Interview with Shelley Young

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was orphaned at the age of seven and placed into the foster-care system. Back then, foster-care was much different than it is now. Because of the loneliness I felt, I turned to books to escape. The feeling of being transformed was euphoric; I lived for a new book, a new world to explore, new characters to get to know. I still feel that way whenever I read a good book. This is also what I want I like to give to my readers, in-depth characters, thrills on every page. I can't dream of being anything other than an author.
Have you any experience with agents?
Yes. I was actually represented at one-time by one of the best literary agencies in the business. Unfortunately, the manuscript this agency tried to sell for me didn't pass the P&L report. Most new authors won't know what that is, but for those who've been in the business a while know exactly what it is. Although my work was never published with them, I learned many things about the industry from them. My gift of conversation got me invited to lunches with New York Times bestselling authors, editors, other literary agents. I picked, picked, picked the brains of those who allowed me to. I'm now using this knowledge to launch my own success.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not sure if it was motivation or the understanding that most of the big five, as well as literary agents, are not accepting new authors like they used to. Because eBooks have taken over the industry, and with eBooks just about anyone can be published, the big five and literary agents have suffered because of it. At the time I published my first book, the large traditional publishing houses and the renowned agents weren't accepting submissions from what's called 'middle-of-the-road' authors. The best way to describe this term is authors who have what it takes to sell books, but not enough the industry believed could generate million of sales. If you noticed the market as it is now, publishing houses are teaming up, authors are teaming up, book stores are going bankrupt. It was either self-publish in order to be a part of the book-selling pie or wait until something drastically changed in the industry. I didn't see that change so I took the indie route and earned a solid fan-base because of it.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting into the mind of the characters who are telling me the story as they see it. I know that answer may seem strange to some, but for me, it's quite entertaining. I have fun living through them on paper, seeing what they will do next, learning what makes them tick, finding the back story that provides insight and better understanding of the plot. Another joy is hearing back from readers who read my books and share with me what they liked, thought and felt. It feels good to know that one of my books have given someone the best part of their day. At least this is what I have been told by more than one. As an author, who can ask for more than that?
What is your writing process?
First and foremost, no interruptions. No phone calls. Don't knock on my door. Don't bother me in any way. I did a blog about my process in detail on my website, but I'll give a brief idea here. Its common for me to have the TV on and music playing. Music is good for me. The right music playing while writing the perfect scene; this is awesome. While I wrote Plain Dealing, I listened to Blue October's "Debris" over and over again. If I have what some refer to as writer's block, I read, then write to get out of it. Twenty thousand words a week. Most of it doesn't end up in the manuscript I'm working on, but do appear in other novels thanks to copy and paste. If you take writing seriously others will take you as an author seriously. I don't write as a hobby. I'm writing as a living. This means I have to write most of the days of the week.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm working on two new manuscripts, but I'm sure that's not what you're talking about. My latest published novel is titled Plain Dealing and it pays homage to the adage 'write what you know.' I took the experiences I had of a small town, being a nurse, my decline into the world of BDSM, and my love of killer suspense to create a to 'to die for' mystery. Put all those things together and you have an international bestseller. The fun I had in writing it would take too long to detail. This book was actually the fastest manuscript I completed. I think it took all of three months before the editor and cover designer took over. I have yet to receive a poor review for it. Because this novel wasn't a part of my series that was already in publication, I was amazed at how swiftly the readers took to it, as well as the conversations it drew on my website. Many of my fans are asking for a second book, so I've made plans to follow it up with another as soon as I complete the manuscripts I'm currently working on.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Hahaha! Okay! You'll have to go back some years for this one. The first story I ever wrote was titled The Purple Cow. I was ten-years-old and in the fifth grade. I entered it into a writing competition and won! While taking my picture to include it in the school's newspaper, my teacher predicted that I would be a famous writer some day. You would have thought this story was as good as Gone Girl for all the local publicity I received for it. Such praise I was getting from so many adults. Come to find out, it was the emotion that was easily pulled from the story that made it the favorite. A purple cow different from those around it, unliked, often-times mistreated, finds her way into new pastures, self-assurance and the freedom to live life and love herself as she was. I learned at ten that emotion in novels is quite powerful. The trick as a writer is not to force feeling from your work, but allow the readers to extract it as they see fit or as much as is comfortable for them. When books are concerned, less is always more.
What do your fans mean to you?
This is a good question. I have fans in all age brackets and from many walks of life. I have fans in other countries, as well as state-side, and all of them are as different as fingerprints. Some fans love characters that others don't. Some fans don't understand some of the characters as well as others. Some fans are so taken by a character that they actually write me and ask for me not to hurt these characters in any way. I appreciate all of the fans, because without them I would have no success. Therefore, I feel obligated to give them more of what they have enjoyed and not disappoint them. This has slowed me down in completing my current manuscripts. Some times while I'm writing I actually ask myself, "Will the fans like this? Will they be disappointed?" Having a fan isn't a luxury, it's a privilege, and I don't want to lose the many good fans that I have. They mean just that much to me.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is an easy question. Here's my list in no particular order. Sally Beauman, Catherine Cookson, Thomas Harris, Jacqueline Briskin, Lee Child, Dean Koontz. I also have to give a shout out to Johanna Lindsey. Because of her, I incorporate a little romance in all of my novels.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover designs are vital to a writer's success. I don't go cheap and I don't accept art that I don't approve of. I have a cover designer who I believe is the best in the business. The company is listed on the first pages of my books. Go big or go home is my approach. The cover is the first thing that readers see. As an author, when your book is listed online beside other books, you want yours to stand out, to catch the readers' eyes. I refuse to skimp. I've sold too many books just from my covers. The good thing is, the interior was just as professional as the exterior. I take covers very seriously.
What are you working on next?
The third book in my Dardian Dreshaj series. Speaking of not disappointing a fan! This series is by far my bestselling. The fans LOVE Dardian Dreshaj, as well as some of the minor characters. In the past when I wrote, I simply sat down and allowed the characters in my mind to run amuck. Now that I have had some success and see more coming my way, I can't just put out anything and expect my readers to just gobble it up. Relationships have been built; it doesn't matter that these relationships are of a mental capacity. Have you ever read a series, waited for the next book, ran to the book store to buy it, get it home, crack it open, start reading and want to throw the book across the room? I certainly have. This happened with me with one of my favorite novelist of all time. I couldn't understand why she allowed the publishers to release her next book, because surely all of them knew it held none of the uniqueness that had drawn her readers. I'm sure deadline were involved and the pressure of releasing another title. As an indie, I have the privilege of releasing a novel only when it's ready and only when I'm certain my readers will love every page. So for the fans who are reading this, The Blood Trail is coming! And when you get it, you won't be disappointed!
Published 2015-01-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

All Men Are Gods (Book 0.5)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 20,000. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A black ops soldier goes undercover inside an insane asylum, only to discover it was never intended for him to leave it alive.
The Battle of Eiglexx 4-Book Boxed Set
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 394,940. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
Four full-length books; an entire sci-fi fantasy series with it all: first contact, alien invasion, alien abduction, alien romance, apocalypse, post apocalypse, zombies alien style, and steamy romance. A powerful species known as the Babisianx have invaded Earth to take it from man and make it something else. But can a rag-tag army stop them? Not intended for readers under 18