Interview with J. Howard Shelley

What do you read for pleasure?
Anything except biographies. If it has a good story I'll read it from Jane Austen to Anne McCaffrey
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Unfortunately my eyesight is going and I find it a little difficult to read on a tablet e-reader or smart phone. I read on a computer though. Other than that I'm I a dinosaur - I still read the printed word.
Describe your desk
it has my laptop on it. Above there are rows of books. I try to keep my workspace tidy although at the moment it has a tardis on it. I'm trying to to decide. ebay or keep?
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Stroud in Gloucestershire. I'm not sure anything "influenced" me. That all seems a bit deep. I write stories not literature and I'm not sure I merit the title "author." I'm No Truman Capote or Harper Lee. A story comes into my head and I write it down. I don't try to teach or throw up any lessons and (I hope) I'm not controversial. I guess if anything I'm a product of my upbringing rather than where I was brought up.
When did you first start writing?
Two years ago.
What's the story behind your latest book?
So this is a preview. What happens if a lady does not meet the expectations of society? How will she fit in? My heroine cannot understand why she is the object of the marital ambitions of a group of men with whom she has nothing in common. I know the answer although the story isn't written yet. If I haven't bored the pants off you (quite possible) you will have to wait until I finish it to find out.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote stories for fun. it is a good way of passing the time and it keeps my brain off my day job. My Daughter nagged me until I published them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It is a very convenient platform with little or no risk. I can put my stories out there and maybe someone will read them. As for success - I sold a book and over 500 people (at lat count) have downloaded the free title so I guess that is some kind of success. Without Smashwords I wouldn't have been able to do it at all.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
being able to forget everything else and constructing a cogent story.
What do your fans mean to you?
If people like what I write then I am glad. But fan......??? I cannot see anyone who reads my books as a fan. An appreciator .... possibly but fan? No definitely not.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jane Austen, Clive Cussler, Jean Auel, Geogette Heyer, Dorothy Sayers.Wilfred Owen. Bill Bryson, PG Wodehouse.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Work. I have to earn a living. Seriously... I am fortunate - I like what I do. getting up is no problem.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't own an e-reader I prefer to carry a book. I find those in bookshops
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a children's story called the Magic Bath. I have it somewhere. The idea was ok but the writing was awful.
What is your writing process?
I sit down when I have time and when the muse is upon me. Sometime I become stuck and I do nothing for a weeks or so until I work out what is going to happen next. Then I write it. I certainly don't set time aside and I don't write to deadlines. One of the benefits of Smashwords is that nobody nags you for your next book. I never plan a book beyond a general idea of the plot and I don't have a length in mind. Most of my stories are fairly long. The shortest is 127,000 words and the longest more than 200,000. I could probably use a good editor!!!!. having said all that, once I know what i want to say I am fairly quick. I can write 10,000 words in a day easily.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
it was called "a Cricket in Times Square". It was and is a superb story by George Selden and I read it time and time again.
How do you approach cover design?
I find a public domain image which is relevant to the story and put the title and my name on it. I can't help but feel that this is not my forte. Any volunteers?
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far I have only used Smashwords. I can't imagine having the time for a book tour and I am definitely not going to do any readings. I don't market at all. The only people who know I write are my wife and daughter.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm at work representing clients or doing DIY or teaching roller skating. I play trumpet too.
Published 2015-02-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Travellers
Price: Free! Words: 126,730. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Romance » Historical
(5.00 from 3 reviews)
This story follows on from Georgette Heyer's "The Foundling". Grieving for his wife, the Duke of Sale disappears from society with only his man for companionship. Where has he been and what is he doing in the company of the beautiful but mysterious Miss Sarah Leighton? Set against the backdrop of post revolutionary France this story will keep you guessing until the last chapter
Melissa's Mask
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 157,460. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: January 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Romance » Historical
(4.00 from 1 review)
This story takes up where Georgette Heyer's "The Corinthian" finishes, focusing instead on the character of Melissa Brandon. Why is she is so cold and intimidating? It turns out that all may not be quite as it seems. Why is the irritating Marquis of Skelton so interested in her and why is it that the highwayman and murderer Captain Trimble is so interested in their new home?
The Country Girl
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 201,740. Language: British English. Published: October 19, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Romance » Historical
(4.00 from 1 review)
Married to the Marquis of St. Austell, country bred Mary Sinclair is pitched into society with only her wits and singing voice to help her. Can she find her feet in society? Can she save her husband from kidnap and death at the hands of smugglers and prevent the predatory Miss Cardew from stealing him from under her nose?
The Heiress
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 165,810. Language: British English. Published: October 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Regency, Fiction » Romance » Historical
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Nicholas Burley struggles to keep his beloved Burley Manor, assisted by his step mother and enterprising half-sisters. Wrapped up in the day to day concerns of saving his estate, his life is turned upside down when Isabella Rhetford tumbles into his life. Can he save his estate and at the same time foil the efforts of the vengeful Lord Thanet who is determined to do the ladies in his life harm?