Author Spotlight

 

I recently had the chance to chat with a talented author.  So, without further delay letís hear from the talented

Shelley Bradley/Shayla Black

 

Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer? Did you have other plans for when you grew up?
I didnít know what I wanted to do, but it wasnít writing. In fact, I grew up disliking reading. I know now that itís because Iím not visually oriented and had to train my brain to read smoothly. I also didnít really enjoy the books the schools had us read. It wasnít until I discovered romances that I really started devouring books. That happened my first semester in college. Iíve been a romance fan ever since.

Why do write under two namesÖShelley Bradley and Shayla Black?  Do you find it difficult to balance the two?
No. Shelley writes sexy, adventurous romances between a man and a woman that capture both heart and a little sense of humor, like recent Samhain release A Perfect Match. Shayla, on the other hand, is dark and somewhere between sexy and erotic (depending on the book). Shayla books delve deeper into charactersí psyches. My May 28 Elloraís Cave release DANGEROUS BOYS AND THEIR TOY fits in that description. Itís a mťnage romance thatís all about character. Thereís lots of sex, of course, but itís more than a boinkfest. Shayla books also frequently stage bigger plots. My upcoming paranormal romance, TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS, comes out August 26 and is the first in the Doomsday Brethren series. Seriously huge plot with tons of character. Thereís a lot going on in these books! The books penned under either name are just different parts of me.

Tell us some of your favoritesÖfoods, books, authors, movies, music, television, and any others you would like to share.
Foods: Mexican food. I love the spice!

Books: Oh, so many I donít know where to start! Favorite books include Tami Hoags LUCKY'S LADY, The Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh, The Matrix of Destiny series by Dara Joy, TRIPLE PLAY by Rhyannon Byrd, The Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward, MIDNIGHT MAN by Lisa Marie Rice, FANTASY FIX by Christine Warren. I also have lots of Lisa Kleypas on my keeper shelf. I know thereís more I'm forgetting...

Movies: Sense & Sensibility, The Holiday, While You Were Sleeping, JFK, Dangerous Liaisons, Speed, Bridget Jonesí Diary, French Kiss, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Strictly Ballroom, The Hunt For Red October.

TV: American Idol, Moonlight (very furious CBS cancelled it!), Heroes, Dancing With The Stars. I try not to watch too much TV. Gets in the way of finishing books!

Music: I'm musically schizophrenic! I tend toward alternative and rock, if I had to pick genres. Iím really enjoying bands like The Goo Goo Dolls, One Republic, Daughtry, Hinder, Linkin Park, Three Days Grace, David Cook (yeah!)

You write in several genres, do you have a favorite? Is there something that you would like to try?
Iíve written in historical, contemporary, erotic and now paranormal. I love something about each. Ideas come, depending on my mood and whatís inspiring me at the moment. Characters come to me in certain time periods, places, and tones. When the book I write next is my choice, I select whatever is eating me up the most inside at that moment. Frequently, I must follow my deadlines, but itís all good because every book I pitch, sell and write has special meaning to me. I think now that Iíve written in all the genres that interest me...but Iíll never say never to trying something new.

Tell us what makes Shelley/Shayla tick.
Gosh, have a few months? Iím a pretty complicated girlóat least my family tells me that. I guess if I had to sum it up, Iím motivated by both emotion and excellence. I have a passion for the stories and characters I convey, and I am relentless about trying to write the best book possible. Readers who use their time and hard-earned money to purchase one of my books deserve to be entertained, so itís always my goal to make them feel satisfied with their purchase. Itís true that you canít please all readers all the time, but I always believe that if you try your best, youíre more likely to please more people. Other than that, I work hard, play hard and commit completely.

Do you have a writing schedule that you follow? Do you have a perfect writing environment?
I donít have a set schedule. I grab a lot of times around other commitments. Iím more of a morning person than a night one, so when I can write during my peak hours, I do. I enjoy the days when Iím alone and the house is quiet. I can get very in the story and be very productive. I donít need a perfect environment. I do need music. Iím very auditory, and music helps me channel my creativity. I also need a phone. I think out loud, and several of my friends know Iíd be paralyzed without an occasional ear to bend. Other than that, big screen, ergonomic chair, and Iím good.

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were starting out?  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don't give up. Tenacity is 90% of this business. Keep writing. Keep submitting. The minute you stop knocking on doors is the minute you lose all chance of selling. And it may be clichť, but read, read, read. Don't assume that what you like to read most is immediately what suits your voice. Try a few different things and see what feels good to you. Remember, your voice is what an editor is looking for. Tell the story that only you can tell.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
Absolutely! I ADORE reader mail! Readers can contact me via the contact form on my website: www.shaylablack.com. I also have a MySpace, which is www.myspace.com/shelleybradley. I also participate daily in general, fun discussions with the Wicked Writers. To subscribe, send an email to wicked_writers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. I also love to hear from readers who visit my blog. Iím always giving away lots of goodies and excerpts there.

Some of your books are connected. Do you enjoy writing connected stories?  As a reader, I know that I love them.
I love connected stories most. I put so much into my characters that I canít walk away from them. For instance, Wicked Ties introduced readers to our main characters, Jack and Morgan. It also introduced Deke, and I heard from a ton of people who wanted his book. Decadent released last OctoberÖand now people are clamoring for Luc. Even characters Iíve introduced believing they are two-liner throwaway characters received requests from readers. Sometimes they haunt me. I try to oblige them as much as possible. The Doomsday Brethren series is even more like this. Iíve created a group of guys that amaze and thrill me. I canít wait to share them with readers!

How do you promote your work?
Iím not great at it, to be honest. I like posting online and doing online chats because it gets me closest to interacting with readers. Iím a people person, so anytime I can directly talk with people, Iím happy. I also have a blog, a monthly newsletter and my Wicked Writers chat group. I do a few ads here and there, but Iíve relied a lot on word of mouth. I hear from readers frequently that a friend recommended me to themóand thatís great. I would ten times rather spend my time writing than doing ads. Iím just not pushy that way.

How would you spend a perfect day if you could do anything at all?
With my family. Dinner and movies on a warm spring day are great. If I could work in a pedicure and a facial and still have some time to write and spend a little time by the pool with a frozen drink in hand and cool tunes blastingÖahhh!

When writing, do you plan your story out before you start writing or do they develop as you write?
Iím extremely structured. My time to write is limited, so I plan as much as possible in advance. That way, when I do get my time to write, I don ít stumble around and write stuff I can't use. I dive immediately into the story and go. That's not to say that minor events and my characters donít occasionally rewrite the story in spots for me, but the overlying premise, major events, and the charactersí journeys tend to stay as I planned them. Iím able to roll with the small changes, and they usually make for a better book. The system works for me, but I know itís not for everyone.

What do you think is the most unusual thing about you?
My husband tells me Iím just not your everyday person. My brain is working ALL THE TIME. I sometimes suffer from insomnia because I canít turn it off. I also met my hubby for the first time while wearing a clown suit and carrying balloons. (We both worked at an amusement park.) Itís pretty hard to top that for an odd first meetÖ

What does your family think of your writing?  Are they your biggest fans?
My immediate family is totally on board. Iíve been writing since before I got married. My munchkin has never known mommy who doesnít write. My extended family is a bit bemused. I come from a long line of achievers. In my family there are 2 CEOs, an Army general, a Mensa member, a Harvard MBA, a Grammy winnerÖ Itís tough to compete in my family. I think theyíre happy for me. Confused about when Iím going to write the next Great American Novel, the kind that wins Pulitzers, but Iím totally happy doing what Iím doing now. And thatís good enough for them.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? Current or upcoming releases?
Itís a busy year for me and next year is shaping up to be more of the same. Iím really excited about everything thatís going on. Hereís a quick rundown:

Shayla Black

DANGEROUS BOYS AND THEIR TOY ~ Elloraís Cave ~ May 28

TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS ~ Pocket ~ Doomsday Brethren 1 ~ August 26

SEDUCE ME IN SHADOW ~ Pocket ~ Doomsday Brethren 2 ~ Oct. 2009

POSSESS ME AT MIDNIGHT ~ Pocket ~ Doomsday Brethren 3 ~ Nov. 2009

DELICIOUS (Info on Lucís book!) is coming soon. Will be a 2010 release, I think.

 

Shelley Bradley

A PEFECT MATCH ~ Samhain ~ May 13

THE LADY AND THE DRAGON (print) ~ Samhain ~ Sept. 30

SNEAK PEEK Anthology (print) ~ Samhain ~ January 2009

BOUND AND DETERMINED (reissue) ~ ~ March 2009

STRIP SEARCH (reissue) ~ August 2009

DANGEROUS LITTLE SECRET ~ Samhain ~ TBD 2010

 

     

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