About Shelley Young:
Shelley Young is a wife, mother and grandmother. From an early age she wanted to become an author, but put her dreams on hold in order to focus on her family. While working first as a nurse and later as a Customer Service Representative, she spent her spare time writing stories she believed the world would love. Her debut novel, The Blood Feud, became an Amazon international best seller and earned her radio and magazine interviews. She is the author of other Amazon international best sellers, and now as a full-time novelist has stated she will write as many bestselling suspense-thrillers, mysteries, historicals and romances until her very last breath. She currently resides in California with her husband.
What inspires you to write?
When I was seven years old, my mother passed away. Our home, while she had been alive, was very peaceful and filled with so much love, losing her became almost unbearable. I slowly began to withdraw from everyone. It was a teacher who gifted me with the book, ‘Islands of the Blue Dolphin.’ While reading this novel, I came alive again, living through the characters triumphs and many hurdles. After I completed the book, I started spending many hours in the library, finding one book after another, each of them breathing inside of me the magic that only exist in the literary world. By the time I was ten, I knew some day I also would become an author. Now as a mother and grandmother, I’m finally living that dream.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am definitely a pantser when it comes to creating fiction. My process is to allow the characters to write the story for me. At times, some of my mannish characters can get totally carried away. It is only during that time that I rein them in, as this is necessary for a tight plot. I spend no less than twelve hours a day on fiction: writing, editing, plotting, marketing. Writing comes natural for me. I have eight published works and more than four that are in the process of being completed. My advice to everyone is, if you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. I love being an author. I can’t dream of living my life any other way.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Always obey the voices. I know there are some writers who do not do this, and instead work strictly from an outline and such. But when you listen to the voices, amazing things happen. A character on page twenty-two can appear, and as you write about him or her, you have no idea how they are advancing the book along. Except you keep writing and discover on page eighty-six that this character is the key to string your plot together. If I didn’t listen to the voices, my most memorable support characters would have never come into existence. I actually have readers that contact me on my website, mentioning these characters by name, as well as requests for these characters not to be murdered off in any way, as they have come to love them. As a thriller-suspense author, killing is what I do. LOL. I also listen to my readers! This is why some of my minor characters are included in several of my novels. It’s a win-win situation.
What advice would you give other writers?
The advice I give to writers isn’t popular and doesn’t make me popular. Still, I give it because I believe it’s the best advice I can give to anyone who wants writing to be more than a hobby. If writing is your business this is what I have to say. Read as much as you write, and no matter how good you think your first (first in every since of the word) novel is, it is not acceptable, as a writer isn’t a seasoned, first-page-gripping novelist until they’ve written close to a million words. Like I said, this advice doesn’t make me popular. I received this advice myself from one of the most reputable literary agents in the business. I found that it proved true, AND, I credit it for the success I have seen so far.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had an agent in San Francisco. Everything was set. I had written a manuscript and one of the top five publishing houses wanted it. The contract was cancelled before the book was marketed. Did you know that when you sign such a contract, you have to buy back the rights to the manuscript if you want to publish that specific title? I come from a family who don’t accept the word, No. I was determined. It was determination that helped me complete five manuscripts. Through my agent, I had contact with several New York Times best selling authors. I was speaking to one of them, whose name shall remain nameless in this interview. He said, ‘Shelley, my last contract wasn’t in my favor. The house got most of the money, although I provided most of the work. I’m self-publishing my next novel.’ After a few conversations with this good man and another author named Lynne Spreen, I thought to also take this avenue, and here I am.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of publishing doesn’t look so good in my opinion, and I’ll explain why I say this. Ebooks have taken the world by storm. There’s some good to self-publishing, and then there are some nightmares. What I consider a nightmare is the free ebook I stumbled across with its great cover and its disaster interior. The author admitted to writing the novel while intoxicated. There was no plot. To every solution anyone came upon in life, she suggested a glass of wine or some of the hard stuff. This wasn’t the disaster. I found it to be quite interesting. The disaster was the unformatted, unedited condition of her work that proved it too hard to read (most of the stars she received was one). With no one to filter who can and cannot self-publish, there are too many books that I find should have never been released to the public. With Amazon as the top seller of ebooks, the publishing houses have suffered in the course. As well as the literary agencies. Profits were lost, which resulted in letting go of their personnel. Now you have on a few people in an agency to read the hordes of submissions. The sad part is, now that ebooks have taken over, the middle-of-the-road authors are now being passed up. Only books that are seen as guaranteed best sellers are picked up, and unfortunately, because the industry is a fickle as a woman, only known authors are getting their contracts renewed by larger agencies. Self-publishing can be the answer, but now you have to fight against authors who have written poor books. Readers don’t want to pay for someone’s hobby, so self-published books are mostly looked over. This means that good authors have to work triple hard to earn the fan base necessary to boost them to number one.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: suspense-thrillers, mystery, historical, mainstream, psychological thriller
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.