Interview with A.H. Shelton

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do! We had to write and illustrate a book in I think forth grade. I wrote mine about a little girl who had a horse who kept following her to school. He would hide until she got out of school, and then run to her, excited. Even though she'd scolded him many times, she couldn't stay mad at him because he was so happy to see her each day. I can still remember those illustrations being the best I've ever drawn, and I so wish I still had the book to this day! :)
What is your writing process?
Most people ask me this question. They wanna know if I write an outline before starting a book. The answer is "no!" I have the beginning and ending in my head, and the rest comes out as I type. Every now and then I'll have to stop and sit back, trying to decide which direction to go with the storyline, but most of the time it just flows from my fingertips. I have recently, though, started using a check-list with Microsoft OneNote, ticking off the points I want to make sure to hit on as I write the story. I started doing that with my latest book, Sentinel, and it worked quite well. I think I'd recommend it to other authors as a good way of checking off your progress. :)
How do you approach cover design?
I come up with an idea of what I'd like it to look like, and use my go-to website (I don't reveal my source, only because I don't want others duplicating my cover backgrounds), which has templates. The backgrounds are stable, but you can remove and add layers and use different fonts to create a cover that suits your needs. Then, you simply pay and download...simple as that. I thank God every day that I discovered this website - it's amazing! :)
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy young adult ghost story books, such as Wait til Helen Comes, by Mary Downing Hahn...which I was delighted to find has been made into a film. They are simplistic, yet quite spooky. There are many others that I plan on reading, such as The Doll Graveyard by Lois Ruby. I always loved stories like this when I was young, and they bring back memories of lying on my bed during summer vacation, reading the day away. I get so caught up in the stories. I can remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter" during the summer, and having to snuggle up underneath the covers to get warm, haha!
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story behind my first book in the Surrogate Trilogy - Surrogate, was inspired by a dream, crazy as that sounds. I could see the guy and girl walking along, he was dark-haired, she, a blonde. I heard their conversation, Girl: "You are so tall! I feel so short walking with you!" Guy, sadly: "She used to say that me all the time." Girl: "Oh baby! Wait...what did I just say?" Guy: "You called me 'baby.'" Girl: "That's what I thought..." I awoke and immediately called my niece, telling her about the dream, and how I think I could do something with this. I already had an idea in my head of what the story would be about, and bounced ideas off of her. By the time we hung up, I had the idea for the whole storyline in my head. It was amazing! :)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After the dream that led me to write my first novel, I started writing, but I also started researching how to self-publish. A friend told me that his daughter-in-law was using Amazon, and was making good money, so I made up my mind that I was gonna teach myself everything I could about the subject. I used YouTube videos to learn much of it, and still use them as my go-to when I find myself stuck and having forgotten how to do something in Word. Three books later, I'd say I've gotten pretty good at this Indie-Publishing gig! :)
What are you working on next?
I've already started a Dark Comedy, called "The Pharmacy." As a pharmacy worker, I've always joked with my co-workers that if they don't stop bugging me, I would put them into a book and kill them, haha! Well, one day they dared me to do it, so I wrote the first chapter in like ten minutes and sent it to them all in a group text. They thought it was hilarious, and with so many funny things that we see and hear at work, it's easy to write a comedy! :)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I find joy in creating characters that people will love as much as I do, and I accomplished that with my Surrogate Trilogy. The Ramirez family is so funny, quirky and kind, it's easy to feel like you know them in real life. I hear this from so many people who have read the first two books, and now that the final book is complete, I know they will feel even more connected to the Ramirez/Garrett family! :)
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans mean the world to me! Just four months after publishing my first novel, they nominated me and their voted got me "Reader's Choice - Second Place Best Author of Rockingham County, 2017! "They are what keeps me going...literally. When I finished my first novel, Surrogate, I started on a Crime-Thriller novel. Suddenly I was getting feedback on Facebook - BIG TIME! "Nooo! You can't do this to us! We need more from these characters - we LOVE them!" So, I said I'd give a sequel a shot, which turned out so well it turned into a trilogy! I have amazing fans who are always cheering me on, online and off. In my small hometown, I'm always running into someone who has either read the books or want to - and have had people come to my job and stand in line just to tell me they wanted the chance to meet me. I am honored to be so well thought of on Facebook, and in my hometown!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My granddaughter, Destiny! She is my rock star - at just 7 years old, she is my biggest fan, and she tells me so all the time! That kid is my sunshine, and she never fails to make me laugh. Everything I do is to make her proud, and I am along the way teaching her that she can do ANYTHING she sets her mind to, and to never, EVER give up on your dreams! :)
Published 2017-12-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.