Tell us about yourself, Shelly! Who are you and what do you like to do when you’re not a writer? I never know how to answer the question of who I am because I still don’t know the answer to that myself. I’m a lot of things; I wear a lot of different hats. I’m a mom, a wife, a history buff, an optimist, a writer, among other things. I suppose I’m kind of a multi-faceted person. As far as what I like to do when I’m not writing, I like to read. I’m an avid reader I know every section of the library and book sales are one of my favorite things. I love to go to the movies, watch documentaries, hang out with my family and walk the dog. It’s so peaceful when I walk our dog; it’s getting out into nature. I put up the phone and it’s just us enjoying all the wonders around us. I try to get my husband and my kids to go on walks with us. Sometimes I’m successful sometimes I’m not. But I think it’s good for families to get away from all the electronics for a while and just be together without all the modern day distractions.
I agree with you, about getting away, Shelly. What inspires you to write? Almost everything inspires me to write. I see someone or something or hear something and then an entire story and conversation just starts playing in my head. It’s good unless it bed time then I just lay there thinking about all these different story ideas. And there’s something about the rain. The rain really puts me in the mood to write.
Tell me about your journey as a writer. When did you start and how do you keep the creative juices flowing? My journey as a writer started when I was a kid. I was always writing stories ever since I can remember. But I guess I never really thought of it as a future career it was just something that I always did. I have notebooks all over the place with book ideas, poems, partly finished books, etc. They are everywhere and they span from when I was a little kid to what I wrote yesterday. I keep the creativity flowing by making sure I always have a pen and notebook near me whenever possible. You’d be surprised at how many times my, ‘I’ll just write this one little thought down’ has turned into pages and pages of story ideas.
Give us the elevator pitch for your book. William Somers, Henry VIII’s fool lived in two worlds. One where he was surrounded by the nobility and the people we think of when we talk of the infamous Tudor court like the ill-fated Queen Anne Boleyn, and the other amazing women who for a short time wore the Tudor crown as queen. And of course King Henry VIII himself, who William would come to know intimately. But William also found himself part of a world just down the hall in the area of the castle the nobles rarely descended to, becoming friends with the servants whose lives were just as interesting and tragic as those whose lives we normally read about. Sometimes the two worlds collided impacting those from both although most didn’t even realize it. Except of course for William, he was there and he felt the thundering tremors that ripped through all their lives as they twisted closer together.
An intriguing premise! It drew me right in. Do you have a favorite character in your story? Who is most like you? My favorite character is probably Catherine Howard because she is so young and so full of life. It’s tragic because the reader knows what she’s doing is going to cost her her life but she is like most young people who get caught up in throes of blinding love. Writing her story actually inspired me to write another book from her point of view. It will be awhile but it’s something I hadn’t planned on doing until I got to know her in this book. As far as me I am very far from Catherine Howard’s personality. I think I’m most like the servant girl Mable. She is happy with a simple life yet she longs for more. She is caring and thoughtful. I would like to think I am most like her because of the kind heart she has.
Who would you like to see play your characters in a movie? I think I would like new actors because when I watch most movies it’s hard for me to see the characters as the people they are supposed to be portraying because I still have the picture of them as a character in a different movie. With that being said I do think there are a few current actors that would make a great William because they can play such sweet characters who are more than what they seem. Of those I’m not completely sure. But the best Henry VIII I have ever seen portrayed was by Ray Winston. So I always picture him when I think of Henry VIII. Catherine Howard I pictured as looking kind of like Olivia Hussey did in Romeo and Juliet.
Do you have a favorite time of day and place to write? Do you have a routine? I like to write at night when the house is quiet and kind of dark. I don’t have a routine but I recommend that those who want to write do. I know if I had a routine or schedule I would get so much more done than I do. But as far as place to write I like to write at home in my house I feel comfortable here. I tried to the library to write a few times but I just couldn’t relax enough out of my comfort zone to really get into my characters heads.
What do you do to market your book? I try to find groups on social media that are interested in the style of book I’m writing like groups devoted to the Tudor era and historical fiction. I also put my book on Kindle Scout when I first published it. Kindle Scout is a contest where people vote on the book they would like to see Amazon market. Even if you don’t win the contest it gets your book out there so that people can see it. I found several readers that way. The best review I have is actually from a person who first saw my book when I had it in the Kindle Scout contest. I also signed up with Goodreads as an author. I was already a member as a reader. I love Goodreads it’s a great place to check out books other people are reading that you might want to read as well. And if you’re an author it’s a great place for people to find your book and rate it or add it to their reading list. I highly suggest it for authors and readers both. And another great way to market your books is to do author interviews. I have been lucky enough to be asked to interview for this blog, (thank you Julie!) and for a few others blogs as well. Never turn down a chance for an author interview.
You are most welcome, Shelly! Who are your three top author crushes? Who would you most like to meet? Narrowing it down to three is really hard! I have had the opportunity to read a few things from aspiring authors that are SO good! They just haven’t finished their books yet but wow there is some amazing talent out there right now that I think will be on my ‘author crushes’ lists as well as many other people’s lists someday. But as far as authors that already have books out, I have to say that I really like non-fiction, (go figure since I write fiction) so I’m going to go with some non-fiction authors for this list. Mark Bowden’ he wrote Black Hawk Down which is one of my favorite books, General Patton, not only was he an amazing strategist and one of the most interesting people I have ever read about but he wrote a book as well so I’m picking him and Mark Bowden because of the interesting real life stories they could tell me about people they have met, adventures they have had, and their ideas and thoughts. I want to know what’s going through their minds. And for my third author I’m going to pick James Alexander Thom. If you haven’t read his works I highly recommend checking them out. One of his books, Follow the River, is also on my top books of all-time list. A coworker told me about it years ago and I have read it more times than I can remember. It’s so good. He did a lot of research so he would be fascinating to meet and ask questions.
What are your future plans for writing? I’m working on the second book in the Shattered Rose series. It will take off from where Fall of the House of Queens left off. There will be many of the same characters in the second and third of the series but instead of William the stories will be told by Annabel, the servant girl Mable’s daughter. I also want to write a book told by Catherine Howard and one by Guinevere. I have a little notebook full of ideas but those are the ones I want to get out first.
What words of wisdom would you share with aspiring authors? I think society gets caught up in sticking people into certain slots or categories based on what they do for a job. You know when most people meet someone for the first time they tend to ask, “What do you do for a living?” and then the answer that they give defines them in other people’s minds. But I have never really believed that. I think if people look deeper they will discover that who someone is may not be what they do for a living. I think there are a lot of artists and writers out there that are doing other jobs but they are really writers or something. They just haven’t discovered it yet. I know that was kind of a long drawn out answer but I wanted to get that out so that other people might be inspired to find out who they really are. If you would have asked me that a few years ago I would have said, “I’m a construction technician” or something like that because even though that wasn’t my passion and that’s not who I felt I was as a person that’s what I was doing for a living. I still have trouble saying, “I’m a writer” because I was in so many other roles for so long. But now being able to say that is strange and wonderful. Because that’s a hat I have longed to wear since I was a kid. So despite what you think you are now if deep down you feel like you’re a writer then you’re a writer! So pick up a pen and notebook or sit down at the computer and show the world who you really are. You are who you choose to be not what you have to do to get through life sometimes. Think of Elvis who was a singer but for a time he had to work as a truck driver. Another thing I would tell aspiring authors is that remember you were once unpublished and trying too. So help others when you can, and treat others like you wish you had been treated when you were at their stage in your writing journey. The other authors aren’t competition they are allies.
Great advice, Shelly! Thanks so much for chatting with me, today.
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