Name: Shelby Locke
Age: Forever Young
Where are you from: Southampton, Hampshire, UK.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.
(The following Bio has been slightly modified from a previous interview and also as used on the Amazon Shelby Locke pages).
Shelby Locke was born and raised in Southampton, UK where he still lives. Educated in the state school system, he confesses that his schooling was nothing more than ordinary. Although he enjoyed his time there, he declares, “Going to school was sometimes problematic. Looking back I believe, in life, it is what you learn beyond this point that makes a difference. The disparity I am talking about is based on the much quoted school of ‘hard knocks’ and how to survive them beyond today”.
Being dyslexic, and hard knocks aplenty, he survived not knowing the alphabet until the age of nineteen! Once he understood the basics in English he then turned to word puzzles. His first attempt at crosswords helped him understand words and how they fitted into sentences. Somehow, he expanded his understanding of literature and soon began to experiment with poetry. Poetry was quickly left behind in favour of conventional stories.
Now he has turned to Novels. He has written his first, based on local history and what turned out to be a well-documented international disaster. The ill-fated liner Titanic features strongly in his first novel ‘Stepping’. Using a combination of fact and fiction, he has been able to put together a ‘rip roaring story’, which takes the reader through an ‘amazing journey’. Using his imagination, he has come up with a ‘unique yarn’ combining several time lines. Some names will be familiar to the reader, others are either real or a combination of names he merely liked the sound of… who knows; you might even know them! This is where the use of names ends, since nobody in his books resembles their Alta ego. He further explains, “Indeed, it was following a conversation with somebody involved, that I had to clarify that it was my character driving that particular car and not him! Although, I knew he wouldn’t be seen dead driving that type of vehicle the story dictated that his namesake did!”
‘Stepping Back’, is the final instalment of the set and, although linked, the story takes you on a completely separate path. This path links directly to some of the characters in ‘Stepping’ by showing how things could be different in an alternative everyday life.
‘One for Rose Cottage’ is now published and has been well received. This is a simple but unique ghost story set in the tiny village of Pilton in Wiltshire UK.
The story, or should I say stories, do not stop there! Several other books are in the pipeline and are nearing readiness for publication. Look out for, ‘Marnie Smith’.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My latest is ‘a top secret biography’ and for personal reasons I cannot in the slightest reveal anything about it; however, I am in the process of writing another novel, as previously mentioned.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It all started about five years ago. I began writing soon after waking up at three in the morning with an idea for a story. With a beginning, middle and an end in mind, it soon fell into place. By 09:00 that morning I had written a tad over 17,000 words.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until the aforementioned morning.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Local history and an active mind.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
In the first person is my favorite style.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I have never found a problem with titles, likewise, with character names and/or the synopsis. The first title related to going back in history and the word ‘Stepping’ made sense to me… after all, we all take steps backward and forward in life.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No… Although, I want my readers to have fun and enjoy the story. In a true sense, my books are about the story and not the Author. If there is a message, then it is within the story.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Historically, the content must be accurate. The preparation and emphasis on research is essential.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No. However, it is important to remember that we all draw experiences from either first-hand knowledge or a common interest.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
Charles Dickens, Nevil Shute, Stephen King, James Herbert and Clive Cussler.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
My Store of Memories by Rowen Bentall.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Far too many to individually name, maybe Donna Mccarthy since I am going to be working with her to further her career. There is a lot of talent out there and by necessity they are bypassing traditional agents to get themselves published.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
As I have already said, this is secret, although I can reveal that I have already begun writing a book entitled, ‘Marnie Smith’.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Sheer self-determination. Sorry but I am going to be selfish here and place my successes and failures firmly upon my own shoulders.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Hindsight dictates that some people live their lives well beyond reality, which could affect their ability to write but I do not have such opinions or ‘hang ups’. I stand by what I have written and learn from that for future projects.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
If you read my Bio, you will understand that my knowledge grew at a slower pace than others. Not learning the alphabet until I was nineteen did not, at the time, appear to hold me back until then. After that, I developed and grew.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
You are persistent… Marnie Smith is a female assassin. This, however, is not the secret project, although I would like you to know that you will be among the first to know when the time is right. It will also come with a full and frank explanation.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
None at all. I now enjoy all aspects of writing including editing and take special pleasure in writing the synopsis.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I suppose, if forced to acknowledge one writer then it would have to be Stephen King and his ability to write stories with exquisite twists.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not at present. Unfortunately, circumstances exist that restrict my travelling although at some point in time this will become much easier. I spend two weeks a year in Corfu, which ‘charges my batteries’ and also, I wish to settle there to write. I find being there inspires me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I do. Nonetheless, I would not be averse to seeking help if required.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
If anything, double checking facts. It is important to get these absolutely right since there are many ‘out there’ who would soon ‘pick you up’ if the information were wrong.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Self-satisfaction and knowing I had the ability to complete the books. This was important to me on so many different levels.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Not as such but as a reader I think you subliminally absorb information and, importantly, styles. Stick to your own story and don’t be tempted to write a style that would otherwise suit others. Be true to your story and have fun with your writing.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Simply put, it is all about the story. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down and allow the story to unfold naturally.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t remember the title but the first book I really read was the one I won at school aged nine, for, ‘General endeavor and good conduct.’ I remember it being a simple story about a family of rabbits. It took me time but I was so proud at winning it that I had to read it. Not knowing the order of the alphabet did not restrict me from reading but I was slow.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh more than I cry because I won’t allow the latter, even though this is sometimes easier said than done. Thankfully, laughing and joking is part of me.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
There are hundreds of people from ‘the’ past I would love to meet and heading that list has to be Charles Dickens. For him, I have so many questions including his delightful ability to create such fabulous character names.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I would like to keep this event simple, therefore my answer might be considered boring, ‘Asleep’.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love Formula One and anything car related. I love flying too. Also, I have a passion for ‘people watching’ and under the right circumstances; I could spend hours on a City street Café watching people go by.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I watch very little TV but record ‘NCIS’ as this is a favorite TV series I also enjoyed the series, ‘A Band of Brothers’. On the other hand, my films collection is expansive. The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, Shawshank Redemption, Disclosure, Dumb and Dumber are amongst my favorite films. In fact, I like almost everything related to Mr Tom Hanks. I have a collection of over 1,000 DVD’s.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Seafood – Colour: Blues, Purples and Mauves – Music: Extremely Broad from Opera to Classic to Pop and Modern but would pick (no pun intended) anything on the guitar and voice wise, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Karen Carpenter and George Harrison.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Luckily, I have had a wonderful and varied life, so if I were asked to complete a ten lined bucket list, I would struggle. Perhaps I would do something simple, albeit creative.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do have a website but it is incomplete and awaiting an update. www.shelbylocke.co.uk
Fiona, thank you for asking me to complete your ‘questionnaire’ I found it quite therapeutic. 😀