LWOTW: Welcome, Shelley! Tell us, when did you write your first story?
Shelley: I’m sure there were earlier pieces for school or fun but I started what I consider to be my first real story when I was sixteen, during computer class on a Wednesday afternoon. Intergalactic Heroine for Hire featured a teenage heroine who looked remarkably like my best friend at the time and she even had the same name. Sharon was accidentally transported to another world where she had to defeat a bunch of brain eating aliens before she was able to return home. It was another ten years before I finished that first draft and it was pretty bad, I must say. One day I hope to go back to it and see what my matured writer’s brain can do with the story.
LWOTW: I hope you do! It sounds like a great plot. What do you think of dreams, imagination, and planning, Shelley?
I am a perpetual dreamer, my head in the clouds most of the time as I explore what if scenarios. I think that is an essential part of being a fiction writer, especially when it comes to writing speculative fiction. I fuel my imagination by reading as widely and as often as I can, losing myself in other authors’ imaginary worlds. As for planning, I get an idea and start jotting down notes and then I get to a point where I feel reading to start writing. I have been trying to plan more but often find the story carries me away on a new tangent as I write it. Love it when that happens.
LWOTW: I agree, reading is very good food for writers. What’s the highlight of your writing career so far?
For me, holding my first book in my hands and knowing that I created it was a huge highlight. That a publisher had seen something in my story and been willing to release it to the world was an amazing feeling. I’d had plenty of family and friends tell me my stories were good, but the vindication of having a complete stranger, someone in the industry, tell me they thought I could write was a big confidence booster.
LWOTW: It’s a great feeling. So, what are you most busy with at the moment?
I’ve been working on a paranormal fantasy novella series and am currently revising the fourth in the series. I’m also eagerly waiting for the release of Dark Justice, my first book to be published with Odyssey Books, and jotting down notes for more books set in the same world.
LWOTW: If you could say one thing to aspiring writers, what would it be?
We have all been there. We all have ups and downs with our writing careers and experience moments of self-doubt and can benefit from advice from those who are further along than us. So find your tribe, writers you like and trust to join you on your writing journey. I have made friends with some amazing people at writing festivals and other events over the years. We now share our stories for critique, give help when needed and receive it in return. In my experience, authors love helping other authors, so get out of your writing cave and find people you admire, like and respect and you will become part of a wonderful community.
And the Last Word of The Week: What’s your favourite colour, Shelley?
RED. Bold and vibrant. I love the brightness and the way it captures the attention. Red is the ultimate extrovert, a contrast to my introverted nature. I have a red kettle, toaster, handbag and flask. Even my filing cabinet is red.