Interview: A.N. Drea (Spiral Razor)

I am so honored to have Ms. Drea here today to tell us a little more about her novel, Shot in the Dark: A Killian McBride Novel (Volume 1). My trusted friend and¬†vigilante¬†reviewer¬†extraordinaire, DevoGirl recommended this book to me and I’m glad that she did. I enjoyed it very much. (See the review from a few weeks ago).

So, here is the author to¬†assuage¬†our curiosity…

 1) Where did the idea for this story come from?

The idea for this story was a long process. Killian himself started out as a character in a fan fiction. He was the result of watching too much Zatoichi and Highlander:The Series, concurrently. I tried him out in various incarnations until I found one that I liked. Jesse sort of evolved on his own, and the story went from there.
2) Were you inspired by anything in particular for the genre that you chose? I’ve never seen paranormal western before, but it works so well!
The similarities between samurai and western movies are well documented, and I really enjoy them both, as well as supernatural and fantasy stories. The current trend of mish-mashing genres is something that really interests me. Alternative histories, and future-past scenarios are some of my favorite settings. That being said, the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher continue to be a major influence, along with steampunk and anime. In settings like these an author can really feel free to let the imagination run wild.
3) I heard that you have more books planned. Do you expect this to be a trilogy or would there be even more books?
My current goal is to finish at least three Killian Chronicles books. I am working on the second draft of number two, and will rework the first book to make it even better. Then I will do a big re-release under my new pen name, Spiral Razor.
4) What kind of research did you do to accurately portray Killian’s blindness?
This is where being a dev really pays off, as I’m sure you know.¬†Research¬†was anything I could get my hands on for most of my life; fiction, non-fiction, movies, you tube videos, you name it. I feel it is important to portray disability¬†realistically, giving equal time and focus to what the person can and cannot do. This was part of the reason Killian needed a sidekick, there are some things he just cannot do on his own, super powers or not.
5) What challenges did you discover as you worked on this book?
When I started this story I had never shown my writing to anyone. I had not even dreamed of publishing. The story was purely for my own entertainment. Once I decided to finish it, I ran into all the technical things one needs to put a solid novel together: plot, story arc, punctuation…etc. I had never actually finished a story before, so that was and continues to be my biggest challenge, figuring out where it’s going.
6) Did the characters come to you fully formed or was it challenging to find their voices?
I have a strange process, I’ve found. My characters sort of reveal themselves to me. They tell me who they are, and I try to give them a cohesive world to inhabit, things to overcome, and choices to make. Killian’s¬†neuroses¬†was not planned, and Jesse is still surprising me. I get to know them better the more I write about them.
7) What other projects are you working on? Besides this series, what else do you have coming up?
I have some other fantasy stories on the back-burner, including a modern were-cat assassin tale, and another modern fantasy co-starring a normal blind man. I also wrote a short story featuring zombies. Zombie Nights and other snippets (including the unfinished fanfic that spawned Killian) can be found on my website
Very interesting! It seems like fan fiction is a great way to start. I haven’t done it myself, but between this book and Shades of Gray being originally a fanfic, I think I should try it! Dresden Files is a series I’ve heard mentioned quite a few times recently. One of my exes is a big fan. Another thing I’ll have to try. (Our scientists are working on making the days longer, right?)
I’m thrilled to hear that here will be so many more books with Killian. He and Jesse are both awesome characters and a lot of fun to follow. And wow, Spiral Razor is quite a pen name! Intense.
You know, I interview some dev authors and some non-dev who just happen to have written a disabled hero and the non-dev authors often don’t do research at all! Or they know this one guy, so they based their hero on him. Us devs on the other hand go nuts over the research!
I’m so impressed that you went from never showing writing to anyone to figuring out how to put out your book yourself. That’s a steep learning curve. And I’m glad you were able to figure that all out and had the drive to share your work with us. First novels are usually junk (mine is hidden away where no one is going to see it!), so this being your first work is even more impressive.
I’ll be keeping an eye on you for sure. I’m anxious to read your other pieces! Thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. Chie Alem√°n
    Aug 27, 2012

    I actually JUST read this book a couple days ago and am so excited to hear that more Killian novels are forthcoming. I am normally not at all a fan of Westerns. I loathe them, but I had heard too many good things about Shot in the Dark to put it off any more–and boy, am I glad I did.

    Killian was a fantastic character, and I loved the lore you created around him. But what I really loved was Jesse–he was such a fantastic character and a perfect foil to the brooding Killian. It might be my imagination, but I sensed a bit of sexual tension (from Jesse’s side, anyway) between the two… am I crazy?

    I look forward to more of your projects!

    • A.N. Drea
      Aug 30, 2012

      I’m so excited that people like my book! I to love the interplay between Killian and Jesse. There is definitely going to be more depth and tension added to their relationship in the second book. (No, you are not crazy.) When I go back and rewrite the first one, I am going to add more depth to the characters all around. The action was just so much more fun to write ūüėõ
      Thank you thank thank you for all your support. And let’s have a round of applause for Ruth and DevoGirl. After all, they inspired me to put my stuff out there in the first place.

      Thanks guys,

  2. Sonja
    Aug 27, 2012

    I just bought the book, thanks to this interview and your review. Can’t wait to read it.
    I like that she’s coming from a fanfiction background. There are some great ff writers out there (and of course at least an equal amount of those who – to phrase it mildly – are in need of some more guidance and practice…). I’m currently browsing Covert Affairs fanfiction a lot – the show has a canon blind character, loving it.

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 27, 2012

      EXCELLENT! That’s what we like to hear ūüôā

      I watched a bit of one episode of Covert Affairs and it didn’t really grab me. Are you enjoying the show or more so just the fanfic?

      • Sonja
        Aug 27, 2012

        Even found it on Amazon Germany, which was nice – makes for a much faster delivery.

        Actually I’m enjoying the show more than the fic at the moment (there are some good writers, but most write romance between the two main characters, which can get a little tedious after 20 or so fics…).
        A problem with CA is that the main character ‘Annie’ doesn’t leave much room for anyone else, at least in the beginning. So in the first season the blind guy, ‘Auggie’ (really well played by Chris Gorham, you can see he did his homework), while officially the number 2 on the show, didn’t get that much screen time compared to her (apart from 1 episode that revolves around him). It got better in season 2 though. And I’m a bit of a fan of spy stuff anyway, meaning I’m not bored by Annie’s missions, which does help with enjoying the whole thing *g*

  3. Devo Girl
    Aug 30, 2012

    Yeay! So glad to see this article. Big congrats to Ms Drea for all the positive reviews. I knew you could do it! Very excited for the next book.

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