Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Interview with Connie Shelton

Interview with Connie Shelton

How many books have you published?
Let's see ... 16 in my Charlie Parker series, plus a Christmas novella. 11 in my Samantha Sweet series, plus a Halloween novella. 3 non-fiction books and 2 children's books. I guess that's a total of 34.

Under what names do you publish?
Just my own, Connie Shelton

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening, etc? Feel free to amplify this answer.
Well, there's my ideal day and there's my actual day.  My ideal day is to get up early, meditate, walk the dogs, breakfast with my husband, then I get to my desk and write ten pages on the current work-in-progress, finishing in time to answer fan emails, read awhile for fun, then there's dinner and vegging in front of TV with hubby in the evening. My real day depends on which dog pukes on the floor and how many little crises interrupt the morning. I know ... the given advice is to screen calls and close the office door--somehow that doesn't always pan out for me.

Do you plot the entire book first, then write or plot as you go?
Plot first. I have probably 75% of the story's action plotted in advance. It's so much more efficient than staring at a blank screen and trying to figure out what will happen next. Of course, I'm always open to life's little whimsy, and if a really fun twist happens along the way, I'm certainly willing to go with it.

How do you promote your books?
I'm somewhat active on Facebook and Pinterest, but I must admit I'm terrible about Twitter and most other social media. To stay focused on writing, I can't take breaks during the day to check messages and respond. My newsletter is the way I keep in contact with my readers (there's a signup button on the homepage of my website I send one newsletter per month, keeping people updated on what I'm currently writing, a few little personal tidbits, and I hold a monthly contest, drawing from my subscriber list for prizes. I don't like to fill people's mailboxes with a lot of stuff so, aside from a couple of emails when they first subscribe, usually the once-a-month news is it.  I do answer fan mail and love hearing from my readers. I've formed some lifelong friendships with people who first contacted me about my books.

Who is your favorite author?
It's so hard to name only one. I read all over the spectrum in fiction and a lot of non-fiction as well. Sue Grafton and Marcia Muller were early influences for me when I began writing mysteries. For her dark and twisted sense of psychology I love Ruth Rendell. In cozy mysteries, I like Joanne Pence, Carolyn Haines, and Ritter Ames. From the biggie bestseller lists, favorites are Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Lianne Moriarty and Harlan Coben. I know I'm forgetting I said, there are SO many!

Do you write with pen and paper or a computer?
I do a lot of my preliminary plot notes and character sketches on paper, but once I start a first draft I do the actual writing on computer. I print the manuscript and edit the old fashioned way, with a red pen. Once those changes have been entered on the computer draft, I go along with whatever my editors request. Two of them prefer the Word document emailed to them, but my copy editor likes a printed copy. She's another pen and paper sort of person. Bottom line: each book is a combination.

Click here for a review of Sweet Masterpiece.

Want to read some more great books by Connie? Follow this link for her listings on Amazon.

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