It gives me enormous pleasure today to be interviewing Shelley Wilson whom I’ve met and chatted with in real life. Shelley Wilson is an author and inspirational blogger and her latest Young Adult book, Guardians of the Sky is out now.
Guardians of the Sky
Guardians of the Sky is the second in Shelley’s Guardians series.
Can one girl sacrifice herself to save the one she loves…
Following their daring escape from the demon realm, Amber and her friends become caught up in a war between good and evil. They must join forces with the Queen’s warriors to overthrow a malevolent force that has spread across Avaveil, the land of the Fae.
As her powers grow, Amber is faced with the real possibility that she is a danger to the ones she loves. Her full strength is yet to be tested in a way she can’t comprehend.
Dragons, faeries and humans stand side-by-side as they are drawn into a cunning battle of magic and surprising revelations. Can Amber survive long enough to see her dreams fulfilled?
Guardians of the Sky is available in both e-book and paperback on your local Amazon site.
Guardians of the Dead
Guardians of the Dead is the first of Shelley’s Guardians series.
When sixteen-year-old Amber Noble’s dreams begin to weave into her reality, she turns to the mysterious Connor for help. His links to the supernatural world uncover a chilling truth about her hometown and a pact that must be re-paid with blood.
As her father alienates her, and the Guardians take her best friend, her true destiny unfolds, and she begins a quest that will see her past collide with her present.
Drawn deeper into the world of witchcraft and faeries, it is only at the end of her journey that she realises how much she could lose.
Perfect for fans of The Mortal Instruments, Creepy Hollow, L.J. Smith
Guardians of the Dead is available in both e-book and paperback on your local Amazon site.
An Interview with Shelley Wilson
It was lovely to meet you in person Shelley. Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed for Linda’s Book Bag.
Thank you so much for inviting me, Linda. It’s great to be able to visit your beautiful blog. I promise to behave myself.
Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to the West Midlands with my parents and brother when I was eight. I still consider myself a Yorkshire lass as the rest of my family live up North (my Yorkshire accent starts to come back about half way up the M1).
I’m a single mum to three amazing teenagers. They are such good company – and very useful when I need help with my YA research. We have a crazy black cat called Luna and a ten-year-old fat goldfish that refuses to pass over to the great sea in the sky.
(I hate to tell you this Shelley, but I had a goldfish that lived for fifteen years after I trod on it – it’s a long story!)
I have to admit that when we met I was struck by how vital you appeared, despite your own health problems. Do you think your self-help books have positively affected your own life as well as that of your readers?
Aw, thank you for that lovely comment, Linda. Yes, to write any non-fiction topic you must first know everything you need to know about it. As a holistic health practitioner, I had to walk the walk otherwise my clients would never have trusted my advice. Meditation became a huge part of my life long before I began running my group sessions.
Back in 2008, I walked out of a physically and emotionally abusive marriage. My children were two, three and five at the time. I suffered for many years but slowly developed an inner strength. When we were free to start our lives over I became obsessed with self-help books. I wanted to discover how I could expand on that strength and become the person I knew I could be. It was through my reading and my training in alternative therapies that I pieced it all together. My self-help books are a way of sharing all my knowledge, advice and tips. If I can help just one woman feel empowered, strong and inspired then I’ve achieved something wonderful.
(You’re certainly walking the walk.)
Would you tell us more about your Resolution Challenge Blogspot (which readers can visit by clicking here)?
I have an OCD fixation on writing lists – I even have a list of my favourite lists! Writing out my New Year Resolution list, therefore, is like giving a kid chocolate.
One New Year’s Eve I began to jot down my resolutions in my journal. After scribbling down the usual suspects: lose weight, get fit and write your damn book, I decided to read over the lists from previous years. I was horrified to notice that I’d regurgitated the same goals year after year but never achieved any of them. I didn’t want to waste another twelve months.
Referring to the motivational tools I used with my holistic clients I began to put together an action plan. I brainstormed what I wanted to achieve with ‘writing’ being my top priority. Not wanting to overwhelm myself I broke the big goals into smaller chunks – one challenge for every month of the year.
I ended up with twelve topics to cover in the year. I then decided that to achieve it all I had to be accountable for my actions – that’s where the blog came in.
I’d never blogged before and had to learn as I went. In the beginning, I aimed to write one post a month on the given challenge, but as I began reading other blogs, I noticed how often posts appeared. Once a month wasn’t going to work so I broke each challenge down even further so that every month was now split into weeks – my twelve challenges became fifty-two.
I blogged the entire year’s events – good and bad. It was the most rewarding experience. My Resolution Challenge blog is now three years old and still going strong. I shape my posts around motivation, being inspired, and holistic health and well-being.
How do you conduct research for your non-fiction titles?
Most of the content in my non-fiction books is from real life. I believe wholeheartedly in sharing my own experiences because I know it might help someone else. Before I walked out of my marriage, I felt utterly alone. I developed depression, many physical health issues caused by stress and my self-esteem was rock bottom. I now understand that you are never alone – people have walked your path before and are waiting with an outstretched hand to pull you along. I knew that I wanted to be there for other women in a similar situation.
Sticking with this theme, the one research process I love to use is case studies. Interviewing women who have overcome incredible circumstances, illness or tragedy is humbling.
What inspired you to use S L Wilson for your YA writing rather than your full name?
It’s interesting that you ask this question because just recently I started to wish I hadn’t done that. It was done for two reasons; the ability to attract a teenage male audience for my books (I read once that this was the reason behind JK not using Joanne), and my equally OCD obsession with organisation. I thought it would be ‘neat and tidy’ to partition my non-fiction from my YA fantasy.
As it turned out, I can’t link my titles on Goodreads so have to have two accounts and if you click on S.L. Wilson under the title of my YA books on Amazon you’re taken to a general book page and not my Amazon author page.
You’re obsessed by vampires – what started off that obsession and how does it impact on your fiction writing?
Ha ha! On my personal Facebook page I am regularly tagged in on posts from friends and family that contain either Johnny Depp or vampires – I clearly have a reputation! It began in the 80s when the film Lost Boys came out. I was totally hooked and started seeking out vampire movies, right back to Christopher Lee. When the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer came out, my fascination grew.
Interestingly, I would read every article I could about Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy, even buying the scripts so I could analyse his writing. He taught me about the story arc. I loved the action and the unpredictable relationships between characters in the vampire shows, and I carry this forward in my fiction. YA books are known for their fast-paced action, and I believe my obsession with all things ‘fang-tastic’ has helped me write in this genre. Oddly enough, my fantasy fiction is about faeries, witches, dragons, and werewolves – I haven’t had a vampire character jump into my head…yet.
How did the Guardians series come about?
Going back to my New Year Resolutions, my number one goal was to finish the first draft of a book – any book. I’d filled hundreds of notepads with half-finished stories. As part of my year of challenges, I signed up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). I planned to use the month of November to complete the first draft. According to the rules, you are allowed to plan, plot and build character profiles, but you can’t begin writing until 1st November. The rough idea behind the trilogy came from a photograph of a hooded statue in a cemetery. My organisational side kicked in soon after, and I plotted the novel out chapter by chapter.
I love taking part in NANO and thrive on the pressure of that deadline. I’ve been a ‘winner’ for the past three years, and I’ve used each year to write the trilogy. Book three will be published in December 2016.
In your YA books there’s strenuous conflict between good and evil. How far do you see parallels between your fiction and non-fiction writing.
That’s a great question. A couple of years ago I would have answered that I just wrote for two genres, and there was no parallel, however, last year I had to close my holistic business due to ill health. Thanks to a viral infection, I was trapped in a body that didn’t want to work and spent most of my time inside writing. When I sent book three of my YA trilogy to my editor, she told me she thought it was the best book so far. During the edits, I noticed how dark it was. My poor health and depression had impacted my writing, and I was able to channel all those negative (evil) feelings into something creative (good).
Good vs. Evil is a daily struggle for so many people, and hopefully, my non-fiction books act as the good in my readers’ lives, especially if they are suffering at the hand of abuse. In my YA books, I hope to show my teenage audience that they can overcome anything with determination and inner strength.
Which is more difficult – blogging or writing books – and why?
If I’m totally honest with you, I don’t find either to be difficult. I love writing in all its forms and cherish the hours spent in my writing cave. I guess the process of blogging can be more time consuming as they are normally quite short and need to be planned and scheduled. With a manuscript, I just open it and pick up where I left off.
You juggle blogging, writing YA fantasy and adult motivational non-fiction and being a mum to three teenagers. What’s your secret in managing it all?
I wear my underpants over my trousers and try not to catch my cape in the oven door! Seriously, I have no idea how I do it all. A year ago you could add ‘run a business’ to that list. Having to close my business after seven years was incredibly hard but I have a ‘just get on with it’ attitude that helps me survive most things. Keeping a diary/calendar is the only way I keep sane. Everything goes into my diary – writing goals, appointments, events, the kids’ social life (I don’t have one!), so I guess it’s down to my OCD organisational skills.
What’s next in the busy life of Shelley Wilson?
I’m working on two novels at the moment. A standalone YA novel with werewolves which I’m thoroughly enjoying, and a non-fiction book about staying motivated to achieve your goals – this came about after the hundreds of messages I received from readers of How I Changed My Life in a Year.
I have also written a pack of motivational oracle cards which should be available this summer. There is a sheet of paper on my noticeboard with all my novel ideas written on it; there are five ideas listed at the moment, so I guess this means I’ll be busy for many years to come.
I want to attend more events in the future such as the Annual Blogger Bash in June and the various events organised through Book Connectors. I try to sign up for a variety of Mind, Body, Spirit fairs where I can sell my books and chat with readers.
Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions Shelley. I’ve found your answers fascinating. I will see you at the Annual Blogger Bash!
Thank you so much for inviting me over to chat, I told you I could waffle! I’ve had great fun.
About Shelley Wilson
Shelley Wilson divides her writing time between motivational non-fiction for adults and the fantasy worlds of her young adult fiction.
Her non-fiction books combine lifestyle, motivation and self-help with a healthy dose of humour. She works in the Mind, Body, Spirit sector as a practitioner and tutor. Her approach to writing is to provide an uplifting insight into personal development and being the best you can be.
Shelley writes her Young Adult Fiction under ‘S.L Wilson’ and combines myth, legend and fairy tales with a side order of demonic chaos.
She was born in Yorkshire but raised in Solihull, UK, where she lives with her three children, a crazy kitten and a fat fish. She is an obsessive list maker, social media addict and a huge Game of Thrones fan.
Readers will also be interested in Shelley’s other books all of which can be found on her Amazon page.