Shelly, tell us a bit about yourself.
Shelly: I’m a married mother of two elementary school-aged children. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m at work as In-House Legal Counsel specializing in business, environmental and employment law for a scrap metal company in Detroit. I have a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work and a Certificate in Women Studies from Michigan State University and my Juris Doctor Degree from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center. My family owns more than twenty racehorses and I love to go to visit them at the farm or at the track. When I was younger, I wanted to star on Broadway. Now I get my fix by going to the theater and singing karaoke.
Callie: My goodness. Another busy lady, and twenty racehorses! And a Broadway star! A very interesting story. With such a wonderful background, tell us where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Shelly: For some reason, the ideas for my books came to me in the car. I’m not sure if it’s the driving or the music, but something triggers the idea and then the entire story downloads into my head. I see the characters and get a fuzzy vision of each scene. Once I start jotting down the information, I feel what each character feels and that leads me to question why they feel that way. I guess I start with the internal conflict and then move to the external conflict. It’s probably from my background in psychology and social work.
The main female characters in A Year to Remember are loosely based on my friends and me. During my single years, I’d tell people about the horrendous dates I went on and everyone recommended I write it down. Sadly, every dating disaster in the book is a variation on real dates suffered by my friends and me. If anything, I didn’t write the worst of them.
Callie: A story on disaster dates. That has to be a ‘must read.’ What does your family think of your writing?
Shelly: They’re my biggest fans! My husband supports me in so many ways, from beta reading to keeping the kids out of the house. He tells everyone he knows and meets that his wife is a published author. He’s even been passing out promotional items! My kids are upset that I have to work so much, but they’re excited. They have all these ideas of what I should write about in my next book. My parents have been supportive as well.
Callie: Having family support is so important. My husband has elected himself my ‘publicist.’ He’s always bugging me to do one thing or another. I must admit, however, he’s come up with some pretty good ideas. If you had to pick one, what author do you think your work is similar to?
Shelly: A Year to Remember is reminiscent of Jennifer Weiner. I didn’t do it intentionally, but I’ve been pleased to hear my work compared to hers. I admire her both as a writer and an advocate for gender equality. My friends have compared my book to Marian Keyes.
I’ve always enjoyed reading contemporary women’s fiction and chick-lit. I like that it can contain humor while at the same time, teach us something about ourselves.
Callie: It sounds like you have several beta readers, a most important commodity! Now the biggie: Do you love or hate writing sex scenes?
Shelly: I love writing sex scenes! For some reason, they come really easy to me. I think it’s because I’ve been reading steamy romance novels since I was a teenager. When I write them, I place myself completely into the POV character’s head. I’m not writing about me. I’ve had my mom and a friend express their discomfort in the sex scenes, knowing I wrote them. They are actually pretty tame in comparison to what I’m writing for my paranormal series.
Callie: Ooh, sounds like you better hide those paranormal books from mama and her friends, lol. And lastly, where do you see yourself, career wise, in five years?
Shelly: I’d like to have established my name as an author of contemporary women’s literature. I’m working on the sequel to A Year to Remember, which will tell the story of Missy, Sara’s best friend. It’s about the complexity of mother-daughter relationships.
Additionally, I’m hoping to publish my paranormal series with a “traditional” publisher. It will be seven books with a possible spin-off series. I’m working on the first book and have a basic outline of every book in the series. It would keep me very busy for several years!
Callie: It appears you will be a very prolific writer. All those books already thought out. You are a woman who knows where she’s headed.
If you’d like to hang out with Shelly, she can be found here: