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On Love, Dragons, and Controlling One's Own Fate

An Interview with Author Shirley McCoy


This month I'm featuring Shirley McCoy to talk about her fantasy romance novel, Dragon Song (The Wild Rose Press, October 23, 2023).


 

Photo of Author, Shirley McCoy

Shirley grew up in Baton Rouge, LA and started writing at an early age. Always talkative, when she was eleven she began to put her thoughts on paper, writing stories inspired by some of her favorite writers, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Madeline L'Engle. As she grew older, she developed a love of romance and in 2009 she decided to try her hand at paranormal romance. The result was The Smoke and the Flame and its sequel, The Wind and the Fire. The Smoke and the Flame is the first novel she has ever completed, although she has written several unpublished screenplays. Her novel, If the Shoe Fits, was featured at the 2017 Louisiana Book Festival to Shirley's great delight.


Shirley graduated from Nicholls State University where she majored in History and minored in English. Since graduating (she doesn't like to think about how long ago that was) she has worked at some of the best libraries in the Baton Rouge area. She makes her home there and enjoys spending time with family members. She also loves seeing movies, reading, and going to the movies with her niece in her free time.


Currently, Shirley is hard at work on her newest venture, titled Welcome to Niceville, in which a girl wakes up in 1955 with no memory and no idea how she got there.


 

Welcome to the blog, Shirley! So tell me, how did your background working in libraries inform your writing and stories?


I have always loved libraries, books and reading so this foundation helped me become a writer. When writing my latest work in progress titled Welcome to Niceville, I used my experience of libraries and working in them for the first time. It helped me to provide details of libraries, how they work and how I believe they should be and what they should and do stand for. I've always loved working in libraries and felt this particular story needed a library setting. It has been fun combining my two careers in this way.


Please tell us a little about your book Dragon Song.


Dragon Song is a book filled with adventure and romance, and of course, dragons.


What inspired you most about Dragon Song’s Princess Morgan Talbot and why?


What most inspired me about Morgan was that she took control of her own fate and did not wait to be rescued from Rownar. That concept was in fact the genesis of the whole novel and is where the idea began.


What did you enjoy most about writing an antagonist like Dragon Rownar in Dragon Song? What did find challenging about this character?


I loved figuring out Rownar’s powers, the depth of his evil and the aspects of his character, especially since he isn't human. Also, I just love dragons and in fact may one day write a story in which dragons are good and not evil. Making him inhumanly evil was a bit hard. Making him the villain but also relatable to the reader, at least on some level, was challenging but exciting.


How have your stories and themes changed since you started writing paranormal romance in 2009?


I have, since beginning writing in 2009, stuck with many of the same themes and simply told my stories in different settings with different characters. I stick with themes of love, loyalty, and adventure. For the first time, my next novel will have an added element: mystery, which is new and exciting for me and hopefully my readers.


What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your work?


That the world, fictional or real, can be a magical place of wonder and that love is the most important thing in it.


What books or authors have most influenced your own writing and what have you learned from them?


I have learned from many authors, but none more than Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander series defies genre and that is the kind of writer I aspire to be. A very close second is Nora Roberts. I love her effortless, amazing writing style. Her romances are wonderful! The best piece of writing advice I ever heard was also from her. She said, "You can fix a bad page, but you can't fix a blank page. Write."


I have definitely taken this advice.


Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’re working on next, and what readers can expect from your future books?


I am working on a book titled Welcome to Niceville.


A woman wakes in the desert with no memory. The only civilization in sight is the small 1950’s era town of Niceville. She works to find out what she is doing there and how the mysterious town came to be there at all. Along the way, she meets an attractive and helpful sheriff's deputy who assists her in solving the disappearances of residents from this seemingly idyllic town.


 

Book cover for Author Shirley McCoy's novel DRAGON SONG.

Dragons rule the world. Princess Morgan Talbot of Esterhaven knows one rules her. Rownar, the most powerful dragon of all, forced a magical bond with her at a tender age. He intends to corrupt her soul, then consume her body. Now of age, Morgan knows she must take back her life and defeat Rownar, and all his kind. Connor O’Malley is the greatest dragon slayer alive. He spends one memorable night with Morgan, never thinking to see her again. Until he does. He is deeply shaken to learn the woman he fell for is a princess and determined to conquer Rownar herself. When Connor offers to train her, Morgan reluctantly accepts. Now an epic battle will begin, for a princess’s life, her soul, her kingdom, and the world.


Excerpt


As they cautiously navigated through the hoard, Morgan detected a slight glow in her peripheral vision. It flared up, then subsided. As they stepped forward, she discerned it again, and this time she whipped around quickly enough to see a small magical symbol etched in the floor behind them light up, then dim. 

 

“Oh no,” she murmured. 

 

“What’s wrong?” Connor demanded in a sharp tone.

 

She paced further and showed him. “I think if Meglos doesn’t already know we are here, he will soon.”

 

As if on cue, deep within the cave, the sound of an almighty clang of metal meeting metal filled their ears. Then came a roar, the kind which could only be made by a dragon. 

 

Morgan knew her eyes must be wide as saucers, but she couldn’t seem to help it or move at all, in fact. Horror rooted her to the spot, unable even to speak, much less move.

 

Connor was not so afflicted. “Run!” 

 

When she didn’t twitch so much as an eyelash, he yelled, “Run, Morgan!”

 

 The volume of his words, his manner, and most of all, the use of her name, snapped her out of her panicked shock at last. She went from utter stillness to moving faster than she ever had in her life.

 

 The dragon, shrieking and breathing fire all the while, flew after them.


To find out more about Shirley and her books, please visit her website at shirleypmccoy.com.


 

Thanks for spending time with us, Shirley, and sharing your stories!


Until next time,

Author Joie Lesin


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About the Author

Joie Lesin, Author of Speculative Fiction

Minnesota-based author, Joie Lesin is a life-long fiction writer and the author of The Passenger. She has long been fascinated by anything otherworldly including ghosts. She loves to write a good ghost story—especially when it includes a touch of romance.

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