Shelby Mahurin wanted to include everything she loves in books such as a masquerade ball, enemies to lovers, a vampire love interest, and more in "The Scarlet Veil".
What was your inspiration behind your most recent book? What can readers expect from it?
As reluctant as I am to admit it, I never planned to write "The Scarlet Veil". In the thick of deadline with "Gods & Monsters", I even swore I’d never return to the world of "Serpent & Dove" again. I wanted to tell new stories with new characters; I’d even sold another duology about Greek sirens! With a little time and distance, however, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to let the world or the characters go. When I called my critique partner crying on the way home from my local indie the day before "Gods & Monsters" published, she told me it didn’t necessarily need to be over — and then she asked about Célie. We both agreed her story hadn’t reached its conclusion, and I’d always wanted to write a vampire book. Their inclusion felt like a natural extension to this world. Within ten minutes, we’d plotted out a rough outline of The Scarlet Veil, and the rest is history.
Readers can expect quite a few tropes in "The Scarlet Veil", including enemies to lovers, kidnapping into kissing, a soft heroine, only one coffin, a masquerade ball, literal bodice ripping, a villain (vampire) love interest, oh no his blood is an aphrodisiac!, a lovesick ghost, Beauty and the Beast except haunted, a talking cat, the heroine getting tipsy with the love interest, and bloodlust. Pretty much everything I love!
“Reading Rainbow” is a column that represents all writers, their stories and their background. Why do you feel diverse representation is so important in books?
Diverse storytelling is so important because it allows readers of all backgrounds to see themselves on the page — and isn’t that the point? To provide a safe space for readers to explore themselves, to better understand who they are and what they believe? To grow? To question and expand their worldviews? The latter is particularly important to young readers with little other exposure to people different than themselves. Reading diverse stories promotes empathy. It promotes kindness and understanding.
What are you the most excited about when it comes to being a part of the Miami Book Fair and coming to Miami?
I’ve only visited Miami once — and just for a single night — so I’m really looking forward to exploring more of the city this time around. And as always, I cannot wait to meet readers and chat all things books!
Read more about the book fair that takes place on Nov. 19 here.
What inspires your writing style and stories? Are there any authors that you look up to?
I’m constantly seeking to refill my creative well by reading, watching television, etc. Basically anything I can do to consume story. For me, most inspiration comes after I find something I love — i.e. Jamie’s and Claire’s relationship in Outlander — and ask myself, “What if instead of a time traveler and Scottish warrior, they were a witch and witch hunter instead?”
My favorite authors are always changing, but right now, I’m really enjoying Heather Fawcett. I also love, love, love Madeline Miller, Naomi Novik, and Sarah J. Mass.
What’s up next for you that you can share?
I’m still drafting "The Scarlet Veil’s" sequel now, but afterward, I’ll be returning my attention to the Greek siren duology I mentioned earlier. I actually sold those books back in 2020 and 2021, so I’m extremely eager to get back to them!