I met Shelby Kent-Stewart on Twitter, and again on Facebook. We became fast friends and have very similar fiery attitudes, along with a slightly odd sense of humour. We can go weeks without chatting, but when we do get together it's as if no time as passed at all and we carry on where we left off. I adore her quick wit and take no prisoners attitude, the tremendous love of life she has that draws everyone into her circle, and her nurturing ways.
Shelby was born and raised in sunny California, and is a self-professed geeky girl who drinks too much coffee and believes making love (not war) will save us all. She wrote her first story at the tender age of ten and more followed, some finding their way into newspapers and some being bronzed by her mum, but one way or another she has been writing ever since, be they non-fiction papers or fiction with a romantic and erotic twist, which she admits is her favourite.
After meeting the love of her life Shelby settled down, though never in any one place for long. They've moved around wherever their minds have taken them, and always taking their rescue dogs with them and living every day as if it's their first. It seems to me there is a lesson there for each and every one of us.
Here is what Shelby Kent-Stewart has to say...
Why did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I think I’ve always known. My fascination with books goes way back, at least that’s what I’m told. While other little girls were playing with dolls, I was obsessed with pulling books from the shelves and pretending I could read them, much to my parents’ dismay.
What was the thing that drove you the most to do so?
My love of other authors and their work.
How long have you been writing?
Forever, but my first published story was in 5th grade, a scholastic magazine.
Professionally, I’ve been writing since college. I was fortunate to get freelance work during my senior year and things took off from there. In addition to writing erotic romance, I still do freelance work for various publications and am grateful for the opportunities.
Why did you pick the genre/s that you have?
Technically, I think it picked me. Back in 2009 I was reading an erotic romance novel that was so badly written it made me wince. On a whim, I knocked out 4 chapters of a story and sent them to the publisher via email, no query letter, no synopsis, nothing but the four chapters. Within an hour, I had a response. “We’ll take everything you write.”
I laughed it off and put the email in a drawer for four years, and then one day I thought ‘why the hell not?’. That novel eventually morphed into ‘Blessing’, the 2nd book in the Wicked Tails Series but, I hasten to add, for another publisher.
Who is your favourite character, and why?
In my books I have two, Sky the sister in ‘Runaway Brat’ and Sophie in ‘Once Upon a Faerie’, both of whom are smart, brave and infinitely sassy. Actually, that description fits all my female characters. I’m not sure I could write a weak female character as I can’t relate to that at all, but never say never!
Do you have any particular quirks when writing?
What a great question! I’m not sure you’d call it a quirk exactly but I avoid outlines like the plague. I can’t imagine using one. For me, half the joy of writing is seeing where the characters take me.
What does your family think of your work?
They love it. I know I’m fortunate in that regard since I’ve heard horror stories from other ‘erotica’ authors, how their families are judgmental about their chosen genre. I’ll never understand that.
Do you belong to any writing groups? And if so what do you think are the pros and cons?
Prior to joining Mr. Blackthorne and the Wicked Pen Writers, my experiences were horrific.
My first was with LinkedIn and it was catastrophic. I stuck it out for almost a year but the level of vitriol thrown around was toxic. I tried to be the voice of reason, but in the end I left 6 different groups in one afternoon and never looked back.
My second was with an erotica group which shall remain nameless. The concept was great but the organizer was in over his head and eventually had an unfortunate public meltdown. The upside was I met some great writers, one or two of them members of the Wicked Pen Writers.
How do you deal with writers block?
It’s not uncommon for me to have 2-3 books in the works at the same time, so writer’s block isn’t generally a problem for me. On that rare occasion when I’m simply not in the mood, I’ll do some yoga or take a dance class. That usually gets the blood pumping and I can’t wait to get back to work.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing?
I know it’s a cliché but ‘killing my babies’, those gems we write that may look good on paper but don’t advance the story. It happened in ‘Surviving Sydney’, a scene near the end. I loved the way it read, but it didn’t ring true to the character so I edited it out. As luck would have it, it became the premise for another book.
What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Everything! Perhaps the more apt question is what I don’t enjoy and that’s an easy one. I detest marketing and promotion, so much so that I quite literally feel nauseous when I post a promo for myself. Which probably explains why I do it so infrequently.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Honestly, I have no idea but I’m grateful for whatever spirit is guiding me. At any given time, I have at least a dozen plots in my head and I’m clueless where they come from.
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
No, never, although one is borderline autobiographical but I’ll never tell.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I rarely watch TV but I’m a dedicated and manic film buff.
What do you like to read?
Depending on my mood, I read everything from Shakespeare to thrillers to smutpunk.
Who is your favourite author?
Ooh toughie, and totally depends on the genre. I adore Thomas Hardy but contemporary authors are too numerous to list.
Where are your books available?
All my books are currently available on Amazon and Goodreads.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on two books, ‘For Love of Honor’, the 3rd and final book in the Wicked Tails Series, and ‘Child’s Play’, a rather dark novel about abduction and sex-trafficking.
What is your ultimate goal?
My goal is rather simplistic as compared to most writers. I have no aspiration or desire for fortune and fame. I simply want to write a good story that readers can relate to. When I get an email or a message from a reader indicating I made a difference in their life or touched them in some way, it’s a high unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Do you have a favourite film? And if so what is it?
This changes yearly but I’d have to say ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ tops my current list. What a gorgeous film!
Here is where you can find Shelby Kent-Stewart
I'd like to take this last moment to thank Shelby Kent-Stewart for taking the time to answer my questions to share with all of you. I'm sure you'll agree it was an interesting insight into her mind as an author and her life as a person. I hope you'll take the time to pop on over to Amazon and check out her books, as I'm sure you will find something to your liking. As Shelby said earlier in her interview she likes to talk with, and hear from, her readers, so please feel free to contact her on one of the links above, I promise you couldn't meet a nicer person.
Once again, thank you Shelby Kent-Stewart!
I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, and I live in Wales in the U.K.
Sallyann Phillips is an IASD member.
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