really important), and finding the right publisher (read = audience) for your book. You should never pay to get published, they should pay you for your entertainment work. And you should definitely get a blog, Facebook page, and twitter account going BEFORE you publish. Publishers and agents are looking for writers who know who to pimp themselves to readers. Getting your voice, your name, and your writing out there is hugely important because it will bring you fans already present when your books come out. Especially now that self-publishing is so prevalent. You want to stand out and the sooner you make your mark, the easier it will be.

8. If there was one thing you could say to current and future readers of your work, what would it be?

Keep your eyes open because Siobhan Muir has at least 25 stories in the works, and new ones developing all the time. Vampires, werewolves, and goblins, Oh my! :D

* * *

Oh, we definitely will. ;) Don’t you just love her? And now for my quick & dirty review of Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, which I really enjoyed.

Beyond a title that just makes you have to smirk, Queen Bitch is a fun read from start to finish. It has an enjoyable take on the werewolf lore, with a believable and unique history, as well as a detailed glance into pack politics that makes for an interesting read beyond the steamy chemistry found between the main character Julianna and her destined beau Jeff.

Blurb:

Julianna Morris didn’t know werewolves existed…until she became one.

Hiding her new identity, Julianna returns home only to find her teenage crush, Jeff Lightfoot, is the future Alpha of the Callowwood werewolf pack. She’s unexpectedly chosen as a candidate for the pack’s next Luna, the Alpha female—and Jeff’s mate. This is perfect, except Julianna knows nothing about being a werewolf, and someone’s determined to make her fail the Seven Tests of the Luna.

Jeff Lightfoot lusted after Julianna for years, even when he thought she was human. Now she’s home and all his—if she passes the tests. She’s his True Mate and he wants no one else, but pack politics trump Mother Nature and will prevent him from choosing Julianna if she fails.

Queen Bitch has a healthy dose of animal magnetism and I found that to be the most enjoyable part of the book. The times when you got to see Julianna and Jeff fight against every element of their nature were the highlights of the book, but the plot was solid and I was struck by the lore that Muir conjured for her werewolves. It was well thought out and detailed and gave the story even more heart than it already had. Julianna is a character that was very easy to relate to and that made following her inner and outer journey that much more meaningful.

Muir doesn’t spend a lot of time on characterization, but she doesn’t need to. With the description and dialogue she uses, she easily creates characters you can identify with.

The setting of Callowwood is quaint and painted with hometown flavor. It’s not a focal point in the book, but it serves its purpose. The gem
of this book is its sexual tension and the werewolf overlay that perfectly complements it. Pick it up for a quick, fun read, because that is exactly what it is! Make sure to get in touch with Siobhan and learn more about her sexy work from her contact information above!

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