- Have the main character of your last novel introduce you to our readers.
Hi, and thanks for interviewing Shelley. My name is Isabella Mitchell, former assassin, now Leo’s wife and Kian’s mother. I first met Shelley in My Peeping Tom, part of the Middlemarch Shifters series, and she wrote about my meeting Leo in My Assassin. More recently, Shelley decided Leo and I had another story in My Precious Gift. That’s how we ended up with an adopted son. Shelley lives in New Zealand and writes paranormal and contemporary romances full of steam, adventure, and humor. She also likes to include an odd body or two. The bodies were present in our two stories!
- Without giving us spoilers, introduce your latest and greatest novel or work in progress and let us know which it is and if it’s a WIP let us know when it goes live.
This year, I’ve started writing a spin-off series to one of my popular paranormal series—Middlemarch Shifters. The first book in the new Middlemarch Gathering series features Rory, a Scottish werewolf, and Anita, a feline shifter from Middlemarch, New Zealand. My Highland Mate features the rejected mate trope. Here’s a portion of the blurb: Introducing the first romance in a Middlemarch Shifters spin-off series. A stubborn werewolf and an irked leopard shifter dance around their feelings at a special gathering to find fated mates. Forbidden love and second chances bring suspense and danger, and the handsome and oh, so sexy wolf faces up to the truth about his headstrong feline lover.
My Highland Mate is currently available for pre-order and is live on 14 July 2022. https://books2read.com/myhighlandmate
- What do you like best about your main character in your latest and greatest or WIP from above?
I admire my heroine’s strength and determination to move forward despite setbacks and live her life as she chooses. The hero is equally determined, which is part of the reason they butt heads so often.
- Tell us a little about one of your side characters from your latest and greatest or WIP?
The villain in this romance tries hard to break up the hero and heroine, and they appear blinkered about the situation and what they wish to achieve. The truth is their past has fed a great deal of their rage and pain, leading to decisions that are not the best.
- How did you come up with your idea for the above story?
Last year, I decided to write a Christmas story set within my Middlemarch Shifters series. I enjoyed writing that and wondered how I could extend the series. The obvious solution was a spin-off, which gives readers a new entry point into my Middlemarch world. I decided to go with a fated mates trope and base the entire six-book series at a gathering for shifters who require a mate.
- What was your writing plan for this book or WIP?
Over the New Year holiday, I planned my six books and jumped into writing. I’m about to start writing the third book in the series.
- How do you handle writer’s block?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. If I have trouble writing, it is because I’m trying to take my characters in the wrong direction or I haven’t thought enough about a scene. Typically a brisk walk will help, or I do some of my best thinking in the shower! Once I rethink what I’m writing or my character’s motivation, the words usually flow again.
- Do you have a secret writing ritual and what is it?
Not really. I look upon writing as my job, and once I start each day, I’m at work. I use 4TheWords to write my first draft. ( https://4thewords.com/) This site gamifies writing, and I battle monsters as I write. This keeps me honest, and I pound out my words every day.
- What is your writing snack?
No writing snacks for me, although I do have a coffee or two to keep me alert.
- What do you do when you’re not writing?
Because writing involves so much sitting around, I prefer to be active during my non-writing time. We have a dog, so I do lots of walking. Sometimes, I’ll run or cycle when I’m in the mood. I do line dancing once a week and water aerobics, and I recently started playing croquet. I’m also on the social committee of the village where we live and spend a lot of time organizing functions, selling raffle tickets, and working on the bar. Oh, and I love reading, so I fit in a book or an audiobook as time allows.
- What is your favorite season and why?
It’s autumn here in New Zealand, and at present, we’re having warm and sunny days. It gets cooler at night, so it is perfect for sleeping. I love this time of year.
- What is your favorite genre to read and what do you like about it?
My e-reader is full of contemporary, sci-fi, historical, and paranormal romances. I also enjoy urban fantasy, mysteries, and thrillers. I’ve always adored paranormal romance, but I get bored reading the same thing all the time. I’m an equal opportunity reader.
- Do you have a writer mission statement? What is it?
Not a mission statement, but I have a quote by Maya Angelou, which speaks to me. It is, “Nothing will work unless you do.”
- What do you spend your music so you listen to when you write? How does it help to put you in the mood?
I go through phases, and at present, I listen to ocean waves or flowing rivers. During the winter, I’ve been listening to crackling fires. White noise seems to work for me at present, and it’s a kind of a ritual, I guess. I put on a Youtube video and start work.
APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH
What is your favorite silver lining moment? ie bad situation that turned out great.
I can tell you about a recent silver lining moment. We had a village social last night. Because of Covid and a four-month-long lockdown at the end of last year, many functions had to be canceled. As I canceled each band, I rebooked them for this year. There was a misunderstanding with the band for last night, and thankfully, I’ve started checking in with each act a few days in advance. Luckily, I did because the group thought we’d canceled and couldn’t come. Cue panic on my part! I had 100 plus people attending with no band. I tried a possible replacement, but they were busy. Before I started on my list of alternatives, the original band rang me and told me they’d canceled their commitments and were coming after all. “Great,” I said, but I didn’t relax until the band arrived and started setting up to play. I had visions of the 100 attendees taking their anger out on me! Luckily, that didn’t happen, and it turned out to be a fantastic night. The band was brilliant, and everyone enjoyed the night.
Gret books are perfect for a new spring read but get them while they last because they won’t last long.
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