Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Moscow, Russia, and came to the US when I was twelve years old. Unlike many Russian immigrants, I had no trouble adjusting and becoming part of a new culture. I found it extremely liberating to have choices in what I read and what type of music I could listen to. My literary interests turned to British history, and it’s still one of my favorite subjects and the background for most of my books.
How do you make time to write?
I left my job ten years ago to focus on my autistic son, so I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’ve always been a morning person, which means that I do my best work at the crack of dawn. I sit down to write as soon as my son leaves for school and keep at it for at least three hours each day. Sometimes I’m really not in the mood, or the ideas aren’t flowing, but when I open my manuscript and put my fingers on the keyboard, I instantly get sucked into the story, and the words just come.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I haven’t suffered from any prolonged bouts of writer’s block, but like any writer, I’m afraid of running out of ideas, and I think that one day I will. We all tend to return to certain themes and time periods in our writing, and eventually, it becomes repetitive and feels regurgitated. Once I think that that’s beginning to happen, I will either stop writing altogether or maybe switch genres and try my hand at something new. I like cozy mysteries set in England. That could be an option. I could be the next Agatha Christie.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write time-travel romance and modern gothic. I love those genres because I can incorporate my love of history and travel into the narrative, enriching my characters’ experience and broadening their horizons and range of emotion. Time travel opens up all kinds of new possibilities since my characters can go anywhere, anytime. I can allow them to come back, or leave them trapped in a time period of my choice and watch them struggle for survival.
And with modern gothic, I can add a supernatural dimension without going full-on paranormal. For example, the main character in my new series, Echoes from the Past, has the ability to see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to the dead. As an archeologist and a historian, she finds this gift very useful, if at times frightening and unsettling, because she gets drawn into the stories of the dead and relives their tragedies.
How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
My newest book, The Lovers (The Echoes from the Past: Book 1) is a Kindle Scout winner and has recently been published by Kindle Press, the new publishing branch of Amazon. I’m excited to see how it will perform against my self-published books, which I promote regularly.
Are you an Introvert or Extravert? How does this affect your work?
I think I’m actually a little of both. I love being around people, socializing, and getting involved, but I also enjoy being alone. I spend a lot of time in my head, but I’m rarely bored. I have all these thoughts and ideas that frequently find their way into my stories. I also quite enjoy doing research. I’ve learned so many new things since I began writing, and I look forward to learning more.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Just do it, because ultimately, that’s what it all comes down to. We either do something, or we don’t.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice to aspiring writers is to stick with their projects, get professional, but affordable help, and grow a thick skin. There will be many people who will criticize their work and hurt their feelings, especially in the beginning. Bad reviews and cruel comments come with the territory. If they truly want to succeed, they need to look beyond that and keep moving forward.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
You can find me at www.irinashapiro.com
or on Twitter at Irina Shapiro Author@Irinashapiro2