Interview with Shelley Munro

Jen: This weekend we welcome Shelley Munro to Book Talk. Shelley, will you please share a short bio with us?

Shelley: I live in New Zealand with my husband and a small, bossy dog. I write mostly erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing and dabble in many genres, but my favorites are contemporary and paranormal. Apart from reading, my greatest love is travel and exploring the world. Luckily travel is a passion shared by my husband and we spend many hours planning our trips and considering places, both far and near, to place on our wish list.

Jen: Tell us about Leticia’s Lovers and where it’s available.
Shelley: Leticia’s Lovers is book seven in my Middlemarch Mates series, which are stories about feline shapeshifters who live and work in Middlemarch, a small New Zealand town. Leticia’s Lovers is a threesome romance featuring Leticia, Gavin and Charlie. Leticia was a secondary character in an earlier book called Stray Cat Strut. She is a lion shifter and was infected with FIV, the feline version of AIDs by a former boyfriend. She and her brother, Lucas were shunned by family and ended up in New Zealand. At the start of the book, Leticia realizes the FIV that was in remission has returned. She doesn’t think she has any chance of love and has pushed the one man she could love away. After months of rejection, he has turned to another. Leticia tries to be happy for him but jealousy rises and there’s a lovers’ triangle. I think of Leticia’s Lovers as a real love story. It’s a character driven story, and I cried during the writing and editing process.

Readers can purchase Leticia’s Lovers at Ellora’s Cave. http://www.jasminejade.com/pm-6902-127-leticias-lovers.aspx

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Shelley: I’ve always enjoyed reading, and I think writing is a natural progression. I started thinking about writing during my early twenties, but my social life, and one man in particular, interrupted my early writing. After our marriage, my husband and I traveled for six years before returning to New Zealand. I still wanted to write but kept putting it off until I woke up one morning and realized if I didn’t start writing now, I’d never start. That week I noticed an advertisement about a romance writing course at our local university and discovered a magazine article about Romance Writers of New Zealand. I enrolled for the writing course, sent off my fee for the RWNZ and started on my writing path. It took me six years before I sold my first story.

I sold my first story to New Concepts Publishing on 2 Jan 2004. I received an email and shrieked so loudly both my husband and the dog came running. I think I checked that email about twenty times, positive I’d imagined the contents offering me a contract. I sold fairly quickly after that to Ellora’s Cave and also Medallion Press. It was a very exciting time.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Shelley: Adventure. Spicy. Humorous.

Jen: Have you noticed your writer’s voice has changed over the years due to your experience? If so, how?
Shelley: I think I’ve remained true to my voice. I tend to write romances with humorous overtones, alpha heroes and slightly quirky heroines. I’ve always enjoyed learning about the writing process and improving my craft, and I like to think my writing is stronger and improving all the time with each successive book. I definitely try different things with each book and experiment a little.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Shelley: I write everyday. I don’t do a huge word count by some standards but I am consistent and I think this is good training when it comes to deadlines. I’m more of a morning person and tend to write more productively during the early part of the day. That said I keep working until I’ve done a set number of words. If I don’t finish in the morning, I continue writing through the afternoon and sometimes into the evening.

Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Shelley: They don’t bother me. I can write through just about anything – music, television, lawn mowers, kids and people talking. When I’m writing I tend to block everything else out, which is why a special soundtrack for each book is wasted on me!

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Shelley: I usually start each book with an idea for a scene and this is my starting point for choosing names. I look at the type of story I’m telling, flick through my baby naming book and sometimes the telephone book. If I’m watching TV, I always check out the names on the closing credits.

I have this weird thing where I need the perfect character name before I can start writing. The name has to sound pleasing to my ear when I say it out loud. Once I start writing, I never change my character’s names. They’re stuck with them.

Jen: What is it about the romance genre that appeals to you?
Shelley: I like escaping into books and enjoy romance because of the happy endings. There are so many horrid things that happen in the world, and the knowledge that there will be a happy ending, despite the bumpy road, is comforting.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Shelley: My husband and I shared a bottle of nice wine and had a special dinner. From memory there was chocolate involved. Every good celebration needs chocolate.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Shelley: I’ve dabbled in most genres already. Although I write mostly contemporary and paranormal these days I still write the odd historical or sci-fi romance. It all depends on my story idea. Once I have a story idea I work out the genre that will work best and go from there.

Jen: If you could date any male character from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Shelley: This is a really difficult question, but if I had to choose, I think I’d pick Saber Mitchell from Scarlet Woman, the very first Middlemarch Mates book. He’s alpha and very determined but he has a tender side as well. He cares deeply for his family and friends and would do anything for them. He’s solid and dependable but has an element of danger in him as well.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Shelley: I have so many favorites. I like Lora Leigh, Robyn Carr, Jory Strong, Samantha Kane, Lorelei James. The list goes on… I’m about to start reading Along Came Trouble by Sherryl Woods. She’s a new-to-me writer. I’ve just finished reading Lifelines by CJ Lyons and Branded as Trouble by Lorelei James, both really great reads.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Shelley: As I mentioned above, I love to travel, either in New Zealand or farther afield. I read a lot and enjoy walking and cycling. Since much of my time is spent sitting I try to exercise often and find walking and cycling perfect. I also enjoy listening to music. I have no talent in that area, but since I don’t have to listen to myself I don’t consider that a problem!

Jen: What’s next for you?
Shelley: In my writing I’m working on book nine in my Middlemarch Mates series and also working on a contemporary story that I hope to submit to Samhain Publishing. In my personal life, hubby and I are looking forward to our upcoming holiday to Western Samoa. With our approaching winter down this end of the world, the idea of sun, sand, and fruity cocktails is a very enticing one.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Shelley: My webpage is http://www.shelleymunro.com I blog most days so there’s always something new. http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog

I also have a MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/shelleymunro

And for those who would like to sample some of my writing, I have several free reads available at my website. http://www.shelleymunro.com/free-reads/

My book pages are http://www.jasminejade.com/m-127-shelley-munro.aspx and http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/shelley-munro

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Shelley: Oh, yes! I have a couple of questions for you. Do you read romances in public places i.e. read on buses, in doctor’s offices, airports etc. And the second question—what makes you return to an author’s blog? What keeps you coming back?

Thank you very much for having me at your blog today, Jen. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.

Jen: And many thanks to you Shelley for being with us on this Easter holiday weekend. Readers, Shelley is giving away to a random commenter their choice of download of any of her Ellora’s Cave backlist. So, ask a question or leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll pick a winner sometime in the late afternoon on Easter Sunday, April 12.