Name Shelley Wilson
21 years and 264 months (I bet you’re all trying to work it out now!)
Where are you from
I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to Solihull in the West Midlands when I was eight years old.
A little about yourself `, i.e., your education Family life, etc
I am a single mum to three amazing teenagers, I got divorced eleven years ago and have been single ever since. I think I’ve become too comfy with my own company now ha ha.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I divide my time between writing motivational non-fiction and young adult fantasy, so there’s always some news to report. At the moment, my second YA fiction book is in the hands of my incredible publishing partner, Blue Harvest Creative, who are working their magic on the cover design. It’s due for release in February 2016.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have hundreds of notebooks in my house dating back to the 1970s with poems and stories inside, so I think I began writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. The ‘why’ has to be something to do with it being in my blood.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve never thought about it. I just do what I love.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve started hundreds of novels, and the half-finished efforts are littered around my office, but there was a time when I never got past that stage. It was the most frustrating feeling in the world. Then I started blogging as a way to write on a regular basis. I set myself twelve challenges (one for every month of the year), and then I split these down into weeks. I blogged the entire challenge as I went. At the end of the year, I had twelve chapters and a passion for finishing what I started. So I guess you could say I inspired myself to write the first book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think so. With my non-fiction books, I tend to write how I would speak, and this comes across in the books. I’ve had so many lovely comments and reviews from readers who said it was like chatting with an old friend when they read my book.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my last non-fiction title it was a fairly easy decision, I just called it exactly what it was; ‘How I Changed My Life in a Year.’ My friend, Peter Jones, author of How to do Everything and be Happy, came up with the subtitle; ‘One Woman’s Mission To Lose Weight, Get Fit, Beat Her Demons, And Find Happiness…In Twelve Easy Steps!’
My young adult fantasy book is called Guardians of the Dead and was influenced by an image of a hooded statue in a cemetery that in turn influenced the story. Book two is called Guardians of the Sky (dragons) and book three will be called Guardians of the Lost Lands (necromancers).
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not necessarily. I would love my non-fiction readers to be motivated or inspired after reading my books if that counts?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The non-fiction book is based one-hundred per-cent on reality. Every single element of the fifty-two challenges that I wrote about was true life – it was a busy year!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My non-fiction work is based on my life and the upheavals I’ve survived over the years. Surviving a physically and emotionally abusive marriage helped me to put my life into perspective. To be able to write self-help books and hopefully give another woman a shred of hope or inspiration is the best thing I could hope for.
There are elements of my life in my young adult fiction. I have a strong theme of family and friendships running through the Guardian Series, and that is something that is incredibly important to me.
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? A mentor?
I mentioned Peter Jones earlier, he has been a huge influence on me and still is. I would also consider him a worthy mentor, although I prefer to call him Yoda!
I am an avid fan of young adult novels, not just writing them but also reading them. Cassandra Clare and Sarah J.Maas have been an inspiring influence on me in this genre, and although he wrote for television rather than books, Joss Whedon is also a huge favourite.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
At the moment I’m reading Raining Embers by Jessica Dall, for Rosie Amber’s Review Team, where I get to read a variety of books in exchange for an honest review. I’m also reading Null City (book 1) by Barb Taub, and Body Calm by Sandy Newbigging. I have a stack of books waiting to be read in my office; I just need a few more hours in the day!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m not sure if you mean debut authors, or new to me authors so I will opt for the latter. Since joining Twitter back in 2013, I’ve discovered some incredible writers in a huge variety of genres. I used to stick to fantasy fiction, but I’ve started to step out of my reading comfort zone and explore new avenues. Some of my favorites include Helen Boswell, Terry Tyler, Rachel Caine, Carol Hedges, Rachel Morgan and Keri Beevis. I’ve even read a book of poetry by Lynn Gerrard, which was exceptionally good.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
At the moment, I’m working on book three in my young adult series, Guardians of the Lost Lands. With book two releasing in February 2016, I hope to have this one completed in quick succession.
I’m also half-way through another non-fiction title based on a series of motivational workshops I held last year. It’s a What, Why and Wow (not a typo!) of staying motivated to succeed.
I have developed a set of motivational oracle cards for the Mind, Body, Spirit industry that I also hope to release next year.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The first thing that springs to mind when I read this question would be the incredible friends I’ve made on Twitter. The blogging and writing community is amazing, and I always feel supported by them. I found my editor through Twitter, my book review team and many of my readers.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Getting up every morning to do something you love shouldn’t be called a career, it’s more of a calling. J
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not in my non-fiction. It was a true life event so it wouldn’t be authentic if I changed anything.
I’m still living in the world of my young adult fantasy series, so it’s too close. When I look back at it in a few years’ time, I might be able to answer that question better.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
No, I don’t. I assume it developed at the same pace as my love of reading. I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t do both.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m writing book three of my Guardian Series at the moment, but book two will be released in February 2016, and that’s called Guardians of the Sky. Perfect if you are a fan of dragons, faeries, and supernatural action adventure. It was written for teens but has been enjoyed by all ages.
Here’s an excerpt from book two:
The men groaned loudly as they opened their eyes to the first light of dawn. Aaron stood over them as they began to stir.
‘It appears that you had a good night, my friends.’
The black-bearded man dragged himself to a sitting position and clutched his head, ‘Blimey sire, that was good stuff you give us last night, but me head is poundin’ like a drum.’
Aaron slapped his shoulder, ‘No time for slacking, my friend. We have faeries to find. Come on, everyone up.’ He walked through the men as they lay strewn across the forest floor, and kicked their legs to nudge them awake.
They stretched and coughed in the early morning air, and Aaron noted how unsteady they were on their feet.
‘If you would rather return to the warmth of the castle, then I’m sure Queen Nikita will have the fires burning and hot food on the stove.’
‘No sire, we’ll be right in a minute. Just need to get movin’ and find us a prize worthy of a queen.’ He coughed and spat a chunk of chewing tobacco on the ground. ‘Ain’t that right lads?’ The men grunted, and shuffled to collect their weapons. Aaron kept his smile hidden beneath the hood of his cloak.
‘Let’s move out then, gentlemen.’ He strode off into the forest heading towards the main route for Alia’s village. The sounds of men stumbling and moaning filled the air behind him.
They crashed through the forest for about an hour, making so much noise that every animal in the vicinity had fled the area. Aaron pushed them harder, shouting orders to move faster at every opportunity. The men were covered in a sheen of sweat, and every so often he could hear one of them vomit into the undergrowth. Two hours later they had reached the main road.
‘This road leads back to the castle, but passes through one of the last villages we can search. I know the lord who resides there, and I’m sure he will let us rest for a while.’
‘I ain’t restin’ in any faerie hole,’ the black-bearded man pushed his way to the front of the group, ‘We should rest up ‘ere and then hit the village.’
The other men nodded their approval, as Aaron unclipped his cloak. ‘Very well, rest here, and I will scout ahead.’ He threw his cloak at the bearded man and melted into the trees.
‘Did you ‘ear somethin?’ The human mercenaries huddled around a small fire as they fought to keep warm. Their fae captain had been gone for a while, and they were eager to get moving again. ‘Came from over there.’ The man pointed a dirty fingernail in the direction of a thick cluster of oak trees. The trunks were huge, and the branches were heavy with leaves that swept low over the forest.
Before he could say another word, an arrow struck him in the chest, throwing his body backwards and into another man who leapt to his feet yelling.
There was chaos as the humans jumped for their weapons and swung their swords at an invisible enemy. One by one, they were picked off by arrows. The men scattered, charging for the treeline with their swords above their heads.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
When I talk about my past for my non-fiction work, it can be tough to drag up the memories that enable me to capture the emotions. It sometimes feels a bit like re-living it again.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that strikes you about their work?
At the moment, I would have to say Sarah J.Maas, who wrote the Throne of Glass books. I had a bit of a fan girl moment when I met her in Birmingham during her UK tour. She is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and very funny.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I attend quite a few Mind, Body, Spirit fairs to sell my books and do talks about meditation and vision boards. I’ve also signed up for a few craft fairs recently. I like meeting people and chatting about my books and writing journey. I hope to be attending a couple of author fairs in the future.
My publishing partner attends the Decataur Book Festival in America every September, and it’s my ultimate dream to be able to join them one year.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Blue Harvest Creative designed my cover for Guardians of the Dead and are working on the cover for book two at the moment. They are also designing my new website that I hope to reveal soon.
Peter Jones, via his company, Soundhaven, created the covers for my non-fiction titles.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I haven’t come across a hard part yet. I love creating them; I even enjoy the editing process. I guess the most difficult part is what comes after you’ve published – the sales and marketing!
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’ve been plagued with self-doubt for more years than I care to remember, but when I wrote from the heart and used my life experiences to create my first non-fiction title, I knew that anything was possible if you just believed. I will only ever move forward with my writing, and never look back.
I have also learnt to stop worrying so much about sales figures and hitting targets or best seller listings, and concentrate on the pure joy of being creative.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do it! If you have a story to tell, write it down. Get it down on paper and then put it away for a while. When you come back to it, you will have a fresh outlook and be able to shape it into something you are proud of. Also, pay to have your manuscript proof-read and edited, it’s the best money you will ever spend. Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back so make sure your book represents the best you and the most professional you.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for picking up my book and reading it. I hope you were able to take something from it. Please don’t be shy about getting in touch as I love to hear from my readers.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I want to say the Mr. Men books, but I’m sure there was a Ladybird book or two in there. I have fond memories of reading Enid Blyton and the Folk of the Faraway Tree.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids, on both counts!
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Dracula! He has to be real, and I’d love to do an interview with him! If he’s too busy then I would love to meet J.K. Rowling and talk about magic over a pint of butterbeer.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
‘She Came, She Saw, She Kicked-Ass!’ If my kids think that’s too uncouth then I’ll opt for ‘Dream It, Live It, Become It, which is my mantra for life.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I hate this question because it always reminds me that I have no life outside my writing ha ha. I read all the time and love going to the cinema but other than that I believe I’ve become a hermit.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Greys Anatomy, and I was also a massive fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings films, Harry Potter and Star Wars. I also dig out my Steel Magnolias DVD if I need a good cry!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Pizza/Yellow/Anything with a toe-tapping beat
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Vampire Slayer, Unicorn Wrangler, Forensic Scientist, Parapsychologist, Archaeologist, Librarian, Secret Agent
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I have two blogs, one is a motivational/wellbeing blog, and the other is for my writing world, book reviews, and author interviews.
Resolution Challenge: http://myresolutionchallenge.blgospot.com
I’m also on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72
and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shelley-Wilson/e/B00G5KPMJI
How I Changed My Life in a Year: http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Changed-Life-Year-Happiness/dp/1499251378/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Guardians of the Dead (Book 1): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guardians-Dead-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00SM2IKSW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Meditation for Beginners: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meditation-Beginners-Shelley-Wilson/dp/1514619989/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Vision Boards for Beginners: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vision-Boards-Beginners-Wellbeing-Workshop/dp/1514620898/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Facebook (YA): http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson
Facebook (Non-Fiction): http://www.facebook.com/resolutionchallenge