A Study In Shifters
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I knew I wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read and write. In fact, I wrote my first story when I was just seven years old –not that it was any good, but it had a cute storyline featuring witches.
Writing is my “second job” (but my favorite). For my day job, I work as a lawyer. Being able to combine writing with a day job is hard sometimes, but I love writing so much that I always make time for it.
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
That depends a lot on the book, and if you take into account editing as well. If it’s just drafting, then that usually takes 1-2 months, depending on how well the book has been outlined beforehand, and how much time I have.
For editing, that can take a lot longer, again depending on the book. For “A Study in Shifters”, we had several rounds of editing, so that took a while, but it was worth it!
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I get inspiration from all kinds of things. For the “The Adventures of Marisol Holmes” series, Christina and I discussed possible themes for a book, and because of my background in criminology and law, and because I enjoy mystery novels, we decided to go with a story that was Sherlock Holmes-themed, but featured shifters.
For other stories, sometimes I get inspiration from dreams, sometimes from real-life events. It all depends on the story.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
After work and in my lunch break. Lunch break is most productive, I have to admit, because I’m quite tired when I get home from work, and then I still have to do all those other pleasant things, like cleaning, cooking, and so on.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It’s hard sometimes, but the longer I’m at it, the more I get the hang of it. Sometimes it’s very hectic, especially with one (or multiple) deadlines dangling over my head. But I love writing so much that I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
An original concept (or an original twist on a known trope), characters you can really connect to as a reader, and a vivid world filled with intriguing secondary characters that really bring the world to life.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
For “A Study in Shifters”, the hardest part was the editing, no doubt. Monster House Books has an excellent editing system, with several rounds of edits, and for more extensive than I’ve seen with other publishers I’ve worked with in the past.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
About fifteen now, I’d say. It’s hard to pick a favorite. My first ever published book, “Fractured”, will always have a special place in my heart, though.
9. Do you have a favorite character?
For this book in particular, that’s definitely Mannix, our bad guy. He’s just so complicated and mysterious, and I love writing about him and getting to know more about him and his secrets.
10. Where do you write?
Almost anywhere. During lunch break, I write at work, but at home, I write when I’m on my computer, which is in the living room, or sometimes while watching TV on the couch.
11.When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
That’s a tough question! When I came across Monster House Books by seeing one of their titles on a blog and reading the review for it, I thought it would be a good fit because of their model, and how they co-operate with authors every step of the way, from the initial idea through various rounds of editing and then all the way to the book being released.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
They love it, especially my mom. She’s my number one fan.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I love traveling, spending time with my family and friends, and of course, my cats.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Don’t give up. It’s tough, especially when you get a rejection letter for the manuscript you’ve spent ages on… But don’t give up! Your book is worth it.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
My favorite book is “In the Forests of the Night” by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. It’s about vampires and the plot is amazing. I’ve read this book at least fifty times, I swear.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
Christina and Genevieve from Monster House Books both helped me a lot while writing this book.
17. Are you working on anything now?
Yes, I’m working on the sequel to “A Study In Shifters”, titled “The Sign of The Serpent”.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
Cats and other cute animals
People leaving reviews on one of my books – always makes me smile even if it’s not a “good” review, I’m just glad someone took the time to read and review!
Tasty food (unfortunately usually nothing I cooked)
Reading a delightful book curled up on the couch
Spending time with friends
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
People hurting animals, this makes me extremely sad and angry
When people are mean or hurtful to others
TV series, when people die or break up, or anything else bad happens
Watching the news
When a character dies in one of my books… that’s horrible!
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
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