SHELLY ALEXANDER: IT’S IN HIS HEART IS ABOUT LOSS AND HEALING
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Shelly Alexander’s debut novel from Red River Valley series will be officially released on August 1. The book already gathered very positive feedback, because is part of Kindle first choice program. The story is standing very solidly in the Top 5 of Amazon bestselling list.
We are happy to introduce our next guest, lady Shelly Alexander.
– Shelly, what is your next book, IT’S IN HIS HEART, about?
– IT’S IN HIS HEART is really about loss and healing. It’s about making that jump from grief to the next chapter in life when one has lost someone so important that they don’t know if they CAN go on without them. So both the hero and the heroine have to make a choice. Do they wallow in the turmoil of that loss for the rest of their lives and let that turmoil destroy their new found love and their future, or do they find a way to move forward together.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I write romantic comedy, so I actually start with funny secondary plots first and work backwards to get to the real emotion of the story. Before I was published (and even not that I AM published), I often garner smirks when I tell people I’m a romance writer. The most frequent question I’m asked is “Is your writing anything like Fifty Shades of Grey?” So I started with the humorous idea of a straight-laced, uptight high school history teacher that writes an erotic romance and ‘accidentally’ gets it published. I thought her journey of her own self-acceptance as such a writer would be funny, because that erotic romance writer persona is so different from who she THOUGHT she was. So I explored this angle and worked backward from there, asking myself ‘WHY would such a conservative woman decide to write a racy, steamy story?’ and ‘How would she deal with the publicity?’
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– I tackle some pretty heavy subjects in this story: The heroine losses a husband she loved very much to brain cancer. The hero losses his best friend since childhood that’s been like a brother. The hero also has a scandal – a serious accusation that’s been leveled against him and could alter the course of his future. These are hard subjects to address in a lighthearted, humorous romance. The challenge is how to be funny when you’re addressing serious subjects. But I think in real life, you have to try to find humor in most situations because life is hard, and if you can’t laugh, then what’s the point of it all?
– Tell us something about your main characters Ella, Coop and Bradley? Are they close to someone from your real life?
– I think Ella is a little bit of me – I’m driven by schedules and calendars. Coop is a little bit my husband – he can’t relate to my obsession with organization and schedules. It’s been something we’ve had to meet in the middle on. It’s been the source of both angst and laughs between us. Bradley is also a little bit of my husband – a sweet, thoughtful man.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It took me about 6 months to write it and a few months to revise it. I was offered publication about six months after that as a result of being nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award in 2014.
– It’s a very rare case for an author to have full 5 out of 5 stars from 20 plus reviews, but you did it. What is the feeling to have such a fantastic feedback?
– It feels wonderful. I mean, every writer likes to be told their work is appreciated. But I won’t lie, as a writer I focus more on the things I don’t like about my writing and I never stop thinking…really? I could’ve done so much better on this story!
– Who are you?
– The short answer is: I’m a wife, mother, traveler, reader and hiker. The long answer is: I’m a woman that struggles with the same issues as everyone else. I have to find time for family, faith, friends, and every day life while I’m trying to produce work that my audience wants to read. I’m confident at the same time as full of self-doubt, I’m likeable but also have some unlikeable characteristics. I’m driven to succeed even while I want to give up. I’m just a regular human being.
– What are your writing habits?
– I usually write 5 days a week starting around 8 or 9 in the morning and stopping sometime around 5 PM or so. I try to take days off on the weekend for family. If the kids are busy on the weekends and my husband is playing golf, then I’ll write on the weekend while the house is empty, or use that time to plot. But basically I treat writing like a full time job, because that’s what it is.
– Are you satisfied with the sales of your books?
– Yes, my debut novel hit #3 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the U.S. and #6 in Australia. That’s pretty special, and I feel very fortunate.
– You graduated in Marketing. What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Most importantly, I’m trying to keep writing books that my audience wants to read. I’m not writing to please the whole world. I’m writing for a specific segment of readers who enjoy humorous, lighthearted romance, and it’s important to me that my readers feel they’ve gotten what they wanted out of the read. It’s all about the reader, it’s really not about me. So I can tell you that I’ve got book signings planned (because I do), I can tell you I’m trying to engage with readers on social media (Because I am), I can tell you that I’ve invested an enormous amount of time into a killer website designed by one of the best author website designers in the biz (because they are), but the most important thing I can do to market and promote myself and my books, is to make sure the reader is satisfied with their current purchase (which is my latest release). That’s the best way to promote my next book.
– Your next novel, IT’S IN HIS TOUCH, will be published on November 3. Would you unveil something more about it?
– IT’S IN HIS TOUCH is very special to me. It involves an outrageous bucket list that the heroine and her best friend are working through because the heroine has just survived a serious illness. The book doesn’t focus on her physical healing. It picks up after the physical healing is complete, and it focuses on the emotional healing that she’s now facing. And again, it’s a tough subject to tackle when you’re trying to be funny, but I think I succeeded in spades. I hope my readers think so too, because I will give up this one very personal detail…I survived the same illness and that was my inspiration for trying to tackle this subject in a romance novel.
– As a fan of Star Wars, what do you expect from Episode 7?
– LOL! This question cracked me up because my 18 year old son is the biggest Star Wars fan on the planet and has every episode memorized with strong opinions on future episodes. We often have heated discussions on movies, characters AND whether or not Hans Solo is the coolest character and should Jar Jar Binks have been cut from the script completely. I’ll refrain from answering your question on the grounds that I don’t want my son to stop speaking to me! I still need him to come home from college and to mow the lawn once in awhile. (Don’t tell him I said that!)
– Do you remember the exact moment when you decided to write a full novel?
– As a matter of fact I do. I was in the 10th grade and my English teacher assigned a paper that had to be about something that really happened in our lives. I wrote about my experience as a youngster (5th, 6th and 7th grade) living in Iran when the revolution broke out in the late 70s. She pulled me aside and told me it would make a great book and I’d be a good writer. From that moment on I knew I wanted to write. It took me many years to make time in my life to devote solely to writing, but finally, many, many, many years later I finally did it!
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what would it be?
I’d ask myself ‘What the hell were you thinking at that AC/DC concert in 1980?’ Unfortunately, I can’t answer that in public. And thank God camera phones hadn’t been invented yet. No further comment.