Today is a tour stop for paranormal romance author Shelly Holt as she tours her novel Tasting Fire. She's also going to be giving away a Starbucks gift card to a lucky commentor. Details are after the interview.
Welcome, Shelly. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Shelly Holt and I live in the middle of the harsh and unforgiving Mojave desert. I write my stories looking out of a window that shows sweeping desert views. Outside is a barren and severe landscape, yet inside my head lives a world filled with exotic shape-shifters come to life, pulled from the pages of myth and legend, ready to entice and seduce any reader brave enough to take them on.
It's funny, I never wanted to be a writer! In 7th grade English, we were given an assignment. We were told to write an original poem and turn it in the next day. I was determined to turn in not a good poem, but a great poem. I spent the whole night working on it instead of watching my favorite show, The Waltons. (Hey! it was 1980.) I turned it in the next day. Apparently, I succeeded a little too well and was accused of copying it from a book. (1980 remember, no Internet yet). The teacher stated, and I quote, "this is too good for a seventh grader, where did you copy it from?"
Well, I didn't write for 30 years after that. In my 40's, after a life-changing move to rural Nevada as a caregiver to my father, I realized I needed a way to earn a little money on the side. I did some research (on the Internet) and read all about a certain little book, about a certain little college student and a handsome billionaire with some ahem! (issues.) I decided after reading that book, I could do that, and Tasting Fire was born. I'll admit it's been strange revisiting a talent buried deep inside for so long, forgotten, but apparently not lost. It's been an important journey and one I am quite thankful for and excited to see where it takes me.
(P.S. Mr. Jordan, I really did write that poem!)
Please tell us about your current release.
Tasting Fire is a sexy, adventure filled paranormal romance unlike any other. Due to an infection caused by bacteria that lives in hot springs all over the planet, shape-shifters have always walked the earth. They exist due to a merging of human and animal DNA caused by the infection. For self protection over thousands of years they have allowed their very existence to become the substance of only myth and legend. Advances in modern genetics are now about to reveal them to the world. Kai Tenzin is the self appointed leader of the Pari people. He and his kind evolved from the most reclusive predators on earth, the Asian Snow Leopard. They live and hunt in the most fearsome and rugged terrain known to man, the Himalayas. Kai leaves his small village where the mountains touch the heavens, determined to do anything to protect his people. He is forced by circumstances to enlist the aid of the beautiful American scientist Dr. Rae Hales, the last thing he expects to find is a woman who will ensnare his heart and endanger them all.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to stand out from the thousands of other writers climbing on the paranormal bandwagon. As a reader, I was wary of so many writers using magic rather laxly in explaining how shape-shifters came to be. I feel that by not allowing myself to use a (magic lollipop) as I call them, I forced myself to write a much stronger plot and develop my characters much more fully, yet still put them in a situation far different than a standard contemporary romance would have allowed.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Book two in the Tasting Fire series. It will take place roughly 30 years after the first book. It will include all new characters. This time I will explore the mythology of the Naga (snake shape-shifters) from India. Still no magic lollipops, but hopefully adventure and passion.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
(laughing) when I get my first check from Amazon. This is my debut novel after all.
Do you write full time? If so, what's your work day like?
Yes, I do. I've spent the last six months writing Tasting Fire. My day? It depends on where I am in the process. These books require a ton of research. While I was working on the formatting with the company I hired to professionally format the book (who did a fantastic job by the way) I was also working on the research for book two. My desk right now is filled with pages of info on the Nagas and Hindu mythology. Right now I did have to stop the research to promote Tasting Fire. I have a feeling it will always be like this, juggling research, writing, and promotion on several books. That's the joy of being self-published, you get to wear all the hats. On the flip side of that, I have a lot more control over my books too!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I really started to empathize with my characters a little too much. I would feel guilty when I killed somebody off.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an air traffic controller. I was dissuaded from that during a job fair in high school when an actual air traffic controller told me no union would ever hire a woman for the job. This was the mid-80s and I was young enough to buy that load of c...ahh magic lollipops.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Readers, if you'd like a chance to win a $20 Starbucks gift card, remember to leave your e-mail address with a comment below (and at any of Shelly's other tour stops to increase your chances of winning). One randomly drawn commentor will be chosen during this tour.